Tag Archives: tomatoes

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 6

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 6

So this week lots has gone on.. I built a new planter with a trellis for cucumbers and watermelon.  I did a lot of research before doing this, and made sure to buy the right plants.  I got smaller watermelon plants, sugar babies and vine cucumbers so that they would grow up the trellis. I went to Lowes and got some untreated fence posts, for cheap and built a box pretty cheap.  I think next year I might do the cedar ones, because they’ll look prettier and we can put some on the patio.

The raised bed garden seems to be doing well. Peppers popping out everywhere and tons of flowers.  In the next few weeks I’ll have peppers coming out of my ears.  The onions, garlic, and lettuce are growing crazy as well.  Don’t mind the weeds, one of my goals today.

My Banana Peppers are getting big. 

The topsy turvy part is growing really well.  I have 4 tomatoes one you can’t really see yet, but its there.  The pepper plants on the planter might not have started growing yet, but they have more flower buds than the ones in the raised bed, and some of the have started flowering.  So a few more weeks and everything well be growing very well. My cilantro in the top of the planter is getting huge, I need to start making salsa apparently.

I am worrying about the topsy turvy tomato plants, that there isn’t enough room for the roots, maybe transplanting them into a bigger container. Haven’t completely decided, but I’d love them to produce a lot, and the bigger the roots the better chance they have.  I’ve been working on plan for a compost bin too, so that’ll be a project I should be able share with you guys too.



Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

So this week definitely a lot of growth and change in the garden! Its much more fun than I ever would’ve though to watch things grow.  I can’t tell you how excited i’ll be just to pick fruit off the plants.  Yes, I’m a nerd, and apparently I need more excitement in my life.

I had an interview early this morning. Cross your fingers! So I took pictures before I left this morning.  After the interview I had a long day, helping a friend pack and grocery shopping.  By the way, today was totally a meat and veggies day, and I love finding $20 of coupons just hanging there in the store.  And score a full rack of ribs for $10, I definitely need a good slow cooking recipe for those if anyone one has suggestions.

So back to the garden.  Lots of flower buts on the pepper plants, the onions are growing like crazy, and more tomatoes.  I’m loving this hot weather early.  Everything is coming up quicker.  I know that most of the pepper plants that are in the actual garden are growing quicker, but they had flowers when I bought the,   With the fact that I transplanted the plants into the topsy turvy garden twice, they are growing quickly and big!  I’m so excited, almost every plant has flower buds on them, here in a few weeks I should be over flowing with peppers.  I am thinking about moving my oregano and peppermint out of the top of the topsy turvy because I’ve been reading a lot and apparently they overtake the garden and actually can damage the root systems of other plants, which with how I measured for the pepper plants that could be a problem.  Luckily there are a few empty planters in our house, and Dad brought me a few more pallets home, so I can always build something.  I’ve been looking at this cute potting table I saw on Pinterest here.  I think those herbs that I’m repotting might go there! And since I mulched the “frog” pond all weekend and cleaned up the patio it’ll look cute.  Now for the pictures! Look how my garden grew.

Please excuse the photos, I couldn’t find my camera this morning, luckily my phone takes decent pix.

Would love to hear from you, thoughts opinions, criticisms, anything.  Please get ahold of me.


Dean Bros Lighter Tastes like Lasagna Soup


First of all I must say it was definitely worth the wait!  This soup was delicious and perfect for a cold night.  I know it hasn’t been cold, but today was chilly and definitely a good day for soup.  I’m happy we finally got to make it.

The family loved it and we put the leftovers in the freezer.  We did change a few things, according to my family’s taste, but any way you make it, I’m sure it’ll work out just right.

Dean Bros. Lighter Lasagna Soup

Adapted from The Dean Bros. 

Serves about 8

1 Hour Cook Time


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (we used deer meat because its what was in the freezer)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (from the garden)

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
8 Whole-wheat breadsticks or grissini (optional) (we are all dieting, no bread covered in butter for us)


Make sure meat is thawed and brown in a non-stick skillet with onions, garlic, and peppers.  Stirring occasionally until meat is cooked.  In a larger pot (dutch oven) add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Then add the meat to that pot, bringing to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.  Once all the flavor is into the meat, add the noodles and bring to a boil again for abou 10-12 mins. Remove from the heat and add in mozzarella, basil and Parmesan.

We served it on top with a little extra shredded mozzarella.

Definitely delicious and worth making again and freezing 😀

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Topsy Turvy Garden Week 4

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 4

The garden is growing and doing well.  I think its going to be a few weeks before we see a lot of progress, but my one tomato is getting a lot bigger by the day and a few of the pepper plants are growing flowers.  Hopefully since this has already been a crazy warm summer, they’ll grow fast and be more productive.

If you were looking on twitter I’ve been looking on Pinterest all morning for recipes to use with all the peppers I’m growing. I can only eat so many peppers.

Definitely looking forward to some Jalapeno mustard and hot pepper jelly.  Have any other suggestions or great canning recipes? I’d love to hear them.  As soon as I start getting more fruit growing I’ll be posting the recipes I try.

If you’re looking for more progress on my plants I post more photos on instagr.am (MandaMakes)  more than once a week.. its fascinating to watch everything grow, knowing that i’m growing it.

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 3


So this week, I changed a lot of things and put a lot of sweat equity into this garden.  I Deconstructed some pallets and built a garden box that I sat on cinder blocks.  This box is 4×4 with 4 holes on each side, letting 16 plants grow topsy turvy and actually having my herbs up top.  I did a lot of research, and realized that my pepper plants were too close together and not getting enough nutrients.  This was not helpful and the leaves were turning yellow, not a good sign.  Not all of the plants did well in the replanting process, hopefully they come back bigger and stronger with the more room for them to grow.  To get this idea I took a few other ideas here and here  and put them together, with the basics of gardening.  Technically each plant should be planted 12in apart, in most vertical gardens they are much closer and or not tall enough.  Hopefully this project works out well, because it was not the easiest thing to build. It might of taken a lot of work, but it was fairly cheap, used organic gardening soil (really need to work on a compost bin next!) and plants, other than that everything was free.
IMG_7840plants growing out the sides and herbs on top.jalapeno plants
The coolest part was all the different tools I got to use, and learn how to use properly.  It is pretty awesome that my parents have about every tool imaginable!  I’ll do a better post of how I put the plant box together later. I’m leaving the tomato plants where they are right now, because they are growing big and I actually got my first tomato on the plant so far! Very excited about this.  My sister thinks I’m crazy because I go out there everyday looking to see how fast and well its growing.  It is very cool thing to watch plants grow, especially since it is food I’m going to get to eat.

I still have a few more plants to plant, hot peppers, habanero, jalapeno, more banana peppers (my favorite, and serrano peppers.
IMG_7830you can see little peppers growing!IMG_7829
I found this awesome tutorial on how to turn a pallet into a Vertical Garden, I thought about doing that but still don’t know if they are going to have enough room for the roots.  Working out the numbers and maybe we’ll have a tutorial on our hands! I’d really love to cheat and just use a hanging shoe rack like show here.  I just don’t think it would be as producing as it could be with the right about of room for the roots. Right now its raining, so I’ll take pix as soon as I can.  Sorry there aren’t more pix of me building the box, but I was worried about all the dust around my camera.  Yes I’m a baby!