Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’


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!




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!




What is semi-organic? What is organic pesticide?

In Organic,Organic Foods,Organic vs Non-Organic,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Reading Nutrition Labels,Semi-organic on January 9, 2012 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

What is semi-organic?

Every once in awhile I tag a post or label a recipe “semi-organic”, thinking this would be obvious to people what that means, but I guess it isn’t always obvious since I got this question this week from a reader of this blog!

For me, “semi-organic” simply means that not all of the ingredients in a product I’m reviewing are identified as organic or that not all of the ingredients in the recipe I actually made at home and wrote about were organic. Since I’m trying to incorporate organic items in my cooking, but I’m also on budget most of my day to day cooking is a mixture of organic and non-organic items.

I think that this is a more realistic picture of the average person trying to incorporate more organic items in their health & beauty products and in their cooking than having 100% organic cooking or 100% organic products for cooking, but I’m open to hearing other views and experiences so feel free to comment or just send me an e-mail.


What is organic pesticide?

I did notice something interesting/misleading on “organic” food packaging recently, a package was marked organic, but with an asterisk saying they use short term, non-lasting pesticides. Hmmm, what does that mean?

Want to know more?

Here is an article from the University of Colorado Extension about chemicals allowed in “organic gardening”:

Check out this interesting article out of Canada that talks about U.S. organic farms using “organic pesticides” with naturally occurring oils and sulfur accounting for most of it.



Paya Organics at the Kalahari (Wisconsin Dells)

In Minnesota,Organic,Organic Beauty Reviews,Organic Companies,Organic Product Reviews,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Wisconsin on June 19, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paya Organics Review

by Kristina Blasen (June 2011)

Last week, we were on vacation at Wisconsin Dells and spent a night at the Kalahari resort on our last day before heading back to Minnesota. It was pretty neat that they had Paya organics shampoo, conditioner and bath soap in the room.

According to their website, Paya products have:

•Biodegradable liquids and soaps made with natural and organic ingredients:
No Parabens, No Phthalates, No Mineral Oil

• Bottles made of PET, the most recyclable resin available

• Cartons & wrappers made with post-consumer recycled materials

• Cruelty free – never tested on animals

• All bottles and soaps are made in the USA

After being in the chlorine all day my hair was feeling dry and nasty, but this shampoo and conditioner worked great. The pool smell was gone and my hair was back to normal. It was strange though that the Kalahari is still using chlorine which is terrible for the body (lots of signs about showering off so you don’t get chemical burns and irritated skin, eyes, nose and throat were posted everywhere) when so many of the other hotels and resorts in Wisconsin Dells have switched to salt which is wonderful for the skin, not irritating and much nicer to play in!

We also stayed at the Wilderness Hotel where we had a great time, but they had the run-of-the-mill unidentifiable whitish shampoo in their bath though they had already switched to salt or some kind of non-chlorine mixture in their pools.


Sample Girl Goes Organic!

In Minnesota,Natural Foods,Organic,Organic books,Organic Companies,Organic Foods,Organic Product Reviews,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Reading Nutrition Labels on May 26, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , ,

The Adventures of Sample Girl

The Adventures of Sample Girl by Kristina Blasen


Well, I wasn’t thinking of posting here about my book The Adventures of Sample Girl until I was making the sneek peek preview tonight and realized that I thought about going “organic” a long time before I ever started this blog!

There are some funny stories in here about how bad some of the “organic” samples I was giving out actually taste when I tried them out before serving them to the customers and how their “healthy” reputation didn’t always match the ingredients on the box!

Check it out!

Here’s a link to the free preview!

You can buy the book here: