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Gardening On A Shoe String……

August 21, 2011

December 4, 2012

Originally posted on Whispering Earth:

For a long time I was confused about the difference between salves, ointments and balms. Some writers use all three terms interchangeably whilst others have separate definitions, many of which contradict those from other sources. In this post I wanted to tell you a little about how I make salves, ointments and balms with the intention of sharing some hopefully useful tips and practical information.

Salves, ointments, unguents, balms, call them what you will, what all these preparations have in common is they are primarily a semi-solid mix of fatty ingredients such as oils and waxes, usually with no water part at all, though they may contain a small amount of herbal tincture or similar. This differentiates them from creams and lotions which contain both fats and waters.

Generally, ointments and salves are considered much the same thing; a healing external preparation made with medicinal substances in a base of…

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November 14, 2012

angelbabe43:

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Originally posted on herban lifestyle:

If you have a yard, chances are you are growing the ingredients for a skin soothing herbal infusion without even trying! Plantain (Plantago major) is considered a weed, but it also contains natural constituents that are wonderful for your skin. Violet (Viola odorata) leaves are in the same category (not to mention that the flowers are delicious in salads or syrups!).

Violet is moisturizing, toning, healing, and great for sore nipples. Plantain is good for eczema, acne, minor cuts, stings, insect bites, poison ivy itch, and diaper rash.

The basis of a skin-nourishing herbal salve is an herbal oil infusion. Gather about 4 cups of plantain and violet leaves, making sure to choose ones that are fresh and green looking, with no major brown spots, rotten areas, or major insect damage. And make sure that they have not been sprayed with chemicals of any kind.

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July 19, 2012

Originally posted on Viggies Veggies:

Several people have asked me about dehydrating in the last week or two, so thought I’d do a little write up about it. Dehydrating is my favorite method of preserving what I grow, so think it’s kind of funny that I haven’t really talked about it here!

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Dehydrating is a bit easier to do than canning because you prep the veggies or fruits and can let it sit in the dehydrator unattended. Because it’s less of a time investment, I did it a lot more when I was working and going to school and time was at a premium. You are also able to do any sized batches, which is great for those of us with smaller gardens who don’t always have enough for canning.

dehydrating vegetables

It is recommended that you blanch most vegetables before dehydrating to” stop enzyme action and enhance destruction of microorganisms”. This chart published by the Colorado…

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March 14, 2012

angelbabe43:

This looks so good I’m going to try this and I sure many other things this year I bought a dehydrater the end of last summer so it will be very busy this year Herb,veggies,fruit roll-ups who knows the skys the limit !!!!

Originally posted on A Sonoma Garden:

Fruit Leather
I thought we had used up all of our nectarines in our recent canning spree, but Scott walked in the backdoor yesterday with another basket full (the last of them). Hmmm, what to do with them? I thought I’d try my hand at fruit leather, or fruit roll ups, again. Nectarines are a perfect candidate for making fruit roll ups because they aren’t as juicy as peaches so they dry faster. Plus I like their tangy flavor.

I had tried making fruit leather in the past and was never very satisfied with my results, but I think I got it right this time. Here’s how I did it:

How to Make Fruit Roll Ups

leather1
Pit the nectarines and place in a pot. Turn the heat to medium/high and mash the fruit with a potato masher. You can add sugar at this point if you like, but I chose not…

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March 14, 2012

Originally posted on A Sonoma Garden:

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We made the local paper this morning! Check it out the story on our straw bale raised bed experiment. Since the photographer came a week ago on Thursday I thought it would be nice to show a few photos from this morning to show how fast everything is growing.
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We are growing all sorts of summer melons in that raised bed and they are doing much better than any other previous year we’ve grown them. In previous years we’ve planted our melons straight into the ground and while we have amended those beds, we specifically built the soil up in this straw bale raised bed to be for melons. What that means is lots and lots of manure, they are heavy feeders.
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Of course the proof is in the pudding and while there are many melons on the vines, none are ripe yet, so we’ll report back when they…

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March 14, 2012

Originally posted on A Sonoma Garden:

How-to-Make-Almond-Milk-500

I made milk. Do you remember the other week when I ended up making crackers because I couldn’t bare going to the store with three children? Well we were also out of milk. I searched all over the kitchen thinking of how I could make milk appear. Certainly there had to be a way. Turns out without a cow, it is very hard to make milk. Well, that is until I learned how to make almond milk. A few days later a friend came over and as usual we got into talking about food and nutrition and she mentioned how she made almond milk for her kids. After her quick tutorial, I made almond milk the next day. It was easy, just like she said. Sure, it did add a little mess to my kitchen and a little more hassle, but not much more.
Almond Milk

What I like about it is…

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Top Ten Most Nutritious Vegetables and How to Grow Them in Your Garden

February 4, 2012

PLEASE NOTE LINK TO ORIGINAL POST AT BOTTOM OF PAGE YOU CAN FIND IT AT TREEHUGGER THANK YOU …….

A perfectly ripe, juicy tomato, still warm from the sun. Sweet carrots, pulled from the garden minutes (or even seconds!) before they’re eaten. Growing your own vegetables is one of those activities that balances practicality and indulgence. In addition to the convenience of having the fixings for a salad or light supper right outside your door (or on your windowsill), when you grow your own vegetables, you’re getting the most nutritional bang for your buck as well. Vegetables start losing nutrients as soon as they’re harvested, and quality diminishes as sugars are turned into starches. For the tastiest veggies with the best nutrition, try growing a few of these nutrient-dense foods in your own garden. And don’t let the lack of a yard stop you – all of them can be grown in containers as well.

Grow These Good-for-You Veggies

Photo Credits (left to right): Wanko, Qfamily, George Scholz, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is high in calcium, iron, and magnesium, as well as Vitamin A, B6, and C. In fact, one cup of raw broccoli florets provides 130% of your daily Vitamin C requirement.

  • How to Grow Broccoli
  • Grow Broccoli in Containers: One broccoli plant per pot, pots should be 12 to 16 inches deep.
  • What to Watch Out For: Cabbage worm. If you start seeing pretty white butterflies fluttering around your broccoli, you’re guaranteed to start seeing little green worms all over your broccoli plants. To avoid this, cover your broccoli plants with floating row cover or lightweight bed sheets. If you start seeing cabbage worms, simply pick them off by hand.

2. Peas

There is nothing like peas grown right in your own garden – the tender sweetness of a snap pea just plucked from the vine is unlike anything you can buy in at a store. Aside from being absolutely delicious, peas are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Peas
  • Grow Peas in Containers: Sow peas approximately 2 inches apart in a pot that is at least 10 inches deep. Provide support for peas to climb up.
  • What to Watch Out For: Hot weather. Once the weather turns hot, pea production will pretty much shut down. Grow peas in early spring and late summer/autumn, or any time of year when temperatures are consistently between 40 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Beans (especially navy beans, great northern beans, kidney beans)

While snap beans (green beans/wax beans) are a great addition to any garden, it’s the beans we grow as dried beans that are real nutritional powerhouses. Dry beans, in general, are high in iron, fiber, manganese, and phosphorous.

  • How to Grow Beans
  • Grow Beans in Containers: Bush beans are your best option for growing in containers. Plant beans four inches apart in a container that is at least 12 inches deep.
  • What to Watch Out For: Harvest at the right time. Harvest dry beans when the pods have completely dried on the vine. The pods should be light brown, and you should be able to feel the hard beans inside. Shell the beans, and let them sit out a few days to ensure that they’re completely dry before storing them in jars in a cool, dark, dry place.

Photo Credits (left to right): norwichnuts, photon, S. Diddy, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

4. Brussels Sprouts

The bane of many a childhood, Brussels sprouts get a bad wrap mostly due to overcooking. When prepared right, Brussels sprouts are sweet, tender, and delicious. They also provide tons of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin, as well as high levels of Vitamins A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
  • Grow Brussels Sprouts in Containers: Grow one plant per 16-inch deep container.
  • What to Watch Out For: Cabbage worms (see “Broccoli, above.)

5. Tomatoes

Fresh, homegrown tomatoes are the reason many gardeners get into vegetable gardening in the first place. There’s just nothing that compares to eating a perfectly ripe tomato, still warm from the sun. Tomatoes are also incredibly good for us, packing plenty of fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and Vitamin A, B6, and C. They’re also a great source of the antioxidant lycopene.

  • How to Grow Tomatoes
  • Grow Tomatoes in Containers: Container sizes will vary depending on the variety you’re growing. If you’re growing an indeterminate variety, your container will need to be at least 18 inches deep. For determinate varieties, 12 inches is a good depth, and for dwarf or “patio” type tomatoes, 8 inches is perfect. One tomato plant per pot.
  • What to Watch Out For: Tomato horn worm can be a problem in many areas – these large caterpillars should be removed by hand whenever you see them. Also watch out for signs of blight, which is a real problem in many parts of the U.S.

6. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are high in potassium, riboflavin, and Vitamins A, B6, and C – in fact, one cup of red bell pepper packs an amazing 317% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C and 93% of the recommended Vitamin A.

Photo Credits (left to right): La Grande Farmer’s Market, SummerTomato, color line, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

7. Beets

Beets are a great “two-fer” crop – you can harvest the beet roots, of course, but you can also harvest and eat the greens. Young beet greens are delicious when added raw to a salad, and larger beet greens can be sauteed as a quick side dish or used the way you’d use other greens such as spinach. Beet roots are very high in iron, potassium, and vitamin C. Beet greens are even better, as they are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Beets
  • Grow Beets in Containers: Plant beet seeds three inches apart in a container that is twelve inches deep. Because each beet seed is actually a cluster of seeds, be sure to thin the seedlings to one per cluster. Thinnings can be added to salads or sandwiches.
  • What to Watch Out For: Knowing when to harvest. Beet roots are at their best when they are harvested small – between one and two inches across. At this size, they are sweet and tender. Larger beets tend to be kind of woody and less flavorful.

8. Leaf Amaranth

Leaf amaranth is a less-common vegetable that is well worth a try in your own garden. The leaves have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor that works well in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and soups to simply steaming it all by itself. As a bonus, leaf amaranth is one of the few heat-tolerant greens. It won’t bolt in the heat of summer the way spinach and kale are prone to. Nutritionally, leaf amaranth is very high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. Everyone should be growing this!

  • How to Grow Leaf Amaranth
  • Growing Leaf Amaranth in Containers: Scatter the tiny seeds over the soil’s surface in a pot that is at least 8 inches deep. Harvest the leaves when they are two to four inches tall. You will be able to get at least two or three harvest before you’ll have to sow more seeds.
  • What to Watch Out For: Leaf amaranth is fairly easy to grow, and relatively problem-free. Rarely, leaf miners can become a problem.

9. Carrots

Carrots are at their sweetest, crunchiest best when freshly harvested from the garden. These icons of healthy eating deserve their “good-for-you” rep – they’re very high in fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. Their only drawback is that they do tend to be high in sugar, so if you’re watching your carb intake, you’ll want to limit the amount of carrots you eat.

  • How to Grow Carrots
  • Grow Carrots in Containers: Sow carrot seeds two to three inches apart in a pot that is at least twelve inches deep. Look for shorter varieties, such as ‘Thumbelina,’ or ‘Danver’s Half Long.’
  • What to Watch Out For: Harvesting at the perfect size. Carrots are at their tastiest when harvested small. Leaving them in the ground too long can result in overly large, woody carrots. You’ll also want to make sure to keep your carrots evenly moist, as letting the soil dry out too often can also result in somewhat bitter, fibrous carrots.

Photo Credits (left to right): Oakley Originals, djprybyl, djprybyl, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

10. Leafy Greens

OK, I cheated here. I can’t recommend just ONE leafy green, because they are all incredibly good for us, as well as delicious — kale, collards, spinach, turnip or dandelion greens — how can you possibly choose just one? In general, the “green leafies” contain high amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, and Vitamins A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Kale and Other Leafy Greens
  • Grow Greens in Containers: Grow one kale or collard plant per ten inch deep pot. Other greens can be grown a few plants to a pot — they should be planted at least 4 inches apart and harvested small.
  • What to Watch Out For: Heat and cabbage worms. Most leafy greens are cool-weather crops, so they’re best grown in spring and fall in most areas – hot weather will cause them to bolt. In addition, many of these greens are members of the Brassicas family, which means they are prone to cabbage worm infestations. Control them with the same methods outlined in the “Broccoli” section, above.

Try growing one or two (or all!) of these nutrient-dense, delicious vegetables in your own garden, and you’ll get double the health benefits: healthy food and time spent outdoors, nurturing your plants.

More About Growing Your Own Food:Beyond Salads: Grow a Garden to Feed a FamilyComplete Guide to Summer Vegetable Gardening66 Things You Can Grow, At Home, Without a Garden

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