- The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
"The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
Ever wonder why a plant can do better in one spot, than in
another? Sometimes you have to move a plant several times before it
really does well. Sometimes they like sun, or shade, or moisture, or
even dryness! Like my foxglove. It's a wonderful old cottage garden
plant I love. Foxgloves are just begging to tell of all the fairy
stories they know. You can look into one of the `cones' and see
mysteries you can't even imagine. They like shade that's for
sure! Once they like a spot, they will flourish.
They are not unlike us, are they? You know the feeling that
can come over you that all the sudden you need to go home? Or how
good it feels to sleep in your own bed after a trip? Or you can meet
a new friend and feel "at home" with them almost immediately.
We all need to find a place to feel "at home", don't we?
Sometimes we turn in all directions just to find a place that feels
safe. Sometimes we do dangerous stuff to try to `find home', but
most of the time, the dangerous stuff is to forget. Some of us are
blessed enough to find that place we call home and it probably
isn't a mansion. Big doesn't mean home. Home can be a small
cottage as long as it's peaceful and homey, and warm, and feeds
us. Home feeds us by giving us what we need. I saw a photo of
a `designer' modern home that didn't feel `home' to me at all. It
was all bricks and granite, and hard and cold and sterile.
What makes you feel `at home'? I'm reasonably sure that it
doesn't involve yelling, fighting, stress, guilt, or junk. It feels
safe and friendly. We all have a choice to make our houses home. I
hope yours feels like home, to you. Do you feel like you are
thriving, or withering? Do what it takes to plant yourself in a safe
place. If your friends or family make you feel unsafe, don't give
in - find safety. If you need help, ask a friend or someone you
can trust to help you. You have more friends than you know, and God
is the friend who is just waiting for us to ask.
* * *
11 SIMPLE TOMATO TIPS if you are as sick of hothouse tomatoes,
too read on! Is there anything as yummy as a juicy tomato from
your own garden?
1. Mulch with Black Plastic. The black will heat the soil, which
tomatoes love, and keep soil evenly moist, which will eliminate
Blossom End rot, which can happen with uneven moisture levels. Do not
mulch right away unless using plastic. That actually insulates the
soil and keeps it from warming up. (This works for Peppers, too)
2. Don't crowd `em. Close conditions inhibit their growth, so
transplant them as soon as they get their first true leaves and move
them into bigger pots about 2 weeks later.
3. Give them light! Tomato seedlings will need either strong, direct
sunlight or 14-18 hours under grow lights. Place the young plants
only a couple inches from fluorescent grow lights. Plant your
tomatoes outside in the sunniest part of your vegetable plot.
4. Give your seedlings a breeze. One grandmother taught her
grandkids to use a feather to give the seedlings a gentle breeze for
a few moments a day, or you can turn on a fan gently for a few
minutes a day.
5. Preheat your garden before planting. Tomatoes thrive in heat.
Cover the planting area with black plastic a couple of weeks before
you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of warmth will bring on
6. When planting outdoors, dig tomato plants deeper into the soil, up
to a few top leaves. Tomatoes grow roots all along their stems. You
can either dig a deeper hole or lay plants sideways in a trench to
7. Remove the leaves from the bottom one foot of stem after they are
about 3' high to help prevent fungus. Once the tomato plants are
about 3' tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1' of the stem.
8. Remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches.
They won't ever bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of
9. Water deeply to encourage deeper root growth and helps prevent
stunted fruit growth.
10. Earlier tomatoes. There are two types of tomatoes, Determinate,
and Indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes set their fruit all at one
time, making a larger quantity available when you're ready to make
sauce. You can get indeterminate (the plant keeps growing) to set
fruit earlier by pinching off the tips of the main stems in early
11. Share your first tomato with a friend it always tastes better!
* * *
~Readers Share Gardening Tips~
Disposable Diaper to the rescue?
I like to do some container plants for our deck but they seemed to
dry out so fast. I was told to put a disposable diaper in the pot
add the dirt making sure all of the diaper is covered and plant the
flowers. The diapers hold the moisture and the flowers are
beautiful. I have used the same diapers for 3 years. Give it a try.
~~M. Banks, Alpena MI
To give Clematis vines a great start, plant them behind taller
plants, or cover the ground with rocks around the plant. They like
to keep their roots cool. ~ Don Schribner, Michigan's Thumb
I use carpet scraps cut in strips in between my veggie rows to cut
down on weeds and rototilling. I roll them up and use them year
after year! ~ Mary Trumble, Seattle, WA
Thanks to all who wrote! Keep sending in your tips and I will print
* * *
SIMPLE OAT, APPLE & RAISIN MUFFINS
1 egg 1 apple, peeled, cored & chopped
½ c oil 1 c oatmeal,(uncooked)
1 t salt 3 t baking powder
3/4 c milk 1 c raisins
1 c flour 1/3 cup sugar
1 t nutmeg 2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
In a large bowl, beat egg & stir in remaining ingredients
until just moistened. Pour into 12 greased muffin cups, 3/4 full.
Bake at 400`F for 15 - 20 minutes. Serve cool or warm with butter.
* * *
"The pessimist borrows trouble; the optimist lends encouragement." --
William Arthur Ward
Keeping it Simple,
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ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
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