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  Hi everyone!  My name is Diana Hartman.  I'm a mom, a business owner and a woman with many passions and interests!  Among those is gardening and landscaping, specifically in a fun and creative style.  I am currently learning all I can in regards to edible landscaping and my edible front yard landscape is one of my favorite projects.  I have so much still to learn and would love to start a community where we can discuss ideas, experiments (what has worked for you and for me and what we can try in a different way), sustainable techniques, art in the garden or landscape, use of different materials and ideas, involving children in our gardening and whatever else may spark our interest.  Please join me in learning from each other and sharing fun and creative ideas!  Please leave comments!

         

My daughter enjoying our edible front yard last summer.  We planted Sunflowers, Tomatoes, Basil, Corn, Lettuce, Garlic, Lavender, Carrots, Marigolds, Broccoli, Peas, Beans and Onions in these beds.  Edibles and Ornamentals combined make a beautiful front yard garden.

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The Identity of The Dirty Dozen Revealed! How Many Can Flourish In Your Own Edible Garden?

Posted by Diana Hartman on August 3, 2015 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (5)

After my last post regarding "rest and play", my daughter mentioned her desire for a garden bed of her own. Inside my head, I loudly screamed "yes!", while I calmly replied, "Of course." She had already chosen one...the neglected bed out front amidst the edible veggie beds. She had been attracted to the one wild, overgrown garden area..."perfect for a secret fairy garden," she said and she was perfectly correct! There were many secret "rooms" amidst the overgrown trees, flowers and bushes! How ideal for private, tiny hide outs, playgrounds and flowers galore! How fun! We will begin new construction immediately!


As for my beds, which I have devoted to edible gardening...it seems I have had little time this summer, yet they flourish! We are receiving a bountiful supply of kale, basil, lettuce, swiss chard, sugar snap peas and zucchini currently. Soon, we will see plenty of beets, green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, red and blue potatoes, and much more! I boast a little only to persuade you to attempt your own edible beds as they really consume less time and effort than a lawn. I've spent time initially planting the seeds and starts and 1 - 2 hours weeding this summer total and will be rewarded with homegrown, pesticide-free fruits and veggies!


  


Speaking of pesticide-free fruits and veggies...I recently browsed an article providing the EWG's (Environmental Working Group's) 2015 list of "The Dirty Dozen." These are the 12 fruits and vegetables commonly available in grocery stores which carry the most pesticide residue. Eating pesticide-free produce is more important than ever, as a new report from the World Health Organization has determined that the most-used herbicide in the world, Roundup, is a probable carcinogen and traces of it are found in almost 100% of produce!


    


So, do you want to know the identity of The Dirty Dozen? Which are the fruits and veggies that if I am unable to grow personally, pesticide-free, I should insure I purchase organically and preferably locally grown?


1. Apples - growing in my backyard, but we purchase bags of organic apples to supplement the few we will actually receive from our tree.


2. Peaches - haven't attempted in our climate zone.


3. Nectarines - haven't attempted in our climate zone.


4. Strawberries - growing in containers throughout our yard. There are several varieties that do well in our climate if you can fend off our feathered friends! We do supplement our crop with purchased organic strawberries.


5. Grapes - difficult to grow in our climate.


6. Celery - I've never attempted to grow celery. It requires a long growing season, but may be possible. Let me know if you've had success!


7. Spinach - I've heard that Spinach does very well here. Not sure where I've gone wrong, because I can't seem to grow Spinach for anything. Maybe I need to try a different location within my garden beds. I purchase this fave leafy green organic at my local grocery store.


8. Sweet Bell Peppers / Hot Peppers - I love my beautiful pepper plants! Fresh peppers from the garden are delicious. I've successfully grown jalapenos, sweet bells and garden salsa peppers.


9. Cucumbers - These are usually easy-peasy to grow and we harvest more crisp cucumbers than I can use. They look beautiful climbing a trellis and this will save space in your garden as well!


10. Cherry Tomatoes - I've heard from other locals that tomatoes can be difficult, but I have always had amazing luck! Fresh tomatoes from the vine, which grow well next to basil, are not even comparable to store-purchased. They are a delight as they pop in your mouth! They make super salsas and will add flavor to any salad, roasted dish or pizza!


11. Sugar Snap Peas - These are one of my family's faves! They grow easily and beautifully up a trellis in our front yard and rarely make it into the kitchen as they are devoured straight from the vine!


12. Potatoes - This is the first year we've planted a "french fry" garden and it has been so much fun! I chose local, organic new and blue varieties and they have gone wild! We're so excited! These were simple and are so fun for kiddos to dig up. Digging for hidden treasures! We're making blue french fries...seriously!


13. Kale - I had one spot in my garden beds where nothing seemed to grow...I tried kale and we're eating sour cream and onion kale chips (one of my son's favorites!) and Super Summer Kale Salad (You have to look this recipe up on allrecipes.com. It will change your mind about kale!) regularly!


    


Over half of the dozen on this list reside in my front yard! These are simple and inexpensive to grow. I buy all seeds and starts local, organic and non-GMO. This may cost a couple of dollars extra initially, but is not in any way comparable to purchasing the bounty you will harvest at organic grocery store prices! It's worth it! Feed your bodies clean, pesticide-free fruits and veggies! You are what you eat, eat clean!

 


Today, I Choose To Rest And Play.

Posted by Diana Hartman on June 25, 2015 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

It has been a hot and busy June and today, I choose to rest and play.




How tough is it to make that choice within our busy lives?


I spent some time searching for 18 of the best toys for all ages to motivate us to choose rest and play today!  ...outdoors within our gardens, of course!  You know me.  Browse this post and pick the one that will motivate you to get outside and revitalize with rest and play!  It's essential!



Oh, so heavenly!  We have two!



Another fantastic alternative...you won't want roll out this one.



When you do roll out, how about an easy going game of Bocce Ball?



Or horseshoes!  Time to play!



Find a safe way to keep your wine nearby while at rest or play.



And to keep the kiddos occupied.



A watering can will keep them occupied for awhile!  This choice is made from recycled milk containers.



There are amazing toys to teach young minds about gardening.  I found this Root Viewer at FatBrainToys.com.



I promise carnivorous plants will be mesmerizing to kids of all ages!



Edible flowers!  What little girl wouldn't love to make a treat with these?  Fairy cakes anyone?



Speaking of fairies...my daughter is so excited to build a fairy garden of her own.  You can create a small version in a pot or within one of your outdoor garden beds.  If you're interested in a similar idea for a boy, try creating a jungle garden with miniature animals or a wizard garden.



They'll love these tools to plant, create, help and play!



Here's another brilliant idea to get those boys outside...a mini car track!



Another fascinating find for young minds!



What about an idea to get everyone together?  Age four and up can enjoy a game of Badminton.



Another way to pull everyone out on the green to play!



Relaxing, fishing and playing at a nearby pond...ultimate fun!



Can't get away...even relaxing to the sound of a backyard water feature is soothing in a mindful way!



One of my favorite and most effective ways to rejuvenate is outdoor yoga.  No toys required!



And at the end of the day, you know you'll want to join the kids for some treehouse play!


I sincerely hope at least one of the finds in this post will inspire you to choose rest and play today!


A great idea that you don't see here...please share!  We all need to schedule time for relaxation and fun...it's essential!





EverGreen Team Priorities As Written By The One-Handed Blogger

Posted by Diana Hartman on June 1, 2015 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Last Tuesday, I sat down and typed the Agenda for our annual Spring Employee Meeting. We like to start out the season by introducing our fabulous new team to the expectations of an EverGreen staff member. I started out by listing our priorities as always:


#1. Safety - of employees, clients, driving and equipment


#2. Quality - of client service and work completed


#3. Efficiency - of route, schedule and work completed


Of course, I went on to list many other topics...paperwork, teamwork, communication...all important to discuss. I look back over my Agenda one week later, and as I type this with one hand and I realize how easy it is to express your priorities and how easy it can be to forget them.


We all do it. We know the right way to do something, the safe way to do something, but then we get in a hurry. Our schedules are so full and, yes, it's all important, but let's slow down and remember that gained second or two may not be worth it.


As I've mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy creating functional art. Last Tuesday, I ran down to my project room and made two cuts through a piece of poplar for which I had a project in mind. I only had five minutes before I needed to round up my son and head out to pick up my daughter. I quickly made the two cuts on my table saw and, to save you the unsettling details, ended up with my close friend and neighbor driving me to the ER, towel wrapped around my left hand and wondering what would come next. I really messed up!


I am extremely lucky! I still have all of my fingers, I have an amazing husband, family and the best of friends helping me through this and not one has said, "What the *%#& were you thinking?" I've had bone grafts, pins placed, tendons reattached and will probably require more surgery and a substantial amount of physical therapy, but I am one of the lucky ones that will recover most of the use of my hand.

What I've learned and what I want to share with our staff and anyone else who will listen...SAFTEY FIRST, QUALITY NEXT, AND FINALLY EFFICIENCY. We care about our staff and we care about you!


Take the time...


to wait for another set of hands if you need help.


to stop when the light turns yellow.


to take the slower route if you're not quite ready for that jump on your bike or skis.


to answer the phone after you've parked.


to call before you dig.


I'm sure you can think of plenty more for this list!


I'm not saying to live your life in fear, but to make time for safety. One choice can change the rest of your life!


We aren't the least expensive mow company in town. We strive to be the best! To us, this definitely means taking the time to insure the safety of our team and our clients! This means taking the time to provide quality service and quality completed work and last of all, trying to find the best ways to provide that efficiently. I am proud to share that thanks to Phil Hartman and all our staff over the past 8 years, we have had one workmen's compensation claim and it was minimal. SAFETY FIRST! Thanks for listening and we care about you!

 

Spring Cleaning...the "Ahhhhh..." Feeling of a Fresh Start!

Posted by Diana Hartman on April 29, 2015 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (1)


It's so important for our mind, body and spirit to step outdoors and breathe that fresh, crisp, clean Montana air in Spring! Let's talk about getting out there and accomplishing some Spring cleaning of your own personal piece of Montana.


First, I hope you had a little fun considering the idea of functional art within your landscape from my last post. I took the idea and created a wall which will define our barbecue space on our deck and provide privacy while in the hot tub. I was able to add a touch of art and design (and save $$$) by building it with slats from our old patio table, left over corrugated metal and clippings pruned from my mom's friend's large Willow trees. Currently, I am searching for artistic ideas to add a unique touch to the paver patio we will be building to remedy our mud problem and to provide a space to relax with friends (the patio's functions). I would love to see any projects utilizing both function and design that you may have completed.


Speaking of mud problems...this time of year brings us to our Spring cleaning. One of those daunting tasks, for me anyway. It can be overwhelming to begin, but once completed will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment and "ahhhhh..." when you enter that freshly cleaned, reinvented space. The feeling you receive when you walk into a room that was recently grimacing at you with unorganized chaos and now smiles at you with bright, refreshing promise is your reward! My kids rooms are perfect examples as we tackled them over the past drizzly weekend. Clutter and chaos and, yes, dirt (it's tough to clean when you can barely find the floor) were cleaned and reorganized. The furniture was rearranged and rooms were reinvented. I no longer close my eyes and shut their doors...I peer in to view the bright, delightful, playful rooms my kids live in...at least for a few weeks, right?

     

Now, let us create that feeling within ourselves as we drive up to our property and as we step out our doors into our outdoor space. The rain cleans the earth, but we may need to help out a little as well. Where do we start? Don't worry! I've made a list.

Where do we start? Don't worry! I've made a list.


          


To Do:


1. Clean it out. Clean out all of the debris (natural and otherwise). Clean out any litter, pet feces, dead leaves and plants, pinecones, etc. Get out your rake and gloves and work off some stress, or chocolate brownies, or whatever! This debris can smother your plants and foster disease. Enough said.


2. Prune your perennials. Remove dead stalks from perennials and cut back your ornamental grasses. Divide any perennials that are spreading or crowding and move to new locations or share with friends and neighbors. For great information regarding how and when to prune perennials, please visit this site:  http://gardening.about.com/od/maintenance/a/Spring_Pruning.htm  They have included a list of what to prune in Spring and what to prune in the Fall as well.


3. Weed your beds. Once the beds are cleaned out, annuals removed and perennials pruned, let's get rid of any sprouting weeds. Pro-active weeding makes this an easy task. In the Spring, soil is damp, weeds are small and they don't put up much of a fight. Be sure you don't throw your weeds into your compost.


4. Freshen your beds. Think dirt. Once your bed is clear, let's think about the soil. You can test your soil for nutrient and contamination content, PH level and acidity to determine your expected rate of growth. However, the cure for most all of these soil issues is compost. For the average gardener, I suggest just mixing in a bit of compost (nature's own slow-release fertilizer) or a complete slow-release organic fertilizer. Feed the soil and it will feed your plants! Earthworms and other soil dwelling insects will also feed, aerate and contribute more organic matter with their waste and decomposition creating healthy soil! Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can kill these residents of your soil with chemicals and added salt which will harm your soil's fertility. This will create a constant need for adding nutrients to your soil that it would otherwise naturally maintain. You can find more great information on this topic at:  http://gardening.about.com/od/soil/a/GardenSoil.htm


5. Add something new? Maybe you would like to add new beds. Gardening is very addicting once you begin. I rarely plant in the Spring without first adding at least one new bed to my landscape. More veggies and fruits? Definitely! Have fun with this one! I'm keeping it simple this year, because keeping it easy helps retain the fun. I found a treasure...a couple of used metal troughs which will line my back fence line and produce a fantastic harvest of raspberries this year while also deterring my dogs from jumping on our back fence...I hope. Again, design and function! These will also help contain the raspberry plants which spread like wildfire and can take over a landscape. So, get creative and reinvent your landscape with something new!


6. Lawn and tree care. Remember your lawn and trees need care in the Spring also. Remove dead and potentially damaging material, diseased tissues and insect infestations from trees and bushes to produce healthy thriving plants by pruning them carefully. A power rake will remove thatch from your lawn as these layers of dead grass prevent fertilizer and water from reaching grass roots and new grass from sprouting and aerating allows oxygen, nutrients and water to reach grass roots by removing plugs from dense soil that provides the bed for your lawn. Aeration promotes green, healthy growth! Prepare areas of your lawn that are damaged from snow plows, dogs, etc. for seeding. Clean these areas out and work in compost to keep the seed moist and speed the germination rate. Then seed.


7. Planting...the fun part! I know it's difficult, especially this Spring as it's been so beautiful, but try to wait until Memorial Day weekend. Start planning now though! No matter what you are planting, be sure you have chosen the perfect home. Think about soil and light and growth height, as well as color and design. If you are choosing to plant edibles, I would like to refer you to previous posts on companion planting and edible landscaping...my personal passion. Take great care once you are ready to plant. Some tips are found at this site:  http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/secrets-successful-planting


8. Clean off hardscapes. Power wash, sweep and rake all hardscape surfaces pushing sand and gravel back into place and cleaning off mud and debris. Make any repairs to hardscape surfaces damaged throughout the winter.


9. Finishing touches! Mulching and edging. Top off your beds with a mulch of your choice. Mulch will aid in conserving water, keeping plant roots cool, feeding soil, smothering weeds and more. It also adds an elegant, finished look to your beds. Be sure to let the soil warm up and dry out a bit before adding your layer of mulch. Do not underestimate the power of a clean, crisp edge to finish a bed in a polished and spectacular way! You can edge with metal, plastic edging, wood borders, concrete, rock or a combination of these materials to create a unique style. Again, have fun and be creative with your edging to add a touch of art to your landscape!


I realize this is quite a list and can seem overwhelming.

Of course, we're here to help out with whatever assistance you may need in accomplishing this To Do list. Give us a call if you need help developing that "Ahhhhhh..." feeling! Remember that it's really so important for our mind, body and spirit to step outdoors and breathe that fresh, crisp, clean Montana air in Spring!

Don't let a little Spring cleaning stand in your way! Once it's completed, go...and come home again! Step into that clean, refreshed landscape! Your piece of Montana, reinvented, will be looking forward to Summer and all it has in store for itself and you!


References:

www.rodalesorganiclife.com

www.gardening.about.com

www.thisoldhouse.com

www.landscaping.about.com

 

Your Landscape is Functional Art!

Posted by Diana Hartman on April 1, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

 


It's nice to be back with you after a shorter than average winter season in Bozeman, Montana! We had a little extra time on our hands this past winter as our plow trucks remained sedentary and I'm not one to sit still so I sunk some time into an old hobby that I had forsaken...creating art with wood! I'm also a multi-tasker (some might say to a fault) so of course my art must also serve a function. Artistic work on a buffet, a bench or on a cutting board will allow me a creative outlet as well as, create a useful piece of furniture. As the grass started to green and I assessed my yard this weekend, I realized that our landscapes are also functional pieces of art.

 




With this thought in mind, I ask you to view your yard as a clean canvas! This canvas can be used to decorate or accentuate your home, but it can be designed to do so much more and serve a function as well. Let's talk about possible functions first and then we can incorporate some simple elements of design culminating in the perfectly functional art of a landscape created for you.



 

Functions:


• provide shade, cutting air conditioning costs and providing the perfect place to relax on a simmering hot day.


• provide a wind break to protect your home and self from unpleasant blasts of wind, dust and trash.


• increase privacy in which to relax, let go and be yourself.

 

• prevent soil erosion and water runoff to keep your yard in your yard.


• reduce water use and your water bill.


• control water drainage to avoid a wet and/or muddy situation.


• create spaces for relaxing and entertaining.


• create space to grow and harvest your fruits and veggies...if you've been following my blog for awhile, this one won't surprise you at all!

 


 

These functions and more that I haven't mentioned can be accomplished in numerous designs just as a piece of art depicting a favorite flower, the Poppy, can be artfully created using various methods and a variety of media.

 



 

Now, let's discuss basic tips of design to consider when laying out your landscape to fulfill its chosen function(s). These will help you in the design process in order to accomplish your function in an aesthetically pleasing manner, in other words to combine the function and the art.

 


 

Design:


• Group similar plants in masses in order to create a more organic, natural landscape.


• Mix a variety of plant textures. Combine plants with large leaves and small leaves, smooth leaves and fuzzy leaves.


• Include a variety of forms. Choose plants of differing heights, spans, etc.


• When choosing colors, limit choices by picking a theme. (monochromatic colors, complementary colors, etc.) Remember less can be more.


• Consider winter appearance of your landscape. Think about berries, twigs and bark, grasses and evergreens.


• Fill your beds to keep weeds at bay and to create a lush appearance.


• Keep in mind the value of hardscapes (sidewalks, patios, built in planters, etc.) to add artistic elements and function to your landscape.


• Consider the use of shapes of beds and hardscapes to create "outdoor rooms" within your yard.


• Remember the importance of other senses, such as smells and sounds , to create a mood. A water feature creates a relaxing sound and outdoor speakers can provide an invaluable source of enjoyment.


• Always consider the addition of actual art within your landscape to add that artistic flair.




 


When you walk into a home, a building, a room, it creates a feeling by design. Your yard can and will do the same. It serves a function, probably several, and inspires a mood. So use the advice above and/or call us for assistance and get excited! Your yard is a canvas! Create the art!

 

Furry Pests Damaging Your Landscape This Winter? Not A Chance!

Posted by Diana Hartman on September 30, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Fall is upon us and as we are busy preparing snow bids and pulling out this summer's gardens, we arrive at the best time of year to prevent winter damage to our lawns and gardens. I would like to share some tips that you can utilize to try and protect your landscape this winter.


However, first I would like to congratulate Jennifer G. for winning the Edible Landscape Giveaway! Next spring as we begin consultation and creation of an Edible Landscape Plan, I will share with you the process of before, during and after installation and we can share in the transformation of her front landscape. How exciting! We can share in her discovery of a beautiful, lush landscape that produces the edibles of her choosing.


So, I have a riddle for you...


Who fits in your hand, is brown to gray, furry, pudgy with a short little tail and short little legs and is, in my son's eyes, absolutely adorable?


                   

A Meadow Mouse.


Another one...


Who can reproduce from 1 to 500 within a year and can severely damage your lawn over the winter by moving under protection of the snow especially where grasses are taller and thicker?


                   

A Vole.


I am sorry to report that a Meadow Mouse and a Vole are one and the same. I've also heard them called other names consisting of less respectful four letter words.


Well, whether you classify them as cute or pests, let's try to keep them out of our lawns and away from our trees, bushes and flowers as they will quickly destroy them! If you're lucky, the paths these furry little culprits create will only run from one burrow opening to another wreaking havoc on your lawn. Unfortunately, some of the trails probably lead to some of your favorite trees and plants as well. The damage caused by these creatures gnawing at the bark or on the roots will kill these plants and trees. Heaviest vole damage seems to coincide with years of heavy snowfall and therefore, we heard quite a bit regarding vole damage last spring as the snow melted away and revealed badly damaged lawns. This has prompted me to post a little information regarding what we can do to proactively deter these animals.


These little voles are active year round, but the most damage occurs when the snow is covering the lawn fairly deeply. And there-in lies the problem...with the snow blanket, we are totally unaware of the big party these little critters are having under what appears to be untouched snow. Therefore, let's try to proactively prevent trouble before the snow arrives.


• Your first line of defense is to keep the rodents out of your yard. Put your lawn to bed by mowing it short and then apply products like Fertilome Mole-Go or Shake Away Rodent Repellent. These are non-toxic, organic granular repellents, not poisons. They are harmless to people and pets as they consist mostly of predator urine. Mole-Go is also available in a liquid that is sprayed on with a garden hose. You can also create your own smell-aversion deterrents using essential spearmint or peppermint oils, castor oil, Bounce fabric softeners sheets, ammonia and/or commercially purchased fox, coyote and bobcat urine products.


• Barrier methods consist of using wire mesh, fencing and underground cages for your protecting your bulbs and roots of trees. This is definitely a more labor intensive route, but is very effective. Tree guards can be installed around the bases of trees that are suffering from the bark being gnawed. This is something we can do for you at little charge. These methods are also very safe for pets and children.


• If these creatures have already established residence on your property, you may have to trap the voles to remove them. There are varieties of traps that can be used to catch and remove the animals or Alpine Lawn Care has had great success with PVC traps they build and set which trap and poison the critters. You can reach Alpine Lawn Care at 582-1234.


 

For further information, check the websites I've listed below. The first one listed is a very informative PDF document provided by the Montana Dept of Agriculture.  The following links will give you even more useful information to help you protect your landscape this winter.


http://agr.mt.gov/agr/Producer/VertebratePest/Bulletins/pdf/VolesInMontana.pdf


http://coopext.colostate.edu/Adams/ag/vole.htm


http://blog.tcgardens.com/?p=319


http://www.ehow.com/about_6306915_natural-mole-vole-repellent.html


 

 

Well, as I sign off, I thank you all for a super Summer season and am excited to see you again in the Spring! Please enjoy our beautiful Montana Fall and Winter seasons to come and be sure and protect those luscious landscapes from those darling, furry little critters! They are kind of cute when they're not destroying our lawns and gardens, right?!?!

 

 

Justify Your Water Bill! Turn Your Landscape Into A Garden Paradise And Eat Gourmet!

Posted by Diana Hartman on September 2, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I've noticed something this year...the majority of people who visit don't realize right away that my front yard is edible! I think that is as a vital a point to what I am creating as the fact that my yard is edible. Think about it...a beautiful yard that produces without appearing to be rows of vegetables. Want a green gorgeous yard, but can't justify the water bill? No problem! I save substantially on my grocery bill! Shop in your front yard! We are eating a variety of organic, delicious vegetables and spending very little at the grocery store. I purchase staples such as rice, milk, etc. And my yard is a paradise of greens with a rainbow of colors in their midst!


Several people have come by in July and August and commented on our beautiful gardens in the front yard! When we explain that those rainbow stalked green leafy plants mixed in with a bright green leafy groundcover under the daisy circled Aspen tree, are Rainbow Swiss Chard mixed with Gourmet Lettuce they are in awe! What about those exotic plants out front next to the Jalapenos? Well, those are my son's successful attempt to grow Artichokes, one of his fave veggies! We have intermixed Gigantic Sunflowers (which may grow higher than our two-story house this year) with a striking array of foliage which hide Cauliflower, Broccoli and Purple Cabbage! Really?!?


So, you're curious where to start and how much work this is going to require? Start small...you will become addicted! Few realize how fun this is! Few realize how easy this is! Few realize what a beautiful paradise this will create in your landscape! It requires minimal maintenance if planned out correctly using Companion Planting (see previous blog post) and healthy soils. I am so passionate about using water in a sustainable, food-producing method, that I would like to give away an Edible Landscape Plan! The first person to respond to this post will receive a consultation and plan for an Edible Landscape!


So, if you want a green landscape and also want to have a sustainable landscape...Go Edible! Justify that water bill!


Another benefit to a veggie paradise...

         

Tell those kiddos to play with their food! This was their idea and guess who had fun with their veggies...and then wanted to eat them! I was creating a gorgeous display of veggies, but I think their display of faces is much more creative, fun and YUMMY! No arguing here when it comes to healthy eating choices...it's not even mentioned!

                   

We have interspersed such a variety of edibles in our yard that we never get sick of zucchini...a common complaint! Just plant a small patch each of so many different veggies you like and always pick a couple that you're unsure of...you never know! For example in our small front yard, we have incorporated small patches of Sweet Onions, Rainbow Carrots, Nasturtiums, Climbing Cucumbers, Gigantic Sunflowers, Kale, Zucchini, Swiss Chard, Purple Cabbage, Beets, Asparagus, a couple of varieties of Tomatoes, Gypsy Peppers, Bee Balm, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Basil, Garlic, Gourmet Lettuce, Artichokes, Jalapenos, Chives, Cilantro and Spinach. Sounds like a lot, huh? Small amounts of each intermixed with ornamental plants are key. This way you don't get tired of anything and you have an amazing variety to choose from when you're deciding what to make for dinner, lunch and even breakfast! Stir Swiss Chard in with those scrambled eggs and bacon! We eat well! I will share a few of my recipes below that are worth passing on. And I only keep quick and easy recipes...who wants to spend all day in the kitchen when our beautiful Bozeman summers are so short!


Mexican Swiss Chard Pesto

Bunch of swiss chard, stems removed

Handful of cilantro, stems removed

1/4 c of pepitas, toasted

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded

salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the above in a food processer.


Pretty simple, huh? Serve over quesadillas filled with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, black beans and cheese and you will be eating high class! This recipe makes a lot, so either reduce or separate into servings and freeze for winter use as I do.


Roasted Veggie Salad

 

Whatever veggies you need to use up, I used rainbow carrots, zucchini, sweet potato and onions, diced

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

olives, sliced

lettuce

1cucumber, peeled

1/4 c ranch dressing

1 tbsp dijon mustard


Roast diced veggies on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Let cool to room temperature and put in a bowl with sliced olives. Meanwhile, blend cucumber, ranch dressing and dijon dressing in a food processor. Pour dressing over veggies and stir. Pile veggie salad on a bed of lettuce.


Again a very simple, delicious dinner!


Shrimp Tacos with Crunchy Veggie Salsa

1 c fresh corn, cut from cob

1/2 c red onion, diced

1 c cabbage, chopped

1/2 c red bell pepper, diced

1 c fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

1 lb shrimp, tailed

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

soft corn tortillas

sourcream


Prepare salsa by mixing the first 7 ingredients. Cook shrimp in a skillet with olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve buffet style...one bowl of shrimp, a stack of tortillas, a bowl of salsa and a bowl of sourcream.


Dig in! Don't count on leftovers! Even when we ran out of shrimp, my husband prepared a salsa taco!

 

Panini with Roasted Zucchini and Beets

 

zucchini, sliced

beets, sliced

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

pre-made basil pesto

mozzarella

butter

homemade or other yummy bread


Spread your sliced zucchini and beets on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until tender. Butter the outsides of your bread. (Let me know if you need a great gluten-free bread recipe for the bread maker. Took me awhile to find one, but finally did.) Spread bread with pesto. (I usually make a large batch of pesto with basil from the garden and freeze servings in sandwich bags.) Then, layer beets, zucchini and mozzarella. Press assembled sandwich in panini maker or cook as you would a grilled cheese.


Delicious and beautiful summer meal to enjoy on the back patio!


One more recipe that I must share...I used this spicy dressing as a dip for crispy, breaded green beans, but it would make a super dressing on a pork or steak salad as well!


Wasabi-Horseradish Dressing

1/2 c ranch dressing

1/2 peeled cucumber

1 tbsp milk

1 1/2 tsp horseradish

1 tsp wasabi powder

1/8 tsp salt

few drops of Tabasco


Blend all ingredients in a food processor.


OMG! Delish!


So, go ahead and have a luscious green landscape AND a sustainable landscape! Eat gourmet and justify that water bill! See you next month! I'll be typing up tips on limiting pest damage to your lawn over the winter season while snacking on homemade Pico de Gallo from my front yard. Nice!


Awesome Pico de Gallo

2 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, chopped

2 limes, juiced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

salt and pepper to taste


Mix in a bowl and serve. Told you they were simple recipes!

 

Container Gardens...Accessories For Your Landscape!

Posted by Diana Hartman on July 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Container gardens are the quick and easy fix for those of us that don't have enough time or tend to change our minds often. Actually, container gardens are the answer for any landscape! Can't make up your mind regarding the look you want...they're easily changed. Think of container gardens as throw pillows and change them out yearly or even with the seasons! Don't have much room...they can be as small or as large as you choose. These work for apartments or large, expansive landscapes! You can use one pot that you love or several styles that work together to create a collage of beautiful greenery.


 

 

 

 


Create a container garden with purpose! Are you desiring a focal point with ornamental grasses and flowers? Would you prefer a low maintenance succulent garden to add to your deck? How about a collection of herbs? ...a salad garden with lettuce and tomatoes? ...a plethora of decorative containers with all of the makings for salsa right out your front door? Peppers, cilantro, tomatoes and cabbage go together to create a gorgeous edible arrangement! Another thought...what about planting a large mobile container with tall grasses or smaller bushes to create a privacy screen?



 


So, how to get started...


First, decide on your purpose for your container garden. Once you have chosen to plant for edibles, privacy and/or to add pizzazz to your landscape, you may begin to choose your plants. This is my favorite part! Take your time choosing the plants that you will enjoy most and that will accomplish your goal of creating color, privacy or great fruit and veggies!


 

 



Choosing a pot is not as easy as it may sound. They are so many styles, colors and materials from which to choose that it may become overwhelming. I suggest taking a picture of the area that you would like to place the pot(s) with you when you go shopping. Be creative with colors, textures, and sizes! Would you like a collection of concrete pots in different shapes and designs. These would work well to show off striking greenery or bright ornamentals. If you are planting edibles, they would look wonderful in containers made of reclaimed and/or recycled materials. If you would like to add a focal point or more color to your landscape, choose several bright colored clay containers.


As I always say, have fun and be creative with your creations! There is less commitment when you are designing container gardens. Want to change your landscape...just change your container gardens! Simple, quick and easy!


Container gardens are the throw pillows of your landscape! Accessorize!

 

Men, Let's Think Outside the Garden Box...What Do You REALLY Want Out of Your Yard?

Posted by Diana Hartman on June 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This blog is for all the men out there that would like to create something special in their landscape especially for themselves.  A place created for a man to relax and enjoy the way he wishes.  I was perusing www.houzz.com the other day, a great website to search for home and landscape ideas, and noticed there are many "man cave" ideas, but nothing came up when I searched for "man yard" ideas.  Hmmmm...


I sent out the following request for ideas, "What does a man want out of his yard?  If he could design it for himself, what would he create?  Have fun with it!"


Thank you to all who responded!  I was overwhelmed with exceptional ideas reflecting the following mindset.  Someplace to have fun, relax and practice hobbies.


Go for it!  I will share a gallery of ideas with you and I say go for it!  Who says you need the cookie cutter yard of your neighbors!  Create the yard that they will envy instead!  ...and the yard that you will enjoy most!


 


A perfectly manicured lawn, cut short and made into a chipping and putting area.

An outdoor pizza oven with a pizza garden nearby; basil, garlic, onions, peppers, tomates...yeah!

A garden shed...nope!  Open the barn style doors and reveal a pool table.  A man's dream realized!

A bar, of course!  How about a beer garden to accompany with your own hops, barley and brewing herbs?

A lazy hammock in which to relax and get away.


A place to waste away some time throwing horseshoes.


These are only a few of the ideas I received...don't limit yourself!  Build a firepit, install the barbecue of your dreams, create a small frisbee golf course or hang a slackline!  Enjoy your creation and remember to keep it low maintenance if you can.  More great ideas???  Please share!


They Go Together Like Peas and Carrots...Which Edibles Are BFFs? Create Synergy In Your Garden!

Posted by Diana Hartman on May 29, 2014 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

So, Phil, my husband, and I are very different in many ways and I asked my sister what word came to mind when she thought of our relationship. She's much better with words than I and has a naturally talented poetic way of writing. Very quickly she throws out the word "synergy." I run to look up the exact meaning of this word "synergy," as all I know right off hand is that I love the organic clothing company named "Synergy" and would highly recommend it! Anyway, the definition of synergy: the interaction of multiple elements in a system to produce an effect different from or greater than the sum of their individual effects. The term synergy comes from the Greek word synergia from synergos, meaning "working together." Basically, two very different beings working in a complimentary fashion to create a "greater whole being." Love it!


Why am I telling you this? This sort of symbiotic relationship is found in nature with animals, organisms and plants. Let's think how we can apply "synergy" in our gardening! Synergy among plants! By planting complimentary plants near each other and allowing natural symbiotic relationships to occur, we create a "GREATER GARDEN"...a naturally sustainable edible landscape! This is a proven technique titled "Companion Planting."

 

          

These companions go well together in the garden...cukes and lettuce...onions and garlic...tomatoes and basil...friends and sisters and brothers!


Utilizing the technique of companion planting gives us many benefits:


  • provides natural pest control. An example is using Nasturtiums to attract the caterpillars which feed on members of the cabbage family. Plant them near your brassicas to protect them from the pests.

 

  • aids pollination. Marigolds attract nectar-feeding pollinators as well as deter the aphids from feeding on neighboring crops.

 

  • provides habitat for beneficial creatures. Carrots, dill, parsley and parsnip attract and provide habitat for praying mantises, ladybugs and spiders that dine on insect pests.

 

  • maximizes use of space in the garden. You can pack plants that help each other closer together. For example, leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grow well in the shadow of corn. This is referred to as square foot gardening.

 

  • increases crop productivity. If your goal is organic gardening, utilizing companion planting will help prevent problems and increase productivity without using synthetic means of fertilizing, weed reduction and pest control.

 

By taking advantage of our knowledge regarding companion planting and putting this knowledge to use, we are imitating the diversity of a natural ecosystem and are therefore putting into action a sustainable form of gardening.


Be sure to be aware of incompatible plants, as well. For example, although garlic and onions repel a variety of pests and make excellent companions for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted when planted as neighbors.


Sounds complicated, doesn't it? As I began to map out how I would seed and plant my edible landscape this Memorial Day weekend, I came across several useful websites and charts. I will provide you with the links to these and at-a-glance you will be able to see which edibles are friends and which are foes!


Find great information at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants


There are many charts on Pinterest and other sites, but a fairly simple one to read is at:  http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/companion-planting.html


Here is one more for those that want a colorful visual chart:


found at:  http://www.thekitchenpantry.net/2014/growing-vegetables-summer/


One of the keys to successful companion planting is experience and observation. Be sure to write down what works from year to year and share this with your own gardening companions! Companionship is important for gardeners and gardens!




So go have fun and plant in a way that creates Synergy in your garden!


References:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/companion-planting-guide-zmaz81mjzraw.aspx#axzz32fTcTEF7

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Companion_planting

http://www.almanac.com/content/plant-companions-friend-or-foe

 


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