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Tag Archive | "herbs"

Extend the harvest this season


AWE-Extend-the-harvest-seasonBy gardening expert Melinda Myers

 

Didn’t get enough gardening in this season? Don’t worry there is still time to grow garden-fresh vegetables and herbs this fall and winter.

Purchase transplants and seeds that will grow and flourish in the cooler fall and winter temperatures. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, root vegetables, edible pansies and calendula as well as cole crops, like broccoli, are a few to consider.

Those gardening in colder regions need to select short season crops like lettuce, spinach and radishes that will mature before extremely cold winter temperatures set in. Extend the fall garden season into winter with the help of floating row covers, coldframes and portable greenhouses. Many of the elevated garden systems now have built in cold frames or row cover attachments to make extending the season much easier.

Try container and elevated gardens like the VegTrug™ (www.gardeners.com) to extend the growing season and increase your enjoyment. These contained gardens allow you to plant herbs, vegetables and flowers anywhere. Place a few right outside the front door or on the balcony for fun and convenience. Plus, contained gardens can easily be moved to a sheltered location or covered and protected from frost.

Or move your garden indoors. Select vegetables and herbs that can tolerate the less-than-ideal indoor growing conditions. Greens, onions and root crops, like radishes and short carrots, will grow in a sunny window. Expand your selection with the help of artificial lights.

Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, chives and of course mint are a few favorite herbs to grow on your kitchen or other sunny windowsill. Increase your harvest with the help of artificial lights or try an indoor tiered grow light stand to save on space.

Take cuttings from healthy herbs growing in the garden, purchase new transplants or start herb and vegetable plants from seeds.

Take four inch cuttings from healthy herbs. Remove the lowest set of leaves and place the cut end in a well-drained potting mix. Once rooted, plant the herbs in individual containers or mixed with other herbs in a windowsill planter.

Start the seeds in a flat, in individual pots or directly in a planter. Keep the rooting mix warm and moist until the seeds sprout. Move to a sunny location or under artificial lights as soon as the seedlings break through the soil. Wait until the seedlings develop two sets of leaves and then transplant them into their permanent planter if needed.

So get busy planting and soon you will be enjoying the tasty benefits of fall and winter gardening.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips. 

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, FeaturedComments Off

Add tasty edible plants to your landscape


(ARA) Window boxes overflowing with blooms, decorative pots lining the driveway with striking colors, and even a flowering vine climbing up the mailbox. The growing season has arrived, and it is time to decorate the landscape.

The latest gardening trend is growing your own produce, so incorporate edible plants as a beautiful compliment to the typical annuals and perennials. This year, spice up the landscaping decor with some tasty options.

Edible plants—whether herbs, vegetables, fruits or flowers—add a creative variety of interest to your landscape, and also produce a delicious bounty for your dinner table come harvest time.

Here are some ideas to help incorporate edible plants into your landscaping:

Decorate an arbor in the garden, along a walkway or near the house with grape vines. These vines can help shade an area and also can produce grapes good for eating, juicing, making into jams or jellies, or even wine. Different grapes thrive in different areas of the country, so research your region first before attempting to start some vines.

Switch to edible flowers like nasturtium, violets, chamomile, dandelion, hollyhock, honeysuckle, and pansies in your window boxes and decorative pots.  Do not eat flowers grown for ornamental purposes, instead, start edible flowers as seeds and grow them yourself. These flowers work great in salads, teas, summery drinks like sweetened tea, mocktails, and lemonade, and also can be crystallized to decorate cakes. To crystallize flowers, separate the flowers from the stem, and wash and dry the bloom. Heat up equal parts of water and sugar until the sugar dissolves, and the liquid becomes an amber color. Let the syrup cool. Take flower blooms and quickly dip the pedals into the liquid mixture, turn back over and let dry blossom face up. Stronger petals with form and shape work well.

Mix an herb or two into container gardens. Lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lemon grass are just a few that grow extremely well in containers, and mix attractively with other blooming flowers. Not only are the herbs edible, but also emit delicious scents when picked or touched, making a great choice for window boxes or path plantings.

Pot a tomato plant right in the front yard. Or, the backyard. Tomatoes grow well in full sunlight, and are decorative when the vines drape along a trellis or arbor. Tomatoes also work well as a natural screen along a porch or patio. Also good for use on an arbor or trellis are cucumbers, smaller melons and squash, beans and peas. Inter-plant vines with containers or landscaping, and your small vegetable garden will get a pop of interest to make it stand out – and provide a great harvest for your family.

Create a hedge with berries. Try blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and even gooseberries to make a unique hedge along the edge of your property. Just remember, your family will not be the only samplers of the fruits. Consider covering the hedge with netting to help keep birds from stealing all the berries. Combining beautiful landscaping with delicious foods to serve at dinner is sure to create many compliments – both from visitors enjoying the front and backyard views, and from dinner guests enjoying the produce harvest. Follow these tips and this year your garden will look good enough to eat.

Posted in Diggin' Spring, SeasonalComments Off

Herbs for health


By Perry T. Hopkins, Naturopath (TBWP)

Proper health comes from proper nutrition. The body will function at its ideal level when fed the right nutrients. It will build bones when given the right amount of calcium and silica; the muscle will naturally relax with adequate amounts of magnesium and potassium. The body can combat inflammation with vitamin C; Our eyes will function properly with Vitamin A and Beta-carotene. A healthy immune system relies on a healthy intake of nutrition. The brain requires adequate amounts of essential fatty acids—Vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6, and E, essential amino acids, bioflavonoid, melatonin, many trace minerals and more. Most of today’s illness can be attributed to lack of good nutrition as a leading cause.
Herbs are super foods! Herbs are foods that contain high amounts of nutritional value. Most have therapeutic properties to them as well. If we use herbs in our daily diets it will help sustain a health immune system and body. Combining the sea vegetables kelp or spirulina with rose hips helps give the body multiple vitamins.
Spirulina is a super food used in many green drinks. It is recommended to consume spirulina when doing a fast so your body still gets its needed nutrients while you are not eating. It contains a Vitamin B complex, B 12, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, all eight essential amino acids, ten non essential amino acids, Vitamin E, folic acid, digestive enzymes, chlorophyll, iron, and many more. Kelp is a similar alternative to spirulina.
Kelp contains a little more iodine than spirulina, which helps with thyroid issues. Most of your natural iodine and sodium gets depleted from a diet high in table salt. Table salt is a synthetic source of iodine and sodium. Synthetics tend to leach the natural nutrients from the body. Kelp will help replenish these loss minerals.
The leaves from parsley and nettles are good hydrating herbs. These two herbs, besides giving nourishment, help support the urinary tract. There are literally thousands of herbs that you can eat or drink to gain nourishment and get the body back on track to functioning properly. Herbs, sometimes, are easier for the body to uptake than supplements because herbs are a whole food and not an altered substance.
There are people who can help you be healthy without the use of pills. If you are tired of feeling ill and tired of popping pills to feel better, look for different help. With more people looking towards natural health, just about every town and city has a Nutritionist, Naturopath, Herbalist, or something similar to those titles. These people can help you in your efforts to getting healthy in a more natural way, through eating and drinking. If you have been going to someone for help with your health and you are not seeing results, it may be time to seek help elsewhere. Try herbs for health.

Posted in HealthComments Off


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