June 2011

Peabody Rudd

Contain This: Floral Arrangements

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First off I want to say that who needs a traditional flower garden when you can have a Home Farm? Not only has having a Home Farm on my patio brought lush green to gaze upon (as well as all the salad greens I need), but many of those herbs and plants also produce flowers. Some of those flowers, like the one pictured above, are even edible as well. In fact, every flowering plant I chose for my Home Farm is edible.

In case you are wondering what the lovely yellow flowers above are, they come from arugula, also called rocket in the UK…my former neighbor is from Britain and she was more than excited to learn they were the same thing as she was wondering why there was no rocket here in the states. My particular flowers are yellow, but I am told they are often white. I’m happy to get the yellow as they add a pop to my lovely farm. Normally you want to remove the flowers but I am trying to promote bees to come on by since my strawberries don’t seem to want to produce any fruit and my local garden store guy suggested promoting bees. The arugula flowers go nicely in salads and add a beautiful and summery touch, perfect to serve at a dinner party. Though keep in mind, that just like arugula itself, the flowers also have a spicy, peppery flavor.

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The other two flowers that are adding beauty to my Home Farm are chive blossoms, which I have had for some time now and pea blossoms. The chive blossoms produce a gorgeous purple color and can be used basically where you would put onion, for just like the arugula flowers take on the flavor of the arugula, the chive blossom takes on the flavor of the chive, though slightly less pungent. I personally like to scramble them into my eggs. Looks a little odd, but tastes really good. You want to take your chive blossoms off as they grow, if left on the plant they will go to seed and stop producing chives.

pic3-homefarmjune183Pea blossoms, though edible (note that flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous so do not eat if that is the kind you have) I won’t be using them, for if you take away your pea blossoms you will diminish your pea harvest and I don’t want that.

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And while all of the flowers are pretty, it was one, not so pretty flower that had me the most excited of all…my broccoli. That’s right, broccoli is a flower…kind of. The broccoli parts that we eat are called florets. Each floret has the potential of opening a tiny flower. When broccoli goes to flowering, it has bolted and is not edible. Bolting means the plant has finished its reproductive cycle and is now going to make seeds (just like the chives). This I think is going to be the hard part for me. I am not sure totally how large my broccoli is going to get before I harvest it. According to the Triscuit Home Farming website (crop guide), broccoli takes 112 days till harvest, but I have a slightly different variety, one that is more forgiving to the Pacific Northwest Weather. For right now I will just play it by ear. No matter what, I was mostly just excited that for the first time ever I got a vegetable to grow! No, like really excited. Called my mom excited, yes I am a nerd.


Catherine Davis

Home Farming Challenge – Pesticide Free Farming

I first started the home farming challenge with grand ideas of growing an entirely organic farm from soil to seed. Unfortunately, to keep costs as low as possible we had to forgo a few organic choices in our product selections.

One thing I am doing to keep our garden healthy and our produce pesticide free is using natural pest deterrents. Using the Triscuit Home Farming Community Q&A as a resource, I found a few suggestions on how to keep pests out of my home farm without using pesticides including:

  • Garlic – randomly planted throughout a home farm, garlic helps deter pests that attack cabbage and is said to have natural fungicidal and pesticidal properties.
  • Marigold Flowers – planted along the perimeter of a vegetable farm, annual marigolds deter squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies.

While it’s not an option for some home farmers, our best defense against rabbits and small animals are the family pets. Claude and Ray, our one year old kitties not only use the topsoil as a cool place to take a nap but keep the hungry rabbits away from our young tomato plants.

From Home Farming 101

Throughout the entire process from planting to growing my vegetable crop I’ve been using the Home Farming 101 resource to learn the basics of how to plant and maintain my farm. One section I’ve recently found particularly helpful is on how to prevent pests and diseases.

There are several ways to triumph over pests without toxic pesticides! There are organic sprays available that are effective and safe. You can also mix your own anti-pest formula. Try mixing water with crushed garlic, hot pepper, or pulverized onion and spraying it on your plants.

Since we began treating our garden with organic pest preventatives, our plants and vegetables have grown even more incredibly than I would have imagined. Years ago our first home farm was taken over by pests and worms. As you can see from the photos below, we are having no such problems this year. Our grape tomato plants have sprouted their first green tomatoes.

The mixture of red and yellow onion bulbs have started to grow so big they are emerging through the topsoil.

Even the peppermint that started out as a small plant with only a few leaves has grown into a robust bush that I plan to harvest soon to extract the oils for candy making.

In the coming weeks I hope with any luck, we’ll have some ripe tomatoes to enjoy at the family table. In the meantime, feel free to browse our farm fresh recipes we’ve created using what seems like, an endless supply of herbs.

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys

DisclosureThis is a compensated, sponsored post for Triscuit. All ideas, thoughts, experiences are my own. Be sure to check out my posts as well as the other bloggers participating in this challenge on Better Homes and Garden’s Home Farming Challenge page.


Annie M.

In Plot Update and Deer Control

Here we are in the beginning of June and my in-ground home farm is starting to really blossom (finally!). Since we endured a late frost, we lost a few plants we started from seeds, like my cucumbers and pepper plants. But we just bought some pepper plants and planted more cucumber seeds and now we are back in business!

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We live in the woods in Kansas and our biggest pest is the deer. We have photos of trampled plants with deer hooves next to it and I really want to eat my food, not just feed those animals. I went on HomeFarming.com and read some really creative and helpful tips from the Home Farming community. Some people suggested spraying the plants, others suggested tying old CDs/DVDs shiny side-out and hanging them up around the farm. Another suggestion was to plant really hot pepper plants around the outside. I liked the motion sense sprinkler idea too! That site is so very helpful, the community really joins together to provide support and tips.

Josh installed an electric fence around the outside of our home farm. It was easiest for us to do it that way because we already had the supplies from when we owned goats. So far it is working well, but only time will tell!

Here are some photos of our little sprouts! I am really getting excited about the cucumbers, tomatoes and sweet corn. I can’t wait for those to bloom and grow. I’m researching and learning how to use kohlrabi, anise, fennel and beets. Those are a few plants I have never grown before, nor have I ever prepared.

Cool beans!

Cool beans!

Tomatillo with flower buds

Tomatillo with flower buds

Sweet corn stagger planted

Sweet corn stagger planted

I learned a whole lot about food since I started to grow my own. I learned that not picking the arugula when it was small and young means it now tastes burnt. I also learned that some plants (like cucumbers) are a lot more “wimpy” when it comes to cold temps. Triscuit’s creation of the HomeFarming site and community is a huge help for beginners like me. Being able to use those experienced farmers as resources is priceless!

Would you like to take a walk with me through my home farm? Here I am on an early Sunday morning!

I will be back in two weeks! Hopefully by then I can show off a few teeny tiny tomatoes or peppers! I hope your home farms are sprouting and growing too. What are you growing? Are they bigger or doing better than mine?


Peabody Rudd

Contain This: Using What You Grow


I must admit that when all this started on April 12th I kind of had it in my mind that this little adventure might end up being more of a disaster than a success. I thought I could get a few things to grow but am just in awe of how my little farm has taken off! Just look at the difference since my last post!!!!


Just like kids, it seems like my plants store up and almost overnight grow while I am sleeping. I walk out some mornings just amazed. As most of you know I was down and out for almost two weeks and am just now recovering which is kind of the topic of today’s post. No, not about me being sick, but about how plants are living things and if you are going to be gone or do get sick, you will need to find a caretaker for your plants.


For almost a week, I was unable to get up and move around and so I had to have someone every day (because that week we actually got sun) come over and water my farm. They also needed to come and move my containers around (I still have to have someone do this as they are too heavy and I am still recovering) in order to get maximum sunlight. I was actually sad that I wasn’t getting to interact with the farm, but it was kind of cool to see how much everything had grown in just the week I was out of commission.

Sadly because I was out of commission the palate farm I wanted to try didn’t happen. And might not, since I currently am not supposed to be lifting anything over 5 pounds and soil bags and what not all are over 5 pounds. I’m not giving up hope yet, there is still plenty of time and Seattle really hasn’t had summer weather yet (it’s currently cloudy and 51F at noon).


Since everything has been growing so nicely, with the exception of my Lemon verbena which is dying (I read up and found out that my pot size is way too small for it) I figured I need to start doing things with it. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m so proud and happy that everything is growing that I almost don’t want to use any of it. But that is silly since the whole point of growing your own farm is to have your own fruits and veggies right there. Yet in some ways my home farm and plants feel like my babies. I decided to start small and make something with herbs. I had already used my parsley and its growing back just fine, so I am hoping my dill will be doing the same.


This is a Cottage Cheese and Dill Bread. When I used to teach cooking lessons it was one of the recipes I liked to teach because, though it was yeast bread, it was one that even basic scared of yeast cooks could find success with. If you aren’t quite ready to dive into the world of bread baking, Triscuit Home Farming website has some great and easy recipes to try. This New Potatoes in Creamy Dill Sauce looks good, and would make a great side for any upcoming BBQ’s you might be hosting or going to.


How about you? How is your farm coming along? What are you finding to be your biggest challenge? Remember if you don’t have one, it’s still not too late. It doesn’t have to be a container garden either. If you are interested in seeing other ideas, please visit the other bloggers who are participating in the Home Farming Movement which you can find at the Better Homes and Gardens Home Farming Challenge Page.

Cottage Cheese and Dill Bread

2 TBSP active dry yeast

½ cup warm water (110F)

1 cup cottage cheese (can be full-fat or reduced), at room temperature

2 TBSP granulated sugar

1 heaping TBSP fresh onion, minced

1 ½ TBSP fresh dill, minced

1 TBSP salt

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

2 tsp. olive oil

5-6 ½ cups Better for Bread Flour (or all-purpose)

Dissolve yeast in the warm water at the bottom of the mixing bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes creamy in color.

Add all the ingredients except the flour and mix well.

Attach the dough hook to the mixer. Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have soft dough…it’s pretty sticky too. Knead bread for 5 minutes. If you are doing it by hand, knead for about 8 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Let rise until dough has doubled, about 1 ½ hours.

When dough has doubled, punch it down and shape into a log shape the size of your loaf pan. Place into a greased 9-inch loaf pan.

Cover loaf with plastic wrap and again place in a warm place. Let rise again for about an hour.

When loaf has risen, preheat oven to 350F.

Bake loaf for 30 minutes, and then cover with aluminum foil to prevent over browning and bake another 15-20 minutes longer. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and continue to cool on a rack