Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

This is a slide show I created last year and shows some of the seedlings that I started and grew and this reminds me I need to do the same for this year….  Slide show    Make sure to watch the original view and turn up your speakers!

Something that came to mind as I was looking back at my notes and pictures from last year was a simple reality that alot of folks are intimated by gardening and hesitate just because they have never gardened before and…… there is so much different information out there it can be confusing.  So I thought I would help by suggesting a few plants to grow for the first time gardener.  These were easy for me to grow and gave me inspiration and a desire to try other plants!  A few herbs that work well are Basil, Dill, Cilantro and Borage.  Marigold and Zinnia are great flowers to add to a border or include them in your garden as companion plants.  The vegetable plants I suggest are Spinach, Pepper, Tomato, Squash and Cucumber.

Dig up an area that receives a good amount of sunshine during the day and make sure to keep your new garden watered.  As you experiment with growing you will look into different varieties that interest you and those that  you enjoy cooking with.  You will also find yourself searching out more and more information on soil, preserving and techniques that you want to try.  Start out simple in the beginning …


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spring-arriving-2009 Our trip down South this past weekend was Great … signs of spring were starting to surface!  We attended The Midwestern Herb & Garden Show in Mt. Vernon and listened to Roger Swain “the man with the red suspenders” speak on community gardening.  There were vendors throughout the mall and my greatest purchase was Hollyhock seeds for $1.00 – I have a ton of them!  I also gathered Hibiscus seed off two of our own plants and now have plenty of them also.  I have received all my seeds that I ordered and updated the lists across the top of the blog here for the coming season (all except the flowers) … I have added grains as well.  I have the layout for the herb garden planned and next to it the strawberry plants will find a home (I ordered 75 Junebearers so this should be a fun challenge in June!  I received my issue of GRIT magazine while I was away and discovered my photo of “Bee on Borage” featured on page 7.  I will be setting up my account over there to include the CU.Grit.com feature where I can post some more great photos.  If there are any good bloggers and/or photographers out there … check out GRIT.com – they are wonderful folks to work with!  Actually, everyone should check it out … it’s a spectacular website and magazine!  I posted on my blog about the window overlooking the lake – the window valance with woodburned designs is a project I am currently working on …well, here’s a shot of the view with Frankie the dog checking out the sunrise!

frankie-watching-the-sun-rise It’s dark, I know, but I did that on purpose to show the outside colors.  The valance will be 10 ft. across so it’s a Project and I hope it comes out really neat!

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From the title of this post it appears I am going backwards in time, back to the basics and … I am!  I have been researching grains to grow this season in my garden and I am surprised there isn’t more information out there, but then again our world has become so modernized that most folks don’t grow their own grains or need to make their own quilts to stay warm.  In reading up on quilting there was some history touched upon and Quilting Bees used to be the big social event!  Can you imagine??  Most everyone was busy working in some form, cutting logs, baking bread… survival – and the quilting bee was a time to gather and the women would sew and chat, and then there was dining and dancing – everyone dressed to the max for these events.  I would probably dig it, but I bet I am the only one in this family who would!  So although making a quilt looks like ALOT of work I am going to attempt to make one … I think it would be so neat and since I can’t be out gardening in this negative degree wintry weather, I might as well make something to keep us Warm!  I did post several facts about Growing Amaranth Grains on the forum under Grains and it appears to be an easy grain to grow.  I will be researching other grains and hope to grow them as well.  It seems our hard working ancestors have plenty to teach us about the basics in life and with the present state of our economy, I am betting many folks will benefit from this information.  I know I will be growing alot more food for my family this year, all my seeds are already ordered and my research continues! 

thyme-sprouts-2   Thyme seedlings I started a few days ago … along with the other herb seeds which are all sprouting up also!

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I have added a “Herbs” page to the blog and listed herbs that I know for sure I will be planting.  I received Richters 2009 herb catalog and there are a TON of herbs listed, so I am sure I will be adding to the list!  I actually planted some herbs last night indoors and they are under the grow lights.  I always start my seeds too early, but with herbs you can actually use them – they don’t get leggy like the tomatoes and peppers that beg to be planted outside (no, I haven’t started those yet).  The herbs will help me focus on eating healthier since that is one of my resolutions.  Here’s what I planted: thyme, summer savory, oregano, basil – lemon sweet dani, parsley, marjoram.  I have a sheet of plastic wrap over the containers to keep the moisture in since that seems to be one of the biggest problems growing at this time of year; the soil dries out very quickly with the dry air in the house.  I will keep the plastic on as long as possible but watch that mold doesn’t start to grow.  I will be sending my seed order off to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds today – what a spectacular catalog they have this year … it’s Beautiful!

I also added a Recipe page to my website and hope to post those healthy recipes I come up with.  Researching grains is one of my newest ambitions and I actually bought Buckwheat pancake mix today to see what it tastes like.  I did grow buckwheat as a companion crop last year and it grows very easily – so I may be growing a whole lot more to harvest for eating.  To those who are receiving the Luffa seeds I plan on posting to the forum some information on growing them (there is a blog post here also; search Luffa).  I added a calendar function to the forum also so we can add events going on around us that others may be interested in.

Looks like 2009 is shaping up just dandy!  Happy New Year!

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As much as I love gardening I do realize that I must make sure to use the produce I grow and once it starts growing, it can become overwhelming and so the challenge(s) begins….    and to think the tomatoes haven’t even started to ripen yet!

So today I sat back and looked at what I had from the garden – peas, green beans, zucchini, pearl cucumber, basil, chives, yellow scallop squash and flowers 🙂  The pearl cucumber is Wonderful … very crisp and right on for a cucumber.  I was thinking there would be a weird taste but Nope … cucumber all the way!

  Green beans/Pearl Cucumber

The yellow scallop squash we are saving for a stir fry tomorrow, but dang looking at the garden earlier there seems to be like a ton of them growing all the sudden so ONE ain’t no big deal ….

Now……… for the Garden Fresh Quiche I whipped up this morning!  I used Five garden ingredients … peas, green beans, zucchini, basil and chives

  The peas and green beans I simmered in a bit of water for just a few minutes and then sauteed the zucchini with the chives and basil.  I used a store bought pie crust because they are so simple, so next all the veggies went into the crust

  I added a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a cup of fake eggs … egg beaters           It looks beautiful and healthy BUT it needs some ZIP!  More spices, some hot sauce, a bit of pepper  not sure, but will work on it.   I am open to all ideas, so please let me know what you think.   It is pretty darn healthy don’t ya think

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The first thing I had to do after our return from the long weekend trip down south was visit the gardens!  We had a good rain and it definitely made a difference – tomatoes are budding from the flowers, cucumbers are developing, the squashes are doing wonderfully and much more!  I could go on but I will show some pictures I just took.  Tomorrow I will organize the pictures from down south and post about the amazing sights down there!

 Last  harvest of peas and more beets!

 Pearl cucumber looking cool


Corn tassles and corn silk ….. first one of the year!

  The spinach seed dried on the stalk – I left all the stalks in the ground after the final harvest of spinach so I could save the seed. 

Before I left I spent 2 days drying with the Excalibur dehydrator – the chives were from the garden and the blueberries and mushrooms were on sale so I bought an overload and dried them for future use.  The beef jerky I dried to take along on the trip for snacks…

  Excalibur loaded with fruit

  Dried chives, beef jerky, blueberries and mushrooms

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The next few days here (Illinois) are suppose to reach the 90s so I have been working like crazy to weed everything before the heat hits and with all the rain we just had it’s been a huge task!  Weeds do pull out easily after rainy weather so I can’t complain too much!  I also decided to Divide a Rosemary plant that I received as a birthday gift from my sister.  I want to keep some here and take some down south to plant.  The rosemary I take down south I will be planting directly in the ground since I plan to start a herb garden and I am hoping the rosemary does well and grows into a nice bush. 

  I soaked the rosemary with water and then pulled from the pot and it sure was rootbound!  I first attempted to cut the root mass in half with scissors but had to resort to using a much sturdier garden tool to accomplish the cut.


And finally …….. Success!

I will add more dirt to the larger pot of rosemary that remains here and the other is headed down south this weekend.  I also decided to Dig for Treasure today … Black Gold!  Compost is a treasure indeed in the gardener’s world and most of us do get excited when it comes to Compost!  The compost bin we have set up in our yard has been there for years started by the previous owners and I have never taken from the bin – I just added to it for 10 years!  So today was a big moment as we removed a board and dug some black gold out …


  I bet this will sure add great nutrients to my gardens…… Yes!

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