A PERFECT Vegetable Tray

How much fun would it be to watch peoples faces when they come across this veggie platter when visiting you for the holidays. Of course, they aren’t veggies, but sugar cookies made to look like they are veggies. Use cookie cutters to cut cookies and a sugar cookie icing recipe for the icing. Even the middle cookie that looks like ranch dip looks sweet.

Hard Boiled Egg Snowmen

1503391_10153689973900089_230765349_nThis is such a cool idea and very simple to make. The caution should be added that when working with hard boiled eggs make sure not to expose them any longer then needed out of the refrigerator. Use diagram to stick items in order and finish with carved carrot nose and piped on eyes and button with black icing or you can use edible marker. Finish with a herb like parsley for the arms.

Snowman Christmas Month Countdown / Advent Calendar

1378480_971733206190101_8825816831182928791_nThis project requires working with a jigsaw but don’t get scared – it is easy and as you can see with the pic if you mess up a little it still looks cool.

Cut a twelve inch circle (you can buy this from Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby).

Next cut the carrot for the nose.

Next – freestyle cut a hat – use the hat in the picture for an example. Bottom part of hat should be at least ten inches wide.

Paint hat black. Paint head white and carrot orange. When dry you can roughen all fronts with fine sand paper. This gives it a rustic worn appearance. Paint on cheeks with pink. Let dry. Using a sharpie marker add numbers, mouth, eyes. With white paint add the text “Days Til Christmas” on his hat. With the sharpie marker make ridges in carrot. Use a nut and bolt that is just long enough to go through carrot into the back side making sure to add to washers between carrot and face. Epoxy the hat to the head. For additional security use small screws and drill from the back to front to hold hat on.

At this time you also want to make a hanger on the back which you can buy already created or you can use wire around the house. Attach hanger on with screw from the back making sure to get it in the middle of the head. With Sharpie marker make numbers 24 – 1 going clockwise. You may want to add at least one light spray of polyurethane to keep in good shape.

Hang and let your kids have a great time moving the carrot to a new day while they wait for Santa.

Fruit or Chocolate Christmas or New Years Tree

205131_468802453157303_1224834465_nHollow the core out of an apple. Insert carrot with thinnest section facing up and you can trim the ends of this. Stick as many toothpicks into the carrot and apple as you can. Stick kiwi, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and watermelon pieces on as you can onto the toothpicks. Top with a slice of cantaloupe you have cut into a star. You can also attach pieces of fudge, Hershey’s kisses, Rolos and small chocolates instead of fruit -or why not both – to make a great gift or centerpiece for your Christmas party.

Save Your Garden Seeds

How to Save Seeds

There are two categories of plants in terms of seed saving, those with wet seeds and those with dry seeds. When you save wet seeds, you need to wash them to separate them from the surrounding pulp of the fruit. This can be accomplished by putting the pulp in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink while pulp and any dead seeds will rise to the top. The seeds will then need to dry thoroughly before storage. Some wet seeds will also need to be fermented before saving, such as tomato seeds. Fermenting removes substances from the seed that inhibit germination.

Dry seeds are harvested from the plant when their husks or pods have dried. The seeds then have to be separated from the chaff. When the seeds are dry, you can crumble them up and place them in a dish. Swirling the dish will cause the larger pieces of chaff to rise to the top where you can remove them by hand. To separate out the smaller pieces of chaff, you can use screens. One screen will let small pieces of chaff fall through, leaving the seeds behind. The next screen will allow the seeds to fall through, while larger pieces of chaff remain behind.

To separate dry seeds from the chaff using an ancient method called winnowing, you need a breeze or a fan. Put a sheet or bucket on the ground and drop seeds onto it from a height of a few feet. The breeze or fan will blow the chaff away, while the heavier seeds collect below.

There are some tricks and techniques for saving seeds from different plants. In many cases, a plant or two will need to be sacrificed to get the seeds. Vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli will need to be allowed to bolt, while for others you will need to allow the fruit to dry or over ripen in order to get the seeds. Account for this when you plan your garden and grow extra plants for the purpose of collecting seeds.

Certain plants will need to be isolated from each other to avoid cross-pollination. This is only important for plants from which you hope to save seeds. For instance, if you have two different varieties of peppers from which you hope to collect seeds, you need to keep them from mixing pollen. These plants can be bagged or surrounded with wind-proof caging. If the plants that are bagged normally require insects to pollinate them, you will have to lift the bag and use a small brush to hand-pollinate the flowers.

Beans

To harvest bean seeds, let the pods dry on the vines before you pick them. Shell the beans and let them dry thoroughly before storing. You can harvest most of your beans for eating and leave just a few pods on the vine to dry for seeds.

Beets

If you are growing beets and Swiss chard, they will need to be surrounded by wind-proof caging or bagged. They will easily cross-pollinate, even at distances of a mile. Allow your selected beet plants to over-winter. They will flower and produce seeds in the spring. When the seeds are mature and dry on the plants, simply rub them off of the stems. They can be stored as is for up to five years.

Broccoli

To get seeds from broccoli, you need at least ten plants to make sure there is enough of a genetic base. You can harvest the broccoli’s central head to eat and let a secondary shoot on each plant over-winter. Collect seed pods in the spring before they split open naturally. Dry them upside down in paper bags and the seeds will fall from the pods and into the bag.

Cabbage

Cabbage should be isolated from broccoli, collards, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Like broccoli, you need ten plants for a good genetic base. The cabbage plants will need to over-winter, and you will not be able to harvest any for eating from your seed plants. In the spring, collect the pods when they are dry but not yet split.

Carrots

Carrots can cross-pollinate with Queen Anne’s lace, so they need to be isolated for the purpose of seed collection. Only a small area is needed to let carrots remain in the ground for seeds. Pick the seed umbels when they have dried on the plant. Let them dry, and the umbels will easily crumble away.

Cucumbers

To get seeds from cucumbers, let the fruits over ripen on the plant. When fruit is removed from the plant, let it sit for three weeks before removing, cleaning, and drying the seeds for storage.

Garlic

It is not common practice to collect seeds from garlic for future use. Instead, save a bulb or two and plant the individual cloves to get new plants.

Lettuce

Lettuce produces many flowers throughout its flowering season. Collect dried seed heads from the plants every few days. Hang them upside down in a paper bag or over a tarp. The seeds will fall out as they dry.

Melon

Melons are a wet seed plant. Allow melons to be harvested for seeds to ripen on the vines until their skins are very hard. Pick the fruits and let them sit for three weeks. After this time period, you can remove the seeds, clean them and dry them.

Onion

When flowers form on the onion plant, you need to let the seeds ripen and dry before picking them. However, you need to watch for this carefully to avoid losing seeds. Harvest them as soon as they are dry. You can only store onion seeds for one or two years before they go bad.

Peppers

Some varieties of pepper will cross-pollinate, but you can safely grow one sweet pepper and one hot pepper without worrying about separation. To collect seeds, let the fruit mature and fully dry before picking. The seeds can be easily removed from the inside of the fruit at this point.

Squash

Allow squash fruits to remain on the vine well past the stage at which they can be eaten. They are ready to be harvested when the skin is hard and leathery. Store the squash for three weeks before opening them for the seeds. Remove the seeds, clean them, and dry them before storing.

Tomatoes

Most tomato plants will not cross-pollinate and do not need to be isolated. Pick tomatoes for seeds when they are very ripe and just past the eating stage. Once the seeds are removed, they need to be fermented to remove the germination-inhibiting gel that surrounds each seed. Put the seeds and pulp in a jar and leave it in a warm place. When you see bubbling in the jar for a day or two, remove the seeds and clean the pulp from them. The timing is important. If you allow the seeds to ferment for too long, they will begin to germinate. Watch the jar carefully. The process should take between one and a half and five days.

Original text from http://www.heirloomsolutions.com