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I wrote a book about preserving food. The same step-by-step instruction and full-color photos you find in my blog. Buy it at Yes, You Can 

Links to planters at selected vendors:

Garden-Fountains.com

MasterGardening.com

 

 

Sprouts

Amazon.com is a terrific source for certified organic seeds intended for home sprouting. Dress up salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, spreads, and other dishes with homegrown sprouts of all kinds. Follow this link to order your sampler or to find home sprouting kits.

 

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Posts Tagged ‘giveaway’

Vegetable Seed and Corona Tools Giveaway 2015!

Please note this giveaway is closed. Follow this link to learn who won the prize.

The Quickest Way to Enter

The quickest way to enter the giveaway:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post that shares an entertaining gardening experience.
  • Send an email that includes a mailing address and the email address you used on the comment form. Click this link to send the email.

Read the rest of the post for instructions on how to increase your chances of winning the tools and receiving free seeds.

This giveaway ends on Friday, February 15 at midnight.

2015 Seed giveaway

This year’s seed giveaway once again features the chili-pepper-shaped paste tomatoes descended from two fruits given to me by an area farmer some seven years ago. These have very little liquid and they taste great raw or cooked.

Winter break is OVER! From Thanksgiving until last weekend it seems I made at least two road trips a week. We had kids returning from college, kids heading off to other countries, kids returning to college, and kids coming back to school in Lewisburg. I also visited my Dad in Ithaca along the way, and participated in a few trade shows. I hope your holidays were as fulfilling!

And now for the annual seed giveaway – with a chance to win two excellent pruners from Corona Tools!

My Food in Your Garden

I love to share things that grow in my garden. To that end, I’ll package and mail seeds to as many people as I can – until I run out from last year’s harvest. I’ll write about the seed varieties in the box titled, A Seed Set Package. Happily, this year I’m also giving away two pruners from Corona Tools. Corona generously gave me these pruners and It’s great to be able to pass them along to one of my readers.

Corona Tools pruners

Corona Tools is very generous and engaged with the online gardening community. They provided me with several sets of pruners, and I’m happy to be able to pass some along to readers of Your Small Kitchen Garden. I use both styles – always slipping one into a pocket when I head out to the garden – and would recommend them even without the generous gift from Corona.

Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

How to Enter the Small Kitchen Garden 2015 Seed and Tool Giveaway

There will be multiple winners of the seed giveaway but only one winner of the Corona Tools pruners. Each winner of seeds will receive a set of seeds as explained in the box titled A Seed Set Package. Between January 22, 2015, and February 15, 2015, I’ll build a mailing list of people who request seeds. After February 15, 2015, I’ll mail seed sets to each qualified entry according to the list order until I run out of seed sets. Entrants influence the list order by participating according to instructions under the title, The Rules below.

The Corona Tools prize will go to the person whose comment most entertains the judges – the judges being Daniel and his wife. Note: Stories about failed or damaged crops risk being seen as sad rather than entertaining. Just sayin’.

Completing steps 3 and 4 are critical for entering the giveaway!

Neck Pumpkins included in the 2015 Seed giveaway

Neck pumpkins are popular in central Pennsylvania. These are essentially giant butternut squashes though with a slightly milder flavor. The one in front weighs about 18 lbs and is a descendent of a squash that weighed 20 lbs. The giveaway includes five seeds from this family line of squashes.

The Rules

1. This giveaway ends on Friday, February 15 at midnight. As of February 16, no new entries or mailing list “bumps” are valid.

2. To enter the giveaway, complete items 3 and 4. That’s all it takes; you can stop there if you don’t want to read the rest of the rules (though all the rules apply whether or not you read them).

3. Secure a spot on the seed mailing list and enter to win the Corona tools by leaving a comment on this blog post (use the comment form below). Share an amusing gardening experience in the comment – the more amusing the comment, the better your chances of winning the tools (note that stories of crop failures and other gardening losses may sadden the judges rather than amuse them). The Corona Tools pruners will go to whatever garden story most amuses the judges (Daniel and his wife Stacy). ALSO COMPLETE STEP 4!

4. Send an email with a mailing address AND the email address you used on the comment form (so I know which is you). That’s all you need to do for a chance to get seeds and to win the tools! Click here to send email.

If you’ll be “bumping” (explained below) your free seeds entry, include your twitter handle and/or facebook name in the email so I can spot your bumps. If you decide to post on your blog (see below), include a link to your blog so I can have a look.

There is one prize of Corona Tools pruners. Submitting a comment and emailing your address enters you to win the tools; no further activity affects your chances of winning that prize. Read on if you want to improve your chances to receive a seed set.

2015 Sweet Pepper seed giveaway roulette

Sweet pepper roulette! I grew terrific orange bell and sweet Italian peppers in 2014 (the photo shows that even the bugs liked my peppers). I saved seeds, but the labels got mixed up so the only way you’ll know what type of peppers they came from is to grow some to maturity. Fun, yes?

Doing steps #3 and #4 gets you onto the end of the mailing list for seeds. With no further rules, I’d deliver first-come-first-served until I’m out of seed sets. That’d be too easy. Here are ways to improve your odds of getting a seed set (again, doing any of these things in no way affects your chances of winning the Corona Tools pruners):

5. Tweet a link to this giveaway (on Twitter) that includes the hash tag #skgseeds15.

6. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook and include the hash tag #skgseeds15.

7. Post a link to this giveaway on Google+ and include the hash tag #skgseeds15.

A single daily post on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ moves you up one space on the mailing list. So, posting on all three services in a day moves you up three slots; you cannot move up more than three slots in a day except for a one-time bump explained in item 8:

8. On Pinterest, Pin the photo of the tomato from the top of this post that includes the 2015 Seed Giveaway title. Include the #skgseeds15 hash tag in the pin’s description and you’ll move up 2 slots on the mailing list. THIS IS A ONE-TIME BUMP. While I’d love for you to pin the photo on multiple boards, I’ll count only a single pinning within the giveaway period toward your position on the mailing list.

2015 heirloom tomato seed giveaway roulette

This table was covered with heirloom tomatoes in my dining room all summer; I harvest tomatoes when they just start to ripen and let them finish indoors. For each seed set I mail, I’ll select one variety from this table and include at least eight seeds. I especially like the Moonglows, the Emerald Greens, and the Stupice tomatoes and will try to write about them soon in another post. I also have a story to tell about my Cherokee Purple tomatoes (one of my plants produced red tomatoes last year) and another story about green sausage tomatoes.

I’ll monitor the #skgseeds15 hash tag on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If I can match your posts to the email address in your original comment on this blog, you’ll move up on the mailing list.

8. Here’s a shortcut: Invite your blog’s readers to this seed giveaway with a link from your blog, and you’ll have my gratitude. Also, I’ll move you to the front of the mailing list after any other bloggers who have already posted on their blogs. I’ll mail seeds to all bloggers (in the order that they post) before I mail to anyone else on the list.

At Least Get on the List!

Sure, it’s complicated… but not so hard if you stick to steps 3 and 4: leave an amusing comment here, and send email with your mailing address. TO RECEIVE SEEDS, YOU MUST PROVIDE A POSTAL ADDRESS!

Keep in Touch

After I mail out seeds, I’d love to hear from you. Please take photos or write descriptions of what you grow and post them in a comment—or link to them, or email copies. With your permission, I’ll share your progress updates with my readers.

This giveaway is open only to people in the United States and Canada.

A Seed Set Package

A complete seed set for the giveaway described in this post includes the following:

Paste Tomatoes— At least 8 seeds to grow exceptional chili-pepper-shaped paste tomatoes. Some six years ago, a local retired farmer gave me two of these unusual tomatoes. He told me to save and plant the seeds and I’d be glad I did. I am glad, and I enjoy sharing these delicious and versatile tomatoes with anyone who will grow them. These may be Cornue Des Andes tomatoes.

My Choice of Tomatoes— Have a look at the photo of tomatoes on a table (above). I’ll select one heirloom variety from among those tomatoes and include at least 8 seeds in a seed set.

Sweet Pepper Roulette— My seed labels got mixed up so I don’t know which of my saved seeds are for Sweet Italian peppers, and which are for Orange Bell peppers. I’ll include at least 8 pepper seeds in each seed set. The seeds may produce all Orange Bells, all Sweet Italians, or some combination of both. Either way, they grow delicious sweet peppers.

Neck Pumpkin— Five seeds to plant one hill of neck pumpkins. These are descended from a 20 pound squash I bought five years ago at a farmers’ market. Also called Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash, Neck Pumpkin resembles butternut squash on steroids. It’s a regional favorite in central Pennsylvania and favored for pumpkin pies.

 

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Seeds Have Left the Cityslipper Ranch!

Packing Vegetable Seeds

I wasn’t in great shape when it was time to pack and mail seeds. Happily, I had enough complete seed sets for everyone who qualified in the giveaway.

It has been a rough month: harsh punctuation to a difficult year. As my annual seed giveaway closed, I jumped from garden conference to garden conference and crashed with a sinus infection when I should have been mailing out seeds. Despite the plugged pipes, I managed to get seeds in the mail, and they should all have arrived at the homes of their new gardeners.

Start Your Peppers and Tomatoes!

For pretty much everyone in the United States, it’s time to start tomato and pepper seeds. Actually, it’s a little late for people in the south. In hardiness zone 6b, seedlings go in the garden around June 1st (though our last frost date is, supposedly, May 15).

Ideally, peppers will have two full months from seeding to transplant into the garden. Tomatoes will do fine with six weeks from seeding to transplanting. I encourage you to seed winter squash in late May or early June and transplant it to the garden in July.

I’ve written many posts about starting seeds, so rather than repeat myself, I’ve included a list (see box) of articles to provide help in case seed starting is all new to you.

Thanks for Participating!

It’s a privilege to have readers who take time to participate in my giveaways. As with most giveaways, I asked participants in this year’s to tell stories that would make me laugh. Honestly, things swung hard the other way! Many entrants told stories of how their gardens failed. Whether family pets, wild marauders, or hapless spouses destroyed a garden, I felt sad with each such story. Perhaps next year I’ll ask entrants to share gardening successes; those, at least will make me smile… though they might not make me laugh. (Stacia Brooks’s cucumbers made me smile.)

Seed sets ready to mail

The box of envelopes minutes before I took them to the post office. I’ve heard from several readers already that they’ve received their seeds.

Sorry I’m so hard to amuse, but thank you all for your efforts.  Susie Yarbrough tickled me a bit with her story of her 4-year-old son scavenging all her cherry tomatoes. Handy Helen also got a small chuckle with her story of slow-to-sprout seeds.

Debi Marti’s groundhog made me sad. (I’ve seen a 14 foot row of mature broccoli vanish into a groundhog in just a few hours.)  Tamar Apkarian’s Super Bowl reference was timely, but her rabbits were discouraging. I was sad to hear that last year’s squash seeds failed for Una Walker, and the tomato seeds did only slightly better… and to hear that her sweet Italian peppers never made it to red! Sigh.

Canning orange tomatoes

I ended up choosing Moonglow as the “mystery tomato.” The photo shows one way I’ve used orange tomatoes: I once canned 9 pints of combined Moonglows and Valencias. The packed jars glowed gorgeous orange and provided accents in several dishes through the year.

David Moffitt? Well… we’ve had beers together. What else can I say? Bobbi Thomas made me very sad by reminding me of the many years I’ve planted too early and had to drape my garden with large plastic sheets to protect wimpy plants from late frost.

Tim Brenner’s admission that the giveaway instructions were overly complex confirmed what I said in the instructions. I might make it easier next year and simply ask everyone to leave comments and mailing addresses, but it seems important to encourage participants to invite others also to participate… I guess I’ll figure this out next February.

Birds, pickle worms, contractors, seeds that didn’t germinate, clumsy cats, dreams of giant-killing, stubborn husbands, banana plants and syrup bottles, green paint on your thumbs (won’t fool your plants…), more dogs, weeds, prehistoric outhouses (septic fields are great for gardening as well), a steer (moo), soap-flavored cucumbers, manure plunges, and plant-killing crows, were all good stories. Thank you for sharing and best of luck with this year’s vegetable garden!

 

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Winner of the 2012 Book Tour Giveaway

It has been an awkward time at Your Small Kitchen Garden blog. Back on December 4 I posted a contest that ended on the 14th. Then I got quite involved with my dad’s life; he was planning to move out of his house on January 1st (a relatively new development), and I’m making repeated trips to Ithaca to help get the house in order. None of this was in my plans when I threw in with Angela to participate in the book giveaway.

I never expected to reach the holidays before getting the winner posted, but that’s what happened. Finally, just after Christmas, I found a clear moment to get the judges to work! Here, finally, are our observations along with our choice to win a signed copy of Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less).

Thank You for your Entries

I was pleased that so many people took the time to share their stories; you entertained the judges.

Siouxsie Spicher – Definitely reached the judges. She offered the appealing vision of teaching others, and also warmed my heart with her intent to replace grass with food. Keep on!

Rebecca – I love to hear from anyone who cooks their own food! It’s a great start, and that you’re just beginning with homesteading was compelling to all the judges.

Denise in NJ – Nice opening—trying to win over the teacher form the get-go! And, you tell a humorous but sad story that highlights the familiar truth: We so often miss opportunities even as they slap us in the face!

June Cook – The judges shivered when they read your story, and the teenaged daughter with attitude identified with the chicken story. Please thank your husband for his service to the United States.

Theresa – My brother gave his geese names such as “stewpot,” “fryer,” and “fricassee.” Kind of kept him in the spirit for where they would end up.

Sherry Herrick – From experience I can offer this: Harvest the green stuff before it bolts, pick the tomatoes before the split, and harvest the garlic before the squirrels do. No book is going to provide such wisdom!

Curt Brown – Ah, Wife! I meant that for my wife. She’s not excited about me turning the entire yard into a garden, but she’s making peace with it.

Granny Wanda – Gotta say, your name might have biased the judges favorably! All the judges admire your desire to switch away from processed foods; sooner is better.

Lisa – Yes! We have become distressingly dependent on factory food-production. You do your children a great service by teaching them self-sufficiency.

Wayne “The Subersive Hippie” Johnson – With a signature like yours, it seems you must already be leading the charge for backyard homesteading! We all love your accent.

Kula May R Ellison – Angela’s book. You’re talking about Angela’s book… which is good reading.

Sunnie – Family of seven seems about right to run a farm! Sounds a lot bigger than a backyard farm; what a grand adventure!

Amy – Maybe learning about farming before you start will save time, maybe it won’t. One sure way to learn is simply to farm!

Bonnie – An important pursuit for each of us; good luck with the self-sufficiency mission.

Patsy Bell Hobson – How nice to have the help so close at hand! We love the “yard-sharing” flavor of your situation; kids will be especially happy to contribute a “share” from your operation to their family’s dinner table.

And the Winner…

The judges selected Denise in NJ to receive the book. Thank you all again for your entries. Best of luck with your homesteading efforts.

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Book Tour Giveaway 2012

Backyard Farming Guide
Click the announcement above to visit Angela’s website and find more awesome giveaways celebrating the release of her book!

My friend in Oklahoma, Angela England, has offered a signed copy of her newly-published book, Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) for me to give away to one of my readers! Better than that, to celebrate her book, several bloggers and industry suppliers have provided prizes that readers can win by registering on various web sites.

Start here and leave a comment to enter my giveaway. Let me know something about your interest in backyard farming, and please make it entertaining. This IS NOT a random drawing (though other websites participating in Angela’s book release celebration may select winners for their giveaways at random). I and my family will read each comment on this post and choose one that entertains us the most. That will be the winner.

Please keep your comments “family-appropriate” and feel free to play to the judges:

  • Daniel — The gardener and food-preserver
  • Daniel’s Daughter — A typical teenager with attitude
  • Daniel’s Wife — A 3rd grade teacher in a public school

Despite our differences, the topic should still be relevant to backyard farming. Length will not be a factor; win us over in one sentence or twenty—it’s up to you.

If you leave a comment and later decide you could have done better, feel free to leave a new comment. In judging we will consider only the most recent comment you post—though we will read all the comments.

Again, the prize is a copy of Angela England’s Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) from Alpha Books—signed by Angela!

Find other giveaways related to Angela’s book launch on her website: Backyard Farming Guide

While you’re at it, participate with Backyard Farming on Facebook

In case you can’t wait for the judging, you can click the book’s cover below to order a copy on Amazon. Here’s a writeup about Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less).

This giveaway closes on December 14th, 2012. We will judge entries on the 15th and identify the winner before December 18th.

Other Book Tour Posts

Call it a book tour, launch party, networked giveaway … whatever. Here are two other blogs participating. Visit them for other chances to win. Each blog is giving away its own copy of Angela’s book, so read the rules on the other blogs; they are likely to be very different from the rules for my giveaway. Enter on all three blogs and you could win three copies of the book:

 

Transform your yard into a sustainable bounty of healthy food

Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)
Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of Angela’s book but please read the instructions first! I won’t choose a winner at random, so what you say in your comment matters. If you can’t wait for the judging, click the book’s cover (above) to order a copy from Amazon.

It doesn’t take a lot of space to reap a bountiful harvest of nutritious, affordable food. With proper planning, you can grow your own fresh vegetables and fruit; raise chickens and  goats for eggs, milk, or meat; and keep bees for honey—on as little as a quarter-acre of land.

Whether your goal is to eat healthier, save money, live more sustainably, or a combination of these, Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) helps you get there.  Comprehensive and detailed, it covers everything you need to know to plan, purchase, plant, raise, harvest, preserve, and enjoy your own backyard farm. Written by someone who has done exactly that, this helpful guide is packed with information, illustrations, instructions, advice, and resources. In it, you get:

  • Down-to-earth advice on acquiring land or using the space you have, plus considerations such as water access and zoning restrictions.
  • A useful primer on garden planning, including edible landscaping and container, raised bed, and vertical gardening.
  • Key information on the tools and knowledge you need to prepare your soil and plant, nurture, and protect your garden.
  • Tips on maximizing your harvest through crop rotation and succession and extending the growing season.
  • Details on cultivating dozens of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and other popular crops.
  • Startup instructions on buying and raising chickens and other poultry for eggs or meat; goats and sheep for milk, meat, or fiber; and rabbits for fiber or meat.
  • The essentials of animal care, including housing, signs and prevention of illness, breeding, milking, and shearing.
  • A year-round guide to beekeeping, with tips for acquiring a hive, keeping healthy bees, and harvesting the honey.
  • Comprehensive coverage of home preserving techniques for every type of food you grow or raise.

About Angela England

Angela England

Angela England is a freelance writer who, along with her husband and four children, cultivates a 1⁄2-acre farm in their backyard, where they raise dairy and meat goats, keep free-range chickens, and maintain a productive garden of fruits and vegetables. They started with a small garden and took on chickens, goats, bees, and fruit trees over time, eventually managing a larger plot while shedding the conveniences of urban life.

Angela is the Founder of Untrained Housewife, which guides others in the arts of rural living. She also manages and maintains the Blissfully Domestic web community and contributes to other sites and forums.

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Whatever Happened in the Book Giveaway?

I’m embarrassed, and must apologize to the folks who participated in my Yes, You Can! Holiday Giveaway at the beginning of December. In my last comment on that post, I said I’d announce the winner before my bedtime on Saturday, December 10. I can’t even remember all the reasons that didn’t happen. So many things didn’t go “just so” that I actually FORGOT about the giveaway.

Today, while scrolling through the blog, I found the post and had a panic attack. Please forgive me for the omission.

Iris suggested the name Hairy Yes, You Canary for this Yard Bird.

The Winner Is…

My judges have chosen a winner, and the winner is Iris. This is Iris’s entry:

I would name YBID0079 Hairy Yes, You Canary because every cute yellow canary needs a head full of long streaming black hair… ;)

The judges felt that Iris’s entry played to the judges most effectively. Iris actually worked the name of the book into the name she suggested for Yard Bird YBID0079! My book (my baby) and my family appreciated the thought.

About the Entries

For all who entered: Thank you so much! I loved your efforts and promised to comment on each one. Here we go:

Charlotte: My mom’s name was Charlotte. So sorry to hear about your rooster. Feathers would have made a good name for YBID0079. It is one of the most feathery Yard Birds I’ve ever seen. Of course, in my mind, that one will forever be Hairy Yes, You Canary. Incidentally, someone bought Hairy just before Christmas…

Michelle: I love the name “Little Bit.” I called my first child “Little Man” and “Smidge” for many months… long before he could tell me his favorite color.

Jennie: Mother Goose? But I’m sure YBID0051 is a boy Yard Bird ;-)

Iris: Congratulations! You won over the judges.

Cavernap: Black Spy! I read Mad Magazine for nearly 25 years. Alas, my family (the judges) did not.

Melanie: Birds are yesterday? Arachnophobes among us: be afraid!

Mark: Mark, Mark, Mark. I’m afraid, despite your warning, none of us ducked low enough. Thanks for being brave and submitting the limerick!

Jill Patterson: Heckle and Jeckle were guests at our house each Saturday morning when I was young. I enjoyed the memory, but as with Mad Magazine, my family had no similar reaction.

JeninCanada: Your suggestion of a name out of the Star Trek franchise was a long hit into center field. We all are Star Trek fans here. As a family we watched the original series, The Next Generation, and about two-thirds of Deep Space 9—all on video tapes and DVDs. Here’s the sad part: pretty much all of us dislike the Tasha Yar character and felt TNG didn’t really hit its stride until they killed her off. Sadly, she wasn’t any better later on as the spawn of a Federation/Romulan time paradox accident. (I hope you and I can still be friends).

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Yes, You Can! Holiday Giveaway

Use Amazon.com’s Look Inside feature to see the terrific job the art director did in designing and laying out Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too. Oh… and to get a good look at the book you might win if you enter this Holiday Giveaway!

Thank you for visiting Your Small Kitchen Garden! I love writing this blog, and I love that at least some people actually read it. In that spirit I’m giving away a copy of my book, Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too from Cool Springs Press.

I wrote Yes, You Can! last summer for people who are just starting to preserve produce—whether from their own gardens, from farmers’ markets and farm stands, or from grocery stores. Reviewers have been very kind to Yes, You Can! and (of course) I’d love to see it coach tens of thousands of gardening-, food-, and green-enthusiasts into more responsible relationships with the food chain.

Win a Signed Copy of Yes, You Can!

This giveaway has an ulterior motive: to introduce more people to Yard Birds. Here’s how it works:

I’m giving away one copy of Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too. The book’s retail value is $19.95, and I’ll cover the cost of shipping to the winner.

This is a judged contest. To enter, do the following:

1. Visit the Yard Birds store (this is a link to it)

2. Note the serial number (item number) of a Yard Bird that tickles your fancy

3. Return here and leave a comment that…

  • …includes the Yard Bird’s serial number
  • …proposes a name for the Yard Bird
  • …explains why you would give the Yard Bird that name

I was lucky to capture a photo of this small flock of Yard Birds in the artist’s yard before he sold off most of them at an annual arts festival here in Lewisburg..

How We’ll Pick the Winner

My wife and kids will select one winning entry from all the entries posted. They will read all the entries and select the one they agree is the most entertaining. Use humor, pathos, irony, wordplay… if you want to play to the audience, keep in mind that some of the judges are seriously geeky.

Our judges will not know the identities of the entrants; this is a blind judging. I’ll announce the winner on this blog as soon as the judges finish their task—probably within a day or two of the close of the contest.

Enter Now, Enter Once, Enter Again!

The Yes, You Can! Holiday Giveaway ends at midnight on December 7, 2011. We will consider only one entry per participant; if you enter more than one time, we’ll include only your LAST entry in the judging. Last entry? Sure. This contest includes an opportunity for a do-over. If, after you post your entry a much better idea pops into your head, go ahead and post another entry. We’ll enjoy all your entries, but only the very last one you post before midnight on December 7th will go to the judges… so make the last one your best!

The Prize

To be clear: I’m not giving away a Yard Bird. The prize for this giveaway is a single signed copy of my book, Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too from Cool Springs Press.

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Veggie Bags Winners

I learned something about blogging in the last two weeks: Never schedule a contest or giveaway during high school graduation week when your kid is one of the graduates! I launched the Veggie Bags giveaway to end on June 5 with results to be posted on June 6. Finally, only a week late, the results are in!

The two winners of the Veggie Bags giveaway from Equinox are:

Jill at Sweet Life Garden

and…

Grow Home Organics.

I’m emailing Jill and Grow Home Organics to be sure they don’t miss the announcement.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or comments, and who tweeted or posted about the giveaway. I hope your gardening seasons are going way better than mine!

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Veggie Bags Giveaway from Your Small Kitchen Garden

How many tons of plastic bags do you figure Americans mindlessly fill with produce, put on the checkout scales, and eventually toss in the trash? I’ve seen people put already-wrapped produce into these things… and such bags are the only option when you select from open bins and refrigerator compartments in a grocery store’s produce section. If, once they reach the ocean, any plastic bags look to predators like jellyfish, these produce bags must be the worst. How many did you bring home this week?

Please be aware that this giveaway ended on June 6, 2011 as explained below.

Your Small Kitchen Garden announces a new giveaway! This one’s a bit unusual, so here’s some background:

Be Green and Re-use

Remember when I tried to grow a small kitchen garden in some reusable grocery bags? The bags were pretty disappointing as planters, but I continue to applaud them for their intended purpose: When I shop, I carry six or more reusable grocery bags, and I almost never bring home those non-biodegradable plastic bags that you find at nearly every checkout counter.

Then I met the owner of a local manufacturing company that developed and produces something they call Veggie Bags. These bags fill a green niche that I’d never thought much about: Think of those rolls of flimsy, light-weight plastic bags that have strategic locations throughout produce and meat departments at nearly every grocery store in the country. Veggie Bags make “disposable” plastic produce bags obsolete (see photos).

The translucent white drawstring bags in this photo hold onions and carrots from loose bins at the local farmers’ market. The bags are strong yet sheer enough that they have no significant impact when you weigh them along with the produce that you put in them.

Qualify to Win Veggie Bags

The manufacturer of Veggie Bags – Equinox – and Your Small Kitchen Garden have teamed up for this modest giveaway. Each of two winners will receive one set of Veggie Bags. We’ll select the winners at random from all qualified entries. Here’s how to earn qualifying entries:

1. Leave a comment in response to this blog post and reassure us that if you win a set of Veggie Bags, you’ll remember to take them shopping with you and decrease the world’s dependency on petroleum.

That’s all you need to do to enter… a comment qualifies as one entry, but multiple comments from the same email address do not qualify as additional entries. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, the following activities will earn further entries:

2. Tweet a link to this giveaway including the hash tag #SMGbags. Each tweet having a unique calendar date qualifies as an entry (so, only one tweet per day qualifies).

3. Post a status update on Facebook linking to this giveaway and including the hash tag #SMGbags. Each Facebook update having a unique calendar date qualifies as an entry (so, only one update per day qualifies).

4. Announce this giveaway on your own blog complete with a link to this post, then email me at admin@smallkitchengarden.net with a link to your post. Each blog that announces this giveaway earns two qualified entries in the drawing.

The last day to qualify for entries in this drawing is Sunday, June 5. We’ll select the two winners using a random number generator and post results on Monday, June 6, 2011.

A set of four Veggie Bags comes packed with the three larger bags folded inside the smallest bag. It’s a tidy package that you might not recreate once you put these work horses into service.

Here, all four bags lie stacked, revealing that the bags are a fine, see-through mesh. The smallest bag might be appropriate to carry nuts or candy from bulk bins. The larger bags can handle whatever produce you wish to carry in them.

For contrast, I put five pounds of potatoes into the largest Veggie Bag in my set. The weight didn’t seem to stress the bag’s seams or the drawstring. I’m pleased to use Veggie Bags and further reduce the number of plastic bags I bring home from my shopping trips each week. Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win your own set of veggie bags

 

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Thanks to Readers of Your Small Kitchen Garden

What may have been the last significant snow of this winter clung to branches, closed schools, and made it hard to believe it’s almost time to start seeds indoors.

Your Small Kitchen Garden’s 2011 seed giveaway is done; it closed on Sunday the 13th. and seeds went in the mail on the 22nd. Why the delay? It had to do with an ear and sinus infection. I’m feeling better, thanks, and finally getting back in stride.

Comments on Your Small Kitchen Garden

One great pleasure of running a giveaway is that it usually results in visitors leaving more than the typical number of comments on my blog. For this year’s giveaway, I included in the instruction …and make me laugh. I’m so pleased to report that some of the participants succeeded!

Had I been healthy, I’d have commented on comments as they came in. To make up for the dereliction, I thought I’d offer responses here:

Leslie (aka feralchick) – I’m sorry the squirrels beat up your garden last year and am pleased to be able to resupply you with seeds this year. Good luck with the squirrel-deterrent system. Are they using lasers in those things yet?

Renee – I loved the woodchuck photos… they made me laugh. I hope I find time this year to post the woodchuck videos I shot two seasons ago. Such persistent critters!

Cindy Scott Day – Good luck with the squash this year. Bugs were amazing last summer, but I’m surprised you didn’t have any luck with the neck pumpkins; they seem as hardy as butternut.

shala_darkstone – I hope you find room for winter squash this season. They tend to take a lot more space than summer squashes, but they’re so much squashier I can’t imagine my small kitchen garden without them.

Diana – Nice to see you back. Sorry, I’ve sent tomato, neck pumpkin, and blue Hubbard squash seeds… just got carried away. If you can’t use them all, I hope you know other local kitchen gardeners who might.

Nell – I hope you have great luck with blue Hubbard; they are truly amazing when they grow up. Blue Hubbard are very susceptible to squash vine borers, so planting late or keeping the plants under row covers may be necessary.

A lone tree stands in a winter-chilled cornfield. It’s nice to package vegetable seeds and muse about spring.

Justine – Sounds as though your first garden was quite ambitious. I’m so glad to hear that you garden to preserve… my book about preserving produce should be in distribution in a matter of days—I put up many gallons of produce every year. Good luck with the tomato seeds; they produce tomatoes ideal for saucing.

Sherry – I’m touched to hear that you have my blog’s feed posted on your blog. I’m sorry I don’t keep it more lively… frequency ought to improve a bit this year as I don’t expect to be writing a book. I never found a “contact us” form with your mailing address in it… I sent a note via email, but I’m mentioning it here in case you missed the email. Please drop me your mailing address so I can send along your seeds!

Salman – I would love to see photos of squash growing in your garden. Alas, I explained in the original post: I won’t ship seeds to other countries (there are usually restrictions on importing agricultural products). I hope you find a local source for winter squash seeds and that you grow a terrific crop.

Jenna Z – If you’ve poked around in my various blogs, you might have discovered my great enthusiasm for squashes. I like ornamental gourds as well, but I can’t admit in a public forum that I actually plant stuff I’m not going to eat. I hope you have good luck with the seeds and I’ll look forward to any reports you might post.

Tom M – I hope that at least the neck pumpkins perform the way you’d like. I’m also frustrated by squash’s susceptibility to disease and insects—especially to insects. Here’s hoping we both have a great winter squash year.

nicky – Hey, you! Grow squash and tomatoes. The only decision will be where to plant them. I hope you’ll share your experiences as the season rolls along. Good luck!

meemsnyc – Romas! Funny they didn’t work out for you. I always thought Romas were a no-brainer of the tomato family. Perhaps these weird paste tomatoes will give you better luck. Please drop by in the fall and let me know how things worked out.

Doe you find time for recreation when your cornfield is under snow? Maybe a little, but farmers use the winter months to repair equipment, do maintenance on their buildings, and plan for the upcoming season.

Bren – I’ll try the spray bottle thing this year. Last year I stopped aphids with a spray bottle of garlic oil, water, and soap; why not Squash Vine Borers? Was your story silly? The question was, and that’ll do just fine

Annie Haven/Authentic Haven Brand – You’re far enough up the list to get a complete set of seeds. I hope you have great luck with them… the tomatoes and neck pumpkins have been cake for me; the blue Hubbard is challenging. Good luck!

TZ – Depending on the weather, it seems squash and pumpkins are eager to die those horrible deaths. Butternut and Neck Pumpkin remain the hardiest, most pest-resistant varieties I’ve seen. I hope yours do well. That’s a nice sequence of photos explaining how you collect tomato seeds over on Flickr.

erynia – How nice to meet another fan of Gardenmom29! One strategy I tried for “expanding” my garden last year was to plant the space hogs near one end. I trained the squash vines over and through the garden fence and onto the compost heap. I may plant squash this year where a vegetable bed abuts one of my wife’s ornamental beds. The squash vines could serve as “mulch” around long-stemmed flowers.

Dakota – Thank you for the fire ants story. I really wanted to laugh, but instead I felt the deep despair of human tragedy. I feel self-conscious at Buster Keaton flicks because while the rest of the audience laughs, I choke up at all the horrible things he endures. Those AFV videos in which someone rides a bike off a cliff or faceplants off a trampoline? I don’t laugh, I cringe. So, I thought somber thoughts about your toosh as I packaged and mailed your seeds. I’m a simple person; I look for humor in corny garden jokes.

robbie – I hope you have great success growing tomatoes from seed. I’ll be starting mine indoors in about 2 weeks.

Jennifer – And you actually got squash off of last year’s Blue Hubbard plants! I’m quite jealous. This year, I will vanquish the Squash Vine Borers and bring Blue Hubbards out of the battle zone: mature and ready for the kitchen!

Mika – I hope you haven’t cried yourself to sleep over vegetable seeds. Thank goodness for the footnote in your comment… I was feeling all teary that my seed giveaway caused you such stress, but the footnote at least gave me hope that you might have been kidding.

Sonya – I laughed, I cried, I relived the terror of Boston in February, 2011. To borrow a line from VA Nuresmy: And, the fishing episode! We missed all but about 14 inches of the snow you folks hoarded. Even so, I’m hankering for some time with the soil. That wilty grayish powdery thing you described sounds like a damp growing season… or so many squash bugs that their activity promoted mold (which might have appeared about the time the leaves crossed over anyway). With a lot of bugs chomping on the leaves, sap can accumulate and provide a great breeding medium for mold. Sorry you had problems last year; I hope things work out better this year.

Jennie – I love your tomato-growing experience! I plant 8-foot stakes, leaving about 7 feet of vertical support. The plants usually grow 3 or 4 feet beyond the supports; they’d easily reach a first floor roof. Visitors from NY watched me setting my 8-foot stakes and were incredulous that I’d need anything so tall. I guess the shorter growing season up there means shorter tomato plants.

circulating – I recommend not growing vegetables out of any wazoo. Of course, they’re your vegetables, and it’s your wazoo, so do what makes you happy. Whatever planter you use, I wish you good luck with the seeds!

Hedgerows often mark propery lines or provide windblocks for farmers’ fields. A pair of hedgerows can conceal a farm road. I’m sure this road will see much more traffic once the snow melts.

Joyce Pinson – I hope you have better luck with the Blue Hubbard than I had last year. They are such awesome vegetables! Thanks for your comment about my book. I learned today that it’s being bound so copies should be in circulation later this week. So cool!

Marsha Hubler – That first year of wrestling with rocky soil would lead me either to experiment extensively with potatoes and tomatoes, or to establish raised beds and make a whole bunch of compost. Even a few 5-gallon planters on a deck or along a walkway could provide a steady supply of fresh veggies. These days, people set up hay or straw bales and plant veggies in them—apparently adequate to raise all kinds of foods to maturity.

Trent – I so hope that when you say “hanging tomato planters” you don’t mean “upside down tomato planters.” OK… we can still be friends, but it saddens me a bit to think the progeny of my tomato plants may grow up hanging from their toes. I hope you have better luck with your torture planters than I had when I grew tomatoes upside down.

lauranot – I’m glad you got in on time for the giveaway. “Sugar Snacker” is an awesome name for a tomato. I decided to stop growing cherry tomatoes after the 8th or 9th generation descended from plants I set some 12 years ago failed to reseed themselves.

Thank you so much for participating in my seed giveaway. I hope all you kitchen gardeners harvest lots of awesome produce this season.

 

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Free Seeds from Your Small Kitchen Garden

FREE SEED OFFER HAS EXPIRED. Please note: The next-to-last paragraph in this post reads: This offer is good through February 5, 2010.

This 20 pound neck pumpkin went into canning jars and so far has produced a delicious pumpkin cake. I can’t promise your neck pumpkins will grow so large, but they’ll have a chance if they are offspring of this bad boy.

FREE SEEDS! Your Small Kitchen Garden blog is giving away a bunch of seeds to encourage kitchen gardeners everywhere, and to spread some fun. Do you remember that Neck Pumpkin and the Blue Hubbard squash I wrote about in November and December? Or, maybe you read about the amazing chili-pepper-shaped paste tomatoes I grew in 2009?

While you’re planning your 2010 kitchen garden, consider this: Until I’ve no more to distribute, I’ll mail a modest set of seeds to each person who leaves a qualifying comment in response to this blog post. A seed set will include six Blue Hubbard squash seeds, six Neck Pumpkin seeds, and 20 or more paste tomato seeds. It’s not a lot of seeds, but it should be enough for you to start your own tradition with these squashes and tomatoes (should you decide to do so).

Someone told me they read that a Blue Hubbard squash was the model for the alien pods in one of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers movies. This Blue Hubbard weighed in at 27 pounds. Leave a qualifying comment for a chance to receive six seeds from this squash.

Qualify for a Seed Set

Here’s how to get your seed set: Leave a comment in response to this blog post telling me you want to receive seeds and explaining (in one or two sentences) which of the three plants you most want to grow and why. While your comments will be judged on the basis of creativity and humorousness, the only criterion for selection is the order in which I receive them.

A neighbor has been growing chili-pepper-shaped sauce tomatoes for decades and these are from that family line. The tomatoes are nearly all-meat, and they taste terrific raw. Plants are indeterminate, and fruits can weigh from eight to 16 ounces.

In other words: first-come, first-served. When I run out of complete sets, I’ll send whatever combination of seeds remains until all the seeds are gone. I expect the Blue Hubbard squash seeds to run out first, then the Neck Pumpkin seeds, and finally the sauce tomato seeds, so if you want all three, leave your comment early. Oh, and please keep it at one seed set per person.

Receiving Your Seed Set

Once you leave a comment to this post, use the Contact Us form to drop me a note that includes your snail mail address. Make sure you include the same email address that you use in your comment; I’ll use email addresses to match each Contact Us form to a comment… so if the addresses don’t match, you might not receive your seeds.

This offer is good through February 5, 2010.

My Australian friend who goes by @GardenBy on Twitter brought to my attention that there may be issues with mailing live seeds to international destinations. I once researched import laws of shipping seeds to Australia and was discouraged by what I read (mostly that there was so much to read and interpret and I could never do an adequate job research such issues on a country-by-country basis). So… I regret that I must amend this giveaway with the restriction that I will ship seeds only to people in the United States of America and Canada. Thanks for understanding.

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