Here's some cool stuff I've found that I want to share with everyone!
First, Wonder Soil! Every previous year I've started seeds directly in my garden. Living in CA it's warm enough to do that pretty early. The first year, they did pretty well. And then the bunnies came. Somehow they figured out how to get past the rabbit proof fence. They would eat my seedlings before they even had a chance (especially the sunflowers). So this year, I'm starting my seeds indoors so they will at least have a fighting chance against the bunnies! (The bunnies don't have a huge impact on mature plants.) I'm getting a grow light from my dad and a seed warmer mat that I bought with birthday money from my mil. I have peat pots and even little plastic greenhouses. Now all I need is seed starting mix. I live in an apartment, and I really don't relish the idea of trying to store a bag of DIRT in here somewhere. That's where Wonder Soil comes to the rescue! A 1 lb. tube holds the equivalent of 15 lbs of potting soil! And each wafer expands to fill a 5in. pot which should be ample for my seed starting needs. I got a deal on 2 tubes and I figure they will last me until we move, about 2 years from now!
Speaking of seed starting, check out this new variety of cherry tomato; Black Pearl. Makes me think of "Pirates of the Caribbean". Anyway, I was very intrigued by the description, so I bought a seed packet. At $5 a packet, they are not cheap but the plants sell for $10! Maybe I'll start a bunch and make a killing selling them for $5 a plant! I wonder if there's a way to collect the seeds from tomato plants. They probably wouldn't produce the same fruit as the parent plant. Oh well. I wonder if these tomatoes would make good jam.
And speaking of jam, here's a no cook freezer jam pectin that I love! I used it today to make strawberry freezer jam with my two boys. It is soooo easy! My older ds helped me cut up and mash the strawberries, then both boys helped me stir in the sugar (only 1 1/2 cups, much less than other pectins). Then after we let the sugar dissolve, my older ds gradually poured the pectin in while I stirred. Then we took turns stirring for 3 minutes, let it sit for 5 minutes and ladled it into jam jars. I ladled and my ds told me when it was full, moved the funnel to the next jar, and put the lid on the full jar. Then we put them in the freezer! So easy, yet so fun. And you can't beat strawberry freezer jam. MMmmmm.... The hard part is keeping it around for any amount of time! My boys especially love it.
Speaking of my boys, we've decided to sign up for Upromise. Basically, when you buy certain products affiliated with Upromise, they put a certain amount in a savings account to use for college. It's not a lot, but it's more than nothing! It's kind of like a rewards card, without the extra card. You register your credit cards and any store cards you want to use online. You can also earn when you shop at certain online retailers. Then you choose the students you want to save for, in our case our two boys. I think you can add as many as you want. And family and friends can sign up to contribute you your students as well! So if any of you would like to contribute, or just open an account for yourselves, I'll send you an email. But only if you want me to, I don't want to spam anyone!
Sorry if this post sounds like a commercial break! It's not meant to be.
And now back to our program!