FOTESS – JUNE “The Best and All the Rest” Share and Swap

May 30, 2019

First of all, you must be a member of this group Friends of the Earth Simple Swaps (FOTESS) in order to participate. If you are interested in joining, check with me (Jeanne - sandlapper_rose) about the requirements.
Perhaps where you live, you have something like what we do locally. A local magazine and the local newspaper take nominations for various businesses and services and then vote on the Best (Best Dentist, Best Landscaper, Best Mattress Store, or whatever.) We'll be doing a variation of that. Each day there will be a new heading and you can list up to 5 items that you want to label the “best.” Listing only one is fine, too. We are asking for your opinion and we won't vote on the “best overall” --- plus we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so we won't have a category for worst.
It has been very hot here for more than 2 weeks so not a lot is going on in my garden other than watering.

The swap part this month is you will be matched with one other person who signed up and you will send a small inexpensive item (spend no more than $5) to that person. It can be note cards, seeds, a cookbook or gardening book or anything of your choice. The item can even be something you have on hand so you don't need to shop unless you want to. Remember that books can be sent book rate so you are welcome to do that – the post office rules though are to just include the book. Perhaps you can write FOTESS along with your name on the return address if you choose to mail that way.

Sign up by June 10 --- mail by June 22. That's all. I'll list a “best of” each day so please check out what we're posting and all members are welcome to post comments or just tell how things are going in your part of the country. Happy June!

Of course, I will sign up!


Comments (147)

  • canyonwind


    1. onions

    2. garlic

    3. hot peppers

    4 .tomatoes

    5. spinach/kale

    Happy day!!


  • jdmom78_8a

    got my package from Ruth! thank you so much. i love it. the kids are super excited about planting all of these herbs!

    sorry havent been on too much. busy with summer school and an upcoming trip to chicago!

    Beth your package went out yesterday! hope you get it soon!

    tracking - 9500110446849171430474

  • sandlapper_rose

    Jayeanne, I don't know how I forgot mushrooms and peppers. They are a big hit at my house! I'll update sent and received again tomorrow since I didn't get some added to the list above.

  • pinkiris

    Jeanne, mushrooms and/or peppers go into just about everything I cook LOL

    a few tomatoes from my garden in last couple of days ... we are in a severe heat advisory till 7

  • sandlapper_rose

    We have severe storm warning pretty regularly so some afternoon and evenings I don't use the computer. Wow, look at all those tomatoes. I have 3 green tomatoes on my 5 plants all 3 are still green and I hope they make it.

    Trying to get the sent and received list updated now.

    Jayeanne sent/Jeanne received

    Jeanne sent

    Annie <---> Heidi

    Annie sent/Heidi received

    Heidi sent/Annie received

    Urooj <---> Ruth

    Ruth sent/Urooj received

    Urooj sent/Ruth received

    Margo <---> Beth

    Margo sent

    Here's a "Best of" for tomorrow. Best Fruit (fresh or used in cooking, etc.)

    My list:

    1. Peaches

    2. Watermelon

    3. Apples

    4. Honeydew

    5. Raspberries

    It sure was hard to limit myself to five. I love almost every fruit. Blueberries, pineapple and grapefruit as also favorites. I doubt rhubarb is a fruit, but I love strawberry-rhubarb. Unfortunately it's too hot around here to grow rhubarb and it's seldom to be found in our grocery stores.

    Wishing everyone a good weekend!

  • pinkiris

    Jeanne thanks so much for the wonderful package, been busy all day here canning up tomatoes and canning salsa, that I just now had a minute to post to thank you.

    Love the 'gardeners know all the good dirt' pillow ...going to use this as my pincushion! perfect! and the freeze dried peaches... well lets just say they were delicious! and the carole king notecard was super ... thank you Jeanne! been working on a new herb raised bed so the garlic chives seeds you sent will go in there, do not have any pink and white garden phlox (is this the tall one? or the creeping one? and the carolina allspice another new one for me! thank you Jeanne!

    canning tomatoes and salsa today... just picked these this morning, so figured I'd get busy before they go bad, still had some from other day so used them up too ...

    Best Fruit (fresh or used in cooking, etc.)

    blueberries ... (Ive been picking these left and right ...Ill be working on cooking

    the berries up as jam, muffins, breads and pies next week)





    Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend ... cant believe we are nearing the end of JUNE .... where is TIME going??

  • smitties

    Best veggies to include in a meal

    1. tomatoes from my garden

    2. Corn on the cob

    3. onions

    4. Cucumbers

    5. Fresh peas.

    Best fruit

    1. Strawberry

    2. Nectarines

    3. Blueberries

    4. Cantaloupe

    5. Banana

    took a weekend trip to North Carolina to go to a rhododendron festival. Missed the flower display. Rhododendrons grow wild and it would have been awesome. Went with our son and his fiancé and had a great time.


  • sandlapper_rose

    Sounds like that was fun, Margo.

    Jayeanne, here is a picture of the phlox that I grew. It probably grew about 12-15 inches tall. It's pretty likely I got the seeds from someone in the swap groups because I never had this in the garden before so I looked back to see if I had a name for it, but I don't.

    I'm posting rather late in the day so this when you post your "best of" here it will be towards points for June 25th. Please post by midnight on the 24th in order to earn points.

    JUNE 25: Best Month of the Year (You get to name 5 out of 12 so a good chance to match what I put down!)

  • xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska

    Thank you Annie for the garden flag. posting from phone so it's short. Fav Vwggies1 tomatoes 2 peas in pod for stir fry 3 corn on cob Fav fruit 1 apricots 2 cherry 3 watermelon 4 apples 5 mulberriez

  • canyonwind







    Happy Monday!!


  • ruthz

    Catching up.

    I've been sick since last Wednesday. Cold or flu or something. Throat is a little less sore today but still lots of coughing.

    Jeanne, I did send but have not received.

    Best Month of the Year

    1. March

    2. April

    3. May

    4. October

    5. November

    March and December were sorta tied but March won out because it's exciting to see new growth peeking thru and the first flowers of spring blooming

    I've finished my hot lemon and honey drink so I think back to bed for me.

    Had to delete my fruit and veggie stuff. Houzz decided my post was too long.

    Is that a new thing?? I've had way longer post before.

  • smitties

    Best months






    Had to go to the doctor for ear pain. She said it’s the beginning of an infection perhaps from the drive through the mountains. Hopefully the antibiotic will kick it quickly.

    More rain. I’ve have two plants rotting so far from all the rain. We had such a downpour today like we’ve never seen. I want sun.

  • jdmom78_8a

    OMG RUTH! I just found out i sent your package to the wrong person. i have no excuses. I was rushing to get it out by the 20th and I totally messed up! I have had a very busy june the end of the school year, the kids in summer school, and a trip to chicago that was supposed to happen today. there was an issue with my tickets and now i have to get some last minute. but since it won't be for a few days now, i have time to send you something ASAP. so sorry for the mix-up!


  • beth_b_kodiak

    OH!!! I'm messed up too. Way behind and trying to run backwards. LOL No excuses here either,though rain,illness and work all contribute to my confusion.

    I'll detour for a minute and add a list of veggies

    1 cauliflour raw or steamed or baked

    2, carrots raw or cooked with pot roast

    3 tomatoes any and all ways they can be eaten, love love love my "maters"

    4 potatoes

    4 spinach and or kale

  • sandlapper_rose

    Sorry to be so late in the day posting and sorry to hear you've been so sick Ruth. I've heard of others getting that summer cold and it sounds like it's hard to get rid of ... hope you are feeling better, too, Margo. I had a day or so when I thought I was either getting a cold or my allergies were acting up, but that got better - however, I've been having bad pain issues for at least 6 weeks now. It makes it hard to walk, use my hands, etc. Really getting behind on everything. They are going to try me with a different prescription.

    Urooj, so sorry about the confusion in mailing your package. I can imagine how upset you were when you discovered that.

    Okay, so now on to Points and a new "Best of" category.

    My Best of Months were:

    1. March

    2. December

    3. October

    4. May

    5. February

    March is a big flowering month here with the spring flowers (and my birthday month as well as the birthday month of one of my granddaughters), December is listed because I love Christmas and it's the month of my other granddaughter's birthday, October --- when it finally starts to cool off here, May is the last good gardening month before the high heat shows up and it's the month of my husband's birthday and our anniversary plus Mother's Day --- busy month!, and February is when I usually start my winter sowing and the month of my grandsons' birthday so that's the story behind what I picked.

    Margo has 3 more points (14)

    Ruth has 3 more points (12)

    Annie has 3 more points (9)

    Jayeanne (4)

    Heidi (3)

    Totals are in parentheses.

    June 26: For tomorrow (and you have all day tomorrow to post it -:

    Best Plants to Grow from Seed

    Here are my choices:

    1. Tomatoes

    2. Rudbeckia

    3. Cucumbers

    4. Coleus

    5. Parsley

    (And wouldn't you know it, I forgot to plant 2 of these this year. I guess there's still time!)

  • canyonwind


    1. Tomatoes

    2. Peppers

    3. Rudebeckia/Gaillardia

    4. Columbine

    5. Basil

    Jeanne, curious what two plants there is still time for you to grow? You are in a long season growing area that heats up big time.. I am guessing Tomatoes and Cucumbers??????? This curious mind wants to know.....

    Happy Evening!


  • sandlapper_rose

    LOL, Annie --- it's the cucumbers and parsley that I haven't planted. Two years ago I had fantastic luck with cucumbers; not so good last year. However, I love them when they do well. Yes, there is still a long time plants do okay here. Parsley (again if I can get it going) will survive through the winter. I also love to grow basil which you listed. I'll have to poke through my seed boxes and see if I have parsley and basil. I know I have plenty of cucumber seeds. I winter sow my rudbeckia, gaillardia and columbine and all three do well using that method. I also love peppers and plant them, but they are so slow to take off that many times I overwinter the plants in the garage and they produce for me the following year, so to me that's lots of trouble and that kept them off my best list. It will be interesting to see what seeds other people put on their list.

  • xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska


    1. gaillardia (But none of them came up this year. I think it was too cold and wet. I've planted twice.)

    2. Cosmos

    3. Sunflowers

    4. Cukes

    1. Morning Glories

    I had a splurge moment and bought 12 packets of seeds yesterday, but they were only 20 cents each. Morning glories and Zinnias. Nothing fancy, but I'm hoping for a show of color in the future!

    Today I get my Dexcom set up. It tests my blood sugar every 5 minutes, has a sensor just under the skin. I'm nervous, but excited. Heidi

  • sandlapper_rose

    I'm excited for you about the Dexcon, Heidi. Let us know how you do with it.

    Seed packets for 20 cents each - great find!

  • smitties

    Oh my, so many choices of best plants to grow from seeds. I could name a hundred. Lol

    1. Cukes

    2. Tomatoes

    3. Basil

    4. Hollyhock

    5. Cosmos.

  • sandlapper_rose

    This is our Best of Category for June 27th - Favorite Recipe Using Fruit (it doesn't have to be detailed; just so we know which fruit is included)

    My list:

    1. Strawberry Shortcake

    2. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

    3. Fruit Pizza (assorted fruit of your choice)

    4. Delightfully Orange Jello (Includes mandarin oranges)

    5. 3 Layer Cake (Includes pineapple and mandarin oranges)

  • smitties

    Favorite recipe using fruit

    1. Apple pie

    2. Blueberry pie

    3. Strawberry cheesecake

    4. Fruit salad using as many types of fruit as possible.

    5. Cherry pie

  • ruthz

    Favorite Recipe Using Fruit

    1. Apples, Apple pie and Apple cake with caramel sauce or icing

    2. Cherry's, Chocolate Chunk Cherry cookies, Cream Cheese Brandied Cherry Balls

    3. Blueberries, pie and cake

    4. Fruit Salad with mandarin oranges and pineapple

    5. Banana's, Pudding and Banana's Foster Upside Down cake

    Yes Jeanne, this cold thing is rough and proving hard to get over. Today is the 9th day and still LOTS of coughing and chest congestion.

  • canyonwind

    Good Morning!!

    As I don't consume fruit myself, I will make fruity "whatever" once in a while for parties etc...

    Favorite Recipe Using Fruit...….

    1. A platter of fresh fruit....pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon

    2. Blueberry and Lady Finger Torte

    3. Angel Food Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Strawberries

    4. Cheesecake topped with Blueberries or Strawberries

    5. Blackberry Brandy

    Happy Thursday!


  • sandlapper_rose

    All of these sound so good! After I posted I remembered 2 more I really like: lemon meringue pie and pineapple upside down cake. Yum! I also love homemade apple pie - I haven't made it in ages. I'll have to make one this fall.

  • smitties

    Beth, has your package arrived yet. Im not sure where the receipt is but I can search for it if needed.

  • sandlapper_rose

    Hope we hear soon about the rest of the swap packages. The month is nearly gone.

    Here's one more "Best Of" that we can work with for tomorrow and then I'll post the last of the "best of" categories that count for points and we'll see who our winners are!

    For June 28: Best Sayinsg about Plants or Gardens

    Here are 5 of mine:

    1. Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.

    2. Ring bell. If no answer, pull weeds.

    3. If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

    4. Bloom where you are planted.

    5. You can't buy happiness, but you can buy plants .. and that's pretty much the same.

  • smitties

    Best saying about plants and gardens.

    1. I wet my plants

    2. Life begins the day you plant a garden.

    3. Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.

    4. Gardening requires a lot of water, most of that being perspiration.

    5. Garden of weedin

  • ruthz

    Best Sayinsg about Plants or Gardens

    1. Never enough thyme

    2. To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow

    3. If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

    4. God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.

    5. In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.

  • smitties

    Received an awesome book from Beth today and I can’t wait to start reading it. As much as I garden for the butterflies, I don’t have a book. I have garden and bird books. Thank you so much Beth. Its perfect. I also received cuke and dill seeds as well as s recipe for refrigerator pickles. I’ve been planning on finding a recipe so no need to search one out now. I don’t like canning so this is great!!! Margo

    Let me know if your package has not arrived and I’ll search for the receipt. Margo

  • sandlapper_rose

    That Butterfly book is a great idea! I also enjoyed the garden sayings that are posted. So many of those came very close to being on my list of five.

    Okay - the answers to this next one will be due by noon on June 30 so I can follow up and post the final scores.

    Our last category for the month and it's for points!

    Best White Flowers You don't need to get very detailed. For example if we were doing purple flowers: lilacs, pansies, dutch iris would be fine. No need to list by more details than that.

    No list from me now, but I am writing down my list of 5 so it will be ready.

    Have a good weekend!

  • ruthz

    Best White Flowers

    1. Roses

    2. Lily's

    3. Orchids

    4. Daisies

    5. Queen Anne's Lace

  • canyonwind







    Beautiful weather outside today!! Enjoy your day...Enjoy your gardens!!

    Jeanne, THANKS so much for a wonderful month of "BESTS". I loved this!!

    Happy Saturday!!


  • beth_b_kodiak

    Margo, package from you arrived a week or more ago!!! Thought sure I had posted but sure can't find it so I better do that again.

    Glad you like the butterfly book. I really enjoyed it and found it useful but now have another one.

    Let me get back on here with a Thank you message.

  • sandlapper_rose

    The sent and received list:

    Jeanne <---> Jayeanne

    Both sent & received

    Annie <---> Heidi

    Both sent & received

    Urooj <---> Ruth

    Ruth sent ... and Urooj, did you post that you received?.

    Ruth still needs her swap package (as Urooj posted, it went to the wrong person initially)

    Sorry, I didn't have this one correct on the list when I first posted.

    Margo <---> Beth

    Both sent & received.

    One more day for adding points.

    I did some transplanting earlier (some things were still in their winter sowing jugs...) and I planted some basil, parsley and cucumber seeds. We'll see if any of them grow. Out there for 2 hours working in the garden and this was after going to visit my horse and working with her for a bit.

    I think I'm ready to cool off and have a bit of a rest!

  • beth_b_kodiak

    My package from Margo, contained a usseful book on Container Gardens full of good ideas. A scented car freshener and a Post card with Ohio Wildflowers. All very nice..... I love wild flowers as they take me back to days of walks in the woods with my Dad. He taught me so much and planted the seeds for my love of all growing things

    The little metal hang tag is in my perennial garden where it just seemed to really belong. Sincere thanks AND Apologies to Margo for the delay in getting this posted for real.

  • pinkiris

    Best White Flowers






    these are my white vincas grown from seed

  • sandlapper_rose

    I waited until the west coast people had a chance to post white flowers. Our game winners are:

    1st place with 14 points - Margo

    2nd place with 13 points - Ruth

    Congratulations, ladies! I'll get your prizes mailed out later in the week.

    My white flowers that I listed were:

    1. Rose

    2. Daffodil/Narcissus (some are white!)

    3. Dogwood

    4. Azaleas

    5. Viburnum Bush (I have a Chinese Snowball Viburnum and it blooms with big round blossoms)

    Jayeanne, Annie and Ruth each got a point for the final list of "bests" - white flowers.

    Beautiful vincas, Jayeanne, and a great picture. Thanks for sharing.

    I just went out to water a bit and I saw one tomato plant has been found by a tomato hornworm. I hate them! I'll have to keep watching the other plants and try to find those hornworms. My experience is they are only out at certain times of the day and I don't know where they hide when they're not eating tomato leaves.

    Wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July!

  • xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska

    Best white flowers
    Nigrum Allium
    Daisies. Have really appreciated the daisy this spring. long blooming. hardy. wave in the breeze like they're in a parade

  • xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska

    2md try for photos

  • ruthz

    Jeanne I did receive my package from Urooj last evening. I will edit to post contents a little later. Just got home from grandson's birthday dinner.

    Urooj sent pretty pink floral gloves, pink Mason drinking jar, plant clips and a cute bee welcome sign. I love everything. As soon as I feel better I'm going to try out those clips on my lilies. Thank you so much.

  • smitties

    Missed the list of white flowers but will still post.

    1. Daisies

    2. Alyssum

    3. Cleome

    4. Lily of the valley

    5. Narcissus

    Yay, I won. Thanks for the great swap. I enjoyed it.

    I hope everyone enjoys the up and coming holiday. Stay safe. Margo.

  • sandlapper_rose

    Ruth has received her package from Urooj so the swaps are complete.

    Faye has posted the swap for July so check it out! It's simple so we all like that kind of swap.

  • jdmom78_8a

    so sorry jeanne and ruth. i totally dropped the ball on the communication there. my apologies for the swap mix-up. i tried to mail the package out before leaving for my trip but my son forgot it in his car. he sent me a screenshot on friday morning from the post office as proof that he mailed it! im so glad you got it in no time.

    i made a commitment to myself that i would do all of the swaps this year but the time goes by so fast and ive had a hard time keeping track. its so embarassing.

    just got back from my nieces wedding reception. let me head over to July and see whats going on there.

  • ruthz

    Urooj, no apology necessary for me.

    Jeanne, thank you for a fun and creative swap.

  • sandlapper_rose

    Urooj, no problem. Thank you for sending the package to Ruth.

    Rain in our area the past few days (thunderstorms) but my garden is still waiting ...

    The June game prizes will go out tomorrow.

    I hope everyone had a good 4th of July!

  • ruthz

    Jeanne, I received the beautiful iris towel prize today. Thank you so much.

    I still have that summer viral thing. Tomorrow is day 21, hoping it's over soon.

    Has anyone heard from our California members?

    Sure hope they weren't affected by the recent earthquakes.

  • smitties

    Jeanne, thank you for the beautiful towel. It’ll be so pretty in my bathroom, (not to be used lol just be pretty). It’s late so I’ll enjoy my M&Ms tomorrow.

    I’m asking for some prayers for my son and dil. They are working on adopting a baby and the one they we’re supposed to get in May was a devastating scam. The mom promised two people the baby never intending to really give it up.

    Tonight they were chosen to receive a baby that is due in 3 weeks. They are apprehensively excited. we are praying we will have a new grandson or granddaughter soon. Thank you.

  • sandlapper_rose

    Margo, I hope everything words out for your son and daughter-in-law this time. What a terrible thing happened to them before. Let us know once that new baby joins your family!

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