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Start a garden

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN STARTING AN URBAN GARDEN

 

It’s planting season in Phoenix!  Do you know what to plant?  Where to plant?  How to plant?

There are so many questions when it comes to starting your urban garden – or as I like to call it – your medicine cabinet and grocery store.  And you will read all sorts of articles telling you dozens of things you need to do to be successful.  But it really doesn’t have to be that hard or expensive… especially if you know the basics.

So we came up with our top things you need to know when starting your urban garden:

  1. RESEARCH – This includes looking at a planting calendar to know what to plant in your area. And once you figure out what grows when, choose things you really will use.  Research images of what the plant will look like in your garden, how much space the plant needs, best temperatures for germination, etc.  Seed packets will give you the basics.  Don’t limit your research only to online searches.  Social media gardening groups are awesome and local nurseries can be extremely helpful.
  2. START SMALL – Doing too much gets discouraging and causes many of us to quit. Gardening doesn’t have to be hard.  4×4 is a perfect starting point for a garden and so easy to build a garden bed yourself.  Home improvement stores will cut your wood to your specified size and you can use blocks to simply place the wood slabs inside.  It’s a simple process, especially if you want to avoid cutting and drilling, etc.
  3. PREPARE YOUR BED – Grass and weeds can be one of your biggest enemies. We put cardboard at the bottom of our beds to help stop the grass.  We also have a lot of gophers in the area so we also put chicken wire at the bottom.  Fill your bed with soil… add compost…. Soil and water are the basics that will help your garden thrive or die.
  4. SAVE MONEY ON SEEDS—1st garden will be most expensive but should be the only time you have to spend money buying all of your seeds because you can save them each season.

There are lots of seed banks at libraries and other local places that may offer free seeds. 

All seeds are NOT created equal, so look for GMO Free, heirloom, open-pollinated seeds so that you can continue to save the seeds each season. 

  1. GROW WHAT YOU’LL USE – Whether it’s food or medicine, if you’re watering it, you want to use it. If you won’t eat brussel sprouts, don’t plant brussel sprouts.  Can’t sleep?  Plant chamomile for tea.  Got a cut?  Plant aloe. You’d be surprised at how many natural remedies you’ll find in your garden (ADD NATURAL REMEDIES  LINK)
  2. CREATE MICROCLIMATES AND KEEP IT ORGANIC – Planting all of the same families in the same bed means they’re all competing for the same nutrients and attracting all of the same bugs. So mix things up.  That will also create a cooler environment and help keep your garden naturally organic , especially if you consider companion planting.  
  3. PUT WATER ON A TIMER—one of biggest things to kill gardens is water so you don’t want to have to constantly think about if you’re over or under watering. Set a timer for your water —- regardless of the type of sprinkling system you choose.

OLLAS are another option for watering… my favorite because it takes guesswork out of watering. 

  1. FEED YOUR GARDEN—we fertilize about every 2 weeks with homemade worm tea, compost mix, etc. Again, don’t freak out if you’re not composting, you can buy fertilizers when you’re first starting – ONE THING AT A TIME.  Again garden groups are great for where to buy what, where to find sales, tricks of the trade, etc.
  2. BE PATIENT, STAY POSTIVE AND ENJOY THE RIDE—Everything will NOT grow and some things will look great one day and be falling over the next. It’s about trial and error, learning your soil, your garden.  Trust me, the rewards make it all worth it.  The flavor of the food is richer, you know exactly what you’re getting, you’re saving money, lowering your carbon footprint, growing your own meds… the benefits just keep coming.
  3. TREAT YOUR GARDEN LIKE YOUR FAMILY – If you’re thirsty, you need water. So do your plants.

If you’re cold, you may need a blanket.  If you’re hot, you may want shade. Same with your plants. I talk to my plants, sing to them… not sure if that makes them happy.  The peace of being in the garden in priceless, so spend time in nature, learn your garden (family) and mother nature will do the rest.

 

We have all sorts of DIY videos helping you throughout your journey.   Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions because we are all in this together.  It’s a lifestyle that keeps on giving.

Garden Health

Jiaogulan

How Jiaogulan can extend your life

I truly believe there is a natural remedy that can help almost any ailment… 

And it can be as simple as a free cup of tea.

Some of my daily ingredients are known for their miracle like abilities including moringa and hibiscus.

Another favorite is Jiaogulan… also known as the Immortality Herb… and for good reason.

When used regularly, tea from the immortality herb is believed to promote a long, healthy, disease-free life – it’s a supreme antioxidant, helps maintain blood pressure, boost energy levels, reduces bad cholesterol and enhances blood circulation… among other things.

Knowing all of that… doesn’t it make sense to add it to your daily routine?

I add Jiaogulan to my tea every day.

So for herbs this good, doesn’t it makes sense to grow them?

 We grow Jiaogulan indoor so that we can have it year round.

And it’s pretty simple to grow.

We started our plant off under a grow light for about 12 hours per day and it just took off.

The care process has been pretty simple because we haven’t had to play the guessing game with water.  Wouldn’t it be nice if your plants could talk… and you could actually understand what they were saying?

We used this Blumat watering system.

And the best part about it is the plants tell you when they’re thirsty, making it hard to over or under water them.

That in itself conserves water, a huge plus here in phoenix.

Did you know on average we get less than eight inches of rain per year? And that number is dropping.

Here’s how it works…

The system is built around clay cones called carrots.  They are stand-alone sensors that monitor the moisture in the soil and roots.

Each carrot regulates when water is released.

When the plant gets thirsty, the drippers slowly release water.  So every plant is individually watered.

What’s nice is we don’t have to use any electricity… it’s a gravity fed system, we simply have to make sure the reservoir stays full.  (We used a 5 gallon bucket for our reservoir.) 

We’ve left the system for more than four days and our five gallon reservoir still had water left when we returned, so this system definitely helped make the process more convenient – it gave us some flexibility.

Besides watering… we fertilize the plant every two weeks and that’s really it.

And since the plant is indoor we can add fresh Jiaogulan to our tea year round… just one way to grow your meds.

Whether you have a stomach ache, a cough or you just can’t sleep… look to natural remedies for some relief.

Garden Health

Dandelion

Are dandelions the new healthy coffee substitute?

 

Dandelions aren’t just pretty to look at, they’re an incredible medicinal plant and play a huge part in our ecosystems. They are also incredibly nutritious… and I don’t mean just nutritious for a flower.  Dandelions are more nutritious than most of the vegetables found in your fridge or garden. They’re packed with vitamins A,C, and it’s a powerhouse of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Even more, the pretty yellow flowers can practically grow anywhere, which is one reason why it’s known to some as weeds. It’s a weedy perennial that will continue to grow annually and will take over your yard if you let it.

 

Before we get into more benefits, let me give you a little background on how the plant has sunk its roots deep into history.

The official name is Taraxacum officinale but they’re commonly known as dandelions. 

It’s not a coincidence that “lions” is in the name of the flower.  They were actually named after lions because their lion-toothed-leaves are believed to heal so many ailments, big or small, including dandruff, baldness, sores, fevers, stress, depression and the list goes on.

 

Dandelions were highly prized to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and were also used in Chinese traditional medicine for hundreds of years. The Native Americans used the plant as a source of food and medicine.

 

 

MORE MEDICINAL BENEFITS

One of the biggest benefits is that you can use the entire plant… leaves, stem, flower and root for medicinal purposes.

 

  • The leaves of the plant acts as a diuretic, also known as “water pills”. They work by increasing the volume of urine that you produce and altering your body’s electrolyte or body salt compositions. Bottom-line, they are supposed to help you urinate more because they rid the body of excess fluid volume.  Diuretics are also used to treat blood pressure, liver disease, heart failure, and different types of kidney diseases.

 

  • Dandelions are also high in antioxidants – the roots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant known to help protect cells from damage. The flowers of the plant is also full of another type of antioxidant called polyphenols.

 

  • Scientists also say dandelions contain bioactive compound, which they believe may help lower your cholesterol.

 

  • Dandelions are also known to be a mild sedative and consequently can have a very calming impact on the mind and body.

 

  • Dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems and today is it’s believed to help detoxify the liver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO USE IT

 

Make tea! You can make tea using the flowers, leaf and root – just make sure if you picked it from someone’s yard, that it hasn’t been treated with chemicals.

If using the flowers and leaves… just wash a handful, boil some water and then let the dandelions steep for about 10 minutes. This version tends to be a little lighter and sweeter than a dandelion root tea.

 

 

Drink it as a coffee substitute! Thanks to its bitter, rich, coffee-like taste, the root of the dandelions makes for the perfect caffeine-free morning drink.  Roast the roots to a dark brown color, steep it, strain it and ENJOY.  Many call this option Dandelion coffee or Dandelion root tea.

 

For the root tea, the process is much longer (up to 3 hours of roasting) but the tea is more potent –you’ll want to chop it into small pieces, after you wash them of course.  Then heat it in the oven for about two hours before steeping 2 teaspoons in hot water for about 10 minutes.

 

You’ll still get benefits if you make a quicker tea using the roots – just chop them, then cover the roots with boiling water for a few minutes.  Next just strain it and voila – instant dandelion tea.

 

Add it to your meals! You can also add the leaves and flowers to your salads and other meals—cooked or raw.

Some people even use the flowers to make wine! (Let me know if you try this oneJ)

 

 

HOW TO GROW

Now that you know how to use it, it makes sense to grow it… considering it’s so easy to grow that it’s considered a weed.  Chances are you see it all the time on the side of the road, not knowing that you’re looking at a nutritional powerhouse.

But growing it yourself ensures there aren’t any harmful chemicals in your “weeds”.

It’s also beneficial to grow near other plants because their pretty flowers attract lots of beneficial insects!

Dandelions can grow almost anywhere.  They can grow with poor soil conditions and can even withstand frost and freezes.

But ideally, the plants like fertile soil and full sun, although they will survive fine in partial shade and some say the leaves taste better with part shade.

Take the Dandelions seeds and press them directly into your soil, ¼ inch deep or just sprinkle them on the soil surface, anytime from early spring to late summer (soil temperature should be at least 50 degrees).  Be sure to cover the seeds lightly because they need a little light to germinate.  Plant them about six inches apart and they should sprout within 10 days.

Be sure to keep the seeds moist until they germinate.

 

They bloom in the spring and fall, so plan to keep them around because they continue to reseed themselves.

 

If you’re more interested in the roots than the flowers, start harvesting the flowers before they produce seeds to get larger roots. Preventing the flowers from going to seed will also give you more control to keep the plant from spreading all over into weeds.

Also keep in mind, although the plant will survive, insufficient moisture and heat will cause the leaves to taste bitter.

 

 

 

FUN FACT

Dandelions aren’t just great for us, they are a good source of food for birds and bees.

 

 

 

We have an entire page of natural remedies. If you have natural remedies you choose, please share them — it takes a community!

DIY Garden Health

Zucchini boats

How to make zucchini boats using ingredients you already have!

Got zucchini? We’re making stuffed zucchini boats and if you have the zucchini, you really shouldn’t have to leave home for ingredients!  You can really use your leftovers to stuff them — hence cleaning out the fridge and bringing you closer to zero waste.  It’s a win-win!

So we will make the recipe according to what I had in the garden and in my fridge….

One ingredient that isn’t flexible is your zucchini… you’ll need large ones to use as your shell.

Trim the ends of the zucchini, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out your seeds and pulp.  Don’t toss it… you can use the pulp and seeds as one of the ingredients.  I save my seeds for planting and I share them on our Etsy site

Back to the ingredients… again use what you have.  I grabbed onions, bell peppers and more zucchini from the garden and chopped it all up before adding it to a skillet.  This is where you would add your zucchini seeds and pulp.  Cook the ingredients for about five minutes.

Next you’ll spoon everything into your zucchini boat.

I started with tomato sauce, then black rice, cooked veggies and topped it all off with vegan cheese.

Let it cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Garnish it with fresh veggies and you’re done… Looks and tastes so yummy and you can make it as healthy or decadent as you want.

Let us know if you make it and if so, what ingredients you use! 

RECIPE DETAILS

Ingredients (Flexible)

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • ½ cups shredded cheese
  • Other ideas – mushroom, rice, beans, spinach

Directions

  • Trim the ends off zucchini. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and pulp.  Save the pulp/seeds for the meal, or save the seeds for planting.
  • Add ingredients to a skillet…  I used onions, bell peppers, and sliced zucchini.  Cook for about five minutes
  • Spoon everything into your boat, I started with tomato or spaghetti sauce, then added some leftover black rice, then my stir-fried ingredients and topped off with vegan cheese. 
  • Place in a greased 13×9-in. baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 350° until zucchini is tender, about 30 minutes.
  • When finished, add fresh garnish.  I used onion and society garlic chives from the garden.  DELISH!

 

Garden Health Household

PEPPERMINT

How to use peppermint for health

 

Peppermint isn’t just a classic holiday flavor – there are so many benefits to peppermint that I was shocked to find out! Most of us see peppermint flavored snacks and treats everywhere – gum, candy canes, peppermint bark, peppermint mochas, and so many more mint items! But nothing beats fresh, authentic peppermint. Let’s break it down. 

 

Peppermint is in the mint family and is actually the result of a cross between watermint and spearmint. Peppermint is indigenous to the Middle East and Europe, but is now grown all over the world because of its popularity. It has even been used for thousands of years in homeopathic medicine as well as to garnish and flavor food. In fact, peppermint itself contains menthol and limonene, which are natural essential oils. (They are to thank for mint’s cooling and refreshing taste and scent!) Peppermint’s properties are what makes this little green, leafy perennial herb so powerful.

 

If you struggle with gas, bloating, indigestion, or frequent stomach aches, peppermint is for you! Studies conducted with animals have shown that peppermint extract can relax the muscles in the digestive system from contracting, which causes gastric pain and gas. Another study was done on humans with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) who saw symptom relief from taking peppermint oil capsules more so than patients who received a placebo. In both of these cases, enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules were given to the patients because they allow the oil to pass through the stomach so it can later be dissolved in the intestines, where it really gets to work! Try to stay away from non-enteric tablets of peppermint oil, because some people have experienced heartburn and nausea after taking them, likely because the tablets dissolved in the stomach before reaching the intestines. While very little research has been done on tea, scientists say that peppermint tea should have similar effects on the body.

 

But that’s not all!

 

Feeling sick? Well, peppermint can help with that too. Having clogged sinuses and a sore throat are no fun, especially this time of year. Peppermint actually has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help clear your sinuses and relieve inflammation due to infection. The menthol in warm peppermint tea will soothe your scratchy throat and ease coughing. So, drink some peppermint tea when you have a cold or flu for less throat irritation and clearer nasal passages. Plus, it’s caffeine free so you can get better rest!

 

HOW TO GROW IT

Now that you know the benefits of peppermint, you need to know how to grow it! Peppermint is an adaptable plant, but will grow best in a cool, moist climate. It is best suited with partial or full sunlight, but if it is above 85 degrees where your peppermint is growing, you will need to make sure to shade it for up to 2-3 hours. Peppermint also needs a lot of water to keep itself and the soil moist. Keep in mind, peppermint does have a tendency to spread and take over, which is great for me because I like to dry the leaves so I have it all year long for tea.  But if you want a little more control, it may be best to plant in a small pot or contained area. 

To grow peppermint from the seed, lightly press the seeds into moist soil (spaced 18-24 inches apart if growing multiple bundles). Typically, the seedlings will emerge within 7-20 days. Happy planting!

 

Let us know if you use peppermint & stay healthy!

 

Don’t forget, we have an entire page of natural remedies to treat all sort of ailments.

 

Garden Health

BLACK EYED PEAS

How to Grow Black-Eyed Cowpeas

Black-Eyed Cowpeas, also known as a “Southern Field Pea” or “Crowder Pea are one of my favorite legumes to grow because you get sooooo many and there are multiple ways to eat them.

One way is to let the beans dry and cook them… your traditional black-eyed peas.   For this method it’ll take anywhere between 80 – 100 days til harvesting time… and you have options; You can let the pods stay on the plant until they are brown and dry, or you can pull the plants and hang them to dry.  Either way, I usually leave a few plants in the garden beds to dry so that I have an abundance of seeds for planting and sharing.

If you choose to dry them for cooking that traditional black-eyed peas dish, you will simply remove the beans from the pods (shell them), and you’re ready!  I don’t do anything special with cleaning… but I do soak all of my beans for at least 6 hours before cooking them.

 You can also pick the pods while they are green, like a snap pea,  as soon as they are well-filled out with seeds, about 70 days after planting.  For this method, I chop the pods and add onions, bell peppers and whatever else I have in the garden.  So you can really get creative.

The pods are 6″ to 8″ long  and can have up to 15 peas on each one.  That’s a lot of beans! And the vines are resistant to wilt and nematodes. They are cream or tannish-colored with a small black spot. They love heat and are a great source of fiber and protein.

So how do you plant them?

I plant my seeds directly into my garden beds with lots of compost.  But many experts suggest you first soak the seeds for up to 12 hours.  The idea is that since the seeds like a lot of moisture in order to germinate, this will speed up the process because they will already be soft and moist. Then plant them directly in the soil, after your last chance of frost (ideally above 70 degrees.  You don’t need to plant them deep, about an inch into the soil.  They are heavy yielders, so give them some space.  I plant the seeds about three inches apart and I space the rows about two feet apart.   Also it’s best to give them some support, like trellises.  It helps keep the plants off the ground, which gives them more circulation and it should minimize disease.  It also makes it easier to harvest.

As for when you will see your babies popping out of the soil… My experience has been within a week, but other gardeners say 7-14 days.  So be patient.

20+ seeds for $5

All of our seeds are GMO-FREE, open-pollinated and untreated.

Garden Health

Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers – Why all the hype?

Some of my favorite things in the GreenDesert garden are shishito peppers!  I tasted them years ago in a restaurant and I was hooked! They were blistered, had a sweet and smoky flavor and were snack sized, making it too easy to eatJ I had to have more!  The problem was I couldn’t find them in most restaurants or even grocery stores.  So of course I had to grow them… for so many reasons.

But before I share how easy they are to grow, let’s talk about what all the hype is about.

Shishito pepperes are a Japanese heirloom pepper variety.  I can’t write enough about how addicting they are, and extremely easy to make.  But if you eat enough of them, you’re bound to run across a hot one.  The rule of thumb is one in every ten of the peppers will be spicy… except if you eat them with me; For some reason I seem to get all of the hot ones while my family enjoy the rest, and I am still addicted to the peppers!  It’s not like you can look at them to tell which are spicy.  And although some people say the spice isn’t really hot, that has not been my experience, so be prepared.  The hot peppers that I experienced have been really hot, hot enough to make my nose run and my eyes burn.  Granted, I am not a huge fan of spicy… so perhaps my extreme spice is mild to others.  But again, in general, they are not hot. It’s like a sweet, smoky bell pepper.

 

HOW TO EAT THEM

And you can eat them so many ways.  I add them diced and raw to my salads, eggs, even sandwiches.  But they can be one of your simplest, healthy snacks to make.  You really don’t need much prep because you can eat the entire pepper — seeds, stems and all.  I like to coat them in avocado or olive oil, throw them in a pan, and let them brown and blister.  Sprinkle with a little salt and you’re done.  I often add a little lemon and/or some red wine vinegar to spice it up.  Or even stir-fry it with other veggies from the garden, like onions, garlic and bell peppers.

Obviously it was the flavor that first got my attention; it helps that the heirloom peppers have lots of health benefits including being high in vitamins A and C, fiber, potassium and folic acid.  They’re also loaded with antioxidants, among other benefits!

 

HOW TO GROW SHISHITO PEPPERS

  • First you want to choose a place in your garden that gets full sun for about 6 – 8 hours per day. You can grow shishito peppers directly in soil, pots or raised beds.
  • I’ve been successful planting our shishito peppers directly into my garden beds. But most experts suggest you start the seeds indoor 6 to 8 weeks before you transplant them to the garden.  Keep in mind, the seeds will germinate faster in warm soil so you can use a heat mat, put them on top of your fridge or whatever method you use to keep the soil warm.
  • Once the seeds have sprouted, which can take as little as a few days, you’ll want to move them to a sunny spot… but not yet outdoors. So you can use a windowsill that gets some sun, use grow lights, or again, whatever creative methods you choose.
  • Keep the soil moist, but not soaked.
  • Next, about a week before transplanting, you’re going to want to harden your plants, to get them ready for their new outdoor home. To harden them, just set them outside for a few hours per day.  Basically it gives the plants stress-free transition.
  • After about a week of hardening, your plants are ready for their big move! Remember, choose a spot that gets 6 to 8 hours of full sun per day.
  • As for harvesting, it varies. Usually they are harvested while they’re still green.  But you can leave them on the plant until they turn red too.  Either way, don’t ignore the abundance of peppers!  The more you pick, the more the plant will keep producing.  If you neglect her and the plant gets overloaded with peppers, that tells the plant to stop producing.

NEED SEEDS? We sell shishito pepper seeds, along with other medicinal sees on our Etsy site

Don’t forget, whatever ailment you have, I’m sure there are several natural remedies that can help!  We have an entire section of natural remedies on our page.

 

Garden

Should schools have gardens?

I had a fantastic start to my day – planting a school garden with the staff and students at Cheatham Elementary School in Laveen, AZ. It made me wonder why school gardens are not in every neighborhood!  We planted so many herbs and vegetables including lettuce, spinach, carrots, bok choi, swiss chard, kale, cilantro, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, even brussel sprouts.

It was so stimulating!  This was real life science, math, history, recess, even health.  Lots of the kids committed to trying new veggies we planted that they had not heard of and learned about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  They also learned how to garden without chemicals, we made our own trellis for our beans, it was priceless watching the kids talk to the plants.  One of the 2nd graders told the plants he loved them and would miss them over the weekend… it was definitely lots of awwwwwww moments.  And it was a great way to take a break from the computer to bond with Mother Nature.

In my opinion, or maybe it’s just my hope, that school gardens lead to home gardens which lead to more people making our environment a priority.  I think it will build stronger doctors and engineers because when we are connected to nature, we design with our environment in mind.  What do you think?

Back to the start of my day – one of the things that made it so pleasant was that the kids really wanted to learn… and they ranged from second grade to sixth grade.  They paid attention, they asked questions, they were respectful, they helped and taught each other; you could feel the joy, the positive energy throughout the garden. 

A large part of that addicting energy was due to the teachers who volunteered to help.  They were just as excited as the kids!  They were patient, fun and had no problem getting dirty.

None of this would have happened without the help of Arizona Worm Farm, who donated all of the compost for the garden beds.

Arcadia Colors Garden – not only did they donate seeds and plants, but they also gave us some great DIY ideas, including the trellis we made for our beans.

None of these volunteers and businesses hesitated because they were all passionate about growing and protecting their communities.  What a breath of fresh air!

The plan is to build gardens in schools all over the Valley.

There are lots of ways to help support GreenDesert.org so we can do more invigorating projects like this one:

For more information on how you can donate to the cause, go to https://greendesert.org/.

Garden

IT’S A MIRACLE WEED

You could have a miracle weed right under your feet. Purslane truly is a weed, but with its added benefits, you’ll be hooked to add this to your next recipe.

Purslane is a green, leafy vegetable that grows in many of our yards.  You can eat it raw or cooked.

“It’s a miracle plant,” said Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, president of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health in Washington, who discovered while working at the National Institutes of Health that the plant had the highest level of Omega-3 fatty acids of any other green plant.

Purslane contains about 93 percent water, filled with red stems and small, green leaves.

The benefits are endless…

  • Omega 3’s
  • Vitamins A, B, C, E
  • Beta Carotene
  • Calcium, Iron, Potassium

A little history… Purslane grows in many parts of the world, in very different settings. “Common purslane, Portulaca oleracea, is a highly variable, weedy plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae) with a wide distribution. Although it is likely native to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, it had reached North America by pre-Columbian times and was in Europe by the late 16th century” (University of Wisconsin-Madison.)

Fun fact… Purslane has 16 calories, and you can incorporate it into your next meal.

Simple Meals:

  • Purslane Salad
  • Purslane Chimichurri
  • Steamed Purslane

And my favorite… Purslane Pasta.

The recipe is below. There’s also a video showing you step-by-step. I like to use black rice noodles for the taste and superfood benefits!.

 PURSLANE PASTA WITH BLACK RICE NOODLES

This is one of the simplest recipes I own… and one of my favorites.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/8 cup garlic
  • ¼ cup onions
  • ¼ cup tomatoes
  • ¼ cup corn
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup purslane
  • Feta Cheese (optional)

How to Make It:

Add oil to the skillet. I like avocado oil, but use your favorite.  Add your garlic and stir for about a minute.  Add your onions, and again let it cook for about a minute.  Add your tomatoes and stir for about 30 seconds before adding your corn.  Let everything cook for about a minute.  Sprinkle salt and pepper, and then stir in your purslane.  In about a minute, you’re done!  Plate it, sprinkle feta cheese and dinner is served!

 

 
Garden

Ollas

Never over or under water again

Do you feel like no matter what you try… your plants keep dying? In many cases, the problem is water. So how do you know if you’re under or over watering your garden?

My solution – ollas.  They take the guesswork out of when and how much to water your plants.

Olla gardening is an ancient method of drip irrigation.

Ollas are unglazed clay pots designed to keep your plants hydrated, to conserve water, and basically keep your garden growing successfully. They give your plants the freedom they need to survive because the plants take exactly how much they need.

So how do they work? Basically terra cotta is porous…so once you fill the ollas with water, the water slowly seeps out of the walls of the pot, directly irrigating the roots around the pots.

The ollas have saved us time, money and they help leave less of a carbon footprint on our environment..

According to the United Nations, water is the “primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change” and water scarcity alone affects nearly half the global population.

That’s a huge concern… so every little bit counts.

We bought our ollas online, but I’ve also seen them at nurseries.

You can also daisy chain your ollas together to save you even more time.  We have a rainwater system hooked up to our ollas – I know we only get about 9 inches of annual rain in Phoenix… but again every little bit counts.  The rainwater we catch can waters our garden in the winter with no problems.