Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce

165 comments

IMG 4628   Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce

Before we get to this amazing dinner that we enjoyed last night, I thought I would update you on my vegetable garden progress!

Eric and I built the first of two raised beds for the veggie garden. Each bed is 4 feet by 8 feet.  We used this step-by-step tutorial for a raised bed.

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Our growing season doesn’t officially begin until Victoria Day Weekend (around May 20th), which is when most gardeners deem the risk of frost to be over. Some gardeners will plant before this date and then use a frost cover if there is a warning though.

Things I still need to figure out:

  • Where to buy a 100% organic topsoil (do they exist?)
  • Read up on Lasagna gardening method
  • Build or buy a compost bin- research options/methods
  • Make a list of what I will grow
  • Read up on companion planting
  • Draw a plan/diagram of where I will plant everything in boxes
  • How to get rid of my black thumb!!!

 

Right now I am thinking about planting the following:

  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Zucchini/Squash
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Herbs!
  • Some type of berry (strawberries or blackberries probably)

 

What do you experienced gardeners think of this list? Is it too much for a 1st garden? Any tips?

IMG 4643   Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce

In other news, my Mexican food kick rages on!

As does our cold and snowy weather…

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When you can’t get warm, make spicy Mexican food, I say. :)

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I bought some frozen Cilantro cubes as a more economical way to buy herbs (I hope to grow some in the summer though). I wasn’t overly impressed when I added a couple Cilantro cubes into the skillet. The aroma was not the same! Maybe I didn’t use enough? I can’t wait until I can pluck some from the garden!

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Cook your onion and garlic until translucent.

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Add in your seasonings, frozen corn, and tomato paste.

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Stir in the can of tomatoes and Cilantro.

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When the beans are cooked, drain and rinse, and then stir into the chili.

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Simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Meanwhile, make your nacho cheeze sauce!

IMG 4622   Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce

Now stir in a heaping 1/4 cup of the cheeze sauce into the chili! It makes the Taco Chili sooo creamy and delicious.

IMG 4625   Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce

I topped a bed of romaine greens with a huge scoop of the Taco chili and garnished it with a spoonful of cheeze sauce, crumbled tortilla chips, and Daiya cheese. I prefer the cheeze sauce a bit warm so I heated it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. It doesn’t heat very well though and it got a bit hard on the sides. It was nothing a good stir couldn’t fix though!

The Taco Chili turned out fantastic! A little spicy, a little creamy, and a ton of amazing flavours.

It was husband approved too…Eric gave it two thumbs up. :)

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I’m so COLD this morning…need more tea!

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{ 165 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara @ trulysimplebits April 19, 2011

I bought organic soil at Walmart (in the USA). Since the gardening season is still a month away why don’t you start the seeds in pots in the house. That way when it is planting season they will already have a head start. That’s what my family used to do when I was growing up (I grew up in atlantic Canada where it seems to take forever for spring/summer to come! like your weather too I’m sure)
I just planted seeds in pots Sunday actually. I live in California though so it’s warm enough to have them outside. This is my first time planting so I am not sure how it will go. It will be an experiment! :) We don’t have any land to have a real garden, so I am just using pots on our deck for this year. You are lucky to have a big backyard. Hopefully by next year we will too :)

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Tara @ trulysimplebits April 19, 2011

Also, this post has a picture of the soil I bought. I don’t think it said “100%” but it was the only organic choice they had.
http://www.trulysimplebits.com/2011/04/05/a-planting-we-will-go/
(not trying to promote my blog, just wanted to show you what I got for organic :)

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Nikki T April 19, 2011

Awesome work on the garden boxes!
I’m just waiting for my 1st timer gardening in Alberta books come in the mail so I can start planning out my summer garden!
I never really thought about doing raised beds…what is the benefit??
What I will have to do is figure out how to keep our curious fur-baby out of the garden!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

From what I have read a raised garden usually produces a larger yield because the soil is less compacted and more air can travel through the soil. Plant roots need a lot of air down there I guess. They are also great because they are supposed to drain better.
We’re going to put a chicken wire fence around the beds to try to keep out the bunnies and other animals. :)

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Nikki T April 19, 2011

Cool, thanks for the info!
I may have to get my handy husband to get started on building!

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Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 19, 2011

mmm my favorite dish is a big mexican salad and this looks like it would hit all of the same flavor and texture notes!

can’t wait to try it! :)

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Emily April 19, 2011

Hi Angela,
I made something similar on the weekend, as I was in need of some comfort food since it was rainy all day long. It turned out some yummy and the house smelled so good. I love using the crock pot for chilli and other meals. I am not sure if you have one? The crock pot works really well especially when you have a million things around the house that need attending too!

Happy Easter

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

I do have a crockpot and I debated using it for this dish, but I decided I didnt want to drag it out this time. :)

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Natalie @ Will Jog For Food April 19, 2011

WOW, that looks so good! Can you save some for me? ;)

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Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles April 19, 2011

This looks so comforting – especially compared to that frost on the ground. I don’t think I could ever get sick of Mexican food!

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ellen April 19, 2011

I only have 5 years of vegetable gardening under my belt in New England. I’ve found it’s helpful to find a plot plan for the garden for your area. It will show you what can and can’t be planted next to each other. And you don’t plant everything at the same time. Lettuce likes cold (already planted ours). And kale likes the fall. Carrots have not been successful. They only get to be about an inch long. I don’t think the season is long enough in the northeast. Or maybe we just weren’t good at that..

Home grown strawberries are the best things ever!! but they only seem to do well after a few years when they really take root. Put them in an area outside of the raised beds because they like to spread and come back every year. You’ll have to be able to net them or the squirrels and birds will get them too!

Sorry for the novel. i love home grown veggies! One more thing – our favorite crop ever is edamame. You’ll have to order the seeds. Edamame likes warm weather so plant in july and you’ll have the best pods by late august. So much better than the frozen stuff!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

thanks ellen! Where do you think I could find a plot plan?

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ellen April 19, 2011

We started with a book called the Vegetable Gardeners Bible(http://www.amazon.com/Vegetable-Gardeners-Bible-10th-Anniversary/dp/160342475X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303230593&sr=8-1). I think this book is for growers in northern new england. i’m not sure where you are in canada or if it’s applicable. We’ve also found some more localized plans at our local gardening store. If you have a local store they might have a newsletter that they email. Ours usually announces when to plant different seeds and whether they should be started indoors or outdoors which is really helpful. it can seem overwhelming to figure out when everything needs to be planted.

I found this online: http://www.almanac.com/content/plant-companions-list-ten-common-vegetables which tells you the vegetable friends and foes.

A lot of it is trial and error to see what works in your yard. we already killed the first brussel sprout crop this year because of heavy rains.. but try again we will !! we’ve learned not to plant the whole seed packet at once for this reason. good luck!!

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ellen April 19, 2011

After I posted I found a really helpful thing on the farmers almanac web site – a chart that shows you by location when to plant! My life was just made easier.

I dont know if you have this in canada or if there is a US location close enough:
http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/NY/Buffalo

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your help! :)

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ellen April 19, 2011

One (ok two) more thing.. tomatoes do best in the upside down planters. It keeps them off the ground. I’ve heard you can do cukes like that too but we’ve never tried. We usually encourage them to grow up a trellis. And you can now get organic soil and seeds at home depot.. yea! Sorry for taking over your comments this morning!! Have a good day.

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Nikki T April 19, 2011

Awesome info, Ellen! (Another first time gardener here!)

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brandi April 19, 2011

i think that’s a great list for a first garden! but i’m not sure all of that will fit in just two raised beds – are you doing more or also doing just a tilled section of land for more plants?

you can’t plant certain things next to others, so I’d look up info about each item you want to plant to make sure you have them in the best place. Also, things like strawberries don’t produce very well the first year, but the next two years will be great! you’ll want those in a place that will be easy to rotate plants as they come through the 3 year rotation they naturally have.

i can’t wait for our stuff to start coming in! homegrown fruits and veggies are the best ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

yea that is what I was wondering about whether I’d have enough room. I’m not sure how many plants to buy for each! ahhh

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brandi April 19, 2011

you can definitely fit quite a bit in those beds – I guess it just depends on how much (of each) you want to grow this first year. I”m excited to see the progress! :)

We just planted our raspberry and blueberry bushes last weekend and we’ll be getting our raised beds built this week (weather permitting!) to plant our strawberries and asparagus.

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Liz April 19, 2011

Another space consideration, specifically for zucchini – these plants grow huge! I made the mistake last year of planting a whole row of zucchini seeds, and they grew to comically huge proportions and basically took over the whole garden, lol. I think you’re supposed to plant them a lot further apart than I did. Trial and error!

The herb garden is my absolute favourite – I love, love, love having my own fresh herbs straight from the garden. Most of them will come back year after year as well. But I would recommend not planting mint in the ground because it’s a spreader and will actually cross-polinate with your other herbs so that everything starts to taste minty! I keep my mint in a pot now.

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Felicia (a taste of health with balance) April 19, 2011

i really, realllly love sauces made with nutritional yeast! love the flavor and nutritional boost

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 19, 2011

Oh my gosh…. I just made a very very similar chili the other night and am posting it as my recipe of the week tomorrow. I swear, we are thinking very alike these days!! Mine however, did not have creamy nacho cheeze sauce – it looks so good!! Congrats on your vegetable garden progress! Sounds like you were busy over the weekend. I’m interested to hear more about the Lasagna gardening method! :)

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Erica April 19, 2011

Hooray! I just started my first raised bed garden this year too! (Well, actually I put my husband to work building it) I can’t wait to transfer my seedlings this weekend. I also started my first compost bin last weekend! I got this one, but for half the price at a local big box store:
http://www.amazon.com/Soilsaver-Classic-Composter/dp/B003959G9Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303222689&sr=8-1

So far, I love it!

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Holly @ The Runny Egg April 19, 2011

Angela when we finally have a house where we can garden (we’re in a townhome and digging in the yard is a no-no!) I am coming back to your posts because I so want a big garden one day!

I love the looks of this chili. It is cold here too, so warm foods sound delicious!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 19, 2011

That chili looks delicious and perfect for this weird back-and-forth spring weather!

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BrightBakes April 19, 2011

Angela! I’m an avid gardener and have been ever since I was small. (my mom started me young…she has always gardened/grown veggies/canned everything)
Just a year ago I converted my huge kitchen and herb garden into raised beds. Believe me, LASAGNA GARDENING is the WAY to go! I tried a few beds with rich topsoil and a few beds lasagna-way, and trust me, the lasagna beds are Off. The. Hook.
Plus I find it to be very earthfriendly! ANY material that decomposes (except protein and fat) can be used! Newspaper, straw, moldy leaves, peat moss, chopped bark, pine needles, you name it.
I HIGHLY recommend Patricia’s Book (Lasagna Gardening) I ordered it from Amazon and it is worth every penny!
This year ALL my beds will be lasagna style… :)
If you have any questions I would be more than happy to help.
Cheers,
cathy b.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

Wow that is great news!!! Thanks so much :)

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amy April 19, 2011

If you plant any kind of berry plant this year, you probably won’t get results for a year or two. It takes a few years for the plant to mature to produce the berry. My family has strawberry patches, and when one patch is starting to “die” out, my dad will purchase new berry plants and plant them somewhere completely different. Strawberries really like rich organic composted soil, you’ll yield very large berries! Make sure they are covered well with straw in the winter to protect them. I’d definitely read up online/check out books at a library for more information. My family is in Michigan, so similar climate to what you have as well.

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Lizzie April 19, 2011

Strawberries over blackberries – no prickly bits (though blackberrying is a very fond childhood memory for me) and plenty of frozen strawbs to make summery desserts in the middle of winter! :) I’m kind of limited with veggie planting because of apartment living, but I do a herb box in the summer, with basil, mint, and rosemary – and this year I will make it last through August! (sometimes I forget to water!)

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Jennifer April 19, 2011

First, build your compost bin. It is much cheaper and there is no reason to spend a bunch of money on one.

I live in the southern US and we have gardens every year. Squash and tomatoes are pretty easy to grow. Kale is easy to grow as well. Peppers grow like weeds, we always have a TON. Another thing that grows pretty good is okra. My dad always says that strawberries are hard to grow and take a ton of water.

Since you live in a rural area I think your biggest problem will be the wildlife using your garden as a salad bar. You’ll have more deer and rabbits than you’ll know what to do with!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

haha yup…we’re going to put up a big chicken wire fence to keep the creatures out! Although my neighbour said she has never had one thing taken from her garden (that she knew of), so go figure!

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Ashley April 19, 2011

Yay! So glad you liked the nacho cheeze sauce. 2 nights ago we had a verrrry similar meal. :) Delicious + comforting. The gardening bed looks FAB. Jealous!

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Rachel April 19, 2011

Hey Angela!
I live in MN and have been gardening for about 5 years….I suggest planting a ton. Seeds are cheap, and its the best destressor! Lettuce is so fun to grow, so abundant. Same with herbs. We let our cilantro go to seed and evey year it spreads. We have a cilantro patch the size of my kitchen, it smells amazing. I would do strawberries for sure. They spread like mad, so if u want a lot, skip the raised beds and plant where they can spread. So excited for you! BTW, my first year garden was the most fruitful, good luck to you!!!
Rachel

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Rachel April 19, 2011

Hey Angela!
I live in MN and have been gardening for about 5 years….I suggest planting a ton. Seeds are cheap, and its the best destressor! Lettuce is so fun to grow, so abundant. Same with herbs. We let our cilantro go to seed and evey year it spreads. We have a cilantro patch the size of my kitchen, it smells amazing. I would do strawberries for sure. They spread like mad, so if u want a lot, skip the raised beds and plant where they can spread. So excited for you! BTW, my first year garden was the most fruitful, good luck to you!!!
Rachel

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janet April 19, 2011

Hey Ange, I will be planting my own garden for the first time, too, this year. I also live in Toronto, so I am looking forward to hear your own tips and progress!

I have a short-list of what I want to grow, and already ruled out garlic because that needed to be planted in the fall. Otherwise, you may also want to consider growing Swiss chard, since I hear that is easy to grow and tastes great! Kohlrabi and arugula are also on our list to try. I have been told to stay away from broccoli and cauliflower since they attract lots of bugs!

Rhubarb is also really easy to grow (it loves shade) but unless you get a plant, it can take a while to grow from seed.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

Wow I didnt know that about garlic needing to be planted in the Fall…

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Jenn April 19, 2011

You can plant garlic in the spring but you need to plant it early in the spring. Mine went in about 2 weeks ago. Garlic is a slow grower so it needs a lot of time. I also planted my onions at the same time.

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Sarah April 19, 2011

Yum, this looks way good. The garden box looks like it is going to be great! If you can fit all those veggies in your box, I say go for it!

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Faith @ lovelyascharged April 19, 2011

I’m super jealous that you have the yard room for that! Right now I’m trying to start a little garden on my balcony. I just started basil and cilantro, and if I can get those to succeed, I may venture out into some smaller, semi-easy veggies that I can do in a large pot.

BTW – once you find a completely organic soil, please do share with us!

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radioactivegan April 19, 2011

I don’t have any experience with gardening, but I totally want to come raid yours! I’m hoping to have a yard that I can garden in by next year (2012, assuming the Mayans were wrong), so I’ll be watching your progress for tips and tricks :)

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 19, 2011

I was going to make “meat”balls tonight, but they may turn mexican after reading your recipe!

Those cilantro cubes are brilliant – I just bought the basil version at TJ’s.

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Alaina Rose @ Sweetness of Life April 19, 2011

That sounds like a wonderful first garden! That’s so exciting. Growing your own food is the best feeling ever :-) Good luck and have fun!

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Jen @ keepitsimplefoods.com April 19, 2011

Love the frozen cilantro cubes! Never seen them before- very clever! I cannot believe ya’ll still have snow. Boooo! :(

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Shanna, Like Banana April 19, 2011

Swoooon! I love mexi food and this looks hearty, healthy, and fantastic.

Could you do a mexi cheese sauce starting with cashews???

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Andrea @ sweetpondering April 19, 2011

Miracle Gro offers an organic garden soil that has 100% organic ingredients and all natural mirco-organisms. Strawberries are a good choice I think because they yield quite a bit of fruit once they get going, but like others have said I wouldn’t expect much out of your first year. Also, I wouldn’t plant them in the raised beds with your vegetables because they spread and multiply, but also because you shouldn’t plant them near tomatoes/peppers because of that verticillium rot. Anyways, that’s my 2 cents! :)

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Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition April 19, 2011

That’s awesome! I’m so jealous- I live in NYC and it’s impossible to have a garden like that. I can’t wait to see your plants grow :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

ahh pressure is on now! hahah

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Lacia April 19, 2011

That looks really yummy! Gonna have to add that to my list (LONG list) of things to make.

I would love to plant a veggie garden, but just don’t have the room for one right now. I have had a small one for the last few years where I grew cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers and green/red peppers, and various herbs. The cherry tomatoes came out great (larger tomatoes I find get eaten by something before fully ripening). Same with the peppers. My neighbour gave me some raspberry plants a couple of years ago and they have since taken over what little garden space I had so it looks like no more veggie garden for me. I love me some raspberries, but I would like some other stuff too! I live in SW Ontario as well btw.

I have a question for you as well. Is Eric Vegan as well? I am starting to try and omit meat from my diet completely, but hubby (and 3 kids too) would not do the same so I’m having a hard time with meals and making things for them to eat as well as me. Any ideas?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

Eric is not vegan, but I would say he reduced his meat consumption by about 80% after watching Food Inc. He also enjoys the vegan meals that I make, so that helps a ton. When he does want meat he usually fires up the BBQ!

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MarmandeintheKitchen April 19, 2011

I love the idea of the cheeze sauce in the chili – looks delicious!

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty April 19, 2011

Looks tasty! I love the idea of salsa in the cheese sauce!

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Amber K April 19, 2011

Wow, that looks delicious!

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Holly April 19, 2011

Garden peas are one of my favourite things about summer! And my favourite tomatoes to plant are the Sungold variety – they are so delicious and make summer salads look exciting and fresh with their bright colour. Be cautious with zucchini! I only plant 2 or 3 seeds and still get way more than I need!

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Nicole @ Fresh & Fit April 19, 2011

I’m lovin’ the Mexican food! Good luck with your garden. My father has a garden and I love getting fresh tomatoes, zucchinis and squash from him. (I would love my own garden but we are in a condo which = no yard)
I’m excited to see your garden progress!

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Amanda April 19, 2011

I don’t think that list is too long at all! I went in full throttle and didn’t regret it a bit (and I didn’t have a green thumb when starting!). When you first plant you’ll have your doubts but by August you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start years ago!
I think we’re in the same zone (I’m in upstate NY). I’m not an expert, but just to give you an idea of how I would plant…

Plant your peas now. Mine went in ~1 week ago. They are hardy and can survive a frost. The summer heat will kill them, so put them in early to maximize production and then plant again in August for a fall crop. Plant the lettuce, kale and garlic together to help keep animals out of your greens. Most hate garlic! Plant more garlic in Oct/Nov and you will get spring garlic too (which is bigger). Consider adding leeks to your list and plant those with your carrots. They each repel the other plants pests. Start the leeks inside now to maximize your growing season. Plant basil in between the tomato plants, not only do they taste great together, but they love being planted near each other! Your squash will usually do well anywhere with a lot of sun. I stress a lot of sun because it helps prevent powdery mildew which is a common killer of the squash plants (consider throwing some pumpkins in too, they will climb all over but they are really easy and high producers). I’d plant the cucumbers and squashes apart from each other because if one get’s powdery mildew, it will spread to the other easily. Beets and onions will grow well in any well drained soil. They would be fine in a semi-shady place too. For your peppers, I recommend planting them all close together. I planted mine too far apart last year and they didn’t bear too much fruit. My father plants his so that the mature plants will touch and he has much better luck! I would put your herbs on the outer portions of the planters because some help to deter pests, if you run out of room; these will grow great in pots too. I almost prefer the pots because I bring them inside in the winter and eat fresh herbs all winter, some are even still around the next year to put back outside! Just be sure to pick the flowers off of the herbs to keep them growing, if not they will go to seed and stop producing leaves to eat!
I’m new to growing berries this year, but they are perennials and will come back each year. I’d plant them in a flower bed as opposed to your raised beds (fruitscaping ;) ) to prevent disturbing their roots when you turn your soil to plant again next year.

I hope that isn’t too confusing! Feel free to email me with any questions. I’d be happy to help. If I can’t answer the question, I come from a family of farmers so someone will be able to 

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

Thanks Amanda!!! This is so helpful…printing now :)
I feel a bit overwhelmed about where to place everything. Do you know if there is some sort of diagram I can find?

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Amanda April 19, 2011

At my local library I got a copy of the book “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte. I got the old version (it has a second edition now), but I LOVED the book. They give you a list of plants to plant together and plants to put far away from each other and also detail each plants like and dislikes. There are diagrams at the end of the book for all kinds of gardens (ex. postage stamp gardens, the herb lover’s garden…). It was a great book that I referenced while plotting my garden this year!

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Cherie April 19, 2011

Here’s a link to a site that helps with garden layout. Square foot style, but you can design for rows or beds. http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KitchenGardenDesigner

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Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 19, 2011

It is way too early in the morning for me to be drooling over Mexican ;) But I must! I can’t wait to try your nacho cheeze sauce — hoping my Midwestern, cheese-lovin’ husband finds it a fitting substitute, because I would prefer it to even the organic types he eats… Fingers are crossed! :) Thanks for sharing!

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Kim April 19, 2011

Hi, Angela – I’m a professional gardener in Idaho, and my favorite thing about raised beds is that you can really crowd a large amount of plants into your raised beds, as long as you are committed to watering regularly. Someone else commented on the upside down tomato planters, I’m not a fan and think that a tomato will do the best if you use a metal tomato cage when you plant it in the ground, available at any home and garden store. Tomatoes are good to put in the corners of your bed as they will get fairly tall. If you are interested in berries, I would designate an area in your yard outside of your raised beds. Both strawberries and blackberries will spread. If you have a nice summer, you will get a few strawberries the first year if you plant little starts, but you will not probably see any blackberries the first year.

Bed are also nice because once you get towards the fall and potential freezes overnight, it is easy to cover your entire bed at night with a piece of plastic or an old bedsheet and then remove it in the morning. Great to extend your gardening season!

You will have some failures in the first year while you figure out what will do best in your garden spot, don’t be discouraged, because nothing tastes better than your own veggies, picked and eaten within 24 hours! Good luck!

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Natasha April 19, 2011

I agree with the upside down tomato plant. I tried it last year with tomatoes and baby peppers and didn’t like them at all. They didn’t grow well. My tomatoes did great with a large planter and bamboo to grow up!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2011

Thank you Kim!!

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