Refreshing Cucumber-Sour Cream Salad

If you are like me, you have cucumbers coming in, and you're wondering what you are going to do with all of them!  I wanted to share an easy and refreshing Cucumber-sour cream salad recipe with you.  This dish is great by itself, enjoyed with your favorite cracker, or as a side dish with a lunch or dinner entree. The salad is also delicious, simply served over a bed of lettuce and tomato, because as you know, tomatoes are in season right now! 

Cucumber-Sour Cream Salad
2 large cucumbers
1 c. thick sour cream
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. salt
Freshly chopped dill (optional)

Slice cucumbers very thin. Place in a glass or china bowl. 
Add vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Let stand one hour. Drain.
  Mix with sour cream.  At this point, I also add my freshly chopped dill.

Preventing Heat Exhaustion in your Backyard Chicken Flock

Did you know that the perfect temperature for a chicken is between 65 and 75 degrees? 
During the hot summer months, especially in the south, flocks have weeks of temperatures that are dangerous for their health. One important thing you can do is provide shade for them. In addition to trees, shrubs, and plants, we installed a sun shade to the front run where the sun beats in the heaviest.  This shade has tiny holes covering the entire surface, which allows the breeze to blow through, but stops direct sunlight from coming in.

Starting a Raised Garden

Do you want a vegetable garden, but for many different reasons, you don't think it is possible?

1. You have tried before, and the garden failed.
2. You were told your soil wasn't good enough.
3. You don't have enough time.
4. You have garden pests that destroy everything.
5. You have a bad back, and you can't bend over to tend the garden.

Did you know that all of these can be solved by building a raised garden? 
The amount of problems you encounter will determine what type of bed you need. We have a horrible
time with deer eating everything, and I loved the idea of controlling the soil completely, so a raised bed seemed like the perfect solution for us.

Grow Amazing Tomatoes Anywhere

I firmly believe that there is an art form to growing tomatoes. I have tried many different tips and tricks through the years. Actually, I feel like I have tried it all....using lime, epsom salt, coffee, gardening stakes, tomato cages, twine, hosiery, and other tomato planters.
This year, I am trying something brand new that I am so excited about!
 The Gardener's Revolution Tomato Garden from Gardener's Supply Co. arrived a few weeks ago.
This amazing planter is self-watering, from the bottom, to avoid black spot from watering at the top. It holds 1.5 gallons of water, so I only have to add water maybe once every three or four days, and the plant has access to water anytime it needs it. It comes with a liner, a built in stake, cage, the soil, and fertilizer! What I love about growing tomatoes in containers, is that it is so easy to move them, even after they are planted. These planters would be amazing for people who have limited space, live in condos or apartments, or even want to put one on a sun porch.
Also, you don't have the problem with weeds. The first couple days I decided I wanted to use it as a patio planter, but I decided it wasn't getting enough sun, so I transferred it to the garden.
When I began planting this, I put some of our fresh egg shells in the hole and crushed them. This little trick will add calcium to the soil to try to eliminate the threat of blossom end rot that usually develops from an insufficiency of calcium in the soil.
Next, I decided to plant a little cherry tomato that I got from Bonnie Plants. Sometimes these plants break under the weight of all the fruit, so I thought these rings might help support it better.
Finally, I topped it off with some organic fertilizer spikes from Jobe's Organics. All plants need fertilizer, and we are very picky about what type we use. I try to avoid chemical based products on anything we will be eating.

I was a bit worried about the modern, urban planter style, but once I got it, I think it looks great in my cottage style garden.
As you can see, these strong snap-on rings are doing a great job holding this plant upright. I love the fact that I can un-snap them to trap a limb that is escaping, or change the distance between them as needed. Not to mention the fact, that once summer is over, I can either move this inside and start another plant, or clean it, and it is ready to re-use next year. 
Overall, I think the planter is going to be a great investment in my garden. I will update this post when I start getting my tomatoes!

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