Photos taken at Urban Farm and my little patio. Asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke recipes coming soon!
Photos taken at Urban Farm and my little patio. Asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke recipes coming soon!
Lots of exciting things happening in Megan’s Apartment Patio Oasis. The cutest of those happenings is our new 5 week old bunny. We got him from our wonderful friends Jenny and Keegan of the Eugene Garden Lounge, when we first got the little guy we thought he was a little girl. So sadly, he may be eaten earlier than anticipated. But he is a great addition to the family, quite the character, and though he has bitten Keegan and our friend Matt, he only licks me. I have been doing a lot of research on what to feed him and tried to make him a nice little home. So far, we are trying to do as many fresh veggies as possible. This has really just included radish tops and some parsley right now (the farmers at market are giving me the tops), but the only other veggies around right now are mainly lettuces and kales, which are not good for rabbits to eat. Along with the veggies, we are feeding him timothy hay and supplementing with alfalfa pellets (be careful of too much alfalfa though because its high in protein and can beef up your bunny). He sleeps in a giant dog kennel with a dresser drawer I re-purposed into a little sleeping den.
Its nice to wake up every morning and go to bed every night with the ritual of feeding this little creature and make his life as happy as possible. I really feel great appreciation for all my meat farmers for the love and hard work they put into rearing these animals. I can’t wait to move into a bigger place and have a bigger part in my own food consumption. I appreciate this rabbit too for all he will give me.
After my past post on repurposed garden goods, I got a wild hair, and headed down to my local recycle center. I could have gone a lot crazier (the bright red retro bath tub perhaps?), but I held back and picked up some pretty sweet planters and additions to my Patio Oasis. I bought one very large and three small glass and brass light fixtures (the holes in the top where the wires go in are perfect drainage holes for the plants). I also grabbed a bright blue ironing board to use as a shelf for planters, a globe light fixture for a hanging terrarium, and a few more odds and ends to plant in. Overall I spent about twenty dollars and am pretty happy with my loot.
The tiny plot of land I call my backyard is doing ok though. Better than expected actually. I’ve put in 5 budding potatoes that now have new leaves and seem to be trucking along even in light of the lack of light, a few strawberries, lots of herbs, and some greens that seem happy as can be. My cilantro and broccoli are acting a little sad; the rain beat the fragile little guys down. I am hoping this day of sun perks them back up.
I also started my first batch of kombucha thanks to Sundance Grocery who sells starter batches. The great thing about kombucha is though I bought a starter, I can now use the mushroom for practically as long as I can keep it alive and brewing. The batch I started was a Jasmine Tea which I then added a bit of lavender tea too. The whole process is so easy I have no idea why I did not start years ago. Basically this is what you do:
Bam! Done! This process is so simple and so material cheap that experimenting with the Kombucha will be very fun and rewarding. My Kombucha will be done in the next 1-3 weeks and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Well, I must get on with my day seeing as though it is my only day of canning and cleaning, hello Vanilla Rhubarb Earl Grey Jam (thanks Food in Jars), Pickled Radishes, and possibly some cherry blossom spread (more research needed on this). Happy spring!
The past two Saturdays that wonderful ahhh… I’m home…. feeling has overwhelmed my body and my mind. Market season gives me this odd sense of belonging, of friendship, and of excitement, which I am forced to miss out on for five months of the year. Those five months being filled with potatoes, kale, rain, and miserable days at school.
But, those are all behind me now, and I never thought I would be so happy to see those stands full of everything green. The green now is not that rough, filling, heavy green that the brassicas bring throughout the winter (don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for those veggies). The green now is more delicate, more aromatic, more full of flavor and possibilities.
I also picked up a few of my staples from Lonesome Whistle and Camas Country including the Best honey I have ever had (Buckwheat Honey from Camas that shared an adjacent field with sunflowers, so its light and full of flavor), some colorful fun beans (including the “King of all Early Beans” a white and pink bean), and some other bean varieties.
All of this new fresh produce has been inspiring me to move away from my typical “easy” meal of grains and beans, and add some more flavor.
Directions: Saute herbs, raab, and garlic in butter until aromatic. Add whole canned tomatoes. Smash, blend, or food process the tomatoes until sauce-y. In separate pan, cook the beef with fennel, salt, pepper, and basil. Once cooked through, add to tomato sauce. Cook the noodles until al dente. Mix all together except a little bit of the smoked cheddar to add to the top. You may also want to add bread crumbs to the top for more crunch. Bake at 350 until melty and toasty. (Thats how I cook, sorry there’s no real “exactness”)
I also made an ahhmazing scramble breakfast. The eggs I got from Blissfully Produced had The darkest yolks I have ever seen. Practically orange and so full of flavor. I sauteed leeks, chard, green garlic, and white elm mushrooms in butter until soft and aromatic. Added scrambled eggs and goat feta. On the side, an early spring salad with thinly sliced radishes and a dressing of pesto frozen from last season mixed with a little mustard and red wine vinegar. To top it off a vegan cheese bagel fresh baked at the Wandering Goat (I dont know why, but their vegan cheese bagels are just the total bomb!).
I have really been getting back into the Kombucha scene too. I go through my phases, and now am fully immersed in this one. I will be starting a batch as soon as a find a baby. More on that later!
Dont forget about your local farmers markets and get your CSAs soon! Happy Spring!
So there are a few things I know about: I know about being broke, I know about so badly wanting to grow my own food, and I know about thrift store shopping and making a little something out of nothing. So out of all of my “vast” knowledge and some motivation, I have found some pretty rockin’ ways (through friends, family, and research) to reuse materials for planting and to add a little bit of spunk to a garden space.
One really awesome idea I saw recently was posted by BRING Recycling of Springfield, Oregon. BRING has got everything a person could need for a home and business remodel or any DIY project. Their most recent and fun idea involves mattress springs and gardens. The first idea is to use the old mattress springs for fences for chicken coops or around garden plots to keep animals out. The second idea is to use the mattress spring as a valence for peas and beans to climb or decoratively for vines. The beauty of this is most places practically give these things away and they are extremely light weight. This site has a few photos and examples of mattress garden art.
One very common, practical, and often free, item I see in many yards of Eugene students and gardeners is an old dresser. So there are two ways you can do this. The first is best if done using a short dresser (2 or 3 drawers). Keep the dresser up right and either make sure you have sturdy bottoms to the drawer or reinforce them with strips of wood . Once they are reinforced, drill holes to allow for water to drain. The bottom drawer should be pulled all the way out, the next one half way and the top a quarter of the way out. You need to make sure that the dresser will not be off balance (this is why you should only use smaller dressers), you can bury the dresser part way if you would like more security. Fill the drawers with soil and only grown plants with a small root system. Herbs and flowers will work best in this situation.
The second way, which is better for taller dressers, is to lie it down flat and use it as a type of “raised” bed. Remove the back of the dresser if possible; if this is too difficult drill many holes or cut slices out so that the roots have a place to go (if you have to do this, tap root veggies will not work as well). Remove all the drawers, fill the dresser with soil, and bam! you are left with nice separate sections and raised beds. The drawers can then be used as separate planters or stacked in an artistic way and used as a focal point in a garden. (I love the use of the guitar in the picture to the right, such a good idea!)
Another obvious, but extremly easy object to use is anything wicker! Wicker baskets, chairs, bookshelves. All of it great, water can flow, roots can grow, and there is nothing you have to do except add some high quality soil.
Old gutters can be used as totally bitchin’ hanging planters or pathway liners. Toilets can hold plants in the bowl and in the tank.Sliding glass doors or french doors for cold frames. Some friends of mine even took their old truck canopy, put it up on stilts, and now have a nice cozy home for their chickens with an easy access window to gather eggs.
Wine bottles are something that are never in short supply in my house, and judging by all the recycling bins full of them, most other’s houses as well. So next time recycling day rolls around, roll around on your own and pick up all the colorful, pretty, and nonbroken bottles to jazz up your garden. One idea I have seen, is to take all your wine bottles and create a barrier for your garden by sticking them neck down in the ground. This creates a raised edge and also a pretty mosaic pattern around your beds. Also filling your bottles with water and sticking them straight into your planter will slowly release water as the soil needs (instead of paying out the arse for those orbs on the shopping network). Wine bottles are a great way to create easy art as well. I have seen anything from paths made completely of bottles, to wine bottle lanterns, to simple statues.
a little creativity
Got any great DIY garden ideas? Love to hear whatchya got. Happy Spring!