Jun 22, 2015

Companion Planting/Vegetable Planning Guide Now Listed!

Happy Monday, friends!

I am so excited to share a new project I've been working on for some time now.

vegetable planting guide cards

A very, very long time ago I was asked to design some planting cards for a family member, who shall remain nameless, ahem, sister, these are for you. We were talking about gardening and what we just planted in the garden and she made the comment that now that grandpa was gone (our family's go-to garden expert for all things Oklahoma gardening) she didn't know when to plant anything.

See, my grandpa had a loving way to let you know what you were doing wrong in your gardening efforts. You could ask him just about any question during the season and his response would be something like, "you mean you don't have your onions in yet?" or "oh, spinach seeds should've been planted 2 weeks ago." I kind of think we could've planted things weeks earlier than he did and we still probably would've got the same kind of reply - though that's just purely speculation because it never happened. He was on top of his garden and the produce that came out spoke for itself.

photo stolen from my sister, ashley

I've mentioned before that much of our garden knowledge and experience comes from what I learned from him. And it's without a doubt that I get the same reaction sometimes from my garden when I'm picking lettuce weeks before others are in the same area or eating tomatoes late in the year. It's that competitive spirit he drove in us and appreciation for growing your own food in your backyard that keeps us growing things even when it seems we're just feeding the squirrel population.

picture from instagram but combined and then stolen again from my sister

Anyway, my husband and I came together on this little project to make it easier for others to have a more successful gardening season. The first set of companion planting/vegetable planning cards have been added to the shop!

 companion planting cards

This set of four vegetable cards have been conveniently set up in standard post card format to allow for easy referencing and storage and each card is printed front and back on recycled matte paper.

The front design offers a beautiful watercolor painting of each of the following four vegetables, as well as a list of its companion plants (plants that positively effect the vegetable's growth or flavor). Vegetables included in this set include:
  • carrot
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • tomato

The back side features:
• short planting guide that works for any time zone - all you need to know are your area's typical first & last freeze dates (link to find those below). Things like:
   - when and where to start seeds
   - planting depth and spacing
   - days to harvest
   - and even some fun tips for each veggie!
• And since it's postcard size - I included some lines for an address and space for postage so you can send it to your favorite gardening friends!

*Find your first and last frost dates by zip code here: almanac.com/content/frost-chart-united-states

Get your set here!

P.S. For those that have asked, yes, I'm working on more! Set two is almost finished up & features herbs that every garden should have and the next set is all about flowers, followed up with more vegetables. I'll keep you posted on the release dates of those & how my temporary shop closing will affect that but I hope to have the entire collection ready this fall - just in time for next year's gardening season. Stay tuned!

Jun 19, 2015

Garden Salads - so many options

~ Originally posted at Beautifully Rooted 5/2012 ~


Well hello again, friends! I'm back today and have some easy salad ideas for you.

My husband is quite the gardener which means we have tons of produce growing in our backyard! This happens to be my favorite time of the year for our garden because we have lettuces, spinach, onions, radishes and other greens ready to pick each evening and I love salads!

Since we have a surplus of greens right now, we eat salads nearly twice a day but that doesn't mean we eat the same thing every day. I have to mix it up and love getting a little creative with our salads.

One of my favorite things to put in a salad are fruits. Strawberries and feta cheese are one of my favorite combos, not to mention, grapes paired with blue cheese! Anyway, if you're looking for some salad inspiration, I'm sharing some of my favorites today.

First up, lunch ideas.

Cranberries and Feta

mixed greens
thinly sliced radishes
sliced green onions - white and green parts
dried cranberries
crumbled feta cheese

Blue and Purple

mixed greens
halved grapes
chopped walnuts
crumbled blue cheese

Veggie Max

mixed greens
grated carrots
diced avocado
sliced green onions - white and green parts
crumbled feta cheese

Northern Bean Salad

mixed greens
top it with bean salad, recipe here, but I didn't add rice or cumin

Now for dinner salads. You can take any of the above, or make your own combo of fruits, veggies, cheeses and/or nuts and throw in some protein. I like topping it with grilled chicken, prepared chicken salad or even adding hard boiled eggs.


I also LOVE adding fried goat cheese to a salad.


As for dressings, my favorites are poppyseed and balsamic vinaigrette, you can get my easy vinaigrette recipe here.

I hope these inspire you in some way! I'd love to hear your favorite salad combos.

Jun 8, 2015

The Love Project Fundraiser

Happy Monday you guys!!! I am so excited and honored to share some news with you today.

My sister, Ashley, has been working on a beautiful project with Meredith and the good people of Morning Star and today they announced the launch of the LOVE project.

In short, the LOVE project has been created to raise funding for life-saving surgeries for children born with congenital heart disease. Children who, if their parents cannot afford the surgeries, are likely to end up abandoned and orphaned in hopes that the orphanage can save the child's life. I can't even imagine that kind of reality. You can find more about it on her blog post here.

In efforts to raise money for those life-saving surgeries, Morning Star has launched the LOVE Fund. Several artist's, many I am blessed to call real life friends, have designed and donated a one-of-a-kind print (for immediate download) to the LOVE project shop.

Artist's include:

When you purchase one of the designs, not only do you get a beautiful print to hang in your home or gift to a friend, you are also making a donation to the LOVE project fund as all proceeds go directly to Morning Star for the LOVE project. Win-Win!!

My sister also shared some of the cutest ways to use the designs in non-print format by printing with different options through Mpix.com. Check out her post to see them as magnets, folded cards, gift tags and more.

Oh, and! I shared a sneak peek on instagram, @lesleyzellers, of a print I was working on a while back and I finally get to share the final piece here. Many asked if it is the print would be available in my shop. The answer is no. But! You can get it over at the LOVE project shop today!

Before I end, I have to say how incredibly proud I am of my sister. Ashely, you are an inspiration to me and I am so thankful to have you in my life. You encourage me to love big, dream big, fight for those that can't and walk in faith and courage. So thank you, sister. I love you and pray blessings upon blessings for sharing your voice to fight for family preservation and orphan prevention. I love you.

How exciting is this?! Please, go check out the LOVE project shop. Get a print for yourself, buy another for your mom, maybe even another for your friend's wedding! I encourage you to join the fundraiser and be part of a community saying yes to family preservation!

design by Fancy That Design House

May 18, 2015

summer backyard gardening workshop 2015!

***UPDATE!!! The workshop is SOLD OUT. Feel free to email at lesley@recipeforcrazy.com to put your name on the current waiting list for the next workshop***

You guys! Today I get to share some details about a special project my husband and I have been dreaming up and I'm just so, so excited!

For those that have been around this blog, or instagram (@lesleyzellers), you know my husband, Eric, and I have a mutual love of gardening. We spend most days outside with our two daughters working in our yard and love being able to try new things and provide fresh food for our family.

For Eric, it's been a long-time dream to somehow use his passion for gardening and share it with others. For me, it's been a dream to watch him use those God-given talents and passions to help others.


Not too long ago, God placed this crazy idea on my heart to open our backyard to our local community and have a relaxed little workshop where we could bring our dreams to life and share our passions with others in hopes of giving people confidence and understanding to go home and grow their own food.

I talked it over with Eric and his eyes literally lit up! We immediately started planning, scheming and dreaming.


And now today, it is with so much excitement that I get to announce our very first gardening workshop we'll be hosting right here in our backyard!!


Here are the details:


Saturday, July 11th, 2015
Zellers Backyard - Tulsa, OK
9am-1pm (or as long as you want to hang out)
Livi Lee's donuts + coffee, snacks and lunch will be provided

We are so excited to invite you to join us for a relaxed, hands-on experience as we discuss some of our favorite gardening techniques, show you real-life examples in our garden, talk about different methods of growing food as well as make new friends and above all else, have a great time! And my amazingly talented friend, Jessie of Jessie Leigh Photography, will be here to capture or day in the garden! We'll wrap up the workshop with a little q&a session and picnic - so bring your garden layout or any questions you want answered.

Some topics we'll address:
• soil basics
• container gardening
• companion planting
• permaculture principles
• natural fertilizers and insect repellants
• preserving your harvest
• and more!

Donuts provided by local hot spot, Livi Lee's + coffee will start the day with some fresh garden snacks + beverages during the workshop followed by an afternoon picnic to wrap things up.

Each guest will go home with some gardening goodies, some of my favorite recipes using garden produce, a set of companion planning cards and gardening tips - plus more surprises I can't wait to share!

You can see more details and reserve your spot here (workshop is sold out). Spaces are limited and I really hope to see you there!

Also, you should check out the post my sister wrote today. Have I told y'all lately how blessed I am to have such a supportive family? Thanks, Ash.

I have to end on one of my favorite videos in my garden. Because carrots!

For more on our favorite gardening posts I've shared, check out these: our garden design, beginner gardening tips, garden planning, indoor planting, soil prep, spring planting, comfrey and buckwheat, strawberries.

Apr 1, 2015

our garden design in photos

I know what you're thinking, another garden post? Ugh. Or yay! Depending on why you come around these parts anyways.

If you like garden and dirt talk, you might like this post. If not, see ya next time?

I've mentioned in previous posts, and instagram, that we decided to try a new design for the garden this year. If you were around last year, you know we had just moved to a temporary spot and started our garden from scratch. We had to make the fence, work the soil and get some plants in. So for time sake, we went with rows. I like rows for several reasons as do a lot of people, however, it's not what we dreamed when we picture the garden. And let me also make it clear, if rows are your thing, awesome! This is not a post about what way is best because I don't think there's a right or wrong way to garden. This is just a post about our garden and why we changed it up.


This was what it looked like in January.


Most of you know my husband and I (which I will refer to as "we") are a tad obsessed with growing things. We love everything about it, well, most things. Pulling weeds in 100+ temps isn't glorious. Anyway, he's always been the brains and vision to what we do. I just help carry out the plan. It's like a chef and sous chef but in the garden. And while this design isn't our DREAM garden, it's a whole lot closer to it.


So here's a little photo overview of how we did it with a little why mixed in.

First the plan and layout.

In permaculture design, one of the principles is to mimic successful patterns in nature. No straight lines, as those don't really appear anywhere in nature. So we based the layout with a fish scale or feather approach. For the bed dividers we used wood from our land that had been cut down when we built the pond. I loved that the wood wasn't wasted and it adds a natural touch, which is another couple of principles in permaculture, use renewable resources and produce no waste. Basically, we are turning into hippie gardeners and that's okay by me. haha.



Once the logs were cut and laid out, we dug small trenches to bury the logs. We wanted the beds to be raised and kind of based the bed design on the idea of a hugelkultur bed. It's a permaculture term and you can read more about the whys behind it in my favorite gardening book, the vegetable gardener's guide to permaculture, or online. Basically, it's like planting on a compost pile. Not really but that's the gist. You layer all kinds of things like logs, brush, leaves, compost, rotting material, etc. and top it with dirt and as it composts, the soil is enriched and feeds your plants.


It's supposed to be a mound but we don't follow directions. So after the logs were laid in, we dug a trench, piled the dirt in a mound for later, filled the trench with wood chips (free from a friend), compost, leaves we piled during fall and winter, rabbit manure (found a lady on craigslist selling it by the truckload for cheap) and leftover stalks and vines from last seasons okra and tomato plants (something I learned from my grandpa). With the addition of all those materials, it naturally raised our bed and then we topped it off with the soil we saved from the trenches we dug for the logs and filler.


We repeated that process for each scale.


About the time the scales were finished, it was Valentine's Day, which means onion planting day. So we planted onions, as snow and cold temps don't hurt them.


And again, we planted the onions in a fish scale pattern among the larger scales with the idea of planting different lettuces or plants within each smaller scale.


Then we waited until it was warmer and worked on the back part of the garden.

We wanted to do something different in this area and still had some logs left over so we laid out a simple path with growing space on either side. We did the same basic trench idea but for the whole bed. We dug out the area for the garden, dug trenches for the log border, filled the are with composting material, topped with soil and took a breather. Then we filled the path with pea gravel and planted some things.


So that's what it looks like now. Not finished but man, I love it.


One thing I've learned about gardening, for me at least, my garden will never be perfect. There will always be work, something to change, something to add or remove. Lessons learned. But just starting gets it going.

I hear people talk about being afraid to start. What's the worst that could happen? You kill a few plants? Been there. Done that. But, seriously, if you want a garden - go for it. Just start! Don't try to be a hero and have a BH&G space the first year. Start small and learn as you grow. The garden we have now could not have happened our first year trying. I probably would've given up all together attempting it all. But man, I'm so glad we got a couple of buckets and planted a few plants all those years ago. I'm happy we started, even if it made a complete garden nerd out of me.

For more garden posts and tips: beginner gardening tips, garden planning, indoor planting, soil prep, spring planting, comfrey and buckwheat, strawberries.