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Paonia Farm and Home Supply, also known as Paonia’s do-it-yourself center, wants to show your project(s) with pictures to inspire our community to get started with their project.  Please come into the store and share your before, during, and after pictures of your projects, gardens, remodeling efforts, and farm animals.

Cheesy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes

A little cheese can be reserved to garnish the loaf during the last 10 minutes of baking

A little cheese can be reserved to garnish the loaf during the last 10 minutes of baking

The original post of Artisan Bread in five minutes has been the most popular post ever published on our blog.  Here is a new variation!

Since the weather maybe a bit cool and rainy this week,  I wanted to let you know  about a delicious, cheesy  variation of this bread.  It will add about one minute to total prep time and is perfect for dinner parties, potlucks, and gifts.  Believe me, your friends will think you are a very accomplished baker with this simple recipe, and appreciate your efforts more than you can believe.

All you need to do is mix-in one cup of grated cheese, of your choice, to the dry ingredients before you stir in the water.  I like pepper jack cheese best, but any cheese will work.  VOILA!  Delicious bread with no kneading.

This recipe remains  fool-proof, in my opinion,  requires five basic ingredients that you are most certain to have on hand and delight your family.

Perfect for cool and rainy days.

No Knead Cheesey Artisan Bread

Close-up of Artisan Bread with Colby Jack Garnish

Close-up of Artisan Bread with Colby Jack Garnish

3 Cups all purpose flour or bread flour 

1/4 tsp Instant Yeast

1 1/4 tsp Real Salt

1 5/8 Cup water

1 Cup grated cheese, cheddar, pepper jack, colby jack, etc

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cheese, yeast and salt.  Add the water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 12-14 hours  (longer is ok) at room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2.  Dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.  Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on the floured surface.  Sprinkle with a little more flour.  Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball in about 30-60 seconds.  Pinch seam together on the bottom. The less handling the better.

3.  Generously coat a cotton kitchen towel (not terry) with flour, wheat bran or corn meal.  Place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour.  Cover with another cotton towel and allow to rise for 2 more hours or so.  The dough is ready when it is more than double in size.  This dough isn’t likely to fall.  An alternative to the cotton kitchen towel is to use parchment paper, to raise the bread on instead of the towel and lift the loaf and drop it into the dutch oven prior to baking, parchment, dough and all.  

4.  Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees with a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot such as cast iron, enamel or Pyrex, in the oven to pre-heat as well.  After about 25-30 minutes, carefully remove the pre-heated pot from the oven.  Slide your hand under the towel, and flip the dough over so the seam side is up, or use the parchment paper to drop the loaf in and then score the top  with a knife instead of the flipping action.  You may think you have wrecked your loaf, and it may look messy, but trust me on this, this is OK.  With seam side up, the loaf “blooms” or opens up while baking.  Cover the pot with the lid.  Return to the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid, garnish with additional cheese if desired and bake another 10-15 minutes or until the loaf is beautifully browned.  Cool it on a rack.

Refresh Your Rooms with Color

heirloom

Paint Will Refresh and Renew a Dull, Out-of-Date Interior

A fresh paint job enlivens a ho-hum interior, but picking the right color (or combination of colors) and figuring out where best to put it and how much to use can prove perplexing.

To narrow your choices, break out a color wheel , utilize the color visualizer tool or use some of the ideas below from Pratt and Lambert. Paint pros use these tools to see how colors will look together before they roll them on.

Hues that are next to each other on the wheel, such as yellow and green, make pleasing pairs, as do shades of complementary colors, which are found on opposite sides of the wheel.

Consider the 60-30-10 Rule

To judge where and how much, try the 60-30-10 rule. “Basically you use a dominant color for 60 percent of the room, a recessive one for 30, and an accent for 10,” says color expert Debbie Zimmer of the Paint Quality Institute. For a whole-house scheme, Zimmer suggests using the same three colors but varying which ones play the starring and supporting roles.

If you’re thinking on a smaller scale, consider adding a single dose of a color you love to just one element in a room, such as the inside of a built-in bookcase. “Painting one surface or an interesting architectural detail is such a great way to get some bold punch,” says Ann McGuire, a color consultant for Valspar.

Pratt and Lambert Paints Interior Paints are on Sale for $5.00 off per gallon.  Ask Linda, Jim, Tim, or Joe about custom color match service.

UrbanJungleOdyssey

 

Plant those Beets

beetsBeets are grown in all areas of the country. The popularity of growing beets is increasing as root vegetables experience a culinary renaissance. The sweet, earthy flavor of the roots and the deliciousness of the greens is wonderful, and both are quite high in nutrients including vitamins A and C, iron, and potassium.

Beet plants take up very little garden space and are a relatively, easy, fool-proof vege to cultivate.

When to sow

We recommend direct sowing beet seeds outside 2 to 4 weeks before average last frost, for early summer crop, and late summer for fall crop. Growing during hot temperature periods should be avoided. In mild climates, beets can sow fall through winter.

Tips

•To hasten germination, soak seeds for 8 to 24 hours before sowing.

•It’s very important to thin beet seedlings, as beet seeds are actually a dried fruit containing many seeds, and as a result, they germinate in clusters. Thin to 1 seedling every 4” as soon as they sprout, or alternatively, thin to 1 every inch and thin again when seedling are a few inches tall; enjoy the thinnings as your first mini-harvest.

We will be publishing some of your favorite beet recipes very soon.

 We offer a wide variety of beet seeds from Botanical Interests.

DIY Self-Watering Seed-Starting Tray

The below blog post originally was posted at BotanicalInterests.com

Self-watering trays provide seedlings with the ideal amount of moisture while saving time that can be better spent prepping the garden for spring!

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These systems can also be expensive. We’ll show you how to make your own trays for a fraction of the cost, in as little as 5 minutes.

You can find all of these items at your local home improvement store and garden center:

  • Reservoir tray
  • Seedling cells
  • Felt fabric
  • PVC elbow fittings (L-shaped, in the plumbing section of a hardware store. To save money, you can cut your own sections of 1” diameter PVC pipe to fit lengthwise in tray.
  • Plastic light grid ( one piece can make up to 4 trays. In the lighting section of a hardware store).
  • Kitchen plastic wrap
  • Metal, all purpose cutter, such as a wire cutter.
  • Scissors
  • Seed starting media
  • Seeds

Start by measuring and marking the plastic grid so that it will fit into the reservoir.

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Use the all purpose cutter to cut grid to shape.

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Place L-shaped PVC pipes at each corner of the reservoir. This will keep the grid above the bottom of the reservoir.

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Place grid inside reservoir on top of pipes. It should sit comfortably with a slight distance from the top of the reservoir.

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Cut felt so that it lays on top of the grid, and also folds down the sides and touches the bottom. The felt will absorb water and carry it to the base of the planting cells.

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Fill cells with pre-moistened growing media and sow your favorite Botanical Interests varieties according to packet instructions.

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Place planting cells on top of the felt. Fill reservoir with water to just below the grid.

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Cover the cells with plastic wrap until seeds have germinated, then remove.

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Keep reservoir water level below the plastic grid.

 

Successful Seed Starting


Starting seeds indoors can be a fun and simple process and a great way to inspire children  to get involved in gardening.  This article is the first of a series of posts discussing how to start seeds indoors and outdoors, with emphasis starting vegetable, herbs, and flowers as well.   The information is adapted from Botanical Interests, a Colorado company dedicated to producing high quality heirloom seeds, and to inspiring and educating the gardener in you.  These seeds are in stock in the store right now.

Botanical Interests Seeds are in stock now!

Botanical Interests Seeds are in stock now!

SEED BASICS

A seed is the embryo of a plant. It is “naturally” enclosed in a protective coat.

Seeds respond to water, light (or absence of light), and temperature. Making good choices for soil and containers will help you grow a strong plant, which will thrive in your garden (inside or out), stay healthy and be productive.

We at Paonia Farm and Home offer Botanical Interests seeds, seed starting containers, high quality seed starting soils, artificial light sources designed to grow healthy rather than spindly plants, and other accessories to make your gardening efforts successful and satisfying.
Sproutkit

A Mini Seed Starting Greenhouse

A Mini Seed Starting Greenhouse

CONTAINERS

You will find all kinds of sizes and shapes of ready-made seed-starting supplies in our store.

However, many ordinary household containers and disposables  can be re-purposed as a seed-starting container.

Containers should be clean.  Re-purposed containers must be sanitized to remove any possible pathogens. Soaking them in a 1:9 bleach:water solution offers one option.

Good drainage is essential to making the container effective.  The container of choice must have a way for excess water to drain away.

Seeds come in many different sizes and shapes

Also, If you will transplant your seedlings as single plants at a distance from each  other plant, then individual pots or divided trays will be the optimum choice. If you will plant your seedlings in clumps or close groupings, then a broad or wide, shallow container could also be suitable.

Other consideration in container choices will be the  seed size, the length of time from planting to transplanting, and the size of the resulting seedling.  Large seeds like beans or squash plants and quick-growing plants (i.e. tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkin) all denote the need for a larger initial container.

SOIL

FoxFarmLight Warrior Seed Starter

FoxFarm Light Warrior Seed Starter

Use a high quality seed-starting mix such as FoxFarm, Light Warrior Seed Starting soil. Generally “you get what you pay for,” so don’t sacrifice quality. Outdoor soil ofter harbors microorganisms and pathogens that, when taken out of the balance of nature, can harm or kill your seeds.  Another choice would be to use high quality potting soil which promotes a moist, not soggy, environment with the ideal mix of air and water to promote germination.

LIGHT

Light is one of the most important factors to creating a healthy, strong seedling. Some seeds get the signal to germinate from light. Other seeds, usually larger ones, can have their germination inhibited by exposure to light. Your Botanical Interests seed packet will have any special seed sowing instructions you need to consider.

This improvised light fixture is adjustable as plants grow

This improvised light fixture is adjustable as plants grow

Sufficiently intense light of the right duration will make a shorter, stronger seedling rather than a taller more spindly plant. A light set-up can be as simple as four fluorescent tubes, two cool and two warm spectrum, hung no more than three inches from the top of your seedlings. A timer will help you consistently deliver 14 hours or more of light per day.

TEMPERATURE

Generally, normal household temperatures are within the ideal range that encourages germination.  You can increase germination percentage and speed by gently applying heat to your soil by placing trays and pots near a heat vent, radiator, or other heat source or you can purchase a heat mat at the store designed to promote healthy seed germination and growth.

WATER

Since plants primarily consist of water,  water application becomes another essential factor in determining the overall health of your seedlings. Water signals to the seed that it is time to come out of dormancy, germinate, and grow.  Young plants are fragile so consistent moisture is vital. Hence seed starting success depends on you to create and maintain the right amount of moisture by watering gently and thoroughly.

Moisten the soil before sowing, especially for the tinier seeds and  maintain consistent moisture after the first watering, but never to the point of soggy soil. Soggy, saturated soil can create conditions that will rot your seeds before they germinate.  Some gardeners cover seed containers with plastic wrap, removing it after seedlings emerge. Sown seeds allowed to dry out may die.

GET STARTED NOW

The back and inside of the BOTANICAL INTEREST or other brand seed packets contain all the rest of the information you need to you plan your garden and start your seeds. Determine if the seed(s) you’ve chosen should be started indoors, and if so, when. By following the guidelines above and the seed starting chart you will be able to create a schedule for when to start your indoor seeds.  Visit the store for best selection of Botanical Interests seeds and all the information you need to get started today!