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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

My first attempt at growing garlic was a success, now I’m just bummed that I didn’t plant more!!!  So, what do to with 2 1/4 pounds of garlic???  That’s easy, make a bowl of Alice’s garlic herb cheese dip.  Grab a box of crackers and a glass of wine and you’re all set.

Garlic Herb Cheese Dip

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (or 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  1. Using a food processor, blend all ingredients until combined.
  2. Chill for several hours and serve.

garlic

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We are so lucky in Southern California to be able to grow herbs and veggies all year round.  My garden has been going strong this fall and winter with a variety of lettuces, beets, carrots, onions, garlic, strawberries and potatoes.  As usual, I always grow way too many herbs and I hate to see them go to waste.  I’ve borrowed an idea I saw at Trader Joe’s to preserve my herbs so I always have them fresh and ready to use…I FREEZE them.

First pick and then wash the herbs.  In these photos I’m using Italian Parsley…one of my favorite herbs, that I use in almost everything it seems.

Fill the food processor as full as it will go with herbs and add a tiny bit of water.  Then “pulse” the herbs until they are finely chopped.  I usually stop the food processor a few times and push the herbs down from the sides of the bowl towards the middle.  You can also use a knife to chop the herbs, it will just take longer than using the food processor.

Using regular ice cube trays, pack the trays with the chopped herbs, pushing them down to compact the herbs.  Pour water into the trays just until you see it reach the top of the herbs.  Place in the freezer and freeze until solid.

Finally, pop out the frozen herb cubes and place them in a labeled Ziplock freezer bag.  Each cube contains approximately 2 Tablespoons of fresh herbs.

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OK…so I’ve been thinking about having a front yard produce stand for the past 3 years.  With the addition of our front yard garden beds, we’ve been able to grow enough veggies for our family and to have plenty to share.  I’m EXCITED to say, today was the debut of “Pommerenk Produce”.  Within minutes of placing the veggies outside we had our first “takers” and more neighbors continue to stop by.  Today’s offerings were: cucumbers (3 different varieties), zucchini, sugar snap peas, green beans and grape tomatoes.

I can’t believe it’s been 8 weeks since we put the first seeds and seedlings in the ground.  Everything is thriving and soon we’ll be harvesting our first potatoes and corn of the season.  The kids and I will be spending some time tomorrow starting some new seeds we got over the weekend.  This will be our first attempt at starting seeds in containers and then transplanting them into the garden.  As always, if you’re in the area stop by.

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3 Weeks After Planting

Well, we did it!!!  This is my attempt to “live off” the 6,000 sq ft we’ve got in Long Beach.  We ripped out the old yucky grass in the front yard and replaced it with 128 sq ft of raised veggie planter beds.  The rest of the yard is dedicated to drought tolerant & California native plants and a small patch of grass.  And of course, we still have the 3 raised veggie beds in the backyard.  Normally I’m an instant gratification kinda girl, so I usually plant seedlings I get from H&H Nursery.  This year I decided to try my hand at planting seeds in addition to the seedlings.  I’m very happy to say that after 3 weeks, many of the seeds have come up and my garden is looking great.  We had our first harvest of Spinach last night.

In the front yard we have: Tomatoes, Radishes, Chives, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Beets, Carrots, Zucchini, Red Leaf Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Green Beans, Spinach, Red & Yellow Bell Peppers, Soy Beans, Jalapeno Peppers, Serrano Peppers, Tomatillos, Sugar Snap Peas, Basil, and Corn.

In the back yard we have: Strawberries, Potatoes, Green Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Cucumbers, Fennel, Tomatoes, Basil, Jicama, Green Onions, Radishes, Chives, Rosemary, Oregano & Thyme.
Here are the Before and After photos of our front yard…

Front Yard "Before"

Front Yard "After"

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Beautiful!!!

It was an exciting day in the backyard.  Yesterday the kids and I harvested the last of our winter garden and started preparing the soil for our spring planting.  We ended up with 10 1/4 lbs potatoes, 7 3/4 lbs carrots and 5 lbs beets!!!  This year was our first attempt at growing potatoes and it was awesome.  It is so exciting to dig your hands into the dirt and feel all the potatoes underground.  I got our “seed potatoes” from a great farm in Colorado.  You can order on-line or give them a call and they’ll ship to you.  I’ve called the farm twice with questions about growing & harvesting potatoes and both times I was given great advice.  www.ronnigers.com

First harvest of 10 1/4 lbs of potatoes

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