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Everyday Gardeners

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Posts by BHG Guest Blogger

Big Impact in a Small Space

The following is a guest blog post from Kathleen Hennessy.

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, average lot sizes in the U.S. are getting smaller and that means less space for landscaping. As a result, many plant breeders are working to create smaller, more compact shrubs for homeowners.

That breeding work is developing great new varieties that create big impact without taking up a lot of space in your yard.

Bailey Nurseries, the company that brings you Endless Summer® Hydrangeas, Easy Elegance® Roses and the First Editions® new plants brand, has several new varieties that fit. “These shrubs pair low maintenance with great color, all wrapped up in a smaller package,” says Natalia Hamill Brand and Business Development Manager at Bailey’s. “Best of all, they’re really easy to grow.”


First Editions® Little Devil ninebark is the perfect example of smaller size shrub creating a big statement. Typical ninebark varieties can reach 6- to 10-feet tall. Little Devil tops out at just four feet. It offers all the great attributes of ninebark including beautiful burgundy foliage and white-pink flowers in June.


Little Devil is easy to grow and needs little pruning. Its compact size makes it the perfect fit for any landscape. I love Little Devil in containers too. Little Devil can be grown in Zones 3-7.


The First Editions® Magic crape myrtle series offers great disease resistance and richer colors. Midnight Magic blooms with stunning, dark pink flowers backed by deep purple foliage. It’s more compact, growing from only 4- to 6-feet, and keeps a nice rounded shape in Zones 6-9.

For Southern gardeners, Zones 7-9, First Editions® Crimson Fire fringe flower is a small space star.  Neon-pink flowers cover the plant in spring, while the deep, ruby foliage adds interest all season long.

Its compact, low spreading form makes it a great foundation plant. Since it only grows 2- to 3-feet in height and width, it’s also a stunning in a container.

For more info, visit FirstEditionsNewPlants.com.

 

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Kathleen Hennessy has been writing on gardening and DIY topics for more than 15 years. You can read more about her Zone 3 and Zone 4 gardening challenges in her blog at 29minutegardener.com, or follow her on Twitter @29mingardener.
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Use Compost!

Spring is in full force now and the U.S. Compost Council (USCC) just launched their Million Tomatoes Compost Campaign, a tomato growing campaign using donated compost. So go ahead: Start your own vegetable garden with a special spot for some tomatoes. With the help of Nathan Lyon, celebrity chef and campaign spokesperson, you’ll have a thriving garden in no time.

Lyon is well known for his delectable cuisine and his PBS show “Growing a Greener World”, but this spring Lyon is taking time between cooking and filming for a great cause: the Million Tomatoes Compost Campaign, which focuses on spreading the word about the importance of compost for a healthy garden. Compost has been donated by several USCC STA certified compost producers to participating community gardens that will grow tomatoes, either for their own use or for donation to local food banks. The campaign hopes to exceed one million tomatoes by the end of harvest in August.

When Lyon was first approached about the campaign, he was instantly hooked. The project fit perfectly with his interests and what he had been working with on his show. His passion for gardening was cultivated long ago as he used to spend his after-school time with his grandparents in their Virginia garden. Ever since he has been expanding on his skills as a gardener and sharing them with those around him.

“That’s what’s so great about this campaign: You are empowering people by showing them how easy it is to grow your own food and get involved with the community,” says Lyon.

Lyon—as well as a number of other chefs—will be working with the community gardens, schools, and other organization to educate people on using locally grown food. Recently, he created several kid-friendly tomato recipes for the campaign so kids can also get involved, too. Lyon urges others to pay attention to their kids wants. A lot will be excited to get in the garden and grow their own food if you give them the chance.

“Have them grow their own produce and they will be really excited to taste it because they are now stewards,” Lyon explains.

Getting kids involved starts with you. So why not take the time to start your own tomato garden this year? You can easily get involved in the campaign by starting your own tomato garden at home or in a community lot. Go to www.buy-compost.com to see how you can contribute to the campaign.

—Kelsey Schirm, BHG Guest Blogger

 


Fresh Spring Salsa

The following is a guest blog post from Bren Haas – blogger at BG Garden. 

I don’t think we go a week without serving up corn tortilla chips and fresh salsa in my home and garden year-round. One of the most rewarding things about owning my own home greenhouse is I can grow citrus and many herbs year-round to add to my salsa and drinks. My family and guest at our holiday celebrations get a kick out of how I run to the greenhouse to pick a fresh lime off of my citrus shrub to serve in our festive drinks.  This Fresh Spring Salsa recipe is a ‘get me by’ until the summer tomato harvest begins. I use fresh cilantro from my early spring harvest in the greenhouse for fresh flavor in this recipe.

Growing Tips: Be sure to look for the many different varieties of citrus shrubs that are available on the market today.  These small shrubs can be grown in containers indoors and only require feeding and minimal watering indoors.

Ingredients:

16 oz Tomato Sauce

3 cloves of minced garlic

1/3 cup diced onion

¼ cup fresh cilantro

2 limes squeezed

Dash of kosher salt

 

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  Salsa can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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Bren Haas started her blogging ( http://www.bggarden.com)  career 5 years ago as a way to share her hidden garden out in the country. Even though her kids are now teenagers she remains busy raising them and adding landscaped gardens filled with veggies,herbs, shrubs and perennials to their 16 acres of Ohio property. For the past 3 years Bren has been growing year-round in her 10’x12’ home greenhouse and recently started raising fish with her husband in the structure as well.  Be sure to check out #gardenchat (http://www.connect-share-grow.com ) network if you would like to connect with other garden enthusiasts were Bren is the administrator of this huge Twitter based network.

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Peas with Mint

The following is a guest blog post from Bren Haas – blogger at BG Garden. 

During the late spring and early summer months there is no shortage of peas in my home and garden. This recipe is as easy to prepare as the spring pea is to harvest! Adding fresh chopped mint and a freshly squeezed lemon from one of my citrus shrubs growing in the greenhouse adds that extra punch my family loves.

Growing Tips: Peas are low maintenance and easy to grow but be sure to start them early in the spring because they can not take the summer heat.

Ingredients:

3 cups of chicken or beef broth

4 cups of fresh picked peas

¼ cup of chopped fresh mint

1 lemon to zest

 

Directions:

Bring broth to boil.

Carefully add peas to boiling broth and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Drain peas and toss with remaining ingredients.

Serve immediately

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Bren Haas started her blogging ( http://www.bggarden.com)  career 5 years ago as a way to share her hidden garden out in the country. Even though her kids are now teenagers she remains busy raising them and adding landscaped gardens filled with veggies,herbs, shrubs and perennials to their 16 acres of Ohio property. For the past 3 years Bren has been growing year-round in her 10’x12’ home greenhouse and recently started raising fish with her husband in the structure as well.  Be sure to check out #gardenchat (http://www.connect-share-grow.com ) network if you would like to connect with other garden enthusiasts were Bren is the administrator of this huge Twitter based network.

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Spinach Wraps (Fajita Recipe)

The following is a guest blog post from Bren Haas – blogger at BG Garden. 

My teenagers just love these spinach wraps I make from scratch in under 15 minutes.  Soft and packed with vitamins with spinach you can grow in your home garden and harvest in 2-3 weeks. This is a great way to sneak in those extra vitamins teenagers need.

Growing Tip: It is super important to me to fertilize my vegetables the all natural way.  When growing spinach I’ve had healthy results using fish emulsion every two weeks. Be sure to harvest the spinach young when the leaves are only 2-3 inches tall.

Ingredients:

5 cups of chopped baby spinach

2 ½ cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 clove of fresh minced garlic

¼ cup of olive oil

Directions:

In large pan cook spinach in water stirring occasionally until the spinach is wilted and soft.

In a large pan or skillet over medium to medium-low heat, cook spinach in water about 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, garlic and oil.

Add the spinach mixture with remaining water from pan kneed in to flour mixture adding additional flour as needed.

Divide dough into 10 balls.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pre-heated skillet.

Roll out each ball into a 8” circle carefully adding to the hot skillet.

Cook each side 5-10 minutes or until lightly toasted.

 

Serve with your favorite fajita mix like grilled steak, red peppers, onion with crumbled Cotija cheese on top.

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Bren Haas started her blogging ( http://www.bggarden.com)  career 5 years ago as a way to share her hidden garden out in the country. Even though her kids are now teenagers she remains busy raising them and adding landscaped gardens filled with veggies,herbs, shrubs and perennials to their 16 acres of Ohio property. For the past 3 years Bren has been growing year-round in her 10’x12’ home greenhouse and recently started raising fish with her husband in the structure as well.  Be sure to check out #gardenchat (http://www.connect-share-grow.com ) network if you would like to connect with other garden enthusiasts were Bren is the administrator of this huge Twitter based network.

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Creamy Herb Bagel Spread

The following is a guest blog post from Bren Haas – blogger at BG Garden. 

This spread is a favorite to make fresh and have on hand for break time in the early summer garden. Serve this creaming dip loaded with chive, basil, garlic and feta on a crunchy toasted bagel.  I love serving this in my garden when someone unexpected stops by. Impressive and inspiring to pull fresh herbs to make up a delightful snack like the creamy herb spread.

Growing Tips:
What could be better then to step out of your kitchen onto the patio to harvest your very own fresh herbs for your favorite dishes?  One of the first herbs to arrive in the spring garden each year is chive.  Be sure to keep mulch away from the base of the chive plant to improve circulation and keep in mind the plant does not like competition so be sure to weed weekly. Chive can be cut and frozen to use throughout the late summer months.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sour cream

½ cup of feta cheese crumbled

8 oz cream cheese

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of chive

2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped

 

Directions: 

Mix all ingredients with hand mixer on low.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 1 week.

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Bren Haas started her blogging ( http://www.bggarden.com)  career 5 years ago as a way to share her hidden garden out in the country. Even though her kids are now teenagers she remains busy raising them and adding landscaped gardens filled with veggies,herbs, shrubs and perennials to their 16 acres of Ohio property. For the past 3 years Bren has been growing year-round in her 10’x12’ home greenhouse and recently started raising fish with her husband in the structure as well.  Be sure to check out #gardenchat (http://www.connect-share-grow.com ) network if you would like to connect with other garden enthusiasts were Bren is the administrator of this huge Twitter based network.

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