It’s Friday and today I’m going to try something new. Here’s a list of things I’m into this week…things I want to share with you. (I’m hoping that maybe this will “stick” and I’ll keep doing it on Fridays going forward.) Happy reading and enjoy your weekend!

Friday Shares

Recipes I want to make:

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Strawberries (The Tomato Tart)
Tea Smoked Shrimp Salad (Eat the Love)
25 Recipes Featuring Edible Spring Flowers (The View From Great Island)
Spaghetti Carbonara (Damn Delicious)
Boozy Green Lemonade (With Food and Love)
Homemade Marshmallow Peeps (Molly Yeh for Food52)

Books I am currently reading:

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa – the Health Food Eating Disorder

Cookbooks I am currently cooking from:

The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle (I’ll be reviewing this one soon!)
The DIY Pantry: 30 Minutes to Healthy, Homemade Food(I’ll be reviewing this one, too!)
Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously

Giveaways of my book going on right now:

Gourmande in the Kitchen
Oh My Veggies

Miscellaneous (lifestyle-related):

Are You Programmed to Enjoy Exercise? (New York Times)
Calorie Denialism: Why It’s Hurting Your Fat Loss Efforts (Tom Venuto)

Thanks for checking out my Friday shares. If you’ve got something you want to share with me, please tell me about it in the comments!

Disclosure: Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links. When you make a purchase via one of my links, I make a small commission. This helps me support my blogging activities…thanks in advance.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

As I mentioned in a recent post, we purchased our home because of the property: we were so excited by the gardening potential of our sunny lot. As we got going in our gardening endeavors, however, we quickly learned that the soil here isn't great… it contains so much heavy clay. So we built raised beds and we've trucked in a heck of a lot of good quality soil that we've amended in many different ways over the years. We've learned first hand that the success of a garden depends so very much on the quality of the soil.

In a future post, I will definitely talk more about how we amend the soil in our raised beds. But since not everyone has the space or inclination to garden in raised beds, today I want to focus on another form of gardening that's potentially more "do-able": organic container gardening.

Organic container gardening is great because the only thing you really need to get started is a bit of outdoor space (in the city, this could be a balcony or rooftop) and some sun (6-8 hours/day). Many people are accustomed to growing flowers and maybe herbs in containers, but you can absolutely grow organic vegetables in containers, too. The vegetables that do particularly well with organic container gardening include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and zucchini (ratatouille, anyone?). Many types of greens including lettuce varieties and Swiss chard should also do well in containers.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

-Because plants such as tomato and eggplant can get quite large, look for varieties that are meant to go in containers. The names connote smaller stature such as "patio", "pixie", "dwarf", and "compact".

-Most herbs will be successful in containers, but I’ve read that dill and tarragon are two that prefer to be in-ground (unless you are able to use a very deep pot).

Choosing a Container

You can go with a standard plastic or terra-cotta pots for organic container gardening, or use your imagination: take your pick from gorgeous ceramic urns to food-grade plastic pails and buckets. I have heard of opening up a bag of potting soil and planting vegetables directly into it- you can't get much simpler or less expensive than that. And I've seen some fantastic vertical container gardens made with upcycled pallets: I took this photo at a Sustainable Living Fair recently. (This pallet garden was made by a local company called Earth Designs and features flowers, succulents, herbs, and greens.) 

pallet garden | healthy green kitchen

Make sure you have holes at the bottom of your container for adequate water drainage; if you don't, the roots of your plants may rot. It is often suggested that you line the bottom of your pots with something such as small pebbles to keep your potting soil from from escaping and to promote good drainage.

Note that tomatoes and eggplants need to be in large containers- figure about 5 gallons per plant. If you plant them in a smaller container, they may not be very happy. It is very tempting when the plants are small to want to put more than one plant into each pot, but for the most successful organic container gardening, refrain from doing this- your plants won't do well if they are crowded.

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Homemade fruit curds always surprise me. Each creamy spoonful contains so much bright, sweet flavor. Even though I have been making my own fruit curds for some years now, I still think it’s pretty amazing that such simple ingredients can turn into something so special.

When I found Marisa McClellan’s brand new book Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces in my mailbox a few weeks ago, I immediately checked the index to see if there was a citrus curd recipe inside. The answer was, happily, yes! And the recipe- Orange Cardamom Curd- was so intriguing that I had to make it right away.

curd3_text

Do you follow Marisa’s blog Food in Jars? If you are interested in food preservation, then you must, must, must check it out. Having met her in the flesh, I can attest to the fact that she is a lovely person; Marisa is also a truly fabulous resource when it comes to canning (Preserving by the Pint is her second book; she is also the author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round). I really like her small-batch approach. I think it’s wonderful for those new to preserving, but I have to stress that Preserving by the Pint is not just for novices. I, for one, really enjoy making small amounts of preserved foods…I don’t always want to make 6, 9, or 12 jars of something…I don’t always feel like “swimming in preserves”, as Marisa puts it.

book

Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces contains recipes for so many things you’ll love: from jams to chutneys to pestos and pickles. I plan to use this book a lot and I highly recommend it.

oranges and eggsorange cardamom curd | healthy green kitchen

I love this curd swirled into plain yogurt (with some nuts sprinkled on top); I also think it would be great on these orange date oatmeal scones. Marisa mentions using it on whole wheat biscuits…use your imagination!
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