Plant Some Shit

reclaim your food independence, grow your own.

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Let’s Get Saucy


Tomato plants are a major staple in most people’s gardens.  You can grow them in the in the ground, a raised bed, or even hanging!  Basil is also an extremely common herb to grow!  We have both in our garden!  Roma, Big Boy tomatoes and Sweet Basil, yum!

When you pick a ton of tomatoes in one day, an awesome thing to make is fresh homemade marinara sauce!  Mmmmmm delish!

Here is a recipe for a super simple, easy, and quick marinara, you’ll never go back to store bought!

This recipe makes about 32 ounces.  The sauce stores well in the fridge, so if you have a crazy amount of tomatoes make extra!  Give it to friends and family…they will soon be knocking down your door for more!  And if you’re into canning, go for it!

What you’ll need:

  • About 25 tomatoes (I used about half and half Roma and big boy, so depending on the type of tomato you use you may need a few more or a few less)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • About 20 leaves of fresh basil (coarsely chopped)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon flour

One thing that you will need for the recipe is an emulsion blender or something similar.  If you’ve tried your hand at making marinara sauce before, you’ll have noticed that a lot of them call for the skins of the tomatoes to be peeled off.  If you have an emulsion blender you don’t have to do that!

First, wash all your tomatoes and remove all the seeds and chop them up into big chunks and emulsify!!!  Once you have a nice, smooth sauce, set this on the side.  In a pot on the stove, heat the extra virgin olive oil on medium and grate or microplane the garlic and sauté.  When your garlic is tender and the flour to make a paste.  Now add your tomato puree!  Combine everything well and bring it up to a bubble and add salt and pepper to taste.

Let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes and then add the fresh basil.  Let it cook for another minute or two and then remove it from the heat, pour it in a jar, and let it cool.  Now you are ready for a super tasty Italian meal!  YUM!!

For my husband and I, we were able to use this amount for 3 meals:  Egg Plant Parmesan with Pasta, Spaghetti, and also as the sauce on a large pizza!


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Pepper Bumps: They Mean Something…


Did you know the number of bumps on the bottom of a bell pepper indicate what they should be used for? Ya do now. Bell peppers that have 3 bumps are best for raw use. They tend to be a little sweeter than a 4 bump peppers, so use them in salads, pasta salads, things like that. If you’re planning on cooking peppers, try out a 4-bump pepper.

Don’t believe me, give it a try! I first discovered this about 2 months ago and I’ve been using this little trick ever since and it’s proved accurate so far!

Of course this is one of those things that’s impossible to remember when your at your local farmers market or grocery store buying peppers. So I have a solutions for you, “Raw” is a 3-letter word, so use them raw. Simple as that.

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Frittata Time!

Photo Jul 11, 12 17 24 PM

Have a lot of tasty greens in your garden that you need a recipe for?  Well here is a super tasty one to fill your belly!

Don’t let a fancy word like “frittata” scare you, it’s basically a crustless quiche.

With this frittata recipe you can use any of your favorite greens.  I’ve made it before with kale, but this time around I used home-grown swiss chard from a friend’s garden.  That’s the best part about having a garden…sharing the love!  One day I plan on having a garden so large with so much home-grown goodness that every time someone comes to visit, they leave with a basket of goodies!

This recipe will make 2 individual sized frittatas.  I used two 16 oz round corning ware dishes.  If you want to use a pie plate or baking dish and have leftovers, go for it!  Just use one and half times the ingredients or double it depending on how large the dish is.

You’ll need:

  • 5 free range, organic eggs (from happy chickens that get to enjoy their life)
  • 1/4 cup organic milk (whole or skim, doesn’t matter)
  • 3 large handfuls of homegrown swiss chard, removed from the ribs and chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, microplaned or minced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • salt and pepper

Now let’s hop on the frittata train!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

You’ll need two pans, one medium and one small.  In the small pan heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and cook the garlic and onions.  Once the onions are translucent add a bit of salt and pepper.  Above I mentioned to microplane the garlic.  What is this you ask?  Well it is just about the best thing ever!  You take a fine microplane and grate the garlic into the pan.  It makes a nice garlic paste!

While the onions are cooking, take the medium pan and cook the swiss chard with the other tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, water, and some salt and pepper.

While the veggies are cooking, scramble the eggs with the milk and add the shredded cheese.  The cheese I used this time around was from a local place called Ashe County Cheese.  I used their Dill Monterey Jack, oh man…soooo good!

Once the veggies are done mix the onions and greens into the egg mixture and pour into the dishes.  I usually place the dishes on a baking sheet in the oven, just in case.  Then bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now devour!!


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To Compost, or Not to Compost…

That is the question. Do you compost your food wastes? Have you considered starting? Composting is a great way to:

  • Reduce your household waste
  • Improve the quality of the soil in your garden
  • Reduce your water use

If you’re constantly taking out the trash, you might want to consider composting. All that food waste, such as banana peels, egg shells, corn husks, etc. can all be composted. My wife and I started composting about a year ago and the frequency with which I take out the trash has greatly decreased. I only roll the trash to the curb every other week now because our trash rarely gets full, granted, we have no kids, which would obviously be a game-changer. A side benefit to this, is that our kitchen trash rarely gets stinky, think about it, all that food decomposing in your house, no thanks, I’ll leave that for the compost bin.

Composting can also improve the quality of the soil in your garden. And who doesn’t want better quality soil with out having to spend a fortune at a garden center? Adding compost to your soil can add essential micro- and marcoorganisms to your soil, which will result in better soil, therefore giving your plants a healthy environment to grow in. In addition to the organisms, compost adds essential nutrients to the soil. Both of these factors combine can help you grow healthier plants that have a higher yield.

Composting can conserve water? Sure it can! Healthier soil retains water much better than it’s faulty counter-part. If you’re a rain-water harvester such as myself, conserving water is a big concern. Reducing the frequency of your watering can dramatically affect the amount of water you use. If you water from the spigot, this can save you a ton of money. Or if you water by rain barrel, you can stretch your supply between storms.

As for composting bins, I used a barrel from a local car dealership, one they kept soap in. I cleaned in out real good and cut the top off of it. I picked this up for about $10, which is much cheaper than you’d be able to buy an “real” compost bin for at a store. Saving money, water and helping your garden all at the same time!

Below is a list of compostable items, you’d be surprised at some of the things you can throw in there! Leave a comment if I left out any items.

  • Paper napkins (unbleached!)
  • Freezer-burned vegetables
  • Burlap coffee bags
  • Pet hair
  • Potash rock
  • Post-it notes
  • Freezer-burned fruit
  • Wood chips
  • Bee droppings
  • Lint from behind refrigerator
  • Hay
  • Popcorn (unpopped, ‘Old Maids,’ too)
  • Freezer-burned fish
  • Old spices
  • Pine needles
  • Leaves
  • Matches
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Hops
  • Chicken manure
  • Leather dust
  • Old, dried up and faded herbs
  • Bird cage cleanings
  • Paper towels
  • Brewery wastes
  • Grass clippings
  • Hoof and horn meal
  • Molasses residue
  • Potato peelings
  • Unpaid bills
  • Weeds
  • Rabbit manure
  • Hair clippings from the barber
  • Stale bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Wood ashes
  • Sawdust
  • Tea bags and grounds
  • Shredded newspapers
  • Egg shells
  • Cow manure
  • Alfalfa
  • Winter rye
  • Grapefruit rinds
  • Pea vines
  • Houseplant trimmings
  • Old pasta
  • Grape wastes
  • Garden soil
  • Powdered/ground phosphate rock
  • Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
  • Jell-o (gelatin)
  • Blood meal
  • Winery wastes
  • Spanish moss
  • Limestone
  • Fish meal
  • Aquarium plants
  • Beet wastes
  • Sunday comics
  • Harbor mud
  • Felt waste
  • Wheat straw
  • Peat moss
  • Kleenex tissues
  • Milk (in small amounts)
  • Soy milk
  • Tree bark
  • Starfish (dead ones!)
  • Melted ice cream
  • Flower petals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
  • Expired flower arrangements
  • Elmer’s glue
  • BBQ’d fish skin
  • Bone meal
  • Citrus wastes
  • Stale potato chips
  • Rhubarb stems
  • Old leather gardening gloves
  • Tobacco wastes
  • Bird guano
  • Hog manure
  • Dried jellyfish
  • Wheat bran
  • Guinea pig cage cleanings
  • Nut shells
  • Cattail reeds
  • Clover
  • Granite dust
  • Moldy cheese
  • Greensand
  • Straw
  • Shredded cardboard
  • Dolomite lime
  • Cover crops
  • Rapeseed meal
  • Bat guano
  • Fish scraps
  • Tea bags (black and herbal)
  • Apple cores
  • Electric razor trimmings
  • Kitchen wastes
  • Outdated yogurt
  • Toenail clippings
  • Shrimp shells
  • Crab shells
  • Lobster shells
  • Pie crust
  • Leather wallets
  • Onion skins
  • Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
  • Watermelon rinds
  • Date pits
  • Goat manure
  • Olive pits
  • Peanut shells
  • Lint from clothes dryer
  • Bread crusts
  • Cooked rice
  • River mud
  • Tofu (it’s only soybeans, man!)
  • Wine gone bad (if you dare let it!)
  • Banana peels
  • Fingernail and toenail clippings
  • Chocolate cookies
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Moss from last year’s hanging baskets
  • Stale breakfast cereal
  • Pickles
  • ‘Dust bunnies’ from under the bed
  • Pencil shavings
  • Wool socks
  • Artichoke leaves
  • Leather watch bands
  • Fruit salad
  • Tossed salad
  • Brown paper bags
  • Soggy Cheerios
  • Theater tickets
  • Lees from making wine
  • Burned toast
  • Feathers
  • Animal fur
  • Horse manure
  • Vacuum cleaner bag contents
  • Coconut hull fiber
  • Old or outdated seeds
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Liquid from canned vegetables
  • Liquid from canned fruit
  • Old beer
  • Wedding bouquets
  • Greeting card envelopes
  • Snow
  • Dead bees and flies
  • Horse hair
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
  • Fish bones
  • Ivory soap scraps

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Veggie Stir Fry(ish)

Veggie Stir Fry(ish)

Upper Left: Garden fresh sugar snap peas and banana pepper, Upper Right: Sautéed veggies, Lower Right: Steamed veggies, and Lower Left: Finished Product!

Ready for a super easy and delicious vegetarian recipe?  Here we go!  This is probably one of the most forgiving recipes in the world, so not to worry!

I call this stir fry(ish) because I use a variety of methods for cooking the veggies to get the desired textures.

What you need?  Well that’s easy…whatever you want!  This recipe makes a healthy portion for two people, so if other people are going to partake in the deliciousness, double it!  And it also makes a good lunch or dinner for tomorrow, so double it!!

Here is what I used:

  • 15 sugar snap peas
  • 1  small/medium size broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1/3 of an orange bell pepper
  • 1 sweet banana pepper
  • 3 large white mushrooms
  • 1 cup rice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • teriyaki sauce

I recommend using veggies from your own garden and everything organic if you can, this way you don’t get any nasty pesticides or GMOs.  For the sauces, I totally recommend using Sky Valley Teriyaki Sauce made by OrganicVille and Whole Foods Organic Soy Sauce.

Veggie prep:  Sugar snap peas are easy and come ready to go.  Chop the brocoli into mini trees.  Coarsely chop the carrots, onions, peppers, and mushrooms into medium size pieces.

Rice prep:  Choose your favorite rice, they will all work well or even quinoa.  I used Whole Foods Organic Brown Rice.  Typically you will need to add one part rice to two parts water.

Now let’s get this food party started!

First, take a pot and add rice and water and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes until nice and fluffy.  While the rice is cooking, you can get to the veggies.  Add the chopped onions, peppers, and mushrooms to a medium/large frying pan with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook medium heat until tender.  Add the peas, carrots, and brocoli to a steam basket and steam until tender.  Once everything is ready, add the steamed veggies and rice to the sautéed veggies.  Pour in about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and about 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, give it a whirl, and EAT GOOD!

Like I said, super easy, super delicious, and it’s something you can easily morph into your own tastes!



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Sugar Snap Peas

Welcome to Plant Some Shit! This will be my second year having a garden, I learned A LOT about what to do and what not to do last year, so this year I’m going to share my experiences.

Today we picked our first harvest. 91 sugar snap peas! We started these off as seedlings from the local farmers market. Within a month they were 3 ft tall. Today, about 2 months later, BOOM, 91 peas! These guys grow with hardly any maintenance, just keepin’ em watered properly…..the gratuitous amounts of rain we’ve been getting is surely a contributing factor.

Well that’s that. First post is done. Check back with us for more about eating right!

Oh, and we’ll have some guest contributions from my good friend Devin over at likethehours….be sure to check out his celebrity date attempts, they’re hilarious! (and I’m sure one of them will say ‘yes’ any day now)