Starting Seeds, Easy Liquid Fertilizer, Deterring naughty critters from gardens, flower beds & keeping good ones-

Starting Seeds in doors is very easy and extremely rewarding!  All you need is a few everyday household items~
*If you buy organic baby lettuce, greens or spinach than you will have access to those handy clear plastic containers with lids.  These are perfect for seed starting.  Be sure to poke several drainage holes on the bottom of the container.
*Fill your container about 2/3 way full with a good organic potting mix. Plant your seeds as package describes.  Be sure to follow planting dates on packet. Water accordingly.
*Put the lid on, which will give a greenhouse effect.  You will not have to water due to the condensation that will be created.
*Put in a sunny window and wait until seeds start to sprout- see seed packet instructions.
*Once the seeds start to germinate, remove lid and water according to packet instructions.
Another easy but more extravagant way is to set your flats on a table and hang lights on ‘s’ hooks with light chains from the ceiling  in a warm basement or other room.  The lights must be no more than 3 to 6 inches from the top of the flat (or the plants once they start growing), so be sure to make your light set up adjustable.  Plain old florescent shop lights work best for starting seeds, or you can even purchase ‘grow lights’ from greenhouse supply companies or seed catalogs. 
*You can go to any big box retailer and purchase really slick ‘seed starting’ kits.  Follow instructions on kit…. and enjoy!
Transplant outdoors following packet instructions.

Easy fertilizer~ to give your house plants an extra boost, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon of fish emulsion plant fertilizer to 1/2 gallon of water, then stand back and watch’er grow!  Extra fertilizer water can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Humane Critter Deterrent~
I know we all have a pet that we love & cherish, but we also have flower beds we work very hard to keep beautiful and when that pet trompples the new shoots of that cherished peony or knocks down the Heirloom tomato plant loaded with green tomatoes, things can get a bit frustrating.  So here are a few ‘humane’ ways to deter our beloved cats & dogs from our beloved gardens.  This will also deter rabbits, squirrels and ground hogs- not so beloved.
~Sprinkle a mixture of 3 parts Cayenne Pepper and 1 part ground Citrus peelings. Sprinkle liberally around perimeters of beds and directly around specific areas that you want to keep Fido & Kitty out of.  Reapply weekly or after the surface soil dries after a rain.~
You want Toads!  They eat literally thousands of insects a week and they are the best friend of any organic gardener!  If you have a pond- (no fish they eat toad eggs) or an area you don’t mind un-mowed and natural; there is no need to throw away broken clay pots, these make lovely toad houses and look too cute hidden among flowers.  These are all perfect toad hiding places. Toads have enormous appetites and faithfully feed on grasshoppers, cutworms, slugs, flies and most of the bad bugs that drive all of us gardeners crazy.  It is crucial you use NO pesticides as they are easily absorbed through the toad’s skin.  Be sure to educate your children on good toad behavior- no smooshing!

“Forellenschullus” Heirloom Lettuce Seedlings in our greenhouse.

Try some yummy muffins for breakfast or snack, these are a winner!
Peanut Butter Muffins

1 cup Whole Wheat flour from Garden Gate                                                                                       1/3 cup Applesauce
1 cup Oatmeal                                                                                                                                           1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. baking soda                                                                                                                             1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1.  Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt.  Add peanut butter and applesauce; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. 
2. Stir in milk and honey. 
3.  Spoon batter into paper lined or greased muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from center.
Cool in pan for about 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Happy day,