Category: Gardening- садоводство

Helping a good seed to grow…

Helping a good seed to grow…

20160613_205539I grow a lot of plants for my garden each year. I have a short growing season, and if I want tomatoes or green peppers, I need to start the seeds in January in my house, nurture the little seedlings and help them to grow as fast as possible. The young plants are transferred to a heated greenhouse in April, where they are planted in bigger and bigger pots until they are finally prepared to live outside in June. Throughout each stage, the seeds and plants must be carefully protected from the cold, and nourished constantly, or else they die and I have to start over. If I have to start over, I lose most of the potential of the plants, because the temperatures will drop to freezing again in the fall, just when the fruit begins to ripen.

Nourishing a seed of faith requires the same diligence as raising a tomato plant in the winter. When I learn a truth that just yells to me “Heed me, I will make your life better!”, I feel excited and eager to make it part of my life. Now comes the hard work, though. If all I do is notice that little seed of faith, and let it wash over me without heeding it, it soon disappears in the daily distractions of life. If, however I begin to nourish it, it is like putting a heating pad under newly planted seeds- the warmth of the Lords guidance makes that seed sprout and bear fruit.

To nourish a new idea, a good seed, I have found that I need to do the following: 1. Write it down, including my impressions and feelings 2. Talk to Heavenly Father about it immediately and ask for help understanding how it should impact my life and 3. Continue to focus on it in the days to come.

Writing down what I have learned is the first thing I do once I hear something important. Taking notes during conference is a good example of heeding good seeds that I want to grow. Then, to have that good seed grow requires help from Heavenly Father. That requires communication with God on a regular basis. Talking to Him about what I have just learned, and asking His help to understand it is like putting a grow light over my baby seedlings- the Holy Ghost can pour light on even the most difficult concepts. Heeding the guidance that we receive about the seed will assure that the seed will continue to grow. Once it becomes a habit to pay attention to the seed that has now become a seedling, I am on my way to assuring that the good seed will become part of my life.

When I grow seeds for my garden, there has to be constant, daily focus on the process. If I forget to water them one day, the next day they are weakened. If they are not watered two days in a row, they dry up and die. The seed of faith has to be treated just as consistently. I cannot hear a truth, write it down, and then ignore it while expecting it to continue to grow. If it is something that requires action, I can’t wait until Sunday to do something- by then I will have lost the momentum and the seed will have withered and died. I will have lost the feeling and excitement and it becomes just part of the background noise- if I remember it at all.

Sometimes we find a good seed, and then it is killed off by inattention. Inattention is the frost of faith. What we want to grow, we have to focus on. As that seed becomes stronger, we understand it more, we have made it part of our lives, and it becomes a plant that bears fruit in our life and in the lives of others.

Those good seeds are worth the time and cost.


6 easy steps for Growing Microgreens

6 easy steps for Growing Microgreens

Microgreens are nutrient powerhouses and are easily grown by practically anyone- no yard or garden needed! They are costly to buy in stores- if you can even find them! But have no fear-they are cheap to raise, and growing microgreens is also a fun introduction to gardening for children. 

Microgreens add excellent nutrition, freshness, and beauty to many dishes.

Depending on the seeds grown, Microgreens add a delicate, subtle, or strong flavor to many dishes.  IMG_9700

Don’t confuse microgreens with sprouts or baby greens. 

Sprouts are eaten when the seeds are just beginning to sprout a root and stem, usually at 2-5 days. Microgreens are ready to eat in 5-14 days, depending on the temperatures in the house, and the variety of seeds. As soon as they have two leaves, they are ready to eat. Baby Greens have grown longer than microgreens, usually from 2-4 weeks, and are often sold bagged in supermarkets in the produce section.

Growing Microgreens requires little more than a container, seeds, water, and a little light

Microgreen seeds
Seeds for microgreens- sunflower, lentil and flax from the grocery store

I buy most of my seeds at a grocery store. Raw sunflower seeds in the shell, lentils, and flax seeds are very inexpensive and can be found in bulk food areas as well as in small bags. The seeds that grew into the greens above cost less than twenty cents.

You can also purchase seeds online- Kale, broccoli, mustard and other types that give variety in taste and color. In the middle of wIMG_9763inter when you crave flavor and greens is a good time to experiment with different varieties.

With a container and a cover, seeds, a little soil, paper and water, you are ready to grow any type of microgreens with very little cost- and a big reward.

A nutritional study was carried out in 2012 by the University of Maryland. The study indicated that microgreens are 4-40 times higher in nutritional value than mature vegetables.  That’s a pretty good reason to grow microgreens!

Directions for Growing Microgreens.

Equipment: Tray, soil, single-ply toilet paper, seeds, spray bottle, water, sunny windowsill or grow light. 

Examples of growing containers for microgreens
Any low-sided, clean container can be used to grow microgreens

Any low-sided container will work as a tray for growing microgreens. 1. Put 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) of soil in the bottom of the container.  

preparing the tissue paper for the microgreen trays
Separate the tissue into a single ply layer

2. Cover the soil with a natural brand of 2 ply toilet tissue that has been separated to make a single ply layer. The purpose of the paper is to keep the soil separated from the microgreens, but allow the roots to easily penetrate to the soil.

Tissue covered microgreen planters
Cover the soil with a single ply layer of organic tissue
Growing trays ready to plant microgreens
Spray the covered soil with enough water to moisten it thoroughly, and pour any excess out before planting microgreens

3. Spray the paper-covered soil until it is well-moistened, but not soggy. There should never be any standing water.

Microgreen seeds planted
Microgreen seeds sprinkled in a single layer on top of the prepared soil/paper covering

4. Cover the paper with a thin, single layer of seeds, and spray the seeds with water. The soil and seeds must be wet, but never standing in water. If you get too much water in, just pour the excess out.

Sunflower seeds ready to grow into microgreens
Cover migrogreen sunflower seeds with a single-ply layer of paper to retain moisture

Cover larger seeds such as sunflower seeds with an additional layer of the paper to help retain moisture. The microgreens will grow right through the paper. Keep the paper moist at all times.

Turning microgreen planters into mini-greenhouses with a plastic bag
After planting, cover the microgreen trays with a plastic bag to keep the moisture in. Keep them on a counter, out of the direct sunlight

5. Place each tray in a sealed plastic bag or cover it with plastic wrap to keep the seeds evenly moist. Leave the plastic over the tray until the seeds begin to sprout (1-3 days, depending on the type of seeds). Keep the planting containers out of the sun until the plastic cover has been removed.

A layer of paper on top of the seeds helps retain moisture until they sprout. The seeds easily grow through the layer.
Microgreen sunflower seeds sprouting through the paper covering
Microgreens sprouting and ready to put in the sun to continue growing.
Microgreen seeds beginning to sprout and ready to have the plastic bag removed.

6. Once the seeds have begun to sprout, remove the plastic bags and place the trays in a sunny window sill, or under a grow light. They must have strong light to grow well and healthy.

Microgreens ready to harvest
1 week old microgreens ready to harvest. Flax, lentil, French lentil

Spray the growing seeds once or twice a day to keep the dirt and paper wet. If the paper looks dry, the dirt under is too dry- add more water. Once the greens have 2 leaves, they are ready to use in salads, sandwiches, as garnishes, or in many other ways…

Using scissors, cut the microgreens just above the roots
harvesting microgreens
Growing microgreens without soil in the greens
Healthy microgreen roots that have grown through the paper, keeping the soil out of the greens

You can see in this photo that the roots have grown right through the paper cover, keeping the greens clean.
Snip the greens at the soil level. The soil (and paper) can be added to a compost pile or fed to a worm bin, or thrown into a garden.

Using your microgreens in a salad
Microgreens and baby kale form the base of the best salad you have ever eaten
Store microgreens in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
Place cut microgreens on a paper towel in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Store the cut microgreens covered in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Placing a napkin under the greens to help the microgreens remain fresh, longer.
My favorite way of eating microgreens: add several different kinds of microgreens to chopped baby kale, grated carrots, tiny cubes of a sharp cheese, any other raw vegetables that I happen to have on hand,  and add a poppy seed dressing…. excellent!

For recipes and over 100 ideas for using microgreens, look for Microgreen Margo on Pinterest

How is YOUR microgreen garden growing?

Harvest Day in the Corn Patch

Harvest Day in the Corn Patch


We have been helping our neighbor with his corn patch for the past couple of years, and this year the corn looked tremendous- tall and healthy despite the strange weather we have had this year. There was a lot of cool, rainy weather followed by above-average temperatures, then more cool… Idaho is famous for having unpredictable weather, but this summer has been the whopper of unpredictability.

Thursday was harvest day, and we were unhappily surprised by the results- despite the months of planting, watering, weeding and caring for the corn patch, we harvested a third of what we had expected. Sometimes things happen that are not what we expect. How we react when the unexpected happens is a measure of our personality. Can we see the ‘silver lining’* despite our disappointments?

I am happy to say that, though disappointed in the harvest, we enjoyed our harvest party- and enjoyed the fact that it only took two hours instead of the five or six that it took last year (there is one silver lining!). I also have no doubt that God will provide for us- we will have enough to eat without a freezer full of corn. This means we will have room in the freezer for other tasty foods (silver lining #2)!IMG_8997


The whole family gets involved in the corn harvest- Grandma and I  shuck the corn before the rest of the family show up.IMG_9004


Once the rest of the family arrives, a son boils the corn for just a minute to stop the ripening process.IMG_9005

The corn is then put in front of a fan to cool it quickly.

Even the young grandchildren are able to help. Here, Dante is counting the empty corn cobs to keep track of how many dozen we have grown.IMG_9007

Grandma had an accident a few years ago and is unable to do much, but the family is careful to include her so she feels useful. Her job is to write the year on the freezer bags. One of the grandchildren then helps her put a quart of corn in each bag

At the end of the evening, each member of the family takes home corn for the freezer. We appreciate the bounty of the earth, the space for a garden, the ability to grow a garden, and the water to keep it green. Yes, we were a bit disappointed in the amount, but there is so much to be grateful for!IMG_9030

Even the horses are happy today- the corn husks are a tasty treat!

The only unhappy creatures are the wild turkeys- their free corn supply has ended for the year. 🙂

Now that the corn is finished, it is time to harvest the apples again- make apple cider, apple cider vinegar, apple pies, dehydrated apples… and then the tomatoes, potatoes, beans and squash. What a blessing to have a garden and to be able to appreciate all we grow, throughout the coming winter. No matter how the price of food goes up because of strange weather patterns around the world, my family will eat healthy and well. I am truly thankful!



Corn Fritters
Author: Margo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 patties
A tasty addition to breakfast, lunch or dinner!
  • Ingredients:
  • ⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup milk (I use non fat)
  • 2 cups cooked corn kernels
  • Vegetable oil
  1. Instructions:
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Add milk and chopped parsley, and mix together with a wooden spoon until thick and thoroughly mixed through.
  4. Add the cooked corn (boiled or grilled) and mix well with the flour mixture.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan.
  6. Using a ⅓ cup measuring cup, scoop corn mixture out and place into the skillet, gently
  7. pressing the mound down so it’s flattened.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes on one side, or until it’s browned, turn it over and cook another 5 minutes, or until it’s browned.
  9. Serve immediately with sour cream

Corrn patties blog post



















*A silver lining is a metaphor for optimism in the common English-language idiom “Every cloud has a silver lining.” ex: “The silver lining to not harvesting much corn is that we will have room in the freezer for more ice cream!”


Spring Gardening fail…Неудачная весенняя посадка…

Spring Gardening fail…Неудачная весенняя посадка…

March 15, 2015 , 15 марта 2015

Patience has never been my forte. That is never so clear as in spring. Unfortunately, this year I took impatience to new heights- the weather was beautiful and warm (we have had the warmest winter on record in Idaho), and I decided to get an early start on my bucket garden.  My carefully tended 7 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and peppers started in January are quite, pathetically, dead:Терпение никогда не было мой чертой. Это никогда не проявляется так хорошо, как весной. К сожаленью, в этом году мое нетерпение достигло новых высот – погода была прекрасной и теплой (у нас была самая теплая зима в истории Айдахо) и я решила посадить мой ведерочный огород рано. Мои семь видов помидоров и перца (семена которых я собираю из года в год), которые я начала прорашивать в январе, сейчас к сожалению совершенно мертвы:

20150315_163305Last year was the first time I used a greenhouse. Ron and I built one out of PVC and plastic in the late summer, and it very successfully extended our growing season several months. We were still harvesting tomatoes in October.  В прошлом году я впервые использовала теплицу. В конце прошлого лета я и Рон построили теплицу из пластмассовых труб и клеенки, и это успешно удлиннило наш огородный сезон на несколько месяцев. Мы продолжали собирать помидоры в октябре.

Harvesting tomatoes in late September- only with a greenhouse and a heater in zone 2!  Сбор помидоров в конце сентября только с помощью теплицы в зоне с длинной зимой и коротким летом!

It worked so well last fall that I realized I could extend the season just as much at the end of winter, beginning of spring. And, If I had looked at these photos from last year, all would have been well. Unfortunately, I didn’t look first and my memory failed me. I had successfully heated a tiny greenhouse with just a single strand of Christmas lights last spring, so I regrettably assumed that would be sufficient for my darling little baby tomatoes and peppers yesterday in the large greenhouse. Это так хорошо работало прошлой осенью, что привело меня к идее увеличить огородный сезон в эту сторону. Если бы я посмотрела на эти фотографии с прошлого года, все было бы хорошо. 


Unfortunately, I had completely forgotten that when I used the large greenhouse in the fall, I had two strands of lights and a heat lamp going each night. That one little strand was definitely not enough to protect my little seedlings last night. Arrrrgh!!! К сожалению, я не посмотрела и моя память меня подвела. У меня получалось обогреть мою крохотную теплицу только одной новогодней гирляндой, поэтому я естественно решила, что этого будет достаточно для моей рассады помидоров и перца вчера вечером. Фуу!!!

Last years bucket garden in late September- with a heater and two strands of lights for warmth at night Прошлогодний огород в ведрах в конце сентября с обогревателем и двумя новогодними гирляндами для подогрева ночью.

Well, I want home-grown tomatoes this year so I shall just re-plant everything.  Next year, I will have better memories, more experience, and heirloom tomatoes on the 4th of July! Ну что же, я хочу домашних помидоров в этом году, поэтому мне придется все пересадить. В следующем году я точто это не забуду благодаря этому опыту и у меня будут домашние помидоры к 4му июля!

If I had left the starts on top of the bales, they may have survived. The bales are beginning to decompose, so there is a small amount of heat rising from them. Mistake #2… Если бы я оставила рассаду на соломе, они может быть бы выжили. Солома начинает разлагаться, поэтому из нее выходит немного тепла. Ошибка №2…

At least the baby asparagus survived. По крайней мере аспарагус выжил.

Red-Russian kale, the hardiest plants to grow in early spring. Good thing they do not need heat this time of the year! Красная русская листовая капуста – растение, которое труднее всего вырастить ранней весной. Хорошо, что им не нужно тепло в это время года!


And the Kale, of course- И листовая капуста, конечно-


I learned my lesson the hard way…  Я заучила этот урок на собственном печальном опыте…

Do you grow a garden? What do you like to grow? Have you ever been SO ready for spring that you got started a bit too early?









As American as Apple… Juice!  Настолько американский как яблочный …. сок!

As American as Apple… Juice! Настолько американский как яблочный …. сок!

September 2014 Сентябрь 2014

It is apple time! There is nothing so good as a fresh apple picked straight from the tree…unless it is bags and bags of fresh-picked apples. Some dear friends of ours have two beautiful old apple trees that were completely loaded this year.Это время яблок! Нет ничего более лучшего, чем свеже-сорванное с дерева яблоко, кроме как … много мешков полных свеже-сорванных яблок. У наших дорогих друзей есть два шикарных яблочных дерева, которые в этом году были полностью увешаны яблоками.


After picking all they wanted, they offered the rest of the apples to us. I will never say no to free apples, especially when other dear friends had recently bought a brand new juicer! После того, как они собрали все, что им было нужно, они предложили все оставшееся нам. Я никогда не откажусь от яблок, особенно когда наши другие друзья недавно купили новую соковыжималку!


My little grandchildren enjoyed learning the joys of picking- and eating- apples! Моим маленьким внукам понравилось учиться собирать и кушать яблоки!


We have lived in our home for over 20 years, and during all this time had no idea that one of the scrub-trees on the hillside was an apple tree! It had never borne fruit, and if it had blossoms, we never noticed them. Earlier in the spring Paul, who is a certified ‘master gardener’, came up to graft a few new apple varieties onto what we thought was our only apple tree. After looking it over, he walked to a tree about 10 feet away and suggested that we prune this one to one trunk, and graft to it instead. That was the first we knew that we actually had two apple trees. Мы жили в нашем доме более 20 лет и даже не подозревали, что одно из деревьев в зарослях на холме было яблочным деревом! Оно никогда не приносило никаких плодов, и если оно когда-то и цвело, мы этого не заметили. Ранней весной Пол (мастер-садовод с сертефикатом) пришел к нам, чтоб привить несколько разных яблочных видов к дереву, которое мы все это время считали единственным яблочным деревом. После того, как он его осмотрел, он отошел всторону на три метра и предложил нам обрезать то другое дерево и привить ветви к нему. Это когда мы впервые узнали, что у нас два яблочных дерева. After some extremely drastic pruning, Paul grafted several branches onto it. We were thrilled to see that all the baby branches survived the summer. In a few years we will have 3 or 4 varieties of apples growing on the same tree. In the mean time, after it’s first pruning in 20 years, that little tree exploded with huge, juicy apples- the first apples it has ever borne.  После очень серьезной обрезки, Пол привил к нему ветви. Мы были так счастливы увидеть, что все маленькие ветви перенесли лето и выжили. Через несколько лет у нас будет 3-4 вида яблок растущих на одном дереве. А пока после первой обрезки за 20 лет это дерево принесло огромные сочные яблоки – первые яблоки, которые у него когда-нибудь были.


In a few years hopefully we will  be the ones giving away apples to our friends. Через пару лет, надеюсь, мы будем теми, кто будет раздавать яблоки нашим друзьям.


After letting the apples sit for 7 days to soften, we brought them down to the Lish’s and turned the apples into the most delicious apple cider I have ever tasted: После того, как мы дали яблоким посидеть 7 дней для смягчения, мы принесли их к Лишам и превратили яблоки в самый вкусный яблочный сок, какой я когда-либо пробовала:


The first step is to wash the apples and cut out any rotten parts.Первый шаг – помыть яблоки и вырезать гнилые части.


The apples are then dropped into the hopperwhich chops the apples and grinds them into tiny pieces- peels, cores and all. Затем яблоки забрасываются в воронку, где они измельчаются, перетираются на мелкие кусочки (кожура, середина и все).

IMG_9175As a special treat, some home grown grapes were added to the first batch…I gave myself a stomach-ache drinking too much of it- absolutely fabulous flavor!Чтоб сделать еще вкуснее, мы добавили немного домашнего винограда в первую партую сока… Я заработала расстройство желудка из-за того, что так много его пила – вкус просто превосходный!




Next, the container of pulp is moved to the press, and the handle turned until every last drop of that delicious juice is squeezed out .После этого контейнер с мякотью придвигается к пресу и ручка поворачивается пока последняя капля этого вкуснейшего сока не выжата.


Oh, the goodness! Ляпота!


After letting the apple cider sit overnight, it is ready to preserve. I chose to freeze it all so that it would still taste fresh. Canned cider is good, but it tastes, well, canned.  The cider sat overnight to allow all the solids to sink to the bottom, then was put into zip-lock baggies, and frozen for the winter.После того, как яблочный сок постот всю ночь, он готов в консервированию. Я предпочитаю его весь замораживать, чтоб у него был свежий вкус. Консервированый сок тоже вкусный, но … с консервированым вкусом. Сок должен постоять ночь, чтоб осадок опустился на дно. Потом разливается по пакетам и замораживается на зиму.









Some of the apples went into cakes, pies and applesauce…Некоторые яблоки пошли на пироги, булочки и яблочное пюре…









…and of course, apple pie!  и конечно, яблочный пирог!

I also experimented with making my own apple cider vinegar, but that is a subject for another post!Я тоже поэксперементировала с приготовлением моего собственного яблочного уксуса, но это тема для другого поста!


About the title…and American Apple Pie О заголовке … и Американский яблочный пирог

This Wikipedia article gives a brief introduction to the history of the saying “As American as Apple Pie!” Википедия дает короткое объяснение истории фразы “Американский, как яблочный пирог!”

This is from a post defending the use of the saying:

“From all historical accounts, it seems that fruit pies as we now know them were invented by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Women in the southeastern counties of the state made delicious, crispy pies encasing every fruit in the region. Это из поста, защищающего высказывание: “из всех исторических данных видно, что фруктовые пироги, какими мы их знаем, были изобретены голландцами из Пенсильвании. Женщины в южновосточных регионах штата готовили вкуснейшие хрустящие пироги используя каждый фрукт в том районе”.

Colonists loved pie so much they ate it for every meal, but, notably, not every farmer could afford it. Thus, pies evolved into a symbol of status.Колонисты любили пироги так сильно, что они ели их при каждом приеме пищи, но нажно заметить, что не каждый мог себе это позволить. Так пироги стали символом статуса.

It is the fruition of this unique, thick, two-crusted apple pie, rather than the thin, one-crust English pie, in which we invest our pride. Ever wonder why July 4th parties are marked by apple pies? It’s a carryover from first Independence Day celebrations when the apple pie was at its peak importance to Americans.Это само приготовление этого уникального двуслойного пирога, вместо однослойного английского пирога, чем мы гордимся. Вы когда нибудь задумывались почему празднования 4го июлю (день независимости США) отмечен яблочными пирогами? Это традиция с празднования самого первого Дня Независимости, когда яблочный пирог был в подъеме своей значительности для американцев.

“As American as apple pie” implies the improvement of what was once British; it is the mark of prosperity, freedom, and status as the apple pie represented to our ancestors. It is not a mistaken saying or an ignorant remark. It’s about the thick, two-crusted pie we made; the pie our ancestors longed for and cherished in their free homeland. It’s about patriotism and struggle to be an American, to live the American dream. “”Американский, как яблочный пирог” подразумевает улучшение того, что когда-то было британским. Это символ преуспевания, свободы и статуса – то, что яблочный пирог значил для наших предков. Это не пустая или ошибочная фраза. Это о том, что мы делаем толстый двуслойный пирог. Пирог, который наши предки ценили в их свободной земле. Это о патриотизме и борьбе за то, чтоб быть американцем и жить американской мечтой.”

What do you do when you have too many apples to eat? What is your favorite Apple pie recipe?А что вы делаете, когда у вас есть слишком много яблок? Какой ваш любимый яблочный рецепт?