The Growing Girl

Amateur gardening experiences of a growing girl.

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Refreshing Cucumber Lemonade


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 6 lemons, juiced
  • Make a simple syrup by stirring the water and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat; heat until just about to boil and the sugar has dissolved. Place in refrigerator 30 minutes, or until cool.
  • Place the cucumber slices in a blender or food processor; blend until mashed into a pulp. Pour the cucumber pulp into a fine mesh strainer place over a bowl to catch the liquid; allow to sit until you have about 2/3 cup of liquid from the cucumber, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir the simple syrup, cucumber liquid, and lemon juice together in a pitcher. Serve cold.
Yield: 4 serving
Recipe taken from

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Container Carrots

As you know, or may not know, I love love love carrots. They are my favorite. I started some seedlings to be planted in a container after realizing that our garden plot was not giving them the space they needed to grow (our crops ranged in length from 1 to 2 1/2 inches). Most of the seedlings are about an inch tall and I am keeping a close eye on their progress.

Last week I put my carrot seedlings in a planter and am waiting to see results. The carrots grew quite quickly in the backyard garden, but now I have the planter in the front of the house. Our front yard gets more than full sun. From the time the sun rises to the time it sets, we have sun. Okay maybe not that much, but if there are 12 hours of sunlight 10 of those hours encompass the front of our home. I’m not sure if this is too much sun for the carrots, but I know the herbs and potatoes enjoy it quite nicely.

Since last week we have been getting more than plenty of rain. It’s almost as if Summer said, “Since I have been stingy with the rain this year, I think I’ll try to make it up to you in these few days.” I have had to empty rain water from my herbs and my carrots. Just yesterday the backyard garden was under and inch of standing water. I’m hoping that the rain will have had wonderful effects on the growth of the carrots.

Will keep you posted on our late-crop container carrots.

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In a Jiffy

Jiffy! It is such a wonderful and integral tool to our gardening success. So what is the Jiffy gardening system? There are peat pots, pellets, greenhouses, and so much more. The greenhouse is actually called JIffy-7. It is a plastic container that has cells to hold pellets. Pellets are essentially dehydrated soil bound in a biodegradable casing. All you have to do is add water and watch them plump. Once the pellets are saturated, you plant your seeds in them and replace the lid to watch the magic happen.

The first time we used our Jiffy greenhouse we began to see growth within days, 2-5 days. Some of the crops with longer germination periods took 7-10 days. Once the seedlings were more mature and had spent some time outside of the greenhouse, they were ready to be transplanted. The larger majority of our crops survived (there were 56 pellets in total).

The only thing that would make the Jiffy-7 better is add a labeling system. We used small Pot-Its on the edges to keep track of which pellets housed which crops. I can’t comment on any other of the Jiffy products, but I am an avid consumer of the Jiffy greenhouse and pellets.

We purchased our Jiffy greenhouse from Wal Mart for less than $6. I’ve seen the Jiffy greenhouse at a local nursery for twice that price. The refill pellets at Wal Mart are $2.99 and $6.49 at our local nursery.

Disclaimer: I was not solicited or paid to review this Jiffy product.


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Recipe: Garden Pasta Salad


  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked tri-color spiral pasta
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 (16 ounce) bottles Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water, and drain.
  2. Mix chopped carrots, celery, cucumber, green pepper, tomatoes, and onion together in large bowl.
  3. Combine cooled pasta and vegetables together in large bowl. Pour Italian dressing over mixture, add Parmesan cheese and mix well.
  4. Chill for one hour before serving. Yield: 10 servings
Recipe taken from


Naked Broccoli

When  our first crop of broccoli was still in containers waiting to be transplanted, I noticed that there were little worms hanging out in the leaf veins and crevices. My aunt and I promptly got to work on keep those buggers in check. We plicked them off with twigs or heavy paper; and to get the ones that may have been overlooked, I sprinkled them with self-rising flour. The broccoli began to flourish and we never had any issues with the cabbage worms again. Now that we are trying a second crop of broccoli, it seems that we forgot about our earlier struggles with the cabbage worms. They have returned. Those cute lilting little white butterflies are NOT your friend. They are the parents of these covert leaf munchers. Can you see him in the middle of the leaf? This bugger is way bigger than the early season worms.

Cabbage Worm

Naked Broccoli

One of our late broccoli plants is leafless now. She’s naked, nary a leaf, all stem. It’s no wonder that sucker and his 2 friends are so hefty. This morning I went to work on their work. I dusted them with flour and sprayed them with Ortho’s Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer (which I bought last night to battle the whiteflies). I suppose the Ortho would kill the worms but I know from experience that the self-rising flour works wonders on them. I will have to get back to you on how well the Ortho works against whiteflies and other pests.

Moral of the day: Check your Cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, collards, etc.) regularly for cabbage worms. They’re not so gross when you get them while they’re small. They like to hang out in the nooks and crannies, right next to the veins and particularly so on the underside of leaves. Self-rising flour is a organic and inexpensive way to deal with them. Keep you eye on those little white butterflies.