Tag: garden2blog

Garden2Blog 2014

Garden 2 Blog is an annual event that I host at my farm where top garden bloggers from all over the country converge with industry leaders and discuss new trends. It’s really a highlight of the season and I am so looking forward to learning from it. I’m proud to call the Natural State my home and I’m excited to share it with a group of people who love being outside as much as I do. To show off some of the gardencentric characeristics of the capital city we’re going to take a tour of a few public gardens in Little Rock and the rooftop garden at the Clinton Library.

With 23 garden bloggers and 9 sponsors, we’ve got our hands full! I’m so grateful for our partners for making this event possible, because without them there would be no Garden2Blog. They are an exceptional group of industry leaders who are making great strides with their products, and I’m thrilled that they’re coming to share their knowledge.

It’s my pleasure to welcome bloggers because I’ve seen the work they do and am continually impressed with the way they merge the physical with the digital, the garden with the blog. Gardening goes back a long way in my family, and I’ve often felt that it was an art that was dying out through the generations. But these days, the virtual garden has helped revive gardening and green living. It’s now trendy to have a plot to garden in an urban setting, and this is partially due to the efforts of people sharing all the benefits of getting out in the garden online. The best part about it, though, is the wealth of knowledge becoming accessible for everyday people and new gardeners.

My mission is for us to grow in our passion for gardening by learning, and I hope that Garden2Blog 14 will advance that mission. Be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ll post pictures and giveaway a few goodies.

#G2B14 Bloggers
Susan Fox www.GagasGarden.com
C.L. Fornari www.GardenLady.com
Rebecca Sweet HarmonyintheGarden.com
Lisa Steele www.Fresh-Eggs-Daily.com
Kathy Purdy www.ColdClimateGardening.com
Jan Bills TwoWomenandaHoe.com
Mary Beth Shaddix www.MaryBethShaddix.com
Christina Salwitz PersonalGardenCoach.wordpress.com
Robin Horton www.UrbanGardensWeb.com
Kylee Baumle OurLittleAcre.blogspot.com
Jenny Petterson www.JPetersonGardenDesign.com
Lamanda Joy TheYarden.com
Michael Nolan www.MyEarthGarden.com
Chris Van Cleave RedneckRosarian.wordpress.com
Teresa Byington TheGardenDiary.com
Robin Wedewer BumbleBeeBlog.com
Kenny Point www.VeggieGardeningTips.com
Steve Asbell www.TheRainForestGarden.com
Kelly Smith Trimble Blog.DIYNetwork.com/MadeRemade/
Jerusalem Greer www.JollyGoodeGal.com
Janet Carson UofACEsmg.wordpress.com
Linda Ly www.GardenBetty.com
Stephanie Buckley www.TheParkWife.com
Julie Thompson Adolf JuliesGardenDelights.com
Tina Wilcox www.OzarkFolkCenter.com/herbs/yarb_tales.aspx

Books Published by G2B14ers
A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together by Jerusalem Greer
Pick Fresh by Mary Beth Shaddix
Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants by Jenny Peterson and Kylee Baumle
Four Seasons of Roses by Susan Fox
Color by Numbers by Steve Asbell
Fine Foliage by Christian Salwitz, co-authored with Karen Chapman
Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens….Naturally by Lisa Steele
Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture & Form by Rebecca Sweet
I Garden: Urban Style by Michael Nolan
The Creative Herbal Home by Tina Wilcox, co-authored with Susan Belsinger
Coffee for Roses by C.L. Fornari
A Garden Wedding by C.L. Fornari
The Cape Cod Garden by C.L. Fornari
A Garden Lover’s Cape Cod by C.L. Fornari
Gardening in Sandy Soil by C.L. Fornari
A Garden Lover’s Martha’s Vineyard by C.L. Fornari

Sponsors
Proven Winners
Jobe’s Orgranics
Laguna
Flexzilla
Bonnie Plants
Troy-Bilt
Le Creuset
Hubbard Life
United Solutions
U.S. Foods

Two Days and One Pond

Last week we hosted our third annual Garden2Blog workshop. We get together with our Garden Home Partners and invite garden bloggers from around the country to spend two days with us at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home. It offers the chance for all of us to do something kind of old fashioned – have a face-to-face conversation.

This year our partner Laguna Ponds did something that I thought was pretty amazing. They installed a water feature in two days. Come to find out, it wasn’t amazing at all because it’s that easy to put in a pond. The hardest part about the project is digging the hole.

We placed the pond behind my brother’s new house where you can see and hear it from the back deck.

One day one the Laguna team dug the hole, put down the liner and edged the pond with native stone.

The Durashield Pond Liner they used is good for natural looking water gardens because it will conform to curves and shelves.

When they dug it the guys created a shelf around the hole for stacking native rock to secure and conceal the liner.

On the second day the pond was filled with water and the bloggers added plants.

Pebbles packed in around the native stone further hides the liner and gives the edge of the pond a finished look.

These floating planters make it possible to grow just about anything in the pond including flowers and herbs.

The waterfall leading to the pond. I think Chris and his wife Joyce are really going to enjoy the soothing sound of this!

 

 

Pickling Punk Rock Style

I’d like to introduce you to my friend and fellow gardener Laura Mathews. She’s a garden writer and photographer who contributes to several websites including Punk Rock Gardens. She’s also the Northeast Garden Guru for Proven Winners. Laura attended our annual blogger event at the farm, Garden2Blog, in 2011.

While scouring the virtual garden for harvesting and preserving tips I discovered that Laura knew quite a bit on pickling. I asked her to share her knowledge, which she very graciously did. Plus a recipe for bread and butter pickles you can freeze. I can’t wait to try them.

If you have questions for Laura and just want to find out more good gardening information look her up on Twitter (@punkrockgardens) or Facebook or visit PunkRockGardens.com.

At times in the growing season, the bounty from our vegetable gardens can be a bit overwhelming. Many of our backyard vegetable garden favorites mature within weeks of each other. One way out to this annual pickle… is to pickle.

Pickling may seem like a frightening black art practiced only by women of the past with extraordinary quantities of technical kitchen skill, but it’s actually much less complex than say, maintaining a quality compost pile. With attention to a couple important things, pickling is easy. It also generates a lot of value. Pickling turns inexpensive homegrown vegetables into crunchy, tangy delights that cost far less than they would at the grocery.

The first thing to grasp is that pickling via canning is that it’s not cooking. You cannot safely fiddle with the recipes. Follow modern recipes to the letter. Make sure your source for the recipe is reputable. Consider as well, employing safer methods of pickling. Grandma’s recipe for refrigerator pickles – that may include letting the pickles stand at room temperature for hours – aren’t considered safe by the USDA. The trendy practice of pickling by fermentation is also best left for those with deep understanding of food safety. Canning your pickles or making easy freezer pickles is the safest way to start.

Next, your pickles will only be as good as the vegetables you use. Find or pick very fresh young cucumbers for pickles. The fresher the cuke, the more natural pectin it contains. This pectin will keep your pickles crisp. Some recipes call for products like pickle crisp or suggest ice baths to preserve the crunch. Make sure to cut off the blossom end of the cucumber because it contains enzymes that will soften the cucumber. If you’re purchasing cucumbers, don’t buy any that have been waxed. The wax will interfere with the pickling processes.

Vinegar is key to pickling. Acidity in the vinegar is what keeps microorganisms from spoiling food. Be sure to check your vinegar labels for acidity percentage. Recipes are tested using vinegar with 5 percent acidity. Don’t skimp on the salt or substitute table salt for canning salt. Additives in table salt will cause cloudy brine. Stay away from Kosher salt unless the recipe specifically calls for it. Kosher salt is measured differently and can cause your pickles to be too salty.

For canned pickles, look for fresh pack recipes. You’ll need sterile jars and a pot large enough to boil several jars at once. A rack or good tongs will be needed to take the hot jars from the canning bath. The steps are easy. The recipe will dictate how to slice the cucumbers. Add the spices and the slices to jars. Cover the vegetables with the hot pickling solution which is mostly comprised of specific proportions of water, vinegar and salt. Seal with hot canning lids and cook for a bit in a boiling water bath. Cooking times for pickles are less than other forms of vegetable canning. After the jars cool, flavors will develop in a matter of weeks and you’ve made your own pickles.

If you want a no heat and no worries place to start, try freezer pickles. This is also fun to do with children. This recipe comes from Martha Zepp, Lancaster County Food Preservation Consultant with Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Martha’s Freezer Bread and Butter Pickles

Step 1
7 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons canning salt

Layer cucumbers, onion, and salt in a glass bowl or non-metallic bowl. Weight down and cover. Do not add water. Let stand overnight in refrigerator.

Step 2
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed (this can be adjusted for taste. Try adding some mustard seed.)

Next morning, combine, but do not cook, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon celery seed, Zepp says. Stir until very smooth and sugar is dissolved. Drain sliced cucumbers and rinse well. Return to bowl, add syrup and refrigerate an additional 24 hours. Place into freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace and freeze.

Pickling is simply an artful mix of vegetable, acid, spices, sugar and salt. Don’t limit your pickling to cucumbers. Dilly beans are a personal favorite. Adding a little vinegar, some spices and salt to vegetables is really all that’s required to preserve your garden veggies while adding flavor and interest.

Second Annual Garden2Blog

What’s the easiest way to keep up with the gardening world? Garden blogs. You talk about folks that have their fingers on the pulse. You’ll find garden bloggers at flower shows, horticulture trade shows, and touring gorgeous gardens and industry facilities. Like green reporters they suss out all the latest trends to bring to readers of their blogs. A garden blog is also an informative resource for region specific tips and news.

I’m pleased to say that this week 25 garden bloggers will be here in Little Rock for our second annual Garden2Blog event. For two days we’ll tour area gardens and hang out at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home. In addition to the bloggers team members from several of my Garden Home partner companies will be there. It’s a great way to get industry and media folks talking.

For me the event offers an opportunity to hang out with people who share my passion for gardening and learn a thing or two while I’m at it.

I’m kicking off the celebration with a giveaway. Tell me about your favorite garden blog for a chance to a Garden2Blog goodie bag, three signed garden how-to decks, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour, a trio of manure teas from Authentic Haven Brand (love this stuff!), Fun with Winter Seed Sowing eBook by Monica Milla, Container Gardening for All Seasons by Barbara Wise and I Garden Urban Style by Michael Nolan.

I’ll select a winner on Wednesday May 9th, 2012. Click here for the official rules.

Congrats to Nicky from DirtandMartinis.com. She’s the winner of the Garden2Blog giveaway. Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment. Great blog recommendations!

The group at our inaugural Garden2Blog in 2011.

Great Garden Blogs to Follow

Edible Gardening

The Casual Gardener

Seasonal Wisdom – Teresa
Our Little Acre write Kylee hanging out in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion playhouse.

Garden Humor

The Grumpy Gardener

Good Enough Gardening
We literally rode into Scott, Arkansas on a storm. A tornado was spotted in the area as our bus was making it's way to Marlsgate Plantation.

Garden Design

Gardening with Confidence

Garden Smack Down

J. Peterson Garden Design

Miss Rumphius’ Rules
Annie & Bren. Annie owns & operates Authentic Haven Brand moo poo tea and Bren hosts #GardenChat every Monday.

Small Space Gardening

Life on the Balcony

Urban Organic Gardener

Container Gardening on About.com
Fern from Life on the Balcony, Mike from Urdan Organic Gardener, & Jenny from J. Peterson Garden Design Peterson

Design

Urban Gardens

Kerri from ContainerGardening.About.com, Shirley from Garden World TV, Robin from Urban Gardens, & Laura from Punk Rock Gardens

General Gardening

BG Garden

Red Dirt Ramblings

The Garden World Report

Southern Post Journal

Our Little Acre

Punk Rock Gardens

The Garden Buzz

The Garden Faerie

Garden Girl

Heavy Petal Nursery

Read Between the Limes

North Coast Gardening

Me and Lois from Bonnie Plants. Love me some Lois.

Hello World

P. Allen Smith

Hello world! I’m stepping out into the blogosphere and can’t wait to exchange knowledge, information and enthusiasm over the virtual garden fence with you.

In addition to my plant nerdiness, my blog will also be a venue to discuss good food, sustainable farming, design, art and books, and I can’t wait to share pictures of all the critters on the farm.

To kick start my blogging education I’m meeting up with 24 bloggers from around the country and my home state of Arkansas and a few Garden Home partners for our first Garden2Blog workshop. Over the next two days we’re going to get together for seminars, garden tours and a party or two of course.

Blogging is a new frontier for me and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of fun we can get into!