Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, Basil, & Orzo Salad

This salad couldn’t be simpler to make. Every time I make it, I am surprised at how much I love the flavor.

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First, slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of each. I sliced, as well as cubed the cucumbers to have a variation in texture.

Toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.

Add in about 2 cups of cooked orzo.

Top with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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That’s it! And it’s absolutely easy and fresh. I grew up eating cucumbers and love them fresh, but apparently not everyone does. Hopefully you do, and you maybe try this salad and tell me how good it was!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Garden Pasta

This is an on-the-fly post and a quick snapshot before devoured as I was at my sister’s house visiting her and her newborn and had brought lunch ingredients.

The night before I quickly made a garlic scape pesto which was highly improvised with just garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and some salt. I had it with some sourdough bread and it was super spicy!

This dish has:

Spaghetti noodles: found in bulk at WinCo

Peas: picked from my garden

Garlic scape pesto: from the garden + bulk ingredients

Mint: garden

To make pasta:

Boil water and salt and cook spaghetti, adding in peas (shelled peas or snap peas with shell) in the last minute.

Reserve a couple cups of pasta water.

Drain.

Add in 3/4 cup of pesto into pasta water and stir to combine.

Put pasta back into pot, pan, or bowl then top with the pesto sauce.

Top this off with about 1/4 cup or fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Organic Non-toxic Garden Bug Spray

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As a person who tries her best to leave a smaller footprint on the earth, I am not interested in using products on my plants which use unfamiliar ingredients. Certainly, I could spend hours doing research into each chemical and its origins and impact on the earth and then buy a product packaged in plastic to use on my organic garden, but it seems counter intuitive to me.

In an ideal world I wouldn’t feel the need to use anything on the plants I grow. However, my garden can be a bug-infested oasis. I like it, cats like it, plant eating bugs like it, even weeds like it.

My precious carrot leaves were eaten away overnight, something has gobbled my clematis, and my potato plants are more holes than green in places.

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I needed to take action. I needed a simple, effective, low-cost solution. The good news is this spray meets all those requirements and I love it! I made it last year as well and stored it in an old vinegar bottle, but when I went to retrieve it, the glass had broken. Time to make some new bug spray!

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Ingredients needed:

1 onion

A few cloves of garlic

1 Tbs cayenne powder

1 tsp – 1 Tbs soap

To make:

Blend the onion and garlic until they are nice and mushy.

Place the mush in a saucepan or pot with about 4 cups of water and 1 heaping tablespoon of cayenne powder, then turn to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for a good 30 minutes.

Let that cool.

Use cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to squeeze out the liquid and compost the remaining material.

Pour into a spray bottle with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of liquid soap. I use Sal Suds because of how effective it is and because it is extremely concentrated and biodegradable.

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Spray on any bug-eaten plants directly and reapply if it rains or if much overhand watering has occurred. You don’t need to worry about this spray when it is time to harvest because it is made out of mostly food and a safe soap. Obviously rinsing is a good idea, but don’t worry about health problems later on in your life or depleting soils of microbes.

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My potato plants already look much better and whatever was eating my carrot tops has stopped their destructive ways.

Do you have any favorite gardening tips?

Peace and love,

Kristan