Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

New Beginnings

Well, we aren’t in our new house yet, but we are wasting no time in making the lawn ours, as much as we are able.

Last Friday, Juwairiyah and I were able to go over to the house and plant some bulbs on either side of the front walk. The soil was full of earthworms, which excited us considerably- but it was also full of paint flakes, bits of garbage, and lots and lots of glass bits from when the windows were broken out of the house. Not a good place to grow food, but we figure we can grow color, anyway, insh’Allaah, by planting lots and lots of flowers here and in other marginal areas along the sides of the house.

If you look closely, you can still see glass in the soil


The Mystery Clump. Any ideas?
The Mystery Clump. Any ideas?


We planted tulips, crocus, hyacinths and daffodils. We bought them over a week before we planted them, and they weathered through a storm with six inches of snow, but I am hoping for the best with them. There is also a clump of some sort of flower that grows from a bulb already there, so it will be interesting to see what blooms. We picked glass and little bits of plastic and soda pop bottle covers out as we went (yes, we were wearing gloves) and Khalil took out an old rotted stump. I thought it added character, but that only earned me an eye roll as he pulled it out.



Overachieving Crocus
Overachieving Crocus



Next we plan to sow a mix of annual and perennial wildflowers there around the bulbs. Sukhailah and Juwairiyah mentioned trying to plant a perennial climber of some sort along that front area as well, that would climb up and around the black iron railings and perk the place up a bit. They’ve started researching that, so we will see what comes of it.




In the back there is not so much glass and debris, but we are not sure if the soil is contaminated with lead (the house is over one hundred years old), so we decided to bring in garden soil to put on top of what is there. We are on a very tight budget, so we had to plan our garden around what we could do, not what we really really really wanted to do, which was to plant a food forest throughout the lawn. Khalil did an amazing job of building four raised beds out of scrap lumber from the house. He even had to take the boards off of the front windows when I said I would like a fourth bed if it was at all possible. He wasn’t sure if the wood was treated or anything, so to be cautious he decided to cover it with a dark plastic from the garden center. We don’t know how this will work, but again, we are doing the best we can with what we have.

Two beds closest to the house
Two beds closest to the house

So far he has built four beds. Two are directly behind the house, and two are near the back fence. Funny thing about that area by the fence is that it is filled with onions! Apparently some previous owner of the house had a great liking for onions.  It seems as though the two by the back should get sun most of the day, while the ones near the front will have slightly less. One of the beds at the back we are turning into a Hugukultur bed, digging deep and removing some of the soil and then filling the hole with small logs and sticks and leaves. We will do an upcoming article on that, insh’Allaah.

Dig all those crazy volunteer onions!

We also plan to plant all around the fence in the back yard, lots of climbers to help us feel a little bit, at least, like we aren’t in the middle of a sprawling city. We are doing the potatoes in potato towers, and herbs and such right out the back door on the small deck that is there. Wherever possible we want to implement many Permaculture principles, to get a feel for how it could work for us both here in the city and on land when we are able to get some. Reading about something is one thing, but the real value- and fun- comes when you put it into practice! Of course we will be composting as well, both with a traditional compost bin and a worm bin. We will let you know about those and other related  projects as they develop as well, insh’Allaah.

So, this is the beginning of this year’s gardening journey. If you have any helpful comments, experiences or advice to share with us, please make sure and comment below. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

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    1. I think it would work just fine. I have read that some people cook the pumpkin down a bit before pureeing, but I never have, and I haven’t had any problems. Pumpkin tea bread?? Mmmmmmm….

  1. Pumpkin banana bread with apples

    Total time: 60 minutes


    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, room temperature
    1 cup regular white sugar
    2 eggs
    2 very ripe bananas, mashed
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 cups sliced apple chunks, or about 2 medium size apples (cored), or 1 large size apple (cored)

    Use a 9×5 inch loaf pan or a 8×4 inch loaf pan (plus 3 muffin cups) – see note below

    1) Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, using electric mixer, beat 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of white sugar on high speed for 1 minute until well-combined. You will get coarse looking mixture (not creamy).

    2) Add 2 eggs to the butter-sugar mixture and continue beating for another minute until very creamy and very smooth.

    3) Add mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar-eggs mixture, and continue beating, using electric mixer, until well combined – for about another minute.

    4) In a separate medium bowl, combine sifted flour (do not overpack the flour, when measuring it using measuring cups!), baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.

    5) Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and mix, using large spoon, just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. If there are lumps – they will work themselves out during baking. Fold in apple chunks.

    6) Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper too. Note: lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper ensures that the bottom of the bread will not get stuck. Pour the batter in the pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

    From http://juliasalbum.com/2013/10/pumpkin-banana-bread-with-apples/

  2. Pumpkin 7 Layer Bars

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
    1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
    1/4 – 1/2 cup whole cane sugar
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
    1/2 – 1 cup sweetened condensed milk

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
    In a large plastic bag place several graham crackers, remove all the air possible, and seal the bag. Roll a rolling pin over the crackers until they form finely ground graham cracker crumbs. Measure out and add the crumbs to the melted butter, stirring to combine well.
    Pour the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of a large baking dish or 9×13 pan. Press the crumbs down to form a packed crust. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
    In the meantime, put the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and beat with the hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. When you take the baked crust out of the oven, spoon this pumpkin mixture over the crust and smooth out in an even layer.
    Sprinkle the chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut in order over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Bake until the coconut is fragrant and lightly toasted, about 35-45 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes before cutting. Preferably, let them cool completely and then cut.


  3. Maashaa Allah, we don’t find pumpkins that are small and sweet here, but we love them! Here, we almost always have butternut squash instead.

    I, too, love it cubed in soups, stews, sauteed with onion, garlic, and herbs mixed with pasta, and even pumpkin curry. I often saute it with other vegetables like cauliflower and spinach for a colorful lunch when everyone else is chewing meat, LOL. A sister told me a fast way to “roast” the seeds, which I did once…basically taking them after the cleaning prep and doing them on the stovetop in a pan with a bit of butter and a sprinkling of salt. Yummy if you want to eat them straight away.

    Here’s a recipe that I am planning to make, using honey or date syrup because I find stevia has an aftertaste. Of course, it will have to be a butternut squash cheesecake as long as I’m here, but I can live with that. Pumpkins will come, bi idhn Illah, with another year and some water and sunshine.

    Pumpkin Cheesecake
    20mins prep, 1 hour cooking
    serves 6-8 (so triple it when we come, LOL!)


    About 1 cup of almonds, pecans or hazelnuts, finely powdered in blender or food processor
    2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
    1 egg
    cinnamon to taste
    honey or stevia to taste

    12 ounces pumpkin puree (about 1.5 cups of homemade or about 1 can store bought)
    2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
    2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
    3 eggs
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spices (to taste) or 1 tsp cinnamon and a sprinkle each of nutmeg and cloves
    1 tsp vanilla (optional)
    stevia or honey to taste (I used 2 tsp of powdered stevia leaf from the garden)
    [Note: The above recipe can be doubled to fit in a 9×13 baking dish]

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Finely powder the almonds or pecans in food processor or blender.
    Mix with cinnamon, stevia, egg and coconut oil and use hands to press into bottom of pie pan.
    Put in heating oven for 10-15 minutes until crust is slightly toasted.
    In the meantime, mix the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, spices, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, and sweetener with a mixer or immersion blender (or just throw in a blender).
    When crust has started to toast, remove from oven and pour filling into pan.
    Return to oven and cook for 35-45 minutes or until top doesn’t wiggle in center and starts to slightly crack on sides.
    Remove and let cool.
    Chill at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.


    1. YUM! Mash’Allaah, we have to try this too. Insh’Allaah we will make when you are making it, and we can compare notes! You are right, stevia does have an aftertaste, almost like artificial sweeteners. I use it in teas sometimes, but it isn’t very good for baking in my opinion.

  4. Sad, but true, I’m lactose intolerant and I love dairy. If it’s milky, creamy, buttery, or cheesy then I’m already wishing it was in front of me. I’m sure if a little more cornstarch was added to this and it was chilled, it would be smooth pumpkin pudding….and if it was frozen, pumpkin pudding pops. “This looks yummy!” says Mai as she reaches for the whole box of Lactaid tablets, LOL.

    Warm Pumpkin Custard Drink

    3 cups whole milk
    4 egg yolks
    1/3 cup real maple syrup
    1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
    2 Tablespoon arrowroot powder or corn starch
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, pumpkin, arrowroot powder, and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (I use a whisk) until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir until creamy. Pour into mugs and serve warm.


  5. I apologize for commenting again, but I guess I can be a big mouth when it is something strongly attached to my heart. I love pumpkin even more because our Prophet, Muhammad sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam, loved it. It follows that everything loved by the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is good and beneficial to us, al hamdul’Illah. It is all part and parcel of my wanting every bit of the Sunnah in my life and to be attached to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in as many ways as possible. In fact, when my husband asked me to make him pumpkin soup shortly after we were married, because he read the hadith about the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam loving it and chasing the pieces around in the bowl, it made me love my husband even more, maashaa Allah.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now and look for somewhere to put all that “Sunnah emotion” brimming in me!

    1. Yes, alhamdulillah. When I was writing this article the children were talking about that hadeeth, mash’Allaah. It is interesting because there is some discussion as to whether it was pumpkin or another type of squash, so that it why I didn’t add it into the post. You know how I am about exactness of speech, mash’Allaah.

      1. Yes, caution is a blessed quality maashaa Allah…and I love that about you, along with everything else, Barak Allahu feeki! Indeed, that is why I’m so happy with the different squashes…and feel good eating ALL of them, al hamdul’Illah.

        1. I find that especially butternut and acorn are interchangeable with each other and with pumpkin. I also think they are all so PRETTY mash’Allaah! And they keep for ages, which is always good.

  6. As Salamualaikum! Everything sounds so good! Mashaallah sis mai posted some yummy recipes! I have never really had much pumpkin and I am in the midwest (ohio) where there are tons of pumpkin fests and sales throughout the fall!so I’ll have to try these in sha’Allah I do love pumpkin flavor in my coffee though. I was wandering, how do you think pumpkin would taste in bone broth? I am trying to get a more nutritious and balanced diet and bone broth seems to keep my interest!

    Pumpkin seeds are also a big hit in egypt! When I lived there, the Egyptians were always chewing on pumpkin seeds, and you’d see the shells all over the ground lol ma sha’allah.

    barakaallahu feekum for the recipes!!


    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah! Pumpkin flavored coffee sounds pretty good, mash’Allaah. I have seen tea as well, but never tried it. I think it would be worth trying in the bone broth, although I have never tried it myself. In Yemen pumpkin seeds were popular, as was another smaller seed- I don’t know the name in English, actually. The Yemenis were very adept at getting the shells off when the seeds were in their mouths, something I never mastered. For pumpkin seeds, we eat the whole shebang, mash’Allaah. Feekee BarakAllaah!

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