Friday, August 19, 2016

Best Basil Pesto. Ever.


If you have copious amounts of basil in your garden right now like I do, this is the most delicious way to use it up!  Here is my personal basil pesto recipe- for YOU! I make this in small batches, but once the blender is messy, I keep going.  A jar of this pesto makes the perfect gift, but be sure to freeze some now so that this winter you can enjoy the flavor of summer!

 

If you love good food, good gardening and a good life,
please like Julie The Garden Fairy on Facebook and follow me on Instagram!

Have a great weekend!
xo Julie

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stock up on Summer Supplies

My friend The Chicken Chick recently shared an awesome coupon with me from Tractor Supply Co. You can print the coupons for $5 off $25 and $10 off $50 by clicking HERE

http://www.tractorsupply.com/landing-pages_events_summer-savings.html?cm_re=20160725-_-HERO-_-Summer+Savings
 
Don't let the name mislead you... Tractor Supply sells way more than tractor supplies. You can find all kinds of pet foods, tools, and supplies for your home and garden.
 
I just used my $10 coupon towards a new sprayer, a Carona saw, some pine shavings for my new chicks and I found a cute summer tank! Yes they even have clothes and shoes!
 
Johnny and Baby inspecting the new shavings in the chicken coop.
 
But I'm most excited about my new hose nozzle!  If a Garden Fairy can feel bad-ass, I'm feeling it with my new nozzle called the '8 Pattern Pistol Nozzle'!  The regular price is only $4.99 but with the coupon it came to $4.18! Are you kidding!?!?!
 

 
I'm spending a lot of time watering my flowers this year since it's been sooo dry this summer.  So I'm especially loving my Portulaca that THRIVE in dry heat!
 
Please be sure to follow Julie The Garden Fairy
and Instagram
 
Peace and love, Julie

Friday, July 1, 2016

Herbs: Inspiration and Tips for Growing from Julie!


Herbs

When it comes to herbs, I’m never sure if it’s better to start off with utility or aesthetics.  Fresh herbs liven any dish in the kitchen and they are outstandingly durable and beautiful in the garden. Why grow anything else?

I turned this chicken wire basket in to a planter by lining it with coconut husk fibers.

Using an assortment of cut herbs in a vase or canning jar makes for a wonderful, natural air freshener!

I have found culinary herbs to be some of my most durable plants for drought resistance.  Many are cold hardy enough to grow perennially or self-sow after even the harshest winters.  With one exception, (basil) I have had few pests bother my herbs enough to be a problem.

You can read about my basil pests and what to do, here.

This wood basket was lined with sheet moss.
Don’t you want this herb basket on your kitchen step or patio table?   
Add to that the variety of colors, textures and growing habits and herbs had me at hello!


This ‘hedge’ of chives was spotted in VT at Flatbread’s kitchen garden. The mass of chives acts like a hedge with wonderful texture, color and of course flavor!
When adding herbs to your yard, consider placement first.  Most appreciate 6-8 hours of sun a day.  They seem to grow equally well in containers as they do in the ground so make them easily accessible so that they can be used frequently!  Container gardening with herbs is great if you’re tight on space.  I always keep a planter of herbs close to the kitchen door so that I can pop out and grab what I need while cooking.   

Here are some of my favorites with some interesting combinations to try in your garden. 

This Rosemary has provided my years of delicious. In the winter it comes into the house because CT winters are too harsh for it. I like these blue glazed pots as an alternative to traditional terra cotta because the soil doesn’t dry out as fast.  In the background is my ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ which is a thorn-less Raspberry!
 
I like the occasional use of planters in a garden be, in this case an urn.  Planting in containers is a good way to keep animals out and add height to the garden.
Here is a view of the same urn from above. I love how the red strawberry runners spill over the side and the wonderful textures from the different herbs.
 While not an herb used for cooking, this Scented Geranium has a wonderful scent and is easy to grow. Many swear that the lemon-geranium scented foliage helps keep bugs away. I love how it looks in this terra cotta pot and the pink flowers are precious.
 I added Chocolate Mint to my potted Brown Turkey Fig.  They cohabitate well and green at the base helps balance the look of the branches overhead.

Not only does the mint serve as a nice under planting for my fig, it also contains the mint.  You should never plant mint of any kind directly into the garden. It’s very invasive.  Mint should only be grown in containers. You have been warned.
This is one of my favorite herb planters this year.  I found the container at Ikea, drilled holes in the bottom and planted the basil, chives, thyme and alyssum in composted leaves and cow manure.  Always consider your potting mix when planting edibles.  A commercial fertilizer laced brand should not be used.  Organic is best!
The steps up to a kitchen door are stacked with window boxes planted with perennials like chives, coral bells, sage and thyme.  The wave petunias add an extra pop of color.  The dill reseeds itself every year in the garden below.
Planting a strawberry pot with herbs is a fun way to grow herbs while utilizing limited space. 
Jump over to my blog to try my favorite healthy detox salad with Cilantro.  I hope you will follow me on Facebook at Julie S Harrison, on Instagram at @juliesharrison or on my website at www.juliesharrison.com

With love,
Julie

 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Would you know a Deer Tick?

Fresh out of the shower, I was starting my day with a look at my skin in the bathroom mirror. 

This would be a TMI (Too Much Information) post until you realize
this is just a very honest and caring PSA (Public Service Announcement).
 
Get your mind out of the gutter and read on....

I glanced at my back and noticed the teeny, tinniest speck of black, like a new freckle.  For whatever reason, I happened to pause and noticed that the new freckle was mobile.  I could see no legs but it was definitely moving. Not a freckle!!!

With a scratch of my fingernail the black speck came off and upon closer inspection I realized it was a Deer Tick.  Their latin name is Ixodes scapularis and they are also commonly called the Blacklegged Tick.  

For scale, I placed it on a paper next to a penny to illustrate how small these blood sucking, disease carrying jerks are.  This may sound harsh, but they really are nasty and can make you so sick.  Read more about them and tick diseases in this article by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station HERE

Enjoy the outdoors responsibly and inspect yourself for ticks!

With love,
Julie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Got Weeds?

One of the not so glam elements of gardening is dealing with the weeds. 
Poison Ivy
Nationally recognized chicken-keeper-blogger extraordinaire Kathy Mormino aka
The-Chicken-Chick has asked me to guest blog a series about gardening!
My daughter with a couple of our own chickens
 
Pinch me! or should I say peck me? How lucky is this girl?!?!?  
 
You can hop on over to her blog and read the super sweet intro she wrote about me
by clicking HERE
The Garden Fairy and The Chicken Chick on a plant shopping spree.
 
 Keeping on top of those weeds should be up there on your 'to-do' list.
Be sure to read my post about weeds on The-Chicken-Chick's blog:
 

and improve your score against weeds with an amazing weed spray!

Trust me, you do not want to miss this very helpful post about weeds so click HERE now!
 
Please share with a friend and visit me at www.juliesharrison.com
 
Thank you!!! XOXO Julie
 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What to Plant, When?

Keeping track of what to plant and when can be overwhelming if you're new to the green scene. 
 
I hope this planting time wheel helps for all of you Connecticut gardeners! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Cleaning: Green-Up the Clean-Up

Now that spring is here it's time to get spring cleaning!

The thing about cleaning products is that those pushed to us in marketing can:

1. Be expensive
2. Contain scary ingredients

If you coat your house in mystery 'cleaning agents' that leave you gasping for air, how is that even close to CLEAN?

Why would you wipe any surface in your house with cleaners that say, "keep out of reach of children"? I'm all about child labor when it comes to cleaning the house, as I'm sure my daughter will tell you!

As if you need one more reason to skip the cleaning isle in the grocery store, do you really need to separate cleaner for every single thing in your house? Floors, kitchen counters, bathroom tile, tub and shower spray, window cleaner, etc, etc, etc.  By the time you are shopping for cleaners, the bank will be empty and your cleaning supplies need a MSDS chemical list and safety cabinet.

This spring, try going green and you will not go back. 
These solutions work and are made of common items probably already in your house!
 
Here are my favorites.  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Dusting Spray:
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
10-15 Drops Essential Oil (My favorites are Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Lemon)

Shower and Tub Cleaner:
1 Part Vinegar, heated in the microwave for about 1 minute
1 Part Blue Dawn Dish Soap

Disinfecting Kitchen and Bathroom Spray:
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Vinegar
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

Glass/Mirror Cleaner:
1 Part Vinegar
1 Part Water

Try using coffee filters for lint-free cleaning over paper towels.

Use your used dryer sheets for dusting instead of microfiber clothes.

I hope you find spring cleaning a little more enjoyable this year! Please share this post with a friend so they can green-up the clean-up too!                  xo Julie