Zucchiniland

Yep, it’s that time of the year folks.  Back in the spring it was so hard to only plant one zucchini plant.  Heh, now what are you going to do?

I thought I was being restrained. I really did.  After last year’s monster zucchini I didn’t see any reason to ever plant more than one summer squash.

I had picked up some sugar pumpkin seeds this spring at the seed swap at Homegrown New Mexico thinking, “What the heidi-ho? Some pumpkin pie would be nice.”  Well my friends, squash are infamous for being a little naive and a bit loose.   Clearly some some bees took last year’s pumpkin and a willing zucchini out for a few too many drinks because the love child of that tryst created a plant that makes the biggest baddest squash you’ve ever seen!

zumpkins 

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2nd Annual Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour

chicken-and-garden-graphic-small

Does your town have a chicken coop tour?  I love that they are becoming all the rage.  People are embracing the idea of backyard chickendry as the norm rather than something their eccentric neighbor does.  My friend Doug  just emailed us this article on how the crazy nutty folks in Davis, CA do their coop tour.

This Sunday, July 29th from 9am-2pm Homegrown New Mexico and Edible Santa Fe are presenting this year’s event showcasing seven gardens and coops.  It’s not too late to check out these exceptional properties and get some inspiration.  You can just show up and buy tickets on the spot.  All proceeds go to keeping Homegrown New Mexico’s classes free!   Last year we were out of town and missed it, darn it (stamping feet) but this year we will be there.

What?  What’s that you asked?  Why aren’t we on the tour? Well, we live outside of Santa Fe city limits.  We’d be the firefly ship on the outerboundries.  We are helping out as the camera crew though so we hope to see your smiling faces along the tour!

Does your town have a coop tour?  I’d love to hear about it!!  If you do have one link it in the comments or email us.

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Crispy Kale

Crispy kale chips seem to be spreading like a house-o-fire over the last year as a healthy tasty snack alternative.  At the grocery store a small bag goes for about $3!  As some of you have discovered it’s pretty durn easy to make and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying it at the store.

No matter the year we seem to have an over abundance of dark greens.  Mike can’t just plant one he plants many.  We end up eating mountains of the stuff, blanching more, and taking the extras to the food bank so it turns out to be a win-win.  This year is no different….

I head out to pick some kale.  Now this year I have two big change-up’s  for my crispy kale chips.  The first is to use ‘Dinosaur Kale’.

Dinosaur Kale from last years garden

Dinosaur kale from last year’s garden

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Mini-farm Update


Lilacs from our garden

Lilacs from our garden

This spring has been absolutely magnificent!  Typically spring in New Mexico has weeks upon weeks of winds that gust up to 60mph along with warm days and really cold nights that can get down below freezing.  This year I could count on one hand the totally windy days and the temperatures have not been all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like.  Our 15 year old lilac bushes that are still only two feet high bloomed for the first time.  Our peach, apple and plum trees were able to bloom without a freeze or the winds taking the blossoms out.  We’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll be getting fruit this year.  It’s a great start.  Mike and I have gotten a jump on cleaning out our gardens and he’s been working to expand them like a crazy guy.  If you missed his post last week on the garden go check it out here. » » »

How to Build a Garden Bed in the High Desert

Growing vegetables is a big part of our spring and summer around here.  We like to grow our own food as much as we can.  Once you start you get spoiled.  The produce in the grocery store, while it looks good, pales in comparison when it comes to flavor and freshness.   We just had green beans last night from the store.  They looked great.  The taste?….Meh…..

Don’t get me started on Whole Foods Paycheck either.  You don’t really save money gardening unless you happen to shop there.  I don’t know why they have all those buttons on their cash registers since it seems that they simply take the number of items you picked out and multiply it by $20.

Back to gardening… » » »

How to Make a Soil Blocker

It’s seed starting season.  Yea!!

You can start seeds in any variety of containers.  People use everything from empty egg shells to the plastic six packs last years plants came in to just about any container laying around.  There comes a point at the beginning of the season when you have a lot of plants going and containers can get scarce.  Imagine if you didn’t have to deal with storing mounds of little plastic pots and just did without containers all together!  Well you can and the answer to your prayers is the soil blocker.  It compresses soil into…well…blocks.

Now you can buy a soil block maker.  They cost about 30 bucks from Johnny’s seeds but what’s the fun in that?   I decided to make my own.
You can too .
It’s not that hard. » » »

Sprouts!

In the fall we put our garden to bed.  With the exception of a few spinach plants that winter over in a cold frame we say goodbye.  Come early spring we start dreaming of what should get planted.

Mike:  We’ve had a veggie garden since we’ve moved here 9 years ago but the last few years I’ve gotten interested in gardening on a much larger scale.  Last year we really amped up what we grew and how much we grew.  

Molly:  We started seeds inside for the fist time last year.  It was great, kind of.  

Mike:  It was/is a learning curve.  We got real excited last year and planted our seeds a little too early.

To help satiate the need to garden in the spring Mike discovered that planting sprouts indoors is quick and easy.  You can do it all winter if you have a seed starting station.  (or a window) » » »

The New Plant Starting Station (AKA the laundry room)

A few weeks ago Mike showed you how you can make your own seed light station and how to make seed flats.  That light station was our first attempt at growing seeds indoors.  The idea was to get a jump on the growing season and avoid having to purchase (those oh so pricey) vegetable plants at the store.  Molly loves flowers but hates the price so she spent a goodly amount of time starting flowers from seeds.

Mike:  The small seed station was a great start but we wanted to have much more going on.

Molly:  It just wasn’t enough space.

Mike:  I ended up building  a makeshift growing station under the large art desk we have in the living room.  I attached some lights to the underside of the desk and we started shoving seed starts underneath.

glowing table » » »

Seed Starting Station

Reading gardening books might be the end of me.  I get tons of ideas and don’t know where to start.  At one point I got smart and decided to start at the beginning:  indoor seed starts. First thing was to build a  light stand.  Then we could grow greens  in the middle of winter without having to finish the greenhouse.

light stand01

A trip to the Re-store yielded a couple of two foot long florescent lamps. » » »

Green Tomato Chutney

Up until two years ago I watched in angst as the first frost of fall hit and took out all our green tomatoes.  We just didn’t know what to do with them so we’d let them sit on the vine and die in the freeze.  To make things worse we could never get our tomatoes to start ripening until mid to late August.  The first freeze can be as early as October 15th.  There were always plenty of green tomatoes. » » »