Garden Update – Part 4

Garden Update – Part 4

New Addition

As Spring rolls into the heat of summer, I wanted to continue sharing garden progress. We added new gates to our garden arch. We have to use something at the arch to keep the chickens (which we love to have free ranging because they give us delicious eggs) out of the garden.  I LOVE the look of my new gate doors! garden gate 10









New summer colors are starting to bloom.  My crepe myrtle bushes are just starting to give me new pink color! crepe myrtle

Garden Guests

These gates may help with chickens, but I found other unexpected guests in the garden and wanted to share them with you.  Every time I walked through the garden arch I noticed a beautiful cardinal flying out from the roses that trail over the arch.  I looked a little closer and found a nest just at eye level with sweet little babies!  What a treat to see!  baby cardinals in roses

I have a small two tiered raised bed in the garden and I couldn’t figure out why the sage continued to turn yellow even though I was watering regularly.  One day as I was watering I decided to really drench that particular plant.  I heard little squeaking noises and watched as two little baby bunnies came crawling out from under the sage plant I was trying to save.  They were so cute, I had to leave them and let the sage go.  As the days went on, mommy rabbit showed herself more and more and became so bold as to stay very close to me and watch as I watered.  She never seemed to do any damage eating any plants.  The bunnies must have grown enough to be independent because mommy rabbit has moved them to a less busy location.  My sage plant did survive. baby bunnies in garden

Growing Fishes

The tilapia and the aquaponic system continue doing well.  As the fish get bigger, I was having a more difficult time keeping the tank clean.  Through some trial and error techniques, I think we have found a nice balance and it seems to be working well for now.  tilapia 1

Early Harvest

Due to the higher temperatures and some increased bug issues, I had to harvest all the potatoes and kale.  The potatoes were planted rather quickly in the large black tubs.  The goal was to try to transplant them later so they were planted pretty shallow, so I couldn’t add more dirt on top as they grew.  At first they exploded with big wonderful leaves and looked very healthy.  As the temperatures grew hotter (and I’m sure the black color didn’t help), the stems and leaves began dying quickly.  This was my first attempt at potatoes and I planted purples, red and Yukon.  We harvested a little over ten pounds and they have been very tasty.  Next year they will go in the u-shaped large raised bed and we will add dirt as they grow.  potatoe harvest 1

My kale was lush, large and incredible.  Bugs started stripping the leaves, and I didn’t want to spray it with any chemicals, so I decided it was time to harvest all of it.  I started all the kale from seeds with several varieties.  My favorite has been a purple kale.  After harvesting and washing all leaves, I took scissors and cut out all the large veins.  I placed all the kale in large freezer bags.  After it is frozen, I crunch up the kale in the bags so it takes up less space.  I use it in eggs, smoothies, meatloaf, sauces and soups.  I did save some to each fresh in salads.

I replaced the kale with lavender for now.  I plan to replant kale in the greenhouse to start all over again. kale harvest

The u-shape has some of the lavender, and the sweet potatoes and beets are doing great so far! ushapedgarden

Group Blessings

The name of our farm location is South Grand Farms because the South Grand river borders our property.  Technically I am WellStone Gardens at South Grand Farms.  You have seen posts on events here like the ladybug and butterfly release for kids (you can see photos under Kids Korner).  This past weekend we had a wonderful group of young adults come and stay.  The lightning bugs presented a magical display in the woods on Friday night.  We were awestruck!!  It was a total blessing having them here!

I hope your summer is blessed and remember – keep growing!!

Spinach Walnut Blueberry Salad

Spinach Walnut Blueberry Salad

This recipe is one of those wonderful reminders that eating healthy can be fast, easy and delicious! One year at a church picnic here I realized we needed more side dishes in a hurry.  I went up to the house and quickly threw  together two large bowls of this salad to serve quickly.  Enjoy!

Spinach Walnut Blueberry Salad
I love to eat all kinds of salads. This one is a family (and large group) favorite.
Course: Side Dish
  • 6 cups organic spinach
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup raw chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (optional)
  1. Wash spinach well; drain.
  2. Place spinach in large bowl and cut into smaller pieces with scissors or kitchen shears.
  3. Add blueberries and walnuts.
  4. Mix coconut aminos and avocado oil together and pour over salad.


Mel’s Italian Sauce with Zoodles

Mel’s Italian Sauce with Zoodles

A paleo approach to cooking and meal planning can offer some fun and nutritious substitutes to old time favorites.  One of these wonderful substitutes for pasta noodles is zoodles.  These are just zucchini cut into noodle-like spirals and served raw with your favorite Italian sauce and meat.  These are faster and easier to make than regular pasta as well as being naturally gluten-free and a great way to incorporate more nutritious veggies into your diet.   zoodle 1zoodle 4

Mel's Italian Sauce with Zoodles
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Recipes
  • 3 – 4 Zucchini cut into spirals (I use Paderno Tri-Blade vegetable slicer)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (optional)
  • 2 tsp. fine ground Celtic salt
  • 2 24 oz. jars Italian sauce (I like butternut squash sauce from Costco)
  • 1 lb. Italian chicken sausage cut into slices (I like Coleman’s)
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion diced (optional)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil and/or parsley (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp. Trader Joe’s 21 salute seasoning
  1. Spiral cut zucchini and place in large bowl.
  2. Mix with olive oil and dried Italian seasoning or salt and set aside.
  3. Sauté onion and mushroom.
  4. Add sliced chicken sausage and garlic and heat through.
  5. Add sauce, vinegar, aminos, seasoning and fresh herbs.
  6. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
  7. Place desired amount of zoodles on each plate and spoon sauce on top.


The Garden of Our Gut – Part 4

The Garden of Our Gut – Part 4

When exploring the “garden” of our gut in previous blog posts we have brought information about kombucha to the table.  In these posts, we have given additional resources that have given both the pros and cons of consuming kombucha.  Due to a widespread and growing support of both commercially produced kombucha and home brew recipes we are seeing a few posts that are more negative, listing that kombucha “is not a cure-all for everything from cancer to diabetes”, and I totally agree.  So I started doing more research and I wanted to list more resources for others to look at.          kombucha

natural news

get kombucha

kombucha benefits

wellness mama

This last one, from kombucha kamp gave a quote that I agree with.

“However, Kombucha is NOT a panacea – it doesn’t cure ANYTHING! It may help the body bring itself back into balance naturally. That is how it is able to do so much – because it’s really just your body working with nutrition, like any other food. Even though some think of it as a medicinal tonic, it’s really just a delicious and healthy beverage choice and one of many fermented food options. We love it because it’s easy to drink at any time of day and takes to flavoring and many other uses so well. Plus, making Kombucha is just fun!”

Why I Drink Kombucha

So why do I drink kombucha?  I do believe that a healthy gut biome can positively impact our overall health, including improving our own process of fighting sickness and disease.  I do believe that fermented foods are a wonderful way to improve gut health.  Here are a couple of resources that validate that premise.

benefits of fermented foods

gut health and fermented foods

I enjoy drinking kombucha and believe it is an easy way (and often more cost effective) to continually replenish good probiotics into my system.  It is refreshing and helps balance pH in my system, comparable to the benefits of drinking diluted bragg’s apple cider vinegar.  I can make my own and experiment with a variety of flavors.  When making my own, I know the date it was made and can try a multitude of tea combinations.

Garden Uses

Then I remembered hearing in person, and reading posts about how garden plants thrive when introducing leftover scoby’s to your garden.  I always have an abundance of extra scoby’s as well as kefir grains, so I chopped up some scoby’s and added extra kefir grain and took them out to my composting barrel to see for myself how they may help my plants.  Today I found more articles of how to use them in my garden and even how my worms will love them!

Garden Use Resources:

scoby’s balance garden pH

This info came from kombucha kamp under other scoby uses  as well:


garden scoby's

How Does Your Garden Grow?

  • Many plants thrive in more acidic soil environments.  Grind up or coarsely chop a SCOBY and add it to your soil mix.
  • Adding extra SCOBYs to the compost pile is a great way to return the culture to the earth.  I throw them in my worm bin and boy, do I have a lot of happy worms! =)  I use the worm tea to nourish my garden.

Why This Works

So my reasoning process is – if the scoby’s are beneficial for my plants, worms and soil in improving pH and nutrient absorption, I can benefit from ingesting this time tested fermented drink as well.  Ultimately each person needs to decide for themselves.  Many others who have used kombucha much longer than I, simple suggest trying it for yourself and see what you think.  I love researching this process and the history behind it.  I also enjoy the other information on totally different health issues I come across in my search. (This week I totally went down a Magnesium rabbit trail.  So fun!)  I would like to encourage others to search out all available options for your own specific health concerns.  If at all possible, I prefer whole food sources as health options whenever I can.  Explore the research as well as talk with your own medical professional (This week my medical professional shared with me about arnica montana as a homeopathic aid with inflammation. I always love learning).  Learn much and grow your garden well!

garden u-shape update 1

Asparagus Sauté

Asparagus Sauté

Fresh asparagus is one of our favorite side dishes.  I also enjoy cutting it into smaller pieces and adding it to omelets in the morning.  I understand that roasting is the most common way to find this recipe (in addition to grilling), but I find it just as easy, if not easier, just to sauté it in a skillet.  This is so very easy to make, I was reluctant to list it in recipe form, but was convinced otherwise by a dear friend. Enjoy!

Asparagus Sauté
Fast and delicious! We never have leftovers!
Course: Side Dish
  • 1 – 2 pounds of asparagus (ends trimmed; I prefer thin stalks)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. 21 salute seasoning (Trader Joe’s)
  • Sea salt to taste (I like fine ground Pink Himalayan or Celtic salt for added minerals)
  1. Heat oil on medium heat in large skillet.
  2. Add asparagus in single layer in skillet.
  3. Season with salt and 21 salute seasoning.
  4. Stir until lightly browned, yet tender crisp.
  5. Remove from heat and serve.