Dirty Hands, Happy Brain

Spring at Gibbs Gardens
Buds on the trees
If you love to garden then the first signs of spring-like weather you are ready to get outside and start planting.  Before the planting starts there is planning, preparing soil, and starting those seedlings.  At my house the planning, preparing, and seed starting is for a container garden on my kitchen deck.  I live in the mountains and a garden in my yard is not possible; planting on a downward slope, too many trees, and a host of critters (deer, rabbits, raccoons, and the occasional bear) make gardening more of a challenge than I am willing to take.  So container gardening allows me to still get my hands dirty and enjoy the growing of my own herbs and vegetables. And the added benefit of not having to pick weeds.
A few of last years containers: 2 earthboxes and 2 random pots

We have lived in the mountains for 4 years now and my deck garden has been trial and error.  Each year has been a learning experience and with the learning comes a better yield.  I started out with various containers and have found the perfect containers are from Earthbox.  Each year has been better than the year before.  I am so looking forward to this upcoming season.  I have planned, sown seeds, and have the dirt/fertilizers ready to go.  Now, I wait on the weather. I have schedules my planting date for April 16th, according to my sources (the Farmers Almanac) it will be a good time to plant.  The time for the last frost will have pasted.  There will only be sun and rain to look forward to in the up coming days ahead.

My other garden loves are my Aero Garden(s).  This is a  hydroponic indoor gardening system that allows you to grow anything from herbs to lettuce and tomatoes to flowers.  It is so much fun to see the daily progress of the seeds.  I have even transplanted plants outside then started new seeds indoors.  This just extends the growing experience.  
I hope this inspires you to get growing.  There is scientific proof that getting your hands dirty makes the brain happy.
Since this is the perfect time for lettuce, here is a quick and easy salad recipe:
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
serving for 2
1 head of Romaine (torn)
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved or
1 medium tomato, cubed
1 1/2 cups mozzarella (cut into cubes)
 (I use goats milk mozzarella)
1/4 cup of basil, chopped
Primal Kitchen Brand Italian Dressing
Mix the romaine, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl.  Toss in the amount of dressing that you like.  Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Libby Stephens



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