Category Archives: Garden

Garden Fresh Lentil Soup

Yesterday I wrote about how excited I was to find fresh veg to harvest after our vacation. To recap, I harvested a zucchini, one pound of purple potatoes, some celery, 4 carrots, and even pulled up an onion (not very big yet, but it was starting to bulge out!).

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I had a package of Trader Joe’s steamed lentils in the fridge so I decided to make lentil soup. I had 10 minutes to do it before needing to pick up my big kid at preschool. That gave me just enough time to get the soup started before heading out. Making this soup is incredibly easy. Just chop your onion and sauté over medium heat with some olive oil. You can add some chopped garlic here too. I didn’t because I didn’t have any, but I would have. Then add chopped celery. Then carrots and potatoes. Now add enough water to cover all the veg. Next dice up the zucchini and throw it in too. Add a few pinches of dried thyme (maybe you have some dried from your garden!). Then just break up the pre-steamed lentils into the soup pot and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so (until the carrots and potatoes are cooked through but not mushy). I didn’t add any salt to this soup because I planned to feed it to baby girl for lunch. Instead I just seasoned it at the table. Really, there are no rules to lentil soup. Just use whatever fresh veg you have at your disposal. It’s great and hearty enough for lunch. Maybe with some crusty bread (or English Muffins?). We had ours with a strawberry, boysenberry and kale smoothie.

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When food is fresh from the garden, it really doesn’t need much to be delicious. Baby girl ate her bowl all up like I had never seen her eat before. I guess she missed mama’s homemade food while we were on vacation.

I wonder what will be ready to harvest next!

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DIY Compost Sifter

Here is a project my dear husband and I made together back in June. It’s very very simple, but was my first “wood-working” project since wood shop in the 7th grade (which I believe only ever involved a scroll saw. Definitely not a circular saw or hand drill). My compost pile was pretty much finished and I decided I wanted nothing but the best compost for my front yard raised beds.
Enter: Sifted compost.
I looked at various design ideas on the interwebz and decided on something that would fit over my wheelbarrow so that compost could be sifted directly into it. I also wanted something with handles rather than a square or rectangle to make shaking the sifter over the wheelbarrow a bit easier.
So, we measured the width of our wheelbarrow to determine how long my pieces with handles would be. If I were going to make another sifter, I would extend the handles just a bit, especially on the far end, so that they’d be less likely to slip off the wheelbarrow when you’re shaking the sifter around. Live and learn.
Here’s what I bought to make the sifter:
2- 8 foot 1×4″ pieces of wood
1 roll 1/4-inch hardware cloth
1 package fence staples (like these). These are the kind you hammer in. I wanted something sturdier than a staple gun would provide.
We decided on the width of the sifter based on how much wood was left without having to buy an extra piece of wood.
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Here are the cuts I made. Hubs insisted that I be the one to use the circular saw. I’m glad he did because that was one piece of equipment that completely intimidated me and I’d never wanted to touch it before. Now it seems slightly less scary. Or maybe still scary but less foreign.
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Then I measured and predrilled holes using a countersink drill bit.
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Once everything was drilled together, we measured and cut the hardware cloth with wire cutters and then hammered it in place with fence staples. I told you this was a simple project.
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Beautiful black sifted compost! Ready to amend my soil.
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I threw the larger pieces back into my compost bin for further composting.
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And there you have it! An easy DIY garden project that will really help make your soil rich and beautiful.