Category Archives: herbs

Starting Seeds!

seedsLast weekend, we worked on starting our seeds for the spring/summer. We did this last year six weeks before the last frost, and my mini greenhouse was seriously out of control. So this year, we started them four weeks before the last frost. But right now, I’m not really sure when the last frost will be given that we just had snow yesterday.

So, I germinated the seeds over night by soaking them in a luke warm bowl, and then just planted each seed in a container. After just three days, I have broccoli, chamomile, datura, and other herbs coming up already!

I’m so looking forward to warmer weather and planting these outside!

Happy Gardening!

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Bee Balm

beebalmBee Balm, or Monarda, is an old perennial species in the mint family. The herb is an old species, appearing in a book in 1574! Bee Balm is commonly known as a wild flower on the prairie, and it does produce fantastic blooms.

In the language of flowers, Bee Balm is related to compassion; and, given its medicinal properties, the plant’s personified characteristic is quite apt. Bee Balm is used to ease all kinds of digestive complaints, cramping, sore throats, and a host of other ailments. It is known for its  strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Usually, it is made into a tea for these purposes.

How to Grow

Pick a sunny spot in your garden either in the fall or the spring.

  • Dig a hole a bit larger than the root ball.
  • Mix in fertilizer.
  • Add the plant into the hole, and cover it with soil.
  • Water.

You may start your Bee Balm from seeds–follow the usual methods for growing seeds indoors and move into the garden as soon as all danger of frost has passed. Or you may purchase a small plant at a local nursery and plant it directly outside.

Either way, Bee Balm will produce gorgeous flowers in your garden, and it comes in a variety of colors. It attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds; and bonus: it is deer resistant. It grows well with several different plants, such as cone flowers.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

An Easy and Tasty Summer Herb: Dill

dillDill is an annual herb, but the plant is super easy to grow! It is quite tasty in dips, soups, and salads, and may be used for pickling.

Dill also has a long history as a medicinal plant. It was once used as a defense against witches and magical enchantments, but more commonly, dill is used for indigestion issues, insomnia, colds, and coughs.

In the language of flowers, dill is associated with lust and might be a healthier alternative to Viagra! 😉 Can you imagine receiving tons of spam emails about dill?

While the plant is capable of making flowers, you really don’t want it to if you are using it to harvest Dill for any reason.

How to Grow

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden in early summer.
  • Dig a rill about 1/4 inch deep and sow the seeds.
  • Cover the seeds gently with soil–just use a rake for this.
  • Water.
  • For fresh dill all summer long, keep sowing seeds.

Alternatively, you may purchase a dill plant already started at a nursery if you’d rather not mess with the seeds. Either way you go, Dill is a winner. It’s easy to grow; it attracts beneficial bugs to your garden, and tastes great!

Happy gardening!

Lily: The True Queen of the Garden

lilyThe fragrant lily, lilium,  is the true queen in any garden. A perennial herb bulb, the lily is famous for its beautiful blooms in orange, red, white, pink, and the list could go on…..

Daylilies, water lilies, lilies of the valley are not real lilies, just name stealers! All of these are pretty but don’t be fooled by their appropriation of the queen’s name.

In the language of flowers, lilies have various meanings. In general, lilies represent purity, beauty, and sweetness.

Surprisingly, the bulb of the lily was once used with other materials to ward off witches. But the white lily is known for some healing ability. The roots and bulbs are used to make medicines for pain and swelling.

How to Grow
Plant lily bulbs in the fall.

  • Pick a sunny to partially sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole to about 15 inches–lily bulbs need to be planted deeply.
  • Place the bulb in the hole.
  • Add a fertilizer, such as bone meal.
  • Cover with soil and water.

Benefits of lilies

  • Easy to grow
  • Spread on their own
  • A stand out in any garden
  • make wonderful cut flowers

If you are allergic to lily pollen, simply pull or cut out the stamens as soon as the flower begins to open–and enjoy your lilies indoors.

Warning! Be on the look out–deer will eat lily blooms. I had a very sad and discouraging spring one year when deer ate all of my red lilies. I was planning on those red lilies for my son’s graduation party. Nothing daunted, I went to Michaels and purchased fake lilies. But you can purchase forced lily bulbs at most nurseries. I tend to buy a few each year of a new variety that catches my eye.

Happy Gardening!

Ahh, Lavender

lavendarThe lavender herb has an exquisite scent and many other great benefits. If you are looking for an easy to grow herb, you have found it! Lavender is a member of the mint family, so it will grow quickly and spread quite easily.

Lavender is an old herb, grown for years for its versatile qualities.

In the language of flowers, lavender boasts several meanings:

  • love
  • devotion
  • purity
  • caution
  • luck

How to Plant
Lavender may be planted in the ground or in containers.

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole deep enough for the plant.
  • Add fertilizer.
  • Place the plant in the hole and cover with soil.
  • Water.

There are several different varieties of lavender. I have English and Sea in my garden and both do well.

Benefits of Lavender

  • great border plant
  • terrific scent
  • repels mosquitos
  • treats insomnia, migraine, stomach issues, nerve pain, joint pain, and toothaches

You may also make your own bath products from lavender, as well as teas and sachets. Whatever you do with your lavender, it is an easy and outstanding addition to any garden!

Happy gardening!

How to Keep Mosquitos Away Without Toxic Chemicals

catnipWe’ve all been bitten at one time or another, and we know mosquito bites are not fun. These bites can become more than irritating for those who are allergic and suffer from skeeter syndrome. But products such as deet can be just as deadly for folks.

Instead of using harmful chemicals, experts recommend the catnip herb. Science Daily tells us that catnip is 10 times more effective than deet for repelling those nasty biters.

Besides its pest fighting qualities, catnip leaves also contain high amounts of vitamins C and E.

Catnip may also be used for many medical purposes:

  • insomnia
  • arthritis
  • flu and upper respiratory infections
  • migraines
  • fever
  • hives
  • cramping

How to grow catnip

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden or for a container.
  • Dig a hole and add fertilizer.
  • Place the plant in the hole and gently cover with dirt.
  • Water.

You can start catnip seeds indoors or purchase a young plant at a local nursery. It is important to remember that catnip is a member of the mint family and will grow and spread quickly. It is quite aromatic, and to some people, it smells like a skunk. However, the smell can be overridden by other aromatic plants in your garden or in containers on your patio.  Plant your catnip and enjoy a space without the threat of an irritating and possibly disease laden bite.

Happy gardening!

Forget-me-nots: an herb for a shady spot

forgetmenotForget-me-nots. or mouse ears,  are  perennial herbs that bloom in the spring.  They are excellent ground cover and make good border plants as well.

In the language of flowers, forget-me-nots do actually mean forget me not. It also represents hope, true love, remembrance, and memories.

Like most herbs, forget-me-nots have some medicinal uses, and the entire plant is used to make medicines for nosebleeds and lung complaints. I have never used it in these ways, and I would consult a physician before trying it.

How to Plant

  • Pick a shady spot in your garden at the end of summer.
  • Prepare the soil by adding in  a fertilizer, such as bone meal.
  • Scatter the seeds.
  • Water.

The seeds will settle in, and you will have this charming plant in the spring. Forget-me-nots are a bit wild and will reseed themselves with no help from you–but they may reseed anywhere in your shady garden. If you don’t like where they pop up the following year, simply move them to where you would like them to be.

Forget-me-nots are an easy plant to grow if you are just beginning and are not sure what to plant in a shady area. Best of all, deer don’t care for them! Forget-me-nots are ideal around walkways or edges of gardens.

Happy gardening!