Backyard garden

Gardening with Chef Sandra: Starting A Garden – Selecting Your Plants

Many may feel like starting a garden in these challenging times may be difficult. We are here to tell you that it is not!  There are many resources that you can access to get your own garden started.  Whether in containers, above ground, in the ground, or planted in whatever you can find around the house, starting a garden does not have to be a tough task.
Let's begin with ordering a few plants to start with.  You can certainly start with seeds. However, it is important to identify your zone so you can ensure that you are starting the right things at the right time of the season.  For myself, I just ordered some things curbside from Calloways Nursery.

Where to Order Plants

I receive a local Garden Center newsletter  "Calloway's Nursery" and recently discovered they offer curbside service. I was ecstatic! Gardening is more than just a hobby to me. It is a way of life, one that I have grown up learning and knowing.  One of the locations I used to frequent in my area closed, so I was glad to see this being offered, especially now. What a great discovery!  I wanted to add a few more things to my garden and because of the timing to plant here, I wanted to find a few starter plants.  All of the plants I purchased are in 4 inch pots which are perfect for planting.  You can also order planting soil, fertilizers, pots, etc from them so getting everything you need for your garden is not a problem.  If you are not near a Calloways Nursery, check into your local nurseries and home improvement stores as they may offer the same convenient services.

Selecting Your Plants

First thing in the cart was a Basic Pepper Trio (includes 2 bell pepper plants and 1 hot pepper plant).  I also purchased their Herb de Provence Kit that includes a 5 pack of herbs that included lavender, marjoram, thyme, oregano and rosemary.  ALL of these items make an appearance in my cooking and they are so easy to grow! And as if I don't already have enough tomatoes growing, I also purchased the Tomato Starter Trio which includes a large tomato plant, a plum variety, and a cherry tomato.  I could not resist.  There is nothing like a fresh home grown tomato.  We ate tons of them growing up in our family garden.
Once I get my plants, I will show you how to plant bell peppers in a container. In preparation for this, you need to get the right sized pot to plant your bell pepper plants. So what size pot should you get?

Preparing to Plant Bell Peppers

Bell peppers need a well-draining pot that is at least 10 to 12 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches across. The material of the pot is not as important as its size. You want something that is large enough to accommodate the maturing pepper plant.  It should also be deep enough to encourage proper root development.  You can find containers around the house or feel free to add it to your cart when purchasing your plants.
Check out my recent video about seeds and get a peek at my backyard garden!

Where to Find Seeds

To find out where to get seeds, check out the links in a previous post about Thai Basil.

Tired of Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches…Try Turkey Crostinis!

Turkey Crostini
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Ingredients
  • Olive Oil
  • Baguette
  • Spreadable Goat Cheese (Or Cream Cheese)
  • Roasted Turkey
  • Chef Sandra's Cranberry Orange Jam (Or another cranberry topping)
  • Garnish
Instructions
  1. Brush olive oil on both sides of the baguette.
  2. Toast it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  3. Then put spreadable goat cheese on the baguette. You can also use cream cheese.
  4. Next add some of your roasted Turkey.
  5. Top with Chef Sandra's cranberry orange jam or some other cranberry topping.
  6. Lastly, garnish the top.
 

Butternut Squash Soup

I have always enjoyed the taste of butternut squash. However, my real love for this wonderful squash really began just over a year ago when my daughter became ill. We learned how beneficial butternut squash was for her and we began researching all kinds of recipes using butternut squash.

Our favorite by far was butternut squash soup. I found a basic butternut squash recipe and tweaked it to include something that we really liked. I now make butternut squash soup on a regular basis and even had the opportunity to make my recipe using fresh organic squash from my friends garden all the way from New Jersey. See the photos on my Nuts for Butternut Squash blog post.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

If your squash is huge, add more broth. If you squash is small start with maybe 3 cups of broth and add more as needed.

I hope you enjoy our version of this soup. Get creative and add your own twist like using a pear instead of an apple.

In this video I demonstrate how to prepare this delicious butternut squash soup.