herbs

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


Catherine Davis

Home Farming Challenge – Cooking with Fresh Herbs

If you’ve been following along with my home farming journey, you may remember that just a few weeks ago we began planting our cool weather vegetables. Fortunately, our spring weather has been a nice mix of cooler than average temperatures with plenty of rain to give our vegetables a nice start. In fact, they’ve grown so tremendously the raised bed farm is almost unrecognizable since my last home farming update.

Watch as I give you a quick walk through our vegetable farm to see how our plants have grown.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib1Xu4lNQz4

Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Over the past several weeks I’ve begun exploring new flavors with the help of my herb farm which are not only adding low calorie flavors to my dishes but are allowing me to experiment with herbs I’ve never tried before. I started with a summertime favorite, Herb Deviled Eggs, and kicked up the old recipe with a fresh burst of earthy flavors using fresh chives, flat leaf parsley and cilantro. The best part was being able to step out my backdoor and pluck the herbs right from the raised bed farm. My kids especially loved the updated chicken-n-dumpling dish that I kicked up a notch with fresh rosemary dumplings.

plated-deviled-eggs-with-herbs chicken-and-rosemary-dumplings

I have to say, as much as love to eat the herbs, I love the way they make my hands smell after cutting them even more. The earthy fragrances quickly fill up a kitchen with such wonderful smells. This of course won’t be the last you hear of our herb adventures because as more of our crop continues to grow I’ll be using the Triscuit Home Farming Recipe Collection to try out some of the fresh recipes available. The moment my tomatoes begin to ripen I’ll be diving right into the Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe from Kraft.

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys


Peabody Rudd

Contain This: Beautification of Farm

peapatch10

It’s time once again to check in and see how my container farm is coming along. I must say it was pretty cool when realizing I forgot fresh parsley at the grocery store for my Bolognese sauce, that I had some just outside. And with a couple of snips, I had the amount needed for the recipe. There is something extremely satisfying about using food that you grew yourself.

peapatch8

The weather is still my main issue around here, as we tend to not get above 50F on average…it’s May! But the peas and Swiss chard don’t seem to notice at all, they are growing nicely. The broccoli and lettuces are also responding well to the weather. What doesn’t seem to be growing all that well so far is the spinach (which I am a little sad about) and some of the herbs, especially the dill. I’m not giving up on them of course, I know they wish they had more sun (5-6 hours ideally), but they will just have to work with what the Pacific Northwest is giving them.

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Now that most of my produce is planted (I’m going to try a couple more things…more on that later on), the next thing I have been working on is giving my farm character. Because of my small space, my farm not only acts as a viable source of food, it acts as beautification for my patio. Which is why when choosing my pots, I went for bolder colors since the majority of the plants I am growing are all green. One thing I knew I wanted was to make markers. I had just planned on making them out of Popsicle sticks, but my friend Jill was quick to find a much cuter idea for me. I have no crafting ability whatsoever, so she was kind enough to make them for me. She found vintage graphics and what she couldn’t find she made using clip art. We used spoons, forks, and even a pie server, which were all found quite cheaply at the local Goodwill. You definitely don’t need them to match. If you have any interest in making them for your farm, here is a link that shows you how to do it. For those wondering how they hold up in rainy weather, so far so good! I also felt that my farm needed a sign to make it my own. I found someone to make me a funky sign using old license plates. I think it fits nicely into the theme of my farm, don’t you?

One of my big concerns was watering. I am the girl after all who killed a cactus by over watering it. So it was really important to me to learn when and how much I should be watering my farm. Triscuit Home Farming website has a great instructional video about watering that was very helpful. If you are growing a farm and haven’t checked out the videos yet, you should. Lots of good information in those videos.

peapatch6

I have one more idea I want to try out. I found a pallet garden a couple weeks back and loved the idea. The original idea was for flowers, so I am not sure how it will do with herbs and veggies, but I think it is worth the try. I am also tossing around the idea of edible flowers. As you can see from the photo, the pallet is still in the process of being built. So stay tuned to see how that project will be turning out.

How is your farm coming? 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.

Follow 3 Kids and Us Raised Bed Farm updates and @3kidsandus on Twitter

Follow Mama Dweeb Plot Farm Updates and @mamadweeb on Twitter

Follow Culinary Concoctions by Peabody Container Garden updates and @bakerpeabody on Twitter


Catherine Davis

Home Farming Challenge | Cool Weather Vegetable Planting

Having spent the majority of my life living in Illinois, I know how unpredictable spring weather can be. As eager as I was to begin planting all of my vegetables after constructing our raised bed farm, I quickly learned that our drastic weather changes in the past few weeks were not going to cooperate with my tomato planting plans. Instead, I used the Home Farming Vegetable & Herb Guide to learn about which vegetables would grow best during these cooler weeks.

There are three vegetables I discovered that thrive in this cooler weather and they just happen to be three of my absolute favorite vegetables to cook – broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Looking at the HomeFarming.com Planting Guide I discovered that these vegetables will do well in our cool Spring months and likely won’t be ready to harvest until late summer, at which time I’ll be making good use of the cabbage for my mother’s stuffed cabbage rolls recipe.

Having divided our raised bed farm into 3 sections, I used one of the legs of our L-shaped farm bed for planting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and two rows of red and yellow onions.


One the opposite end of my raised bed farm, I created an area just for fresh herbs to use throughout the summer to add fresh flavors into our family meals. In fact, I started using the rosemary last week when I sprinkled some of the fresh leaves on top of our broccoli cheddar chicken crescent braid.

You may have noticed that our herbs have grown far beyond what would have been expected from the seeds I started weeks ago. Well, living the life of “3 Kids and Us”, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of our toddlers got into the seeds and pulled all of the new sprouts. Knowing it would be nearly impossible to keep the delicate seedlings away from our curious toddlers, I decided to purchase more mature herbs that were ready for planting.


Unfortunately, our seedlings weren’t the only casualty in the past weeks. Due to heavy rains and winds, my sweet basil plant died as well. Thankfully, my wonderful mother brought over some of her mint to transplant into my farm.

In the coming weeks I’ll start working on filling the rest of our farm space which will include bell peppers and my personal favorite, tomatoes! Until then, I hope you’ll take a moment to join the Triscuit Home Farming Community where you can track your farming progress, ask farming questions and use the plethora of farming resources at your fingertips.

Also, if you’ve started a home farm whether it is in containers, a ground plot or a raised bed like mine, I’d love to hear about the progress you’re making!

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys


Catherine Davis

#HomeFarmingDay Challenge – Building a Raised Farm Bed

Now that we are well into April, I’m really excited to share with you my home farming updates, which include the construction of our raised bed farm and seed planting. Before diving right into the construction process, I think it’s important you know that as a family, we are novices in the world of home farming. My one previous attempt at a vegetable farm was a sad, very sad attempt that resulted in very few crops to harvest and an abundance of pests. My hope is that if you are a first time home farmer, you’ll be able to learn from my experiences as I dive into this project with no more knowledge or experience than what HomeFarming.com has provided me with.

With my “big brown thumb” disclaimer out of the way, I want to share our raised bed farm. Building this with the help of my father was an amazing experience that left me feeling like I can do anything.

The tools and materials we used to build our raised bed frame to create approximately 80 cubic feet of farming space, included:

  • (3) – 2 x 12 x 8 untreated pine boards
  • (2) – 2 x 12 x 12 untreated pine boards
  • 1 box of 3 inch outdoor wood screws, 18 screws used
  • (6) corner wood braces
  • 1 box of 1-1/2 inch outdoor wood screws, 18 screws used
  • power drill with drill bit

Pic1_raised-bed-garden-supplies-and-tools

Being the adventurous, overachieving kind of person that I am, I chose to go outside the box so to speak and create an L-shaped raised bed farm to fit in the corner of our property. Not only does it conserve space usage but it becomes an appealing part of our landscaping.

Together, we simply pre-drilled 3 holes at the corners of each piece of lumber and used 3 screws (per corner) to join the frame, with the help of my daughters passing out screws of course.

Pic2_Raised-Bed-Garden-Toddler-Helpers

During the construction process we questioned the ability of the frame to withstand the pressure the soil would place on it so we added braces to each corner to help provide support. It’s an inexpensive addition to the raised bed frame that just may save you a disaster later on!

Pic3_Raised-Bed-Garden-Corner-Brace

One thing we quickly learned through this process is that building a raised bed farm is without a doubt, a two person job! While shopping for our lumber we noticed that it is rare to find a board that is perfectly straight. While we were finishing the last few corners, it was necessary to have one person bend and hold a board in place while the other person drilled and placed the screws. It was a relatively easy process that I think any person capable of lifting heavy boards could do!

Pic4_L-shaped-raised-bed-garden-frame

For our family, one of the best things about creating a home farm, aside from the vegetables, is the fact that it’s an educational family activity. Throughout the process my 9 year old son has learned basic tool skills, a few math and geometry lessons while building the frame and the concept of manual labor. As a parent, I understand the importance of education and more so, the importance of hands on learning, outside of the classroom.

Pic5_Family-Gardening-Project

The biggest tip I can share as part of this initial process is to search your local paper for supplies! A raised bed farm doesn’t have to be expensive; in fact, we’re completing this project under $300. Our biggest money saving purchase, especially with a raised bed farm of this size, is to skip buying the bagged soil. Many contractors and farmers have premium garden soil for sale that can be purchased by the truckload at a much more reasonable price.

We reached out to D & L Contractors in the Springfield, IL area who provided us with 80 cubic feet of soil, which they delivered, for only $125. Compared to buying bagged soil, we saved over $300 and filled our raised bed with premium, black top soil. Also, with the advice from Home Farming expert, Paul James, we are adding organic matter to prepare our raised bed soil properly.

Pic6_L-Shaped-Raised-Bed-Garden

We also tested our soil to determine the PH and nutrient levels, which revealed that the Nitrogen is Medium, the Potash is Low, the PH level is Neutral and the Phosphorus is Very Low. To provide lots of nutrients for the vegetable plants, we’ll be incorporating mushroom compost. Plus we’ll add peat moss into the soil, which helps loosen up the soil.

Pic7_home-farm-soil-test-kit-colors

I have to say, the best part of this experience for me so far has been planting the seeds. I may have gone a little overboard with my selections but I really wanted a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables available to me throughout the summer. About half of our home farm was started by seeds in Peat Soil Pellets and the rest will be planted as small plants in the coming weeks.

The variety of vegetables and herbs we are growing includes:

  • Herbs – Mint, Rosemary, Sweet Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Chives, Oregano, Lavender, Spearmint
  • Seed Veggies – Chili Peppers, a variety of Carrots, Romaine Lettuce
  • Plant Veggies – a variety of Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Onions
  • Pic8_seeds-labeled-in-jiffy-pellets

In addition to the construction of our raised bed farm and seed planting, we also got a bit crafty with the addition of vegetable markers to not only help identify the vegetables and herbs we’re growing but to create a more visually appealing farm space.

Pic9_vegetable-garden-markers

Now that all of the construction is behind us, I’m more excited than ever to see how our farm will grow in the coming weeks. If you’d like to follow my journey and frequent updates, be sure to follow @3kidsandus and the #HomeFarmingDay hashtag on Twitter.

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys

-Catherine

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.