Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to Grow Daylilies On Your Balcony

Here is an article I found interesting from the 'Life On The Balcony' newsletter. I have always loved daylilies. how wonderful would it be to grow them on your deck or balcony! to be able to witness this beauty each day this summer season. amazing! I am planning on trying this myself. As always I would love to hear your feedback and ideas. - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)


by Fern on March 31, 2010

Post image for How to Grow Daylilies On Your Balcony

Photo by gcalsa

I used to hate daylilies. The only one I knew was ‘Stella de Oro’ and it is completely over used in Southern California. Pretty much every shopping center here has a landscape full of them. But lately I’ve taken a second look. As I spend more time around all the awesome gardeners blogging about these things, I see that there is a whole world of daylilies that I didn’t know about.

But how do you grow daylilies in pots? I admit that I am a total daylily novice, so I turned to Hugh Stout, an iris and daylily hybridizer and grower, the American Hemerocallis Society, and several university extensions to find out.

When Should You Plant Daylilies?

In the North, you should buy daylilies in the Spring and plant them after your last frost. This will help your plants establish roots before winter. If you live in zone 6 or colder, your daylily will most likely die back in winter. You can either overwinter the plant in a sheltered place, like your garage, or you can mulch the pot with a layer of straw in late Autumn. Some daylilies are more sensitive to cold temperatures than others, so ask a knowledgeable nursery person or fellow gardener about specific varieties that do well in your climate.

In the South, you can plant daylilies either in the Spring or Fall. But avoid planting them when temperatures are over 90F because high temperatures can lead to rotting. I know that in Southern California, daylilies have lush foliage that does not die back in the winter, though it does look a little ragged.

Where Should You Place a Daylily Pot?

Photo by Spring Hill Nursery

Daylilies will do best in full sun, however they will tolerate partial shade, though they may not flower as abundantly. A general rule of thumb is that the lighter colors (yellow, light pinks, peaches, etc) need full sun to bring out their best colors. Though the deeper colored flowers (reds and purples) will actually do better with a bit of shade during the afternoon.

What Type of Pot and Soil Should You Use?

Buy a high quality potting soil and organic compost. Amend the potting mix with the compost before planting. Daylilies like well drained, but moist soil that has good aeration and plenty of microbial activity. The compost will help improve the potting mix to provide an ideal situation for your plant. There are some potting soils that come pre-mixed with compost, if you have access to one of those, then it should be all that you need.

If your potting mix is having a hard time staying moist, Hugh recommends a product like “Soil Moist” or one of the similar polymer crystals that absorb water and release it back into the soil. Daylilies really need moist soil to produce the most/best quality blooms.

Choose a pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter and depth for smaller varieties, and 16 or 18 inches for larger varieties. It would probably be best to use a glazed pot or plastic, as terracotta dries out really quickly.

How to Plant a Daylily in a Container

If you purchase a daylily through the internet/mailorder (as I recently did) you’ll receive a plant that is bareroot. To pot it up, make a mound of soil in the center of the pot. Set the plant in place with the roots spread on all sides of the mound. Add more potting soil until the white part at the base of the foliage is covered. Make sure that the point where foliage and roots join is no more than 1 inch below the surface of the soil. Firm the soil and water well.

If you buy a daylily that is already potted in a gallon (or larger) nursery pot, then repot it in your desired container so that the daylily is slightly above the soil line of the pot.

Caring For Your Daylily

Make sure that the soil is always moist (as wet as a wrung out sponge) during the spring and summer, when your plant is making scapes (flower stalks) and actually flowering. Too little water during this period will reduce the amount of flowers your plant will produce. Make sure to water deeply (i.e. until you see water flowing out the bottom of the pot), and try not to get water on the leaves or crown of the plant. Covering the surface of the pot with mulch can help cut down on the frequency of watering by reducing evaporation.

If you plant your daylily in Spring, you don’t need to fertilize it that first spring because most potting soils come pre-mixed with a fertilizer. Fertilize your plant for the first time during summer, when it is flowering. Look for a fertilizer that has a lower first number (nitrogen) than the second two numbers (phosphorus and potash). The following year, fertilize your plant in Spring, as the plant is starting to put out new growth, and again in summer. Go easy on the fertilizer!

If you remove spent flowers, you’ll encourage reblooming and keep your plant looking nicer. Always remove dead, damaged, or diseased foliage as soon as you see it. If you see any pests on your daylily, consult this information from the American Hemerocallis Society.

Hugh’s Favorite Miniature Daylilies

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Stop Washing Money Down the Drain

The following article was borrowed from the 'Everyday Cheapskate' Newsletter by Mary Hunt. Here are some very clever tips..... enjoy - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

Consider for a moment how much money you spend to replace clothing, linens and bedding that are serviceable but hopelessly stained. Add up how much you spend at the dry cleaner each month. Shocked? This week's collection of reader-submitted tips just might help you keep a lot of money in your pocket.

COLOR CARE. When my colors get mixed up in the laundry and I accidentally dye a load because the color bled, I reverse it with Rit Dye Color Remover, available wherever Rit Dye is sold. It works every time, even on red! Lou, Florida

DOWN COMFORT. I finally got my nerve up to wash my feather quilt in the washing machine. It turned out beautifully! I washed it in warm water on the gentle cycle. Then, I fluffed it in the drier with three tennis balls. The balls bounce around and keep the comforter from getting all "bunched up." Eve H., e-mail

DRAIN BRAIN. Whenever I get a mesh bag like the one citrus fruit comes in, I cut it up and thread a string through the mesh. I attach it to my washer's outtake hose to catch the lint and other debris to prevent clogging the drain. It works just as well as those lint catchers that cost up to $2 each and have to be changed often. Diane S., Ohio

CATCHING COLORS. I keep the colors in my clothing from running with Color Catchers® from Shout®. They are like dryer sheets, and I use them all the time in my colored laundry. They absorb any dye that runs in the water so that it doesn't affect the other clothing in the load. Elaine K., Nebraska

SUDS SAVER. I make sure that I get every last drop of laundry detergent out of each bottle. After I have used as much detergent as possible, I get at least two or three more loads of suds by adding water to the container to rinse it out. Kim H., e-mail

WET CLEANING. The cost of dry cleaning my suits is breaking my budget. Recently, I experimented on an older suit. The label said "Dry Clean Only" but it also said the suit and the lining were 100 percent polyester. I pretreated the soil on the collar and put it in my washer on the gentle cycle with mild detergent. I put it in the dryer on low heat for a few minutes and then hung it up to dry. To my amazement, the suit came out nicer than it did after dry cleaning. I saved at least $15. Sally P., Ohio

STAIN MAVEN. I've removed serious stains of both red wine and olive oil from clothing with Lestoil, which is a household cleaner known for cutting grease. I pre-treat the tough stains by applying the Lestoil directly to the fabric (online at Amazon.com if you are unable to find it locally). Then, I wash the items as normal. I've always had success removing challenging stains with Lestoil. Sarina, e-mail

A healthy recipe that’s easy as pie

Another great recipe /article from 'Skinny in the City' Newsletter. if you were wondering what to do with all those Zucchini's from your garden? Here you go! last year a neighbor gave us a bunch of gorgeous veggies from their garden. We had more zucchini that we could grill. So this recipe would be a yummy option. Hope you enjoy this recipe & article. As always I would love to hear your feedback. - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

I just got back from a trip to Israel — and while my vacations usually consist of over-eating the local cuisine and going to bed stuffed, this one was a little different. In Israel, it’s customary to have a big lunch and a light dinner (which could be anything from an omelet, to some yogurt, to a light cheese sandwich). So on this trip, every night that my head hit the pillow, my stomach wasn’t uncomfortably full.

Israelites also eat a lot of vegetarian cuisine. For good reason — studies show not eating meat just one day a week can help lower your cholesterol and your weight.

So in honor of everything I learned on my latest vacation, here’s an easy, light vegetarian dinner you can make tonight. Serve with a colorful side salad.

Zucchini Pie


Serves:
8

Prep Time:
10 minutes
Cook Time:
1 hour

Ingredients:
* Nonstick cooking spray
* 4 teaspoons breadcrumbs**

* 5-6 zucchinis, peeled, and cubed small
* ½ cup 0% cottage cheese
* ½ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
* 2 eggs
* 1 egg white
* ¼ teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, pepper
* 2 tablespoons reduced fat feta cheese

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray a 9x11 inch Pyrex with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Spread 2 teaspoons bread crumbs on the bottom of the Pyrex.
4. In a bowl, combine the rest of the breadcrumbs, cubed zucchini, cottage cheese, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, eggs, egg whites, and spices. Mix all together.
5. Pour into the Pyrex. Sprinkle the feta cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
6. Bake for one hour, or until the top browns and bubbles.

**Omit breadcrumbs for a gluten-free recipe.


This can also be served with a Tzatziki sauce:


Ingredients:

* 2 cucumbers, diced
* 2 tablespoons dried mint leaves
* 8 ounces 0% Greek Yogurt
* Salt, to taste (and garlic powder — optional)

Instructions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Nutrition Content:

Per serving (2½-inch piece of zucchini pie with 1/2 tablespoons tzatziki): 126 calories, 4 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 8 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 12 g protein, 122 mg sodium, 361 mg calcium, 376 mg potassium


Karen Kattan

Herbs to Grow for Ethnic Cuisines

I found this great Blog called Life On The Balcony. actually I found it on Face Book. and it has some great tips for gardening in containers as on a balcony. I have used many of the ideas to use on my deck because I am too lazy to commit to a real garden. But they have all been very helpful & fruitful. I will be posting any articles I find interesting in the future. I have included this link on my Blog listings on the right ...http://lifeonthebalcony.com


Here is a great article posted today. I hope you get some useful tidbits like I do. - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

Herbs to Grow for Ethnic Cuisines

by Fern on March 30, 2010

Raise your hand if you have done this at a garden center: Strolled over to the herb section (after eyeing half a dozen flowers and a new variety of tomato that you want) and randomly picked up herbs because they looked good, or because they seemed “like a good plant to have in an herb garden.” I know my hand is up.

Unfortunately this is not a very good way to select herbs you’ll actually use in your cooking. A better way is to work backwards from the type of food you like to eat/cook and select the herbs needed in those types of dishes.

With that in mind, I thought I’d break out herbs by cuisine and create a handy cheat sheet for you guys…

Italian

No Italian herb garden would be complete without basil, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and parsley. All are easy to grow in pots. To make things interesting, look for purple or scented varieties of basil. There are also all sorts of kinds of garlic that are prettier and more flavorful than what you can get in the store.

Additional Possibilities: fennel, sage, bay, marjoram and thyme.

French

If you like to cook French style cuisine, then you no doubt have heard of the herbs that go into a “bouquet garni.” That is a little bundle that has thyme, tarragon, bay leaves, and parsley. The herb bundle can be dropped in to a pot to delicately flavor a sauce or soup, and then be retrieved after the herbs have imparted their flavors.

Additional Possibilities: chives, chervil, basil, lavender flowers, fennel, rosemary, savory, and marjoram.

Indian

Herbs used in Indian dishes might be harder to come by, and the various regions have quite diverse styles of cooking, so you might need to narrow it down a bit. But I have been seeing curry plants consistently available at my local nursery. And you can get cumin plants from Seeds of Change (who knew that cumin was the same plant as the ornamental flower “Nigella?!”). The other two herbs I mentioned above are mint (used in yogurt raitas) and cilantro/coriander. Cilantro is what the herb is called in leaf form. When you harvest the seeds, for some reason the name changes to coriander.

p.s. I know that I misspelled coriander in the image, but it’s 2am and I am too tired to change it. Please forgive me if spelling typos really irk you.

Asian

I hate to admit this, but it’s kind of culturally clueless to lump all of Asia into one cuisine. But hey, everyone else is doing it, so I might as well, with one gigantic caveat: any general list of “asian herbs” is pretty much useless. :-P That being said, there are some things that are common in various types of Asian cuisine that are easy to grow. Garlic chives for instance, you couldn’t kill ‘em with a nuclear bomb. Well, maybe. But I forget to water mine, harvest them too often, etc and they still keep on coming back for more. Mizuna is a mustard green that you can use in salads or stir frys and is very easy to grow from seed. Oh, and ginger root is pretty versatile, you’ll use it in lots of dishes. According to this website, you can buy some at the supermarket and cut it into pieces the way you would a seed potato, and grow tons of new ginger roots (actually rhizomes).

Additional Possibilities: Thai basil (holy basil), lemongrass, shiso, and chilis.

* * * * *

It is now 2:30 in the morning my friends, and I realized that I totally forgot one of my favorite cuisines: Mexican! I know you super smarty pants readers will help me out and suggest herbs for Mexican cuisine in the comments. Cilantro, cumin, epazote…


Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Live Below Your Means

Here is a great article I got out of the Everyday Cheapskate Newsletter by Mary Hunt.....


I wouldn't call it a radical new idea, although a popular women's magazine declared recently that living below your means (LBYM) is the hot new trend.

It is a simple concept: spend less than you earn. Still, LBYM is seen by many as a life sentence, not the lifesaver that it is. It can take a crisis like unemployment or a sudden illness to reveal to some people just how far in over their heads they really are. That's when a lifesaver looks really good.

Your household is like a business. You have revenue and expenses. If you spend more than you bring in you will take on debt. A business that continually takes on debt will eventually fail. It is a healthy company that ends the year not just breaking even, but with money in the bank. Same at home. That's LBYM.

A commitment to LBYM should not be taken lightly. It's a big deal, particularly if you have come to see credit as an extension of your income.

If you've ever flown on a commercial jetliner, you have survived a "controlled crash," also known as landing. I'm no pilot, but I've read how much control is required to take a piece of machinery that weighs many tons going at a speed of 600 miles per hour and bring it to a full and complete stop precisely at the gate cited on that monitor inside the terminal. It's called "reverse thrust," and, depending on the length of the runway, that braking sensation can be an interesting experience. You're belted in for good reason. Thankfully, those systems work thousands of times every day.

If you struggle with living beyond your means, it's likely you've been spending at a rate of about 600 miles per hour, metaphorically speaking. Things are out of control. You need to bring your spending problem to a halt by making a serious commitment to stop living beyond your means.

For the next 30 days, track your spending. Write down everything, from that cup of coffee to your rent or mortgage payment and everything between. At first, it will feel like you've just reversed your engines, that you're about to be thrown on your head. Once you get your bearings, you'll be ready to start the important work of plugging up all the places that money is leaking out of your life.

One of the best ways to plug those money leaks is to start talking to yourself. Whenever you are faced with a desire to spend, stop long enough to ask yourself:

1. Can I afford it?
2. Do I really need it?
3. Do I need it now?
4. Do I have something like it already?
5. Can I find a cheaper substitute?
6. Is this the best deal?

If you make it through all six questions, go home and sleep on it. Tomorrow you'll probably change your mind. If not, you'll have the confidence you need to make the best decision.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did....Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

Helpful Tip: MAGIC MOM.

While I was preparing Easter dinner, my four-year-old daughter climbed up to the counter in her most beautiful dress, opened a bottle of bright red fingernail polish and spilled it on herself. That afternoon, I tried everything to save her dress, which I felt was doomed for the dump. Finally, I tried oven cleaner. I saturated the polish stains with Easy-Off, waited thirty seconds, rubbed the stain lightly and then rinsed it well. It worked like magic. After repeating this process twice, all the stains were gone and it did no harm to the fabric. I laundered the dress as usual and happily hung it up, as good as new. - Amanda F., Kansas

(tip borrowed from Everyday Cheapskate Newsletter)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Message from Jamie

I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It's time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!

You live in an amazing country full of inspirational people and you have the power to change things. With your help, we can get better food into homes, schools and communities all over America and give your kids a better future.
- Jamie Oliver



As a mom, all I can say is...ITS ABOUT TIME! Where have you been Jamie?
Thanks for bringing awareness to America! - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)



(Quote copied from Jamie Oliver Food Revolution website: http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution/petition?usa=1)