Upcycle Old Tshirts for Thoughtful Gift!

Children's Tshirts

Sure, they may outgrow them, but you can make cute quilts with them afterwards!

If you’re like the folks who work here at Lehman’s, you like to make things with your hands. And for the holidays, you really like to make gifts for those few people who make your life complete.

This year, you might need their cooperation, a few Tshirts, and some basic sewing skills. We love the idea of a quilt made from well-loved or outgrown Ts that aren’t really past their prime.

In fact, one of our own staff members, Elaine, created a beautiful, very warm comforter using the Lehman’s t-shirts she wore to work for years!

Elaine's "Lehman's Ts Quilt."

Elaine’s “Lehman’s Ts Quilt.”

See the tutorial here:
http://www.favequilts.com/T-Shirt-Quilts/Classic-Memories-T-Shirt-Quilt

Lactofermenting for the Time-Challenged

Stainless steel bowl available at Lehmans.com.

All the root veggies are washed well, not a speck of soil remains. Then they air-dry. Use a colander, or spread on your counter on a clean dishtowel. Stainless steel bowl for photo spiffiness only! (Lehmans.com has ’em.)

Alrighty then, it’s that time of year. The garden is starting to really gear up and I have more produce than we can eat before it goes bad. My plan for filling the pantry with wholesome and delicious foods that have less than 5 ingredients, none of which came out of a lab, is working.

Pickling for people disinclined to boil vinegar
So, what is a girl to do with all this bounty?

I know, I’ll lacto-ferment it all. I like lacto-fermented veggies, so does the hubbin, and I really actually find cutting up veggies to be enjoyable. I’m weird that way!

And as a completely unrelated bonus, lacto-fermenting things is so incredibly easy that even I can’t mess it up. Though I thought I had and threw out the first batch I ever made: more on that later.

Lacto-fermenting is what creates sauerkraut, kimchi and cocktail onions, to name some of the more commonly known results of the process.

Sandor Katz The Art of Fermentation at Lehmans.com

Make your own healthy, pure lacto-fermented veggies, vinegars, pickles and more! Pick up The Art of Fermentation now at Lehmans.com to get started fast.

It is a bacterial process, utilizing critters that are present in any environment that has not been completely sterilized (it will not work in outer space, so those of you reading this from the Mir Space Station, sorry, try it when you get back home), so yes, when I first got into this process I had to get over my germophobia and embrace the little things (metaphorically speaking). It’s similar to the fermentation that creates alcohol, just with different microbes.

Which brings me to examine exactly how one goes about lacto-fermenting, rather than creating carrot booze accidentally.

We want to attract the right kind of microbe, so we have to create the right kind of environment. Think of it as very, very small game trapping, because the microbes are all there, hanging out together. We want to encourage the lactobacilli, while discouraging the yeasts (alcohol) and other things that would spoil our food. Continue reading

Heirloom Ice Cream Makes For Cool Summer Fun

Lehman's Homemade Ice cream freezers

Buckets of homemade ice cream, all made by my family!

Making ice cream for the 4th of July has been a tradition with our family since my mother’s father was a kid. Even though both my grandparents are gone now, their kids are keeping the tradition alive.
We had to push the gathering to July 5th this year, but my mother and 3 of her 5 siblings plus spouses, children and grandchildren all gathered for a family cookout that, as always, ended with ice cream. Because one of my mom’s brothers now lives in my grandparents’ house, we are still gathering at the same house we have been going to for well over 40 years. Continue reading

Glynis’ Garden Fortress In The Desert

Garden is walled and netted on top.

Garden overview–note the net on top to keep birds out.

Out here in the desert, gardening is quite challenging.  I guess that’s why it’s so rewarding.

We live amidst volcanic craters.  They last exploded in about 1100A.D.  Our dirt is volcanic ash and cinder.  Under the cinder is clay.   This type of soil requires constant fertilization and compost.  We also dump old potting soil into it.  We do just about anything we can think of to improve the soil.

Fortunately, the people who lived here before us dumped their compost in the garden area.  They never grew anything, just dumped their compost.  This actually helped when I was cleaning the garden and preparing to grow food there.  We also compost everything, but we have a big composting bin.  The rodents would go crazy in an open compost pile. Continue reading

American Gardens: Mountain Garden GROWS!

Radish and carrot plants.

Radishes and heirloom Dragon Carrots from Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, growing thick and fast!

In the foothills of the mountains, between the borders of North Carolina and Tennesee, there’s a nifty little microclimate. In that area, our gardener Kendra is having some great results! She’s sent two updates, one from mid-May, and one from the end of the month.

May 13, 2014:

The radishes and carrots were growing thick, so I harvested the radishes a few days ago to make room for the carrots to grow.

The lettuce is looking gorgeous. I haven’t harvested any yet, but I expect to be able to in the next few days.

Lazy Housewife beans thrive! Heirloom seeds were provided by Lehman's.

Lazy Housewife beans thrive! Heirloom seeds were provided by Lehman’s.

The tomatoes are loving this hot weather, and are looking lovely.

On April 24th I planted the beans. They’re about six or seven inches tall now.

On May 6th I planted the cucumbers, which I’m still waiting on to sprout. So far no problems with pests yet. Keeping my fingers crossed! Continue reading

Rada Knives Are Perfect Spring Gifts!

Same as it ever was! Rada Meal Prep Knife Gift Set from Lehman

Same as it ever was! Rada Meal Prep Knife Gift Set from Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

It seems like wedding invitations are coming thick and fast to the Johnson household. We have three already, and I know there are more to come. (And don’t even get me started on the graduation announcements!)

It’s going to be a busy spring and summer for us, and I want to make sure that we’re giving gifts that will be useful and last!

While I was mulling over what do the other night, I was making dinner. I realized that I was using a Rada parer, one that my cousin Debbie had given me as gift when I was married in 1994. She gave me the Meal Prep Gift Set too. Continue reading

Down East Gardener Welcomes Spring…Finally!

Black Cherry Tomatoes

Originally found in the Ukraine, these colorful heirlooms have been widespread since the 19th century. Get yours at Lehmans.com!

I was beginning to lose hope but at long last my seeds have decided to welcome spring. I have flats and greenhouses and all many of crazy places around the farm, and they’re getting green, with little growing things.

Experimenting with Tomatoes
I was especially pleased to see my Black Cherry Tomatoes have sprouted. The germination rate is 90%, a good number for me. The real test will be, not just what emerges but what makes it through to productivity. I only planted 15 pots and I spread them among three different kinds of pots.

I seeded 5 in plastic seed flats, 5 in paper pots I made and the final 5 in soil blocks. I want to see if there is any difference in vigor between the three.

I have another idea I want to explore. I always cut off the suckers on my tomatoes although there is disagreement among experts as to whether or not it’s necessary.
Continue reading

The PotMaker Makes Seed Starting Simple

The PotMaker

Make biodegradable seed starter pots easily with The PotMaker from Lehman’s in Kidron, or at Lehmans.com.

Today’s article comes to us from Ann VerWiebe, a staffer at 89.7 WKSU, a service of Kent State University. We’re proud to help support public radio, and were thrilled when Ann jumped at the idea to test one of our products. Ann’s an avid gardener, crafter, sewing maven and all-around creative person.

This winter in Ohio has been tough and persistent. Even now, weeks after it has officially turned to spring, we can’t be sure we’re passed the final frost of the season. I decided to force the issue by starting seeds on what is commonly known as a “sunny windowsill.”

I used the PotMaker to create tiny starter pots. What’s really great about this product is that it allowed me to easily – and cheaply – make something that can be planted directly in the ground once my seeds have sprouted. The simple strip of newspaper used to make the pot biodegrades in the earth without disturbing the roots of the seedling during the transplanting process. Continue reading

American Gardens: Location, Location, Location!

BG's seeds and markers

Lehman’s has many varieties of heirloom tomatoes for your garden! Check out the row tags BG made for her American Garden heirloom seeds.

Our American Gardeners have checked in! This may be the second day of spring, but winter still hasn’t gotten the message in most of the country. Still, garden planning and a bit of gardening is going on.

Tim, Ohio: I don’t dare plant before 4-15 but I have my plan set. I’m inter-planting onion rows with carrot rows as pest deterrence this year. I’m also knocking together pea troughs and the last of the raised beds now. Going to a “growing potatoes” class on Saturday.

Kathy, Massachusetts: Ice today. It’s a slushy, mushy mess. And if it doesn’t stop snowing soon, I may cry! (Kathy’s area has seen as much as 20+ inches of snow this winter.)

BG, Indiana: I’m prepping things. I’m about 2 weeks behind with seeding out into the seedpods (flats), which will be addressed tonight.

I have made planting flags (row tags) for everything that is being started indoors.
 
The head lettuce was seeded outdoors directly into a bed that already had garlic planted and can be covered easily if the weather requires me to do so.

I’m thinking of weighing the harvest this year. I like to be organized! Must analyze plants! Must optimize garden capacity! Continue reading

Our American Gardeners Get Going!

Heirloom seeds in packets from Lehmans.com.

Choose from a variety of heirloom seeds at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Last week, Country Life announced our American Gardens Project, where we sent a selection of heirloom seeds to gardeners all over the country. Each gardener has received his or her seeds, and is, as we say at Lehman’s, “starting their seedlings” in the race to harvest. We’ll track each one, and see how the various seeds do in gardens across the country.

Our Arizona gardener, Glynis, lives in the high desert, and has some big challenges to overcome. She shares her thoughts with us below. Our other gardeners, who are scattered through the South, East and Midwest, will have updates here soon. Continue reading