And The Winner Is …

And The Winner Is …

It’s nearly the end of 2016, and time for us to recount the highs and lows of this past growing season. We all have our areas of interest, but for me, it’s all about you …. Trends in what gardeners wanted this past growing year. Basically, what plant sold THE BEST in 2016.

And, the winner is: Eucalyptus, Silver Drop. Always in the top 5, but never a winner. This year, Eucalyptus pushed out Lemongrass and would have done even better had we not run out near the end of the spring.

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The Ultimate Easy Mint Mojito Recipe

the ultimate mojito recipe

A perfect drink for a warm sunny day, or even a cold wintry day when you want to feel like you’re at the beach.  A few years ago, we began growing Mojito mint – what a plant!  Like all mints, it is easy to grow and provides plenty to cut.  But, the added attraction is that this is the real deal and an essential ingredient in a mint mojito, a cool summer drink that has been popular in Cuba since the 1920’s.

Remember the secret:  fresh mint that is crushed with sugar to release the mint’s essential oil.

Bonus tip: if you grow this indoors, you can enjoy fresh mojitos all year long. (more…)

12 Unusual and Interesting Uses For Herbs

When many people think of herbs, they think of cooking.  There are so many other uses for them!  Take the list of herbs bellow and you have several natural ways to solve your everyday ailments.  Go ahead and treat your acne with basil, clean your toilets with thyme, and build your bones with marjoram.  Have fun exploring new ways to use herbs!

rosemary

Rosemary: Mosquito Deterrent and Hair Rinse

To keep mosquitos away from your porch or other areas where you like to entertain guests, try growing rosemary in close proximity.  Mosquitos do not like rosemary and so they will stay clear of that area.  Another great use for rosemary is as a hair rinse.  To strengthen your hair and eliminate pesky dandruff, rinse your hair in a cooled solution of boiled rosemary leaves and water.

Buy the plants online


 

lemon-balm

Lemon Balm: Fatigue Treatment

To reduce your fatigue, make a tea out of equal parts lemon balm, raspberry leaf, mettle, and oat tops.  Add ¼ part each of sliced and sifted ginger and licorice.  Re-boost your energy by drinking 3 cups every day.

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15 Uses for Common Comfrey: From Topical Cure-All to Fertilizer Powerhouse

Widely cultivated across Europe and Asia for centuries, common comfrey (symphytum officinale) is a humble plant with dramatic benefits. From soothing herbal remedies for skin irritations, bruises, and osteoarthritis to potent fertilizers, mulches, and foliar sprays, the easy-to-grow comfrey plant has a welcome place in any organic-based home garden.

comfrey 1

Skin-Soothing, Regenerative, and Anti-Bacterial Properties

Comfrey contains high amounts of rosmarinic acid, tannins, and allantoin compounds that help to promote the growth of new cells, making this herb a the go-to topical for a variety of skin, muscle, bone, and joint issues.

1. Healing Bruises and Sores: If you have access to fresh leaves from the garden, a comfrey poultice is said to  speed the healing of sore or bruised tissues and ligaments.

2. Soothing Skin Irritations: Salves, teas, oils and ointments are all popular treatments for a variety of irritant issues, including bug bites, sunburns, abrasive injuries, and certain rashes or over-dry patches of skin.

3. Antibacterial: Water-based applications like teas and simple compresses can deliver a potent antibacterial punch that can help to reduce the chance of infection and speed healing. Simply dampen a clean cloth with a strong comfrey extraction and apply directly to the affected area. (more…)

25 Best Herbs to Grow in Your Kitchen Garden

best-herbs-kitchen-garden

Whether you want to grow a kitchen herb garden as a hobby or to save money or just for healthier eating, there are plenty of herbs you can grow in your back yard, on your patio or even in your windowsill.   Fresh herbs make recipes taste even better and are great to have around for soups, stews and salads.

In picking a place to grow your herbs, keep in mind that they need a good four to six hours of sun daily.  There are many herbs that you can grow to enhance your cooking.  When you plant a kitchen garden, don’t only plant the herbs you know, take a chance on something else. You might just be surprised.

Here are 25 fresh herbs and other plants you can grow that are great to have handy in the kitchen.

parsley
Parsley

Parsley is a mild bitter herb that can enhance the flavor of your foods.  Many consider parsley just to be a curly green garnish for food, but it actually helps things like stews achieve a more balanced flavor.  As an added benefit, parsley can aid in digestion.  Parsley is often grown as an annual, but in milder climates it will stay evergreen all winter long.  Parsley plants will grow to be large and bushy.   Parsley is a good source of Vitamins A and C. (buy online)

mint
Mint

There are several varieties of mint.  You can use it in drinks like mojitos or mint juleps.  Or add some mint to your summer iced tea.  Mint freshens the breath and will help to calm your stomach.  But if you grow mint, remember that it’s considered an invasive plant.  Mint will spread and take over your garden.  It’s best grown in containers. (buy online) (more…)