A Look At My Garden

In honor of Earth Day I thought I would share what I pulled out of our garden this evening for part of our dinner.

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Tote available at West Elm

I also brought in some fresh spinach.

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In an effort to care for the earth God has graciously given us and keep toxic chemicals out of my family, I garden organically. Can you tell? This little guy below almost went down the garbage disposal until I rescued him! Now, where to put him….

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My garden is nothing to write home about, but here I sit writing about it in hopes of encouraging someone else to start a garden too.

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I placed it on the side of the house so I would be more likely to take care of it. It is just a few steps out the front door and through the gate. I love that we can see it out our dining room window. I love checking on it. 🙂

It’s amazing what a couple of small, raised garden boxes purchased at Home Depot can produce. Our lot is solid rock beneath the grass, but with a variety of rich organic compost, vermiculite mixed in (to help retain water), occasional watering and love, plants just grow!

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My gardening knowledge is slim at best. I buy small starter plants for a couple of dollars each season from various garden centers and just stick them in the ground and let nature take its course. It’s so much fun watching the plants grow and seeing what is produced!

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I learn what is grown each season in my region by simply checking to see what is available at the garden centers.

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A couple of ways I get the green goodness into my boys–who are not huge fans of salad or sauteed kale— is through juicing

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and smoothies,

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Mixture of fresh and frozen organic fruit, spinach, water and raw, local honey.

and tacos!

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I believe the key to my garden’s success has been a good variety of organic compost. I started my boxes with four different varieties and in the past couple of years have only added in one type of compost from the garden center each year to add a fresh boost of nutrients. I also add compost that we make ourselves. We keep a ceramic container on the counter by the sink for all of our egg shells, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable scraps. My dad lifted the lid once thinking cookies might be inside. Nothing like rotting fruit to dash your hopes! Surprisingly, I have never been able to smell anything coming from the container. There is a carbon filter in the lid that does the trick.

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I add the contents to the tumbling composter we purchased at Costco that is next to the garden just inside the gate. My four-year old loves spinning the composter with me. I try to spin it a couple of times a week. My husband adds our grass clippings to the mix to help balance the mixture. You learn after a while when the mix needs either more grass or more fruit and vegetable scraps. Sometimes, I add a little water to moisten everything up. Eventually, golf ball sized clumps of dirt form that I crumble up into my garden. It’s fascinating!

Ideally, I would love for my garden to look more like the photo below with pea gravel surrounding my beds

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and flagstone steps leading to it.

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Taken at a model home.

When I initially started the garden, my fifteen year old doubted I could produce anything from it. He saw the small boxes of dirt and little plants and was not impressed. I’m so glad I’ve been able to show him that it’s possible to grow your own food! It’s wonderfully therapeutic to spend time planting and tending the garden and I love showing my boys the amazing creations that come out of it. If you have at least a small area that gets a good amount of sun, you can do it too! Happy Earth Day!

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History Meets Hip at Pearl

San Antonio definitely had to grow on me. Despite the fact that the city is big in terms of population (ranked second largest city in TX), the city is not so big on being progressive. When an area of downtown that is home to the historic Pearl Brewery began displaying a rebirth with creativity, community and foodie flair, I got excited! The location is right next to the river, hosts a fantastic farmer’s market and eclectic restaurants and shops continue to open.

Throughout Pearl’s complex in the areas that have now become stores, restaurants, living or working spaces, materials and pieces from Pearl’s former life as a brewery have been repurposed and integrated into the artistry of the design. It’s awesome to see.

“The shelving at the Tiny Finch gift shop? Made from old roof joists from the 1881 brew house….The lighting at Arcade? Old yellow Falstaff crates. The chandelier outside Blue Box? That’s material from an old bottle labeler. And just about all the wood in the new Local Coffee was salvaged and reused.” source

San Antonio is definitely getting its cool on in this little part of town. Here is a look at history meets hip through photos of my trips to Pearl.

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I love the juxtaposition of the historic buildings and contemporary design.

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Latin American deliciousness served at Nao with a contemporary flair.

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Just inside the doors of Nao.

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Enter the brewhouse–now the site of a lively farmer’s market.

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Pearl is also home to The Culinary Institute of America.

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Saucepans turned light fixture outside The Culinary Institute of America.

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The pipe in the background is covered in colorful knitting. I love how the green chairs become a part of the landscape.

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Green Vegetarian Cuisine reused an existing building (circa 1896). Fresh herbs are grown in the landscape.

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The light fixture is repurposed from tubing and glass from the former brewery. This little space makes me swoon.

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Shop windows all dressed up for Fiesta. I love it when San Antonio gets its color on!

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Residents getting in on the decorating.

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Dogs getting in on the action too!

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My favorite place for barbecue has become The Granary. Chef Tim Rattray has created deliciousness here with his brother, the brewmaster. It is served in a beautiful historic home with a contemporary vibe.

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I love the wallpaper outside of the Granary’s bathroom.

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Shopping anyone?

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The repurposed wood incorporated into the design of Local Coffee is a beautiful site to see.

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They offer several different brewing methods, which I find delightful.

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Unique roller conveyer turned table kept this guy occupied the entire time we were there.

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Spring has sprung in Texas!

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Talk about great design for a public restroom.

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I love the colors in the gorgeous mural on the side of the restaurant La Gloria that we pass coming and going to Pearl.

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Pearl has become a great place to hang out, get outdoors, support your local farmers and shops, enjoy delicious food and get inspired about great design. I look forward to going each time and it’s exciting to see the area continue to flourish!