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Readymade Seeds Make Growing Food Simple

July 27th, 2011

Humble Seed kits in sustainable packaging made from up to 75 percent post-consumer recycled content.

Humble Seed was recently featured by Earth911.com.  In case you missed it, here’s the article in it’s entirety. And, in honor of this write-up, we’re extending a 25% discount to all orders placed by September 1st. Enter Earth911 at checkout to lock in the savings.

Readymade Seeds Make Growing Food Simple

According to a 2009 National Gardening Association survey, nearly one-third of Americans planned on growing food that year; that’s a 19 percent increase over 2008.

“There’s definitely a trend back to the basics,” says Kristen Mitchell, who started Humble Seed, an online garden seed company, in 2009 with her husband. “There are several motivators for this; they love to cook and want fresh food. We’re in tough economic times and growing your own food saves hundreds if not thousands of dollars. It’s also a family engagement opportunity, and more than that, people are starting to have concerns about where their food is coming from and safety issues. For all of those reasons, people want to start a garden.”

Humble Seed gives the average person the ability to start garden pretty easily.

The heirloom, certified organic, non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds come in pre-assembled packs – sort of a grab-and-go garden – like Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles; Veggin’ Out, complete with cucumber, broccoli, cherry tomato and many other salad staples; and the mother of all kits, The Producer. With everything from cantaloupe to beets, this kit is often donated to community gardens and charity organizations, like the Dinner Garden, because it contains so many basic selections, but it can be utilized at home as well.

“We hope to take the fear out of gardening,” Mitchell says. In addition to creating seed packs, the Humble Seed website offers lots of advice and free recipes. The company strives to create an “excellent gardening community… and be the conduit between the thought and the action,” Mitchell says.

Mitchell also suggests looking up your local permaculture guild, which can answer questions specific to your region and climate. “Working with community gardens helps a lot, too, because usually master gardeners are present, and it’s easy to duplicate at home,” she says.

Humble Seed sets itself apart in another area: packaging.

First of all, the Mylar envelops that hold the seeds are resealable and reusable. In the right conditions of low moisture and light, say in your home refrigerator, these seeds can last years.

Secondly, the paperboard packaging that holds all of the envelops is recyclable and biodegradable. It’s also made from up to 75 percent post-consumer recycled material.

“We’re all about keeping things simple and walking the walk on sustainability, but still providing a value-add, both for the consumer and the seller,” Mitchell says.

More than anything, Mitchell hopes to reinvent the typical garden seed company. “Just kind of elevating something that’s always been there. Like what Starbucks did for the coffee bean. They took a new approach to something that was around forever.”

You can order seed kits and other gardening tools on the Humble Seed website or join the gardening conversation on Facebook.

by Megan Dobransky
Published on July 22nd, 2011

Thanks to Megan Dobransky of Earth 911 for this wonderful feature on Humble Seed.  

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Watermelon & Jalepeno Cocktail

July 20th, 2011


Nothing beats a cool slice of watermelon after a hot summer day in the garden, and what better way to enjoy it than sipping it in a delicious summer cocktail that can be enjoyed by adults, or make into a mock-tail for kids (just leave out the booze)  The cool watermelon is kicked up with the spicy jalapeno and complimented by the earthy thyme and cool mint to create a a refreshing drink full of complex flavors.

 

Ingredients:

5 cups of diced watermelon (remove seeds)
1 large sprig of Thyme
1 small bunch of mint leaves on the stem
1 jalapeno
1 cup water
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup pomegranate flavored vodka (plain vodka will also work)
Blender
Ice

Directions:

Begin by making the herbal simple syrup that will be the sweetener of the drink.  To do this combine the 1 cup of water and the 1 cup of sugar in a small sauce pan on low heat until the sugar completely dissolves into the water.  You will know it is ready when the liquid has turned to syrup, and there are no longer any sugar granules left.  While the syrup is coming together you can start to clean the jalapeno.  Cut the jalapeno in half and remove the seeds and ribs from the pepper.  If you like it a bit spicy, leave some seeds.  The more seeds that you leave, the spicier the drink will be. You can also harvest these seeds and save them to plant your garden!  Once the simple syrup is done, remove from the heat, and add the cleaned jalapeno, the mint, and the thyme. Cover with a lid and allow the herbs and pepper to steep in the syrup while you cut the watermelon, or for five minutes.  Dice about 5 cups of watermelon into inch size cubes. After five minutes remove the jalapeno and herbs from the simple syrup.

Add the watermelon, infused simple syrup, vodka, and a handful of ice to the blender. If your blender is small you may have to do this in batches.  Blend on high until the fruit and vodka form a smoothie like consistency.  If your drink is too slushy, add more ice and continue to blend until it reaches the smoothness you desire.
Please enjoy responsibly!

 

 About Katheryne:

Sustainability is very important to me because I believe that we should take care of the planet that gives us so much. Love the earth and it will love you back. Know where your food comes from; be informed about what you are consuming. By choosing to eat organically grown produce the impact that you are making on the environment and your own health is a positive one.  Living sustainably to me, is not about  what you are giving up, it’s about all that you get! You can check out my website and please be sure to “like” my Facebook page!

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Summer Reading: Gardening Style

July 12th, 2011

During the dog days of summer, when it’s just too hot to completely enjoy the great outdoors—otherwise known as “your yard”—there’s nothing like being indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. It’s during these hazy, lazy days when relaxation is a true treat, like picking up a gardening book and curling up on the couch. From The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader to The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener’s Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking by Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland to a cookbook overflowing with tempting recipes using summer’s finest vegetables, books are inspirational, thought-provoking and hard to put down!

If you love gardening and have yet to pick up a book this summer, here are some great picks to help you get you started on the road to relaxation:

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader

Product Description

Remember how grandmother’s cellar shelves were packed with jars of tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes, pickled beets and cauliflower, and pickles both sweet and dill? Learn how to save a summer day – in batches – from the classic primer, now updated and rejacketed. Use the latest inexpensive, time-saving techniques for drying, freezing, canning, and pickling. Anyone can capture the delicate flavors of fresh foods for year-round enjoyment and create a well-stocked pantry of fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, flavored vinegars, and seasonings. The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest introduces the basic technique for all preserving methods, with step-by-step illustration, informative charts and tips throughout, and more than 150 recipes for the new or experienced home preserver. Among the step-by-step tested recipes: Green Chile Salsa, Tomato Leather, Spiced Pear Butter, Eggplant Caviar, Blueberry Marmalade, Yellow Tomato Jam, Cranberry-Lime Curd, Preserved Lemons, Chicken Liver Pate, and more.

The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener’s Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking by Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland

Product Description

Chile peppers are hot — in every sense of the word. They add culinary fire to thousands of dishes from a variety of cuisines and inspire near-fanatical devotion in those who have succumbed to their incendiary charms.

In this comprehensive book, world chile experts Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland have assembled all the information that anyone with an interest in chile peppers could ever hope to find. Detailed profiles of the 100 most popular chile varieties include information on how to grow chiles; how to diagnose and remedy problems, pests, and diseases; and post-harvest processing and preservation. The book culminates in 85 mouth-watering recipes that make brilliant use of both the characteristic heat of chile peppers and of their more subtle flavor qualities.

Want to know what the hottest chile pepper in the world is? You’ll find it in the fascinating story of ‘Bhut Jolokia’, acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the fieriest chile on earth. Confused about the identity of those chile peppers you bought? The authors’ clear photographs and precise descriptions will clear up the mystery.

The Complete Chile Pepper Book is the only guide to chiles you’ll ever need. It’s a scorcher.

Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) by Steve Solomon

Product Description

The decline of cheap oil is inspiring increasing numbers of North Americans to achieve some measure of backyard food self-sufficiency. In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering.

Currently popular intensive vegetable gardening methods are largely inappropriate to this new circumstance. Crowded raised beds require high inputs of water, fertility and organic matter, and demand large amounts of human time and effort. But, except for labor, these inputs depend on the price of oil. Prior to the 1970s, North American home food growing used more land with less labor, with wider plant spacing, with less or no irrigation, and all done with sharp hand tools. But these sustainable systems have been largely forgotten. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover traditional low-input gardening methods to produce healthy food.

Designed for readers with no experience and applicable to most areas in the English-speaking world except the tropics and hot deserts, this book shows that any family with access to 3-5,000 sq. ft. of garden land can halve their food costs using a growing system requiring just the odd bucketful of household waste water, perhaps two hundred dollars worth of hand tools, and about the same amount spent on supplies — working an average of two hours a day during the growing season.

Steve Solomon is a well-known west coast gardener and author of five previous books, including Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades which has appeared in five editions.

The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman

Product Description

What to do with a basketful of luscious tomatoes? How to prepare an armload of summer squash? Where to turn for new sweet corn preparations? These are the questions vegetable-lovers grapple with as they pick fresh-from-the-garden produce in their own backyards or from the ever-expanding farmers’ markets. Garden-fresh vegetables are so beautiful, yet their freshness so fleeting.

Andrea Chesman is a cook and gardener who knows what it’s like to be staring down pounds of vegetables and panicking about how to use them all before it’s too late. Simple. Delicious. Planned to fit the season. That’s the approach Chesman brings to the 175 recipes she’s developed for The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook.

The vegetables are organized seasonally by crop-readiness, with attention paid to combining vegetables that ripen together. All the favorites — spring salad greens, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, peas, potatoes, and more — are included, along with the more unusual — artichokes, endive, rutabagas, and edamame, to name a few. Popular techniques such as roasting and grilling accentuate the flavor in recipes such as Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad, Soy- Sesame Grilled Eggplant, and Maple Roasted Carrots. There are many vegetarian options, but even when combined with meat, vegetables get top billing. From Egg Rolls to Borscht, Caponata to Sweet Potato Pie, The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook has dishes destined to please every palate.

To address those nights when the mounds of vegetables are just too overwhelming to try a whole new recipe, Chesman includes fourteen master recipes for simple preparation techniques that can accommodate whatever is in the vegetable basket. Readers need only to learn the basics of preparing a creamy quiche, a bubbly gratin, a basic stir-fry, or a zesty lo mein, and then it’s easy to create new meals every month around the freshest assortments of seasonal vegetables.

The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook is sure to become a favorite for everyone who wants to enjoy their vegetables fresh, local, seasonal, and simple.

What garden-related books have you read this summer?

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