Winter: A time to dream of my spring garden

In Backyard Gardening, Minnesota, Organic, Organic Foods, Organic Gardening on February 17, 2015 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , ,

dandelions in the yard

It’s winter here in Minnesota. It’s cold and hard to believe Spring is ever going to get here, but I know it will & hopefully this year we can garden for real and grow some of our own food. Last year my seed babies all died 😦 It was because we were in a hurry up and wait moving situation waiting to get into our new house and they got left in the little recycle containers too long and then traveled in the back of the truck in the open wind for more than an hour which pretty much did the one’s that survived in. It was very sad.

The pic is from our yard when we moved in – a dandelion haven!

We have our spot for the new garden all picked out. We still have a ton of seeds from last year. I’ll probably get some more of a few things, but the big thing will be breaking the ground and getting it ready to plant. Right now it’s Minnesota prairie & last year it was horse pasture.

Last year all the garden’s around here got wiped out by late Spring and flooding. Even the farmer’s didn’t do that well unless they put in a late crop of winter wheat.

Still, I’m hoping to learn a ton about organic gardening and actually get some crops this year!




Our April Seed Babies For The Garden Are Growing

In Backyard Gardening, Minnesota, Organic, Organic Gardening on April 26, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Some of the new seed babies are in! So far we’ve started celery, sunflowers, cabbage, beets and lettuce from seed. We started the first batch on 4/13 and 4/14.   Tons of little seedlings are growing fast.

We’re reusing all kinds of plastic containers from milk jugs to plastic apple slice containers. We do have some of the individual plantable coconut fiber pots, but those cost money and add to the budget in planting a garden so I think we’re sticking with mostly our found and reused pot method for everything we start from seed. It may take more time to plant them later on, but the start up cost to gardening will be less.

lettuceWe’re about to plant the second batch of cold weather loving plants from seed. We learned you want to plant in batches so your crop doesn’t mature all at once. I know obvious, but if you aren’t an experienced gardener, maybe not. You also plant in batches so that the plants are in different stages of growth later on which is a natural help for pest control without chemicals.


We’re working on cutting our saved jugs into “pots” and deciding what we’re planting in the next batch of seeds to start. My four year old is loving watching the seeds grow into little plants, but it sure did take several talks to explain why we couldn’t plant a watermelon seed and eat a watermelon later that same day!















My First Organic Gardening for Food!

In Minnesota, Organic on April 7, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Florida Community GardenI’m very excited that we’re almost set to move into a new house and for the first time for me there is a lot of space for a kitchen and herb garden. I’m not a complete garden newbie, but I haven’t grown much more than peppers and tomatoes either…When I lived in Florida we grew oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, star fruit, pineapple and papaya at various times, but my gardens there were more of the butterfly variety.

I know, I know, people say start small, but we’re planning a huge garden knowing full well it is going to be our nightly 3-season hobby for awhile and once crops start coming in we get to go learn all about preserving food too!

Here’s what I’ve got for seeds so far:

Beefsteak, roma and sweet tomatoes, regular cucumbers and pickle variety cucumbers, celery, sunflower, green onions, okra, heirloom baby lettuce, red lettuce and regular lettuce, yellow corn, regular watermelon, heirloom watermelon, jack o lantern, pie pumpkin, and small pumpkin, butternut squash, runner beans, peas, black beans bush, yellow wax beans, carrots, radishes, beets, green peppers, parsley, spearmint, chives, thyme, cilantro, basil, oregano, summer squash, eggplant, fennel, swiss chard, broccoli, dill, chamomile, tarragon, lemon balm, sage, rosemary, zucchini, pak choi, cabbage, endive, brussels sprouts and spinach!

We’re going to try kiwi if we can find it for shade-loving growing as well as plant some trees and vines like blackberry and raspberry. Luckily, it seems there is a lot that will grow in Minnesota despite the winters.

One other huge project: the new house comes with a big chicken coop and fenced chicken run. Yep, almost chicken newbie here…well there’s this story of us briefly having roosters in the city and one flying over the fence due to a neighbor’s dog and me laughing and laughing as my son, my ex and several random neighbors chased it for 20 minutes…after that the two roosters went to live on grandma’s farm. Thankful that this coop is pretty far from the house so I won’t be hearing them all day long as I work from home.

Our “date night” was even just spent at the local Half Price books checking out all the food gardening books and we found a few good ones to start…this should be an interesting adventure this year!

So, hey, if you read this and you know something about chickens, growing fruits, veggies and herbs “up North” in Minnesota or just want to say Hello, drop me a comment!




Breville Juice Fountain + Green Juice Recipe (Prep for Modified Juice Fast)

In Organic on January 24, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , ,

ImageMy New Breville Juice Fountain

I’m very excited, I got my juicer today! I knew it was coming today so I got fresh ingredients this morning so I could open it and play with it right away 🙂

I tried out the “Mean Green” juice recipe first…
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1-2
Serving Size: 16oz. (500 mls)


1 cucumber
4 celery stalks
2 apples
6-8 leaves kale (Australian tuscan cabbage)
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp ginger


Wash all produce well
Peel the lemon, optional
Pour over ice

Of course, being me, I juiced the recipe from memory…after I looked it up I discovered I used more celery and too much lemon juice (since I didn’t have a lemon to juice) and more ginger than I should have…that and chopped kale versus kale leaves…chopped kale makes a mess and bits fly back up the chute.

I think that I’ve only really had ginger in anything a handful of times…it is spicy! It makes more of a sipping juice than a drinking or gulping juice and ice is a must!


Kids and Juicing

In Organic on January 24, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , ,

ImageDay 2 Modified Juice Fast

My ten year old got a kick out of the juicer…especially when I didn’t quite have the lid all the way on and it shot apple bits at him!

I made my second batch of mean green juice after lunch. I used a lot less lemon this time, added a handful of baby carrots for sweetness and used 1 green and 1 red apple instead of 2 greens…the result was sort of like a sweet green V8, but no tomatoes…I don’t know, overall it tastes better since it isn’t so sour-spicy as yesterday! I also soaked the kale since I bought chopped (next time I’ll get leaves) and it seemed to help.

I had three juice and two regular meals yesterday and a ton of energy. Today, I had one for breakfast right before swimming…the first 36 went fine, then I felt tired and struggled through the next 18 and finished strong…it might not have been the juice though…I swam super late last night and finished at 9pm and then again at 10am this morning, so I only had half the recovery time I’m used to…

Meanwhile, I was sharing the lap lane (swimming) with an older man who swam 108 laps (1.5 miles) in the time it took me to do about .75 and he never stopped and never used the board. He did say he built up to that though.


Red Juice Recipe (Modified Juice Fast)

In Organic on January 24, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , ,


Day 3 Modified Juice Fast

I went produce shopping for the second time last night and I bought beets. I know I don’t like canned pickled beets…I’m not sure that I’ve ever tried a real, fresh beet. We’ll see if I like it in the juice! I am really liking the taste and smell of the ginger in the juice!

A.M. Red Juice

Makes 2 Servings


5 carrots
1 beet with stem and leaves
½ bunch celery
1 cucumber
1 green apple
2 inches ginger root
½ kale bunch
¼ parsley bunch (optional)

I added lemon to this, next time I will peel the lemon…it just adds a slight bitter after taste when you don’t…

My son commented that he liked the beet and carrot taste and he was very excited that we made a rainbow in the juicer and with the layers of juice…it was a nice opportunity to talk about how we are supposed to be eating the rainbow each day with our fruits and veggies. He’d never seen a beet or tasted one either before today 🙂 He’s 10.

For the first time we ran the pulp through the juicer a second time with a measuring cup at the spout just to see if there was extra juice (he called it “science”)…the pulp was pretty dry and it is very crumbly and messy to re-juice the pulp and there was really no juice because the crumbly pulp pretty much goes right into the exit bucket. I wanted to see what came out if I added just enough water to the pulp to make it more sticky and much easier and not messy to add it back into the juicer. For 1/2 a cup of water I got about a cup of juice out of the re-juice…same color, flavor, taste as the rest…I think it needed to stick together to make it into the spinner to get any extra juice out of it.

I liked the red juice…I like the mean green better…but I can see how the variety of a red juice in the morning and green the rest of the day would be helpful in doing a long juice fast.

I was looking at the carb/fat/protein mix, for when I go to only juice…basically, there is more than enough carbs, just the right amount of protein and low fat…in the mix…I guess I’m OK with the low fat since I figure my body has plenty to go access if it needs it.


Day 7 Modified Juice Fast (Juicing + Food)

In Juicing, Natural Foods, Nutrition, Organic, Raw foods on January 24, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , ,


Juicing + Food Day 7

I’m still juicing all day with one meal & a snack in the evening…(not where I’d hoped to be on day 7). My “snack” has been total junk the past two days too.

I’m needing to get this down and consistent, but then I still want and need to do only juicing…I’ve been having trouble with getting enough water in general, enough green juice and keeping my food in check – all within my calorie range. M has taken the attitude that juicing is “my new fad” and that “we aren’t rabbits”…probably because I’m cooking a lot less, buying less meat and more veggies. Fridge is over flowing with veggies.

I had red juice this morning & for lunch…for the first time since I added the juice…let’s just say it went right through me.


I have rosacea and my skin texture is good right now, getting better as I add the juice, lots of little bits of crud come to the surface and wash away…so that is good. However, the red pigment on my face is a bit darker and more noticeable the last few days than it normally is…I look very pink in the nose and cheeks at the moment. Clearing something? Better blood flow to thin skin on my face? I don’t know.


I brushed my teeth & tongue this morning and then immediately did it again. I could still taste and feel they were dirty. Eww! I think it is because as I add more juice I’m not having the sugar and fat and chemical coating from processed food in my mouth and on my tongue. I saw something about that in the documentary Veducated in reference to vegans…kind of makes sense to me.


Remember as a teen reading in magazines about how your tongue can give you clues to your health? I used to run in and check my tongue for cracks and such and back then never had any…fast forward many years and for at least the last year or two I did have a weird crack splitting off in a few directions in the middle of my tongue. Day 7 adding green & red juice = crack in tongue gone!