Showing posts with label Garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Garden. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2012

Merchants and Purveyors Of Heirloom Seeds

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
2278 Baker Creek Road
Mansfield, MO 65704
(417) 924-8917
Catalog: Free online.
Baker Creek has been issuing catalogs for ten years now, and the current one builds on their already impressive offerings. They feature hundreds of non-hybrid vegetables, flowers, and herbs, this catalog is especially strong on hot-weather crops. It lists 44 different eggplants, 175 tomatoes, plus ample numbers of old-time corn, squash, and melons. The other garden vegies are here, too, just in smaller numbers.

Bountiful Gardens
18001 Shafer Ranch Road
Willits, CA 95490
fax: (707) 459-6410
Catalog: Free online.
Offers only open-pollinated varieties, including some newer varieties as well as a fair number of old-timers. Of these, only a few are identified as heirlooms, even though many others, including some fairly rare ones, are also heirloom

Colonial Williamsburg: The Colonial Nursery Seed List
The Colonial Nursery
P. O. Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776
Catalog: Seed list free online.
Gardening was part and parcel of colonial life, and this remarkable museum displays everything from the aristocratic pleasure grounds for the governor to a work-a-day kitchen garden of vegetables and herbs, all carefully researched and authenticated. Their "Colonial Nursery" sells period-appropriate vegetable, flower, and herb seeds, plus bulbs, gardening accessories, and other goodies.

Eternal Seed
657 Pritchard Road
Farrellton, Quebec
J0X 1T0
(819) 827-8881
Catalog: free
Even though their website is a work-in-progress, it still includes a fine selection of heirlooms, including some nice short-season varieties and some that are very rare. Many are grown organically and packaged without pesticides. They also offer many old-fashioned flowers (including some choice vintage sweet peas) and a long list of herbs. BTW, I've never had any problems with customs or plant quarantines when I've ordered seeds from Canada.

Fedco Seeds
PO Box 520
Waterville, ME 04903
(207) 873-7333
Catalog: Free online.Vintage woodcuts, and amusing illustrations, this 100 page catalog has a mix of modern varieties and heirlooms. Among the latter, some are superstars, others are family favorites, many are historic. Informative write-ups help sort out which is which. Fedco has some rare varieties. In fact, they may be only commercial source for some of them. Of course, you're going to want these seeds. Order early. The deadline for mail orders is March 20.

Filaree Farm
182 Conconully Highway
Okanogan, WA 98840
(509) 422-6940 (Message only)
Catalog: Free online.
This organic farm offers hundreds of garlics gathered from literally all over the world. Some are heirlooms.

Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes
5423 Princess Drive
Rosedale, MD 21237
Catalog: Free online.
Astonishing collection of tomatoes, and carrying his tradition forward. As before, this website offers hundreds different heirloom tomatoes -- red, pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, and black tomatoes, big ones, little ones, short-season tomatoes, hot-weather tomatoes, and everything in-between. Best of all, Donna even has tomatoes that taste like real tomatoes.

Heritage Harvest Seed
Box 40, RR3
Carman, MB, R0G 0J0
(204) 745-6489
Print Catalog: $2.00 in U.S. Free in Canada.
Specializing in rare and endangered varieties, this young company's catalog is chock-full of intriguing heirlooms. Some, such as 'Champion of England' peas, 'Boston Marrow' squash, and 'Tip-Top melon' are vegetable superstars of days-gone-by. Others, including 'Brandywine' tomatoes and 'Moon and Stars' watermelon are popular today. If those weren't quite enough, HHS offers Canadian originals, Native American vegetables, and short-season varieties. For many of them, HHS is the only commercial seed source. A laudable effort, especially since without niche seed companies like this one, many rare and choice heirlooms would simply cease to be

Johnny's Selected Seeds
955 Benton Avenue
Winslow, ME 04910
1-877-Johnnys (1-877-564-6697)
Catalog: Free online.
While Johnny's specializes in short-season crops, it also offers a nice selection of heirlooms identified as such

Landreth Seed Company
60 East High Street, Bldg #4
New Freedom, PA 17349
(800) 654-2407
Catalog: Free online.
This historic company (founded 1784) offers an assortment of old and open-pollinated vegetables. This year, they added a page devoted entirely to the heirloom vegetables, many of which they have offered since these varieties were new. The 193 varieties listed here (with nifty vintage images) include many classics, and is worth a browse.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spring Planting

Here are some quick tips adapted from Easy Answers for Great Gardens to help you get started with knockout plant containers that cost more dimes than dollars.

Metal containers are all the rage this season, so why not use what you already have on hand? A large olive oil tin, an old bucket--any container will do; simply use a nail to pound out drainage holes. (If it's galvanized, pot your plants in a separate container first; zinc can kill plants.)
For added color, a local restaurant may give you giant tomato sauce tins or boxy olive tins with the artwork labels printed right on the metal surface. Use these lovely artifacts to add European atmosphere to your patio by planting them with cherry tomatoes, golden sage, and dark-leafed basil. Herbs and easy-to-grow flowers like nasturtiums are especially suited for growing in these containers since they tolerate the higher soil temperature of heat-conducting metals.

Sowing Suitcases

A classic-looking suitcase lined with a garbage bag or plastic tablecloth is a novel way to showcase potted plants and greenery all year long. Rather than adding soil and planting directly inside your newfound container, simply fill it with pre-planted pots. You can keep the the pots from sitting in their drainage water by placing them on saucers turned upside down. For hanging or draping plants, stack several suitcases in a tower and use them as pedestals.

Looking for more ideas? Transform a cosmetic case or decorative wicker suitcase into a table centerpiece by filling it with blooming African violets, or use it to welcome visitors with pots of tulips on a protected front porch. Even an old foot locker can be propped open, lined with plastic, and utilized as a gigantic planter box.

Blooming Baskets

A wicker laundry basket makes a lovely porch planter for bulbs or summer annuals. Line any basket with a thick plastic garbage bag and then poke a knife through the slats of the wicker for easy drainage. Add potting soil, and you're ready to begin planting.
Marianne Binetti is the author of several books, including Easy Answers for Great Gardens and Perennials for Washington and Oregon. An avid horticulturalist, she shares her tips in several print publications and on TV. She lives and gardens with her family on two acres in Enumclaw, Washington.
Sent from a reader about Marianne

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Flower card

What to do with all that extra paper this winter
Here is a wonderful idea and link

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Garden

Spring Divisions Caring for Your Flower Beds Budget Gardening: Increase Stock with Cheap or Free Garden Plants
Some perennials do best if divided in the spring, some do best if divided in the fall, and others may be divided in either fall or spring.
The following may be divided in the fall with good results. I think you will be surprised at how many perennials can be successfully divided in the fall!

Propagation by division assures the new plant will be an exact match with the original.
Division is an inexpensive way to increase your stock of a favorite plant, or to create extra plants for swapping with friends.

1 Dig up the clump, taking care to get as much of the roots as possible without damage.Most roots are in the top 12 inches of soil, and the root’s mass will usually be the diameter the plant plus 3 to 6 inches beyond the plant. For digging and transplanting, going larger than this shouldn’t be necessary.

2 Use a sharp spade to cut or cleanly break the clump into two or more pieces (divisions), each with an obvious growing point and some roots.Work on the clump quickly so the plant parts don’t dry out too much (you can cover them with a tarp or mist them occasionally if need be). Discard any unproductive portions and any shriveled or rotten parts. Leave the roots surrounded with the soil to protect the root hairs from drying out and becoming damaged.

You can pry apart fibrous-rooted perennials with your bare hands; all others require sharp, strong, clean tools that are equal to the job: a stout knife, a trowel, even two spades or gardening forks braced back-to-back.

3 Replant the new pieces.Plant some in the same spot and the others perhaps elsewhere in your yard (or share them other gardeners).

Many perennials can be left in place for at least several years before they need dividing
-- and a few such as peony and baptisia -- rarely need dividing, if ever. But if you have plants that need to be divided, see if they are listed. If so, do it this fall and both you and your plants will get a good jump on spring!

These Perennials May Be Divided in Fall
Listed Alphabetically by Botanical Name

Aruncus dioicus
Iris (early fall)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Snow Peas

Snow Peas, Edible Podded Peas, and Sugar Snaps
Description - The pods of snow peas are flat and thin with the bulge of the tiny seed barely visible at prime eating stage.
The bright green pods should be turgid and crisp. They contain five to seven seeds and reach a length of two to three
inches. The pods of sugar snaps are plump like regular English peas but are sweet and tender, thus eaten whole
without being shelled, eaten raw or cooked. The vigorous growing vine is a legume.
Culture - Plant six to eight weeks before the last expected spring killing frost. Peas grow best in well-drained sandy soil.
Plant seed in single rows about one inch deep with seed spaced about five inches apart. Trellis the plants to support
the vines and keep pods from touching the soil. Maintain good soil moisture during bloom, pod set and pod fill for
tenderest, sweetest pods.
Stir-fry snow peas
Serves 2 to 4
8 - 10 ounces snow peas
1 tablespoon canola, olive, or peanut oil, or as needed
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (such as Kikkoman), to taste
Rinse the snow peas and trim the ends.
Heat the oil in a preheated wok or skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the finely chopped garlic. Stir-fry briefly until it is aromatic, then add the snow peas and salt.
Stir-fry briefly, then add the soy sauce. Stir-fry for another minute and serve. (Total stir-frying time for snow peas is about 2 minutes.)
Chicken with snow peas
serves 3 - 4.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
3/4 chicken meat (boneless, skinless chicken breasts are good)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 - 8 ounces snow peas (mangetout)
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt, as desired
peanut or vegetable oil (canola is good) for blanching the chicken and stir-frying
1. Cut the chicken meat into large cubes. Add the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last.
Marinate the chicken for 20 - 30 minutes.
2. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce and ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the
sauce ingredients, whisking in the cornstarch. String the snow peas, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Heat the wok and add 1 1/2 cups oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken cubes. Blanch in the hot oil for
about 30 seconds, using a spatula or long cooking chopsticks to separate the chicken cubes.
Remove the chicken cubes and drain.
4. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from the wok. Add the salt. Add the snow peas. Stir-fry until the snow peas turn bright green (about 2 minutes).
5. Add the chicken back into the pan. Give the sauce a quick re-stir and add in the middle of the wok, stirring quickly to thicken. When the sauce thickens, mix everything together. Heat through and serve hot.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Plans to build a wishing well For your Garden

Found this cute wishing well project while surfing this am.
Instructions and Plans  may be found,
Also a great picnic table set of instructions

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Dye Garden

Some easy to grow plants for dye.

• Yarrow (Achillea hybrids). The plant tops produce mostly yellow, tan and gold colors. It is a tough and hardy perennial in the garden and flowers from early summer to late fall.

• Marigolds (Tagetes spp. and hybrids). The flowers and leaves will produce a variety of colors, depending on the mordant, from bright yellow and gold to dark brown.

Yellow cosmos (Cosmos surphureus). This annual flower blooms in yellow, orange, even red, including cultivars such as ‘Bright Lights’, ‘Diablo’ and ‘Sunny Red’. The flowers in a dye bath produce golden colors, oranges and rusty browns.

• Sunflower (Helianthus annuus). This common, cheerful flower is an annual that can tower to 4 or 6 feet by season’s end. It yields a array of soft green colors in the dye bath.

• Hibiscus (Hibiscus hybrids), also called rose mallow. Look for red-blooming varieties of this perennial shrub, and in the garden, give it about 2 feet of space on all sides. Harvest the flowers as they bloom, as they won’t last more than a day or so. The petals can yield many colors, from purple and green to gray, even black.

• Indigo (Indigofera suffruticosa, I. tinctoria). This perennial shrub thrives in warm climates, and elsewhere is an annual. The fresh leaves contain the classic blue pigment.

Purple basil (Ocimum basilicum purple-leaved varieties such as ‘Dark Opal’, ‘Red Rubin’ and ‘Purple Ruffles’). Annual in most climates, purple basil can reach about 2 feet. Use fresh tops in a dye bath for a variety of greens and browns.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana). Generally an annual, this oregano relative yields yellows, oranges, browns and grays, depending on the mordant used. It stays under 12 inches and is easy to grow.

Weld (Reseda luteola). This biennial or annual is a traditional European dye herb, with flower stalks that can reach 3 feet or more. The leaves and flower stalks produce strong yellows and pale greens.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.). This easy, popular perennial plant blooms summer to fall. The leaves and flowers produce golds, browns, oranges and dark greens.

• Goldenrod (Solidago spp.). This native perennial can reach 4 or 5 feet by season’s end, so give it some space. Plant stalks produce yellow and orange to tan, brown and rust colors.

• Zinnias (Zinnia elegans and other species). This easy annual bedding plant is available in both transplants and seeds. Harvest the flowers regularly to keep it blooming all summer. The flowers yield pale yellow colors.
Colors blended from Plants

Alder Bark
Ash Bark
Walnut Hulls

Bayberry Berries
Blueberry Fruit

Apple Bark
Laurel Leaves
Tea Root

Cedar Root
Dandelion Root
Vine Plant Berries
Elderberry Fruit

Dogwood Root

Broom Plant
Catnip Stalk
Onion Skins
Tomato Vine

Aster Plant
Cocklebur Plant
Dahlia Flower
Madder Root

Ash - White
Cane Leaves
Solomon's Seal
Mistletoe Leaves

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Frisbee Bird Feeder

Bird feeder made from mainly recycled materials.
Approximate Time: 30 min - 1 hour

•2 bolts, washers, and nuts
1 empty grated cheese container
strong glue - like Goop
screw driver
2 Frisbees
long needle nose tool
wire and "s" hook

I have two Chihuahuas and the last thing they would ever do is play with a Frisbee, so when we received two free ones I knew I had to come up with something. Here's what I did:

1.Drill holes in the center of the Frisbees top and bottom, also top and bottom of the container, the same size as the bolts you will be putting through.

2.Drill the bottom Frisbee with several holes for water drainage. Drill two small holes (across from each other) near the bottom of the container about 1/2 inch from the bottom. These holes should be about 1/3 inch wide.

3.Match up the container top to the underside of the top Frisbee and glue.

4.Put bolt through top and bottom set of holes, add washer and then the bolt, tighten. For top section have a loop of wire ready to wrap around the bolt before tightening. For the bottom use the needle nose to brace the bolt from inside the container while using the screw driver on the outside of the Frisbee.

5.Now it's ready to fill, turn the top Frisbee and the container cap should screw right off with it. Some bird seed may come out of the bottom feeding holes, but if the drainage holes are small the seed will stay in the Frisbee. Add your "s" hook and it's ready to hang.

Hope I have explained this well enough, if not let me know. I just set it out this morning so I haven't seen any birds yet, but once I do I am going to try to get some photos.

By NoRulesArt from Sunny FL

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recycle Seed Starts

The last two weeks have been really warm so of course I got my seeds started.
We have snow today but the seeds are started and will be moved to the cat buckets under plastic in about 3 weeks.
My seeds are started in egg cartons inside recycled cake containers.
I set them on top of the freezer or fridge for a few days until they sprout then move to a towel on the kitcken island for another few weeks.
You just lift the egg cartons out cut apart and plant straight into the soil when there ready.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winter in The Garden

Winter in the gardenCold Season Vegetables
Generally, cold season vegetables will survive sudden summer frosts, snows and cold.

ASPARAGUS (P) Asparagus officinalis
Long-considered a delicacy in Europe, asparagus cultivation is becoming evermore popular. A "must" for edible landscapes. Scatter single plants throughout your garden, or place selectively for backdrops or borders. Provides delicate, lacy, summer foliage and fine, tender, tasty spears.
CULTURE: Takes up to 10 weeks to germinate in cold soil. Plant in flats 8-10 weeks early, or when soil reaches 60· F. Transplant small plants into shallow trenches rich in compost. Hill as they grow. If using root crowns, fill bottom of 6" trench with compost; spread roots; bury 4". Compost heavily each year.
HARVEST and STORAGE: Carefully cut young shoots early spring, third year. Do not disturb root crowns. Store 2-3 weeks at 32-36· F., in humid environment.
INSECTS and DISEASES: Control asparagus beetles with pyrethrum. Asparagus rust (appears as reddish or black blisters on stems and foliage) is associated with very damp conditions. Remove all above-ground plant material to avoid disease. Diseased tops should be cut and burned.
REPRODUCTION: Asparagus produces both male and female plants. Late summer, female plants produce red berries that can be dried and saved as seed, or allowed to fall on ground to reseed. Propagate male plants by dividing root crowns in early spring or late fall. Male plants yield larger number of shoots for eating.
SPACING: rows 48"; plants in rows 9-15"; plants in beds 12"

FAVA BEAN (A) Vicia faba
We first discovered the delicious fava bean high in the mountains of Guatemala. No mountain garden should be without these frost-hardy jewels. Expect large, meaty, brown beans to eat fresh like tender, green lima beans, or store for hearty, mid-winter meals.
CULTURE: Plant seeds in early spring as soon as ground can be worked. Companion plants include: potatoes, cucumbers, corn. Dislikes: onions and garlic.
INSECTS AND DISEASES: Control beetles with rotenone or pyrethrum. Blights, mosaic and mold can be minimized by watering deeply at base, keeping tops dry. Rotate in at least 3-year cycles.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Harvest for use as fresh beans, or allow to dry for winter storage. Store fresh 2 weeks at 35-40· F., in humid environment. Keep dry beans in cool, dry, place with air circulation.
SEED PRODUCTION: Fava or broad beans, unlike green beans, have showy flowers, often pollinated by bees. Separate different varieties 100 feet if some crossing is tolerable, 1000 yards if purity is desired.
SPACING: rows: 24"; plants in rows: 8"; plants in beds: 8"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER OUNCE: 20-25 POUND: 275-400

BEET (B) Beta vulgaris

FROST TOLERANCE: Tolerates moderate frosts. Expect slow growth until temperatures rise.
CULTURE: Cold-tolerant crop after germination. Avoid planting until soil reaches 60· F. Transplanting not recommended. Beets prefer deep, rich, well-composted soil, but tolerate average soil, if provided enough trace minerals and sun. For larger, more uniform roots, thin to 1 plant every 4". Companion plants include: onions.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: For steady supply of fresh, young greens, plant every 2-3 weeks. Store beets with greens still attached up to several weeks in cold, humid environment. Roots will last for several months in cold, dry sand or sawdust.
DISEASES: To minimize scab, provide rich, well-composted soil.
SEED PRODUCTION: Flowers contain both male and female parts, but do not self-pollinate before flowers open. As pollen is carried long distances by wind, grow seeds for only one variety at a time. Note: beets will cross with Swiss chard. Since beets are biennials, pull first-year roots before ground freezes. Store at 40· F., and replant best roots early next spring (18" spacing).
SPACING: rows 12-24"; plants in rows 4"; plants in beds 3-4"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 55 OUNCE: 2100

BROCCOLI (B) Brassica oleracea, var. botrytis

A wonderful vegetable that actually grows better in cooler climes and higher altitudes than in warmer lowlands!
FROST TOLERANCE: Mature plants survive temperatures as low as 10· F. Protect very young plants from frost.
CULTURE: Plant seeds in flats 4-7 weeks early, or after soil reaches 45· F. Demands soil high in nitrogen and phosphorus. To reach full size, space heading varieties at least 18". Water frequently and consistently throughout growing season, increasing amount of water when flowers appear. Stagger plantings of hybrid, heading varieties. Companion plants include: dill, chamomile, sage, peppermint, beets, onions. Dislikes: tomatoes.
INSECTS AND DISEASES: Cabbage worms can be controlled by Bacillus thuringiensis, if applied early and frequently. If root maggots become problem in extremely wet weather, carefully mix diatomaceous earth or wood ashes into soil, or protect soil from rain. Tar paper placed around base of plants deters flies that lay eggs which hatch into root maggots. Control aphids with pyrethrum. Disease is rare in higher and drier climes. Keep soil healthy. Rotate in at least 3-year cycles.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Harvest flower buds before they begin to open. To encourage continued production, harvest regularly when side shoots appear. Harvest hybrid, heading varieties (10-14 day field life) early. DeCicco and other sprouting varieties, left in ground until cooler fall days, come into an especially productive second season. Store fresh up to 2 weeks at near-freezing temperatures.
SEED PRODUCTION: Although broccoli flowers contain both female and male flowers, individual plants do not self-fertilize. Provide at least two or more flowering plants to assure seed formation. Since bees can cross-pollinate broccoli with other brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts), if purity is desired, isolation distances should be 1000 yards or more.
SPACING: rows 24"; plants in rows 12-24"; plants in beds 18"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 315

BRUSSELS SPROUT (B) Brassica oleracea var. gemnifera
Perfect for the mountain garden! Brussels sprouts become tastier after temperatures fall below freezing.
FROST TOLERANCE: Mature plants survive temperatures as low as 10· F. Protect very young plants from frost.
CULTURE: See Broccoli.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Harvest bottom sprouts first. Leave some for winter when they will taste extra mild and buttery. (Remember to mark plants so they can be found in deep snow.) Store up to 4 weeks in near-freezing, humid environment.
SPACING: rows 30"; plants in rows 18"; plants in beds 18"
SOIL PH: 6.0-6.7 SEEDS PER GRAM: 300

CABBAGE (B) Brassica oleracea var. capitata

FROST TOLERANCE: Protect young plants from frost, especially after transplanting. Mature plants can withstand temperatures as low as 10· F.
CULTURE: Plant seeds in flats 4-7 weeks early, or after soil reaches 50· F. Provide enough light to avoid long, thin stems that will restrict later growth. (Twenty watts of artificial light per-square foot is sufficient.) Cabbage is less demanding than either cauliflower or broccoli, but still benefits from nitrogen-rich, nutritious soil. Water heavily when heads begin to form. Stagger plantings of same variety every 2 weeks.
INSECTS AND DISEASES: Avoid top watering. Rotate in at least 3-year cycles. See Broccoli.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: We have had some success storing cabbage fresh in the garden by twisting the head until stem cracks. This procedure arrests further growth, but cabbage remains alive and fresh. Once harvested, store trimmed heads for months in near-freezing, humid environment. As field life of hybrids is limited, harvest hybrids as soon as ready.
SEED PRODUCTION: See Broccoli. Heads brought in for winter can be replanted early following spring. Allow bottom of head to rest on top of soil. 1" deep cuts across top of head will facilitate emergence of second-year growth.
SPACING: rows 30"; plants in rows 18"; plants in beds 15-18"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 300

CARROT (B) Daucus carota

CULTURE: Because of tap root, it is advisable to avoid starting carrots in flats for transplanting. Plant seeds after soil reaches 55· F. Carrots do best in rich (high in phosphorus and potassium with only moderate levels of nitrogen), uncompacted soil. Plant into firm, even seedbed. Weed continuously. (Because carrot seed usually takes 10 days to germinate, fast germinating weeds in a large bed can be controlled by burning with a torch without harming carrots.) Hill with dirt to avoid green shoulders and to protect from fall frosts. Companion plants include: peas, leaf lettuce, onions, garlic, tomatoes, sage. Dislikes: dill.
DISEASES: Provide fertile soil and rotate in least 3-year cycles to avoid most problems. In the mountains above 5,000 feet, we've never had fungus, blight or insects.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: For best taste and highest quality, harvest within 2 weeks of reaching maturity. Although carrots can be left in the garden protected by heavy mulch and deep snow, we prefer harvesting before ground freezes, and storing for winter in cold, dry sawdust or sand.
SEED PRODUCTION: Carrots are biennial with perfect flowers (each flower has both male and female parts). As insects are major pollinating agent, separate different varieties at least 100 yards if some crossing is tolerable, 1000 yards for purity. Beware that carrots will cross with Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot)! Store best roots for replanting following year. Since flowering tops are quite large, leave minimum 2' between each carrot.
SPACING: rows 18-24"; plants in rows 1-3"; plants in beds 2"
SOIL PH: 5.5-6.7 SEEDS PER GRAM: 600 OUNCE: 9600

CAULIFLOWER (B) Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
FROST TOLERANCE: Mature plants survive temperatures as low as 10· F. Protect very young plants from frost.
CULTURE: The key to growing beautiful cauliflowers is consistency. Protect young plants from frosts. Water frequently. Side-dress with fertilizer or compost. Best results are obtained when plants are given at least 24" spacing. See Cabbage.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: When white heads begin to appear, tie outer leaves together over top to preserve color and texture. See Broccoli.
SPACING: rows 24"; plants in rows 12-24"; plants in beds 15"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 315

KALE (B) Brassica oleracea var. acephala
In harsh, high altitude gardens, one of the most dependable sources for vitamins and minerals. Frost improves rich flavor. Mark in fall to facilitate harvesting fresh and green in waist-deep snow.
CULTURE: Plant in flats 4-6 weeks early, or as soon as ground can be worked in spring. Fall crop can be planted 2-3 months before growing season ends. See Cabbage for companion plants.
INSECTS: Cabbage worms are rarely a problem but can be controlled with Bacillus thuringiensis.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Pick outside leaves first to stimulate continued production. Store 2 weeks at near-freezing temperatures, in humid environment.
SEED PRODUCTION: See Brussels Sprouts.
SPACING: rows 24-36"; plants in rows 18-24"; plants in beds: 16"
SOIL PH: 6.0-7.0 SEEDS PER GRAM: 300

LETTUCE (A) Latuca sativa

FROST TOLERANCE: Good to around 20· F., if hardened properly.
CULTURE: Plant seeds in flats 3-4 weeks early, or as soon as ground can be worked. Harden before transplanting by lowering temperature. Provide nitrogen-rich soil. (Add extra compost or chicken manure, if needed.) Water heavily in hot weather, but make sure leaves dry out before dark. Water head lettuce at base and keep in shade to avoid rot. Stagger plantings every 10 days, planting smaller amounts more often as weather becomes hot. For full heads, thin to 8". Companion plants include: carrots, radishes.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Harvest young and tender. As long as weather is cool, outside leaves on looseleaf varieties can be continually picked as they mature. Store 1-2 weeks in refrigerator with stems submerged in bowl of water.
SEED PRODUCTION: Lettuce produces perfect yellow flowers on tall, bushy seed stalks. Since flowers self-pollinate, there is little chance of cross-pollination between varieties. For purity, separate at least 25 yards with other crops.
SPACING: rows 12-24"; plants in rows or beds 8-12"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 800 OUNCE: 23,750

BUNCHING ONION (B) Allium cepa L.

CULTURE: Plant seeds in spring as soon as ground can be worked. Prefers well-drained, rich soil, high in organic matter. Water frequently, especially during dry spells. Companion plants include: beets, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, chamomile. Dislikes: peas, beans.
DISEASES: To avoid most problems, rotate crops and eliminate standing water.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Leave a few bunching onions in garden to self-divide and reproduce perennially. Store fresh in refrigerator or in cool, not too humid environment.
SEED PRODUCTION: See Leeks. Bunching onions can be left in ground through winter. Bulb onions are best stored inside. In early spring, replant largest bulbs 4" apart, covering firmly with 1/2" soil. If onions are blooming at same time as wild onions, cage domestic plants to prevent cross-pollination by bees.
SPACING: rows 18-24"; plants in rows 2-4"; plants in beds 1-3"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 325 OUNCE: 12,500

PEA (A) Pisum sativum L.

CULTURE: Plant seeds as soon as soil reaches 40· F. Provide slightly limed soil that has plenty of phosphorus and potassium. To increase nitrogen fixation, which in turn will increase yields, inoculate seed or soil with rhizobium bacteria. In high altitude gardens, speed germination and prevent seed rot by starting peas in cold frames or poly tubes. Companion plants include: beans, corn, carrots, turnips, radishes. Dislikes: onions, garlic.
DISEASES: Prevent pea root rot by planting in well-drained soils and rotating crops frequently. If mildew or wilt are problems, use resistant varieties.
HARVEST: To assure steady supply, plant at 2 week intervals throughout season. Stimulate continuous production by harvesting mature peas.
SEED PRODUCTION: Peas produce self-pollinating flowers. Cross-pollination by insects is rare as pollination is complete before flower opens. To assure purity, separate different varieties with another (PEA (PEA continued) flowering crop. Maturity is complete when seeds rattle in dry pods (about 30 days after eating stage).
SPACING: rows 24-36"; plants in rows 3"; plants in beds 3-4"
SOIL PH: Above 6.5 SEEDS PER OUNCE: 80 POUND: 2000

RADISH (A) Raphanus sativus L.

This vegetable is one of the easiest to grow.
CULTURE: Plant seeds when soil temp. reaches 40· F. Radishes love cool weather. Plant early and often. Provide shade in summer. Plant with crops that take longer to mature (e.g. carrots or broccoli) and harvest first. Companion plants include: cucumbers, peas, cabbage, lettuce, nasturtiums. Dislikes: hyssop.
INSECTS AND DISEASES: Control flea beetles in their pursuit of radish greens with pyrethrum. Allow radishes to attract cabbage root maggots away from cabbage family crops. Use of wood ashes and diatomaceous earth will irritate and discourage small worms. Use resistant varieties to avoid Fusarium wilt. Avoid infected soil.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: For best results, harvest when young. Store 1-2 weeks in sealed container in refrigerator. Store Daikon varieties for winter in cold sand or sawdust.
SEED PRODUCTION: Radish is an annual, primarily pollinated by bees. Select best roots and replant 12-18" apart early same summer. For purity, separate different varieties 1000 yards. As daikon radish is a biennial, replant roots following spring. Allow most of seed pods to turn brown before pulling plant.
SPACING: rows 8-16"; plants in rows 1-3"; plants in beds 2-3"
SOIL PH: 6.0-7.0 SEEDS PER GRAM: 75 OUNCE: 2500

SPINACH (A) Spinacia oleracea L.
CULTURE: Plant seeds in flats 3-4 weeks early, or as soon as ground can be worked. Provide moist, fertile soil. Water frequently, especially during dry spells. Occasionally feed with manure tea. To assure a season-long supply, plant every 2 weeks. In hot, summer weather, plant bolt-resistant varieties.
INSECTS: Control aphids with pyrethrum.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: For continued production, carefully harvest mature, outside leaves. Store 2 weeks in refrigerator with stems submerged in bowl of water.
SEED PRODUCTION: Spinach is a dioecious annual, producing male and female plants. To improve quality of strain, remove plants that bolt first (they are usually males). Because spinach pollen is extremely fine, hard to contain in cages and easily carried long distances by the wind, plant a single variety of spinach for seed per year.
SPACING: rows 12-24"; plants in rows 2-6"; plants in beds 4"
SOIL PH: 6.5-7.5 SEEDS PER GRAM: 100 OUNCE: 2500

SWISS CHARD (B) Beta vulgaris var. Cicla
FROST TOLERANCE: Fair. Chard will withstand fall frosts to 15-20· F. If left to winter, protect with mulch.
CULTURE: Plant seeds as soon as soil reaches 50· F. See Beets. Companion plants include: onions. Dislikes: pole beans.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: To stimulate continued production, harvest mature, outer leaves first. See Spinach.
SEED PRODUCTION: See Beets. Swiss chard is classified in same species as beets, and will cross-pollinate. Be very careful if trying to produce seed for both at same time.
SPACING: rows 24"; plants in rows 8-12"; plants in beds 10-12"

TURNIP (B) Brassica rapa L.

CULTURE: Plant directly when soil reaches 50· F. Turnips grow in wide variety of soils but produce best in rich, loam. Water sufficiently, not allowing soil to dry out. Companion plants include: peas.
INSECTS: Control flea beetles with pyrethrum and rotenone. Use wood ash or diatomaceous earth to discourage root maggots.
HARVEST AND STORAGE: Begin harvesting greens and small turnips within 4 weeks. See Carrots.
SEED PRODUCTION: Turnips are biennials with perfect flowers. Store best roots to replant (12" spacing) next spring. Since turnips are pollinated by bees, and cross with numerous domestic and wild plants, including mustard, Chinese cabbage and horseradish, caging is recommended.
SPACING: rows 12-24"; plants in rows 2-5"; plants in beds 3"
SOIL PH: 6.0-7.0 SEEDS PER GRAM: 500

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Little Garden Parsnip

These are not wild parsnips these are cultavated seeds.
At the moment my parsnips are under the basil but I will have a photo of them soon.
This article is pulled from a local website.
Please check out the websites below for recipes and more info.
Please check out my website for gardening info.
Parsnips are available as a fresh vegetable throughout the winter, actually improving as the winter progresses and especially if a frost gets to the roots. They can be baked, boiled or fried and the leaves can also be eaten as a green vegetable, getting double value from the crop.
The problem with growing parsnips is that they have a very long growing season. They are one of the first crops to be sown and probably the last crop to be harvested. They occupy the land for the year, thus taking up land which could be used for growing a series of crops.
If you have a small garden you may decide against growing parsnips for this reason, although you may decide to grow a catch crop such as radishes or lettuce, before the parsnips become established in the spring.

Where To Grow Your Parsnips
Soil is the most important factor when growing parsnips. If you have thin gravelly soil you will only get small mis-shapen roots The best soil is rich and slightly on the heavy side, although it should not be recently manured as this causes the parsnip to fork as they do if growing on stony ground. Almost all well drained soils will produce a good crop. Level the bed off to give a fine tilth a day or two before sowing, which will normally be as soon as conditions allow in the late winter or early spring.
Parsnips dislike very acid soil and do best in one which is slightly acid, neutral or slightly alkaline, test your soil with a soil test kit several weeks before preparing the seed bed and if necessary, add lime to achieve a pH of 6.5. The site you choose for parsnips is not as important as the soil, they prefer an open sunny site, but they will also grow quite happily in a lightly shaded plot.
Sowing Parsnip Seed
The traditional time to sow parsnip seed is late winter but, unless the winter is mild, the soil is often frozen hard or too wet at this time. In most years you will probably have to wait until early spring before sowing. Although parsnips appreciate a long growing season, you can sow later, up to late spring if you have to, and still get a worthwhile crop. Ensure that the seed is fresh this year because parsnip seeds do not keep well.
Before sowing make sure the soil is well dug and free from stones to a spade's depth. Make a shallow drill in the soil about 2cm (¾in) deep. Where you require more than one row, make the rows 30-45 cm (12-18 in) apart. Sow one seed every 5cm (2in).
Because parsnip seed is so light it is advisable to wait until the weather is calm before sowing. You may be able to buy seeds that are pelleted, there are a few parsnip varieties which are available in this form. The pelleted seed is slightly heavier, so they will not blow away so easily. After the seeds have been sown cover them with soil, sifted soil is best for this, and then firm down. Water the area if the weather is dry. Germination takes approximately three to four weeks and is is quite possible for the newly forming seedlings to be lost amongst the newly germinating weeds. Weed frequently and carefully.
Many gardeners sow a quick maturing catch crop such as radish, or lettuce. This not only give you an extra crop but it also helps to mark out the rows of parsnips. If you do not wish to do this, keep your marker in position until the parsnip seeds have germinated and the rows of seedlings is obvious above the ground.

Care of Parsnips
When the seedlings are about 5 cm (2 in) tall, thin them so that they are 20cm (8in) apart. Water, particularly during the early stages of the crop, if the weather is dry and weed frequently. Be very careful when weeding with a hoe, if you damage the developing roots you may open the way for attack by canker.
Harvesting Parsnips
Parsnips will be ready for harvest in mid-autumn. One obvious They are best left in the ground for a month or so because their flavour is improved by some exposure to frost. Frost increases the amount of sugar in the roots. Parsnips can be harvested up to mid-January.
Small parsnips in light soil can be pulled up once the soil around them has been loosened with a fork. Normally the only way parsnips can be lifted without breaking them is by digging. Begin at the end of the row and dig a hole beyond but close to the last parsnip. Dig the hole as deep at the parsnip and loosen the soil around the root and then it can be easily removed without damage. Lift the next parsnip by moving the soil next to it into the hole from which the first parsnip has been taken and continue like this to the end of the row. You may find that you have to dig down much further than you expect, the end of a parsnip tapers off for a considerable length 15 cm (6 in) or more, and has a very strong grip on the soil. You may want to break off the thinnest part of the root if you want to avoid digging a very deep hole possibly 45 cm (18 in) deep for each root. Once the parsnip has been lifted, cut off the remaining leaves, these are excellent compost heap material.
Storing Parsnips
Although the best flavoured parsnips are ones that are lifted and taken into the kitchen straight from the ground, during the winter when the ground is frozen this will not be possible. To give you parsnips during this period you should dig up some roots in the early winter for storing. Store parsnips in the same way as you would carrots. Cut any leaves off close to the crowns and then pack them in layers of dry sand or peat in a large wooden box. Put a lid on the top to keep our the light and place the box in a cool, dry and airy place.

Pests and Diseases

Disease / Pest Symptoms
Wireworm Small regular holes and shiny yellow larvae
Sclerotina Rot Roots in store rotten and covered with a white fluffy mould
Canker Reddish brown, dark brown or black patches on the shoulders of the root.
Leaf Spot Small brown spots on the leaves.
Celery Fly White or pale brown blisters on the leaves, leaves shrivelled.
Carrot Fly Irregular holes in the root sometimes with small whitish grubs inside.
Sites to visit on the parsnip
Our fav. recipe is Parsnip Stew.
Take your fav. stew recipe and replace all the potatoes with parsnips.
Wonderful change in flavor.
If you do not have a stew recipe i would be happy to post one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Rosemary Uses
•Culinary: Use the chopped leaves with a wide variety of meat dishes. Use them to flavor baked potatoes and to make an herb butter for vegetables.
•Household: Boil a handful of rosemary in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes to yield an antiseptic solution for washing bathroom fixtures.
•Cosmetic: The leaf stimulates blood circulation in a bath. Use as a facial steam. Makes a rinse for dark hair.
•Aromatic: Use the leaf in potpourri. Lay sprigs among linens. Scatter the stems on a barbecue to discourage insects.


• 1 4-lb. chicken
• 4 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary plus 3 extra whole sprigs
• A squirt of fresh lemon juice
• 3 slices of lemon
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Olive or vegetable oil as needed
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Loosen the skin of the chicken by gently working your fingers between it and the meat over the breast and as much of the legs as you can.
Mash the butter, chopped rosemary, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper.
Work the rosemary-butter under the skin of the chicken, generously covering the breast and to a lesser extent the legs. Salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken. Place the rosemary sprigs and lemon slices in the cavity. Salt and pepper the exterior of the chicken. If not using a rack, lightly oil the bottom of a roasting pan.
Truss the chicken and place in the roasting pan in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes or until the dark meat reaches 170 degrees.
Allow the chicken to rest, covered with foil for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered, to approx. 1-2 inches in diameter
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil (or less if on a fat-restricted diet)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Steam or boil the potatoes for 7-9 minutes or until they are barely tender. In a non-stick skillet cook the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes, rosemary and salt and pepper and saute the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden.

Crusty Garlic and Rosemary Potatoes

from Bon Appetit
2 pounds potatoes, quartered
5 large garlic cloves, sliced thin lengthwise
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
In a steamer set over boiling water, steam the potatoes, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are just tender. In a non-stick skillet cook the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is pale golden. Add the potatoes, the rosemary and salt and pepper to taste and saute the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden.

Rosemary Lemonade
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from 2 of the squeezed lemons
2 sprigs of rosemary, at least 3 inches long
pinch salt
8 cups water
Combine sugar, one cup water, rosemary, salt, and lemon peel in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook at least 10 minutes at medium heat to infuse flavors. Strain or pick out the rosemary and lemon peel and discard. Cool the sugar mixture. Stir it with the fresh lemon juice and the water and serve over ice. A rare treat!
Fresh Shelling Beans with Buttered Crumbs with Rosemary

2T butter
1C fresh bread crumbs
1/4C chopped fresh parsley, packed firmly
1T minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds shelling beans, fresh out of their shell
2t melted butter
1T lemon juice

Melt butter in skillet over low heat. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown. Transfer to a bowl. Blend parsley and rosemary together then combine with the crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Separately steam the beans until just tender. Remove to a warm plate and stir in the melted butter and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with the breadcrumb mixture and serve. Serves 4-6

Potato-Tomato Soup with Rosemary from Verdura by Viana La Place

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed not too fine (I would use the blender for this step)
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
salt to taste
5 german butterball potatoes, cut into dice (peeled or not as you choose)
freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Cook the onion over low heat in the oil in a soup pot until it's tender and golden. Add the tomatoes, rosemary, and salt to taste, and cook at a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes and stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and adjust to a simmer. As the potatoes become tender, break them up with the back of a wooden spoon until a coarse puree forms. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes, or until it is thick and the flavor deepens. Serve. (with the cheese if desired)

Tuscan Rosemary and Pine Nut Bars
from the L.A. Times Food Section 8/11/99

1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted
1/2 Cup butter, cut in 10 pieces
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup flour

Melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, rosemary and pine nuts. Stir in flour to make dough; it will be stiff.
Pat dough evenly into ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and firm at edges, about 20 minutes. Cool pan on rack about 2 minutes, then use sharp knife to cut bars into 16 squares. Let cool in pan at least 10 minutes before removing with small spatula.

Rosemary Cheese Fingers
adapted from The Complete Book of Herbs by Bremness

2 T butter
1 egg, beaten
2 C oatmeal
1 T chopped rosemary leaf
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, grated
pinch of cayenne
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl with the melted butter. Press the mixture into a greased 8" square pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cut into small fingers.

Rosemary Lore from The Complete Book of Herbs by Bremness

Rosemary has a reputation for strengthening the memory, it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers; some brides have worn rosemary wreaths "richly gilded and tied with silken ribands of all colors." The Spanish revere rosemary as the bush that sheltered the Virgin Mary on her flight to Egypt. As she spread her cloak over the herb, the white flowers turned blue. In times past, resinous rosemary was burned in sick chambers to purify the air and branches were strewn in law courts as a protection from "jail fever" (typhus). During the Plague of 1665 (in Europe), it was carried in the handles of walking sticks and in pouches to be sniffed when traveling through suspicious areas. In some Mediterranean villages, linen is spread over rosemary to dry, so the sun will extract its moth-repellent aroma.

Antioxidant -- better than BHT
Research into the free-radical quenching effects of rosemary have found it to be a potent antioxidant, possessing greater activity than the common food additives BHT (tert-butyl-4-hydroxytoluene) and BHA (tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisol). (2) The discovery of the antioxidant activity of rosemary in biological systems supports the historical use of rosemary as a preservative for meats and foods.

Estrogen Blocker
Researchers have shown that rosemary enhances the metabolism and removal of endogenous estrogens and decreases their cancer-promoting actions. Researchers evaluated the effects of rosemary extract on the metabolism and action of estradiol and estrone given to female mice. The results of the study showed that feeding female mice a 2% rosemary diet increased liver microsomal oxidation and glucuronidation of estradiol and estrone and inhibited their uterotropic action. (3)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bowling Balls Garden Style

This is a fun way to reuse that old ball.
I found this while surfing the web and may put this out in my own yeard.
Next to the ball bugs.
Tutorial found HERE

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Make Mine Black

Here are some suggestions for using composted grounds in the yard and garden from the OSU Extension compost specialists:
Mix grounds into soil as an amendment. Make sure to keep them damp. Add some nitrogen fertilizer if you do this, as coffee grounds encourage the growth of microbes in the soil, which use up nitrogen. While microbes are breaking down the grounds, the nitrogen will provide a source of nutrients for your plants.
Spread grounds on the soil surface, then cover them with leaves or bark mulch.
Add grounds to your compost pile, layering one part leaves to one part fresh grass clippings to one part coffee grounds, by volume. Turn once a week. This will be ready in three to six months.
Or, put them in an existing unturned pile. Just make sure to add a high carbon source, such as leaves to balance it.
Grounds may be stored for future use. They may develop molds but these appear to be consumed during the composting process. Or a large plastic bag works for storage as well.
Paper coffee filters may be composted with the grounds.
Keep in mind that uncomposted coffee grounds are NOT a nitrogen fertilizer. Coffee grounds have a carbon-to-nitrogen ration of about 20 to 1, in the same range as animal manure. Germination tests in Eugene showed that uncomposted coffee grounds, added to soil as about one-fourth the volume, showed poor germination and stunted growth in lettuce seed. Therefore, they need to be composted before using near plants.
Wise and her composting protégés have been conducting informal research on composting coffee grounds. So far, they have observed that coffee grounds help to sustain high temperatures in compost piles. High temperatures reduce potentially dangerous pathogens and kill seeds from weeds and vegetables that were added to the piles. They have noticed that coffee grounds seem to improve soil structure, plus attract earthworms.
When coffee grounds made up 25 percent of the volume of their compost piles, temperatures in the piles stayed between 135 degrees and 155 degrees for at least two weeks, enough time to have killed a "significant portion" of the pathogens and seeds. In contrast, the manure in the trials didn't sustain the heat as long.

"We were amazed at the results we got with coffee grounds when we did the trial," said Wise.
Jack Hannigan, an Extension-trained compost specialist, is pleased with the results he gets from the coffee grounds he collects from the Fast Lane Coffee Company in Springfield to use on his farm in Pleasant Hill.
"I make hotbeds that run about 150 degrees," Hannigan said. "It kills the weeds. I can get the piles hotter and break down the compost better with coffee grounds than I can with manure. It works great."
Coffee grounds also can be added directly to soil but the grounds need a few months to break down, Wise said. "We're not certain about how coffee grounds act with the soil, but anecdotally people say they do dig it into the soil," she said.
An additional benefit of diverting coffee grounds from the landfill is that it helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Dan Hurley, waste management engineer for Lane County's Short Mountain Landfill.
"To keep organics out of the landfill is a good thing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions because organics decompose and produce methane. Methane is about 25 times as bad as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas," said Hurley.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Moss Pit

Lawn at the old house in 2003
This was not lawn at all but moss.
I recommend it highly under large fir and  pine trees.
It was the best lawn we ever had.
Mowed it only 5 times a year and it stayed green all year long.
Once a month I put gallon of buttermilk and miracid into a blender and poured it over the moss in thin lines to help feed and spread it.
Growing moss
 Step 1 pull any weeds and other plants currently growing in the area. Make the entire area bare, and remove rocks, branches and any other debris or objects on the ground.

Step 2 Carry out a pH soil test using your pH testing kit. Moss requires a slightly acidic soil base. Your soil should have a pH level of approximately 5.5. If necessary, lower soil pH levels by one point by mixing 1.2 ounces of rock sulfur for every square yard of dirt. Alternatively, raise the pH by one point by mixing eight ounces of hydrated lime in every square yard of soil. Repeat this step until the pH level is just right.

Step 3 Lightly water the soil until the dirt is moist but not muddy.

Step 4 Obtain moss. Your local nursery may sell flats of moss. Alternatively, transplant the moss from another area of your yard or from moss growing in the wild. Harvest the moss with a garden spade, carefully scooping the moss up off of the surface on which it is growing.

Step 5 Lay the transplanted moss on the prepared soil plot. Gently pat it down so that the moss is level. Water continuously throughout the day to keep the moist perpetually moist, but not dripping wet. If you are not able to manually water the moss, set a sprinkler with a timer. The moss will establish itself within three weeks.

Seed packs Free printable

If your looking for that seed pack for your next exchange I have made these two ready top save and print out.
Standard size to cover your store bought seeds with.
Copy and save as to your system, then print on card staok , fold on the lines, glue edges and fill.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bowling ball Bugs

The Lady bugs

The Bee
Bowling Ball Bumblebee

 Joyce Kline Creator

Bowling Ball
Silicone caulk
101" #6 copper wire. Have it cut at the hardware store at these lengths:
1.Two—8.5" lengths for antenna
2.Two—20" lengths for top wing
3.Two—22" lengths for bottom wing
Window Screen: Two—8.5" squares
Hardware cloth: Two—9.5" squares
Two—1" round wooden beads
Kilz exterior primer
Yellow exterior latex paint
Black exterior latex paint
26 gauge bare copper wire (approx. 60-70" for each wing)
Brush or sponge
Wire cutter


1.Prime the bowling ball. Let dry. Paint the bowling ball with yellow paint. (We applied two coats).

2.Bend the 8.5" lengths of wire slightly to make antennae. Paint the two beads black (we used a thin wash coat of paint).

3.Squirt a little dab of caulk into each bead hole. Push one bead onto end of antenna. Repeat for the next antenna.

4.Bend the 20" lengths into an oval shape for the bottom set of wings. Bend down about 1-1/2" at the ends. (This will be inserted into the finger holes on the ball.)

5.Bend the 22" lengths into an oval shape for the top set of wings. Bend down about 1-1/2" at the ends to place in the fingerholes.

6.Center 20" wire ovals over the window screen material and "sew" the thin copper wire to the wire to attach screening. Trim around the edges after sewing. We found it was easier "sewing" from the underside of the wing.
7.Center 22" wire ovals over hardware cloth and "sew" with thin copper wire too attach to the cloth. Trim to 1/4" past the edge and bend hardware cloth edges around copper wire.

8.Apply painters tape to the ball where desired and paint or sponge black stripes on the ball. Let dry.

9.Squirt caulk into finger holes to attach antenna and wings. Let dry for 24 hours. Touch up areas on finger holes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Edible flowers

Edible flowers
Common Name Botanical Name Comments

Angelica Angelica archangelica May be skin allergen to some individuals. Good with fish and the stems are especially popular candied. Tastes like: celery-flavored. More info here.

Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Tastes like: sweet, anise-like, licorice
Apple Malus species Eat in moderation; may contain cyanide precursors. Tastes like: delicate floral flavor

Arugula Eruca vesicaria Tastes like: nutty, spicy, peppery flavor

Basil Ocimum basilicum Tastes like: different varieties have different milder flavors of the corresponding leaves. Tastes like: lemon, mint. More info here.

Bee Balm Monarda species Used in place of bergamot to make a tea with a flavor similar to Earl Grey Tea. More info here.

Borage Borago officinalis Taste like: light cucumber flavor. More info here.

Burnet Sanguisorba minor Tastes like: faint cucumber flavor, very mild. More info here.

Calendula* Calendula officinalis Tastes like: poor man's saffron, spicy, tangy, peppery, adds a golden hue to foods

Carnation Dianthus caryophyllus (aka Dianthus) Tastes like: spicy, peppery, clove-like

Chamomile* Chamaemelum nobile Tastes like: faint apple flavor, good as a tea

Chicory* Cichorium intybus Buds can be pickled.

Chives: Garden Allium schoenoprasum Tastes like: mild onion flavor. More info here.

Chives: Garlic Allium tuberosum Tastes like: garlicky flavor

Chrysanthemum: Garland* Chrysanthemum coronarium Tastes like: slight to bitter flavor, pungent

Citrus: Lemon Citrus limon Tastes like: waxy, pronounced flavor, use sparingly as an edible garnish, good for making citrus waters

Clover Trifolium species Raw flowerheads can be difficult to digest.

Coriander Coriander sativum Pungent. A prime ingredient in salsa and many Latino and Oriental dishes. Tastes like: Some palates detect a disagreeable soapy flavor while others adore it. More info here.

Cornflower* Centaurea cynaus (aka Bachelor's Buttons) Tastes like: sweet to spicy, clove-like

Dandelion* Taraxacum officinalis Tastes like: very young buds fried in butter taste similar to mushrooms. Makes a potent wine.

Day Lily Hemerocallis species Many Lilies (Lillium species) contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Daylillies may act as a laxative. Tastes like: sweet, crunchy, like a crisp lettuce leaf, faintly like chestnuts or beans

Dill Anthum graveolens More info here.

English Daisy* Bellis perennis Tastes like: tangy, leafy

Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Tastes like: sweet, licorice flavor. More info here.

Fuchsia Fuchsia X hybrida Tastes like: slightly acidic

Gardenia Gardenia jasminoides Tastes like: light, sweet flavor

Gladiolus* Gladiolus spp Tastes like: similar to lettuce

Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Tastes like: slightly acidic, boiled makes a nice beverage

Hollyhock Alcea rosea Tastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor

Honeysuckle: Japanese Lonicera japonica Berries are highly poisonous. Do not eat them!

Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis Should be avoided by pregnant women and by those with hypertension and epilepsy.

Impatiens Impatiens wallerana Tastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor

Jasmine: Arabian Jasminum sambac Tastes like: delicate sweet flavor, used for teas.

Johnny-Jump-Up Viola tricolor Contains saponins and may be toxic in large amounts. Tastes like: sweet to bland flavor

Lavender Lavendula species Lavender oil may be poisenous. More Info. Tastes like: floral, slightly perfumey flavor

Lemon Verbena Aloysia triphylla Tastes like: lemony flavor, usually steeped for tea

Lilac Syringa vulgaris Tastes like: lemony, floral, pungent

Mallow: Common Malva sylrestris Tastes like: sweet, delicate flavor

Marigold: Signet Tagetes tenuifolia (aka T. signata) Tastes like: spicy to bitter

Marjoram Origanum majorana More info here.

Mint Mentha species More info here.

Mustard Brassica species Eating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches. More info here.

Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus Buds are often pickled and used like capers. Tastes like: sweet, mildly pungent, peppery flavor

Okra Abelmoschus aesculentus

(Hibiscus esculentus) Tastes like: similar to squash blossoms

Pansy Viola X wittrockiana Tastes like: very mild sweet to tart flavor

Pea Pisum species Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.

Pineapple Guava Feijoa sellowiana Tastes like: similar to the ripe fruit of the plant, flavorful

Primrose Primula vulgaris Birdseye Primrose (P. farinosa) causes contact dermatitis. Tastes like: bland to sweet flavor

Radish Raphanus sativus Tastes like: milder, sweeter version of the more familiar radish heat

Redbud Cercis canadensis Tastes like: mildly sweet

Rose Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis Tastes like: sweet, aromatic flavor, stronger fragrance produces a stronger flavor. Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals. Rose hips are also edible (see Rose Hips Recipes).

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Tastes like: pine-like, sweet, savory. More info here

Runner Bean Phaseolus coccineus Tastes like: nectar, bean-like

Safflower* Carthamus tinctorius Another "poor man's saffron" without the pungent aroma or strong flavor of the real thing

Sage Salvia officinalis Sage should not be eaten in large amounts over a long period of time. Tastes like: varies by type. More info here.

Savory: Summer Satureja hortensis More info here.

Scented Geranium Pelargonium species Citronella variety may not be edible. Tastes like: varies with differing varieties from lemon to mint. More info here.

Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus Tastes like: bland to bitter flavor

Society Garlic Tulbaghia violacea Tastes like: a very mild garlic flavor

Squash Blossom Cucurbita pepo species (aka Zucchini Blossom) Tastes like: sweet, nectar flavor. More info here.

Sunflower* Helianthus annus Tastes like: leafy, slightly bitter. Lightly steam petals to lessen bitterness. Unopened flower buds can be steamed like artichokes.

Thyme Thymus vulgaris Tastes like: lemon, adds a nice light scent. More info here.

Tuberous Begonia Begonia X tuberosa ONLY HYBRIDs are edible. The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidneystones, or rheumatism. Further, the flower should be eaten in strick moderation. Tastes like: crisp, sour, lemony

Violet Viola species Tastes like: sweet, nectar

Yucca Yucca species Only the petals are edible. Other parts contain saponin, which is poisonous. Large amounts may be harmful. Tastes like: crunchy, fresh flavor

Flowers to Avoid Some flowers in particular to be avoided (but not a complete list) are: azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley, and wisteria. See a more complete list.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where they have served you a beautiful salad with flower petals scattered around the plate? Or maybe you have had a cake decorated with flowers on top? Perhaps you have visited a Tea Room and were served flower syrup. Edible flowers are the new rage in haute cuisine. The look is elegant; yet preparing flowers for eating is simple and fun to do.
The amazing part to edible flowers is that in spite of it being the new rage, eating flowers has been going on for centuries. The first mention of people consuming flowers was as far back as 140 BC! Did you realize that broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes and broccoflower are all flowers? Or that the spice saffron is the stamen from the crocus flower? Capers are unopened flower buds to a bush native in the Mediterranean and Asian nations.
In regions such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe and India, floral waters such as rosewater and orange flower water are used to flavor candies to meats to beverages! France has a spice mixture known as "Herbes de Provence" which has dried lavender flowers in it. North Africa has an herbal mixture too, which contains rosebuds and lavender. The green liqueur, Chartreuse, contains carnations.

There are a few cautions one should remember before harvesting any flowers:

(a) Do not harvest any flowers that could have been exposed to animal excretement.

(b) Do not harvest any flowers that have had insecticides sprayed on them.

(c) Do not harvest any flowers that have had fertilizers sprayed on them unless specified for food consumption.

(d) Do not harvest any flowers from the side of roads where they have been exposed to trash, carbon monoxide etc.

(e) If you are unsure if it is edible, then do not eat it. Caution is always the best policy.

(f) If you have any allergies, consult your physician before

consuming edible flowers.

(g) Do not eat any flowers from florists as they have been sprayed with pesticides.

(h) Do not pick any flowers that show signs of disease or have been eaten by insects.

Pick your flowers in the morning when their water content is at its highest. Then bathe the flowers gently in a salt-water bath.

Immediately drop them in ice water for 1 minute. Dry on a paper

towel. For best results, use your flower petals immediately (not the stamen or the stems), or store the whole flower in a glass of water in the refrigerator overnight.
Flowers can be used for a multitude of dishes: from garnishes to salads. Try freezing petals in ice cube trays
filled with water for a unique addition to your favorite lemonade or iced tea!


1 egg white (please use powdered egg whites to avoid salmonella)
100 proof vodka
superfine granulated sugar
thin artist's paintbrush
violets, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, rose petals, lilac, borage, pea, pinks, scented geraniums
wire rack

Beat egg whites until frothy. Add a couple of drops of vodka to help the flowers dry quicker. Using fresh picked flowers, paint each flower individually with beaten egg white using the artist's paintbrush. When thoroughly coated, sprinkle with fine sugar and place on the wire rack to dry. Flowers are completely dry when stiff and brittle to the touch. They can be stored in an airtight container and put in the freezer for up to a year. A simple bakery cake can be turned into a work of art by garnishing with candies flowers.
Will last approximately 6 months!

Idea: Try a chocolate cake decorated with fresh raspberries and candied rose petals.


4 cups vodka or brandy
1-cup sugar
1 - 2 cups flowers

Place lightly bruised petals in a jar with vodka or brandy and steep for 2 days. Then, add sugar and steep for 2 weeks, shaking vigorously once or twice a day to let sugar dissolve. Strain and filter into clean decanter.
Ideas: rose, carnation, lavendar and mint orange zest and mint ginger and pear peaches and lemon verbena
raspberry and lemon balm use a dry white wine


1/2 - 1 cup chopped fresh or dried petals
1 lb. sweet unsalted butter

Finely chop flower petals and mix into softened butter. Let mix stand for several hours at room temperature, then refrigerate for several days to bring out the flavour. Can be frozen for several months.
Wonderful on breads or used in sugar cookie or pound cake recipes.
Ideas: use cream cheese rose, lavender or sunflower add some herbs: basil, thyme, garlic


1/2 - 1 cup fresh or dried petals
1 lb. honey

Add chopped or crushed flowers to honey. Loosely cover jar and place in a pan half full of gently boiling water. Remove from heat, and let sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Remove jar from water and let cool to room temperature. Allow jar of honey with flowers to sit for 1 week. Flowers can then be strained out if desired.
Will last indefinitely in a cool dark place.
Uses: Tea, salad dressings, on croissants, scones, muffins and bread.


2 1/2 cups apple juice OR white wine
1 cup fresh rose petals or scented geranium flowers and leaves
4 cups sugar
1/4 lemon juice
1 - 2 drops food coloring (optional)
3 ounces of liquid pectin
fresh flower petals (optional)

Bring juice or wine to a boil and pour over petals. Cover and steep until liquid has cooled, then strain out flowers leaving only liquid.
Combine 2 cups of this flower infusion with sugar, lemon juice and food coloring. Bring to a boil over high heat and as soon as the sugar has dissolved, stir in the pectin. Return to a rolling boil, stirring, and boiling for exactly 1 minute. Remove the jelly from the heat and skim off any foam. Let jelly cool slightly and add more flower petals (if desired), then pour into sterilized jars. If petals do not stay suspended, stir jelly as it cools until petals stay in place. Process in hot water bath or seal with paraffin.
Yields: 4 - 5 half pints


1/2 - 1 cup fresh or dried flowers
1 qt. vegetable oil

Add flowers to bottle of oil and place in a pan of water. Simmer water with bottle in it gently for at least 30 minutes. Remove from stove and cool. Cover bottle tightly, and let steep a week before using. If dried flowers are used, they may be left in the oil. Fresh flowers should be drained after one week as they lose their color.
Uses: Salad dressings, marinades, hot pasta, stir-frying.
Nasturtium and herb blossom oils are excellent for sautéing.
Rose and carnation oils make nice salad dressings.


1-cup water (or rosewater)
3 cups sugar
1/2 - 1-cup flower petals, whole or crushed

Boil all ingredients for 10 minutes, or until thickened into syrup.Strain through cheesecloth into a clean glass jar. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Can be added to sparkling water or champagne for a delicious beverage. Or, it may be poured over fruit, pound cake or pancakes.

An Incomplete List of POISONOUS FLOWERS Commonly Found in the Garden:

Aconite Anemone

Anthurium Atamasco Lily

Autumn Crocus Azalea

Baneberry Bead Tree

Belladonna Black Locust

Black Snakeroot Bloodroot

Boxwood Buttercup

Butterfly Weed Caladium

Calla Lily Carolina Jasmine

Castor Bean Cherry Laurel

Chinaberry Christmas Rose

Clematis Daffodil

Deadly Nightshade Death Cammus

Delphinium Dogsbane

Dumbcane Elephant Ears

False Hellebore Four O'clock

Foxglove Gardenia

Gloriosa Lily Golden Chain Tree

Goldenseal Heavenly Bamboo

Henbane Horse Chestnut

Horse Nettle Hyacinth

Hydrangea Iris

Ivy Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jerusalem Cherry Jessamine

Jetbead Jimson Weed

Jonquil Kentucky Coffee Tree

Laburnum Lantana

Larkspur Leopardsbane

Lily of the Valley Lobelia

Marsh Marigold May Apple

Mescal Bean Mistletoe

Monkhood Morning Glory

Mountain Laurel Nightshade

Ohio Buckeye Oleander

Periwinkle Philodendron

Poinsettia Poison Hemlock

Potato Privet

Rhododendron Rock Poppy

Schefflera Spring Adonis

Star of Bethlehem Strawberry Bush

Sweet Pea Tobacco

Tomato (blooms) Trumpet Vine

Wahoo Water Hemlock

Wild Cherry Windflower

Wisteria Wolfsbane

Yellow Allamanda Yellow Oleander