• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Grow Herbs Indoors For Fresh Flavors

Since there is less gardening to do outside at this time of year, there is more time for growing herbs inside.  Most herbs that grows outdoors can be grown indoors on the kitchen window sills where you can harvest as you need it.

In late fall fragrant herbs can be started from seed or by dividing a perennial from an outdoor garden.  As long as they get at least five hours of direct daylight per day in a room that stays at 60 to 70 degrees F. Many herbs will do fine indoors.

Annuals such as basil, coriander (cilantro), dill, summer savory, and perennials including catnip, chamomile, chives, lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme, can started from seeds indoors in the fall or winter.

To start herbs from seed, plant seeds directly into containers in loose, well-drained soil.  A mixture of coarse sand, peat moss and loam works well.  Place seeds on soil surface and cover with soil about twice the depth of the diameter of the seeds.  Keep in a 65 to 70 degrees F.  room temperature.

Water each pot gently, daily, preferably with a spray bottle of water.  Cover with a wet paper towel until the seeds germinate, to prevent mold or fungus infections.  Remove the wet paper for a couple of hours and expose them to fresh air.

Once herb seeds sprout, put them in a cooler area  with indirect light.  Turn the containers daily to keep them growing straight.  When the seedlings have two sets of leaves, thin them to about one and one-half inches apart or transplant them into their final home.  Dill with a taproot, does not transplant well.  Fertilize lightly with a well balance fertilizer.

 

TOMATO SOUP WITH FRESH HERBS

Delicious soup bursting with flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

5 cups diced fresh tomatoes (2 pounds)

1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 1/4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoon sugar

Fresh herb sprigs for garnish

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, oregano or basil and thyme and cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Stir in broth, tomato paste and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, 15 minutes.  Process soup in food processor until smooth.

Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.

4 servings

Calories 137

Enjoy !

Rosemary and Thyme

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Garden Hints for February

Looking around the garden after the winter storm,  lots of work to be done.  Strawberry plants needs to be pruned.  I found this garden information a help.

  • Have soil test performed on garden plot to determine nutrient needs.
  • Test leftover seeds by placing a few of each in a damp-rolled paper towel.  Keep in a warm place for five days and see how many germinate. If none sprout, you need a new supply of seeds.
  • All out slug and snail control begins as new shoots of annuals and perennials appear.
  • Prune clematis, and other Vining ornamentals.
  • Plant seed flats of cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts).
  • Good time to plant fruit trees and deciduous shrubs.
  • Delayed dormant sprays of lime sulfur for fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Dig and divide irises that are at least five years old.  Give extra to friend or enlarge your plantings.
  • Give rhubab clumbs a mulch of manure or a complete fertilizer to stimulate growth.
  • Consider making a hotbed or cold-frame for growing transplants.
  • Repair winter damage on trees and shrubs.
  • Prune roses.  Now is a good time to plant roses and new rose varieties.
  • As soil warms and earthworms become more active, so do the moles.  Trapping is the bes control.
  • If weather permits and soil is dry enough, spade or till garden areas for planting later.
  • Make planting plan for your vegetable garden;  include vegetable names, planting location, row spacing, plant spacing, succession crops.
  • Spade or plow down cover crops or other organic matter.

Happy Gardening !

Buying Seeds by Mail

By November through the end of December seed catalogs arrived in my mailbox.   I usually put them aside until I am ready to look at leisurely. 

Seed catalogs is like a magical place to visit.  Some are cleverly written, some show beautiful picture, while others offer gardening information and recipes. 

Seed companies realize how winter can make our life miserable.   So they mail us their magical catalogs to a frustrated gardener like me to peruse in their vast treasure troves.   Dreaming how our garden will look like in the summer.  

Today seeds pricing seem to be a little high.   Although if one search around, there are catalogs offering reasonable price with good quality seeds.  For me who enjoy gardening buying seeds by mail is still the best way.  They offer much more variety than buying plants from the nursery.

General catalogs offer a mixed bags of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and standbys such as corn, tomatoes, lettuce, marigolds, cosmos and sunflowers.  Compare prices carefully not all seed packets price are the same. 

I found certain company are more generous than others.  Some packets stuffed generously, while others mighty stingy.  When I opened the seed packet,  looked inside  “gosh is that all”  what a disappointment.  In spite of this I still buy seeds by mail.  They are prompt with shipping, hardly any back order.  I suggest  order early so you will not have any out of stock items.    

The joy of seeing one’s own work flourish in those growing trays and seeing them thrive in the garden, to me is an achievement.

Nichols Garden     in Albany, Oregon offering herbs, heirloom, vegetable seeds.

Territorial Seed     in Cottage Grove, Oregon, offering variety of seeds and gardening supply.

Pine Tree       in New Gloucester, ME  offering variety of seeds, vegetables, flowers and gardening supply.

Turtle Tree  a biodynamic seed initiative in Copake, NY flower, vegetable and herb seeds.

Fedco  in Waterville, ME  flower, herb, vegetable and gardening supply.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds Wainslow, Maine, flower, herb, vegetable and gardening supply.

Vermont Bean Seed Randolph, WI, vegetable, flower, and gardening supply.

Happy Gardening !