• 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

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly with its dainty wings fluttering in the air.  Hopping from flower to flower feasting on sweet nectar.  Swallowtails, monarchs enjoying their leisure time in the  garden.  It is indeed a joy to see these beautiful creature in the garden. To keep them visiting often,  install a fountain, small pond or bird bath this would benefit the butterfly to linger a little longer.   Butterflies visit both fragrant and scentles flowers including white.  They seem to prefer small flowers or florets that are arranged flat, round or elongated clusters.  Appreciated, too, is a shelter afforded by tall hedge, sturdy wall, or a butterfly house.

Also,  growing these flowers in your garden will surely attract these gentle creature.

Daylily (Hemerocallis), prefer sun or partial shade.  Need fertile and well-drained soil.   Watch for trips which brown and disfigure the buds control them with soap spray.

Delightful lilac (Syringa), I love the sweet scent of this flower and butterfly seem to enjoy it too.    Lilac need full sun, good fertile soil and drainage.  Prune immediately after bloom by removing oldest stem.

lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). prefer fertile soil, well-drained, blooms in the summer.  Aromatic gray foliage.  Prune immediately after bloom to keep plants compact and neat.

Pansy (viola) prefer light shade, moist soil, plant no more than 6′ apart.  These flower looks pretty in hanging basket.

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum), prefer sun, sandy, humus rich soil, pinch plants when they are 3-4 inches tall for more bloom.

Sedum, “autumn joy”, flower in late summer or early fall.  Grows in full sun and in well-drained soil.  Wet soils especially in winter will cause rot at the crown, pest free, but watch out for deer, they will nibble on the tender crown.  Division is necessary to maintain good flowering.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta), start seeds indoor or by young plants.  Grow in full sum or partial shade in average soil, well-drained or dry soil.  Plants usually survive winter, depending where you live.  Self-sow freely.  Long blooming and trouble-free.

Cosmos,  annual,  (cosmos bifintus and cosmos sulphureus), sow seeds indoors for early bloom, sow outdoors when soil warm or buy young plants.  Grow in full sun.  Don’t over fertilize soil, you will get more foliage than flower.  Tall variety need support.  Remove faded flowers for further blooming.  Put cut flowers in deep water to prevent wilting.

Marigold,  annual, sow seeds indoors 6 week in advance or directly sow outdoors after weather warms.  Plant in full sun in average soil.  Remove faded blooms for more flowering.  Good cut flowers.

Zinnia, (zinnia elegant hybrid), sow seeds indoors 4-6 week, or sow outdoors after last spring frost.  Grows best in warm weather in full sun, and in well fertilized soil.  Keep faded bloom picked for more flowering.  In cool, humid weather can be subject to powdery molds.

Butterfly House

 

Colorful Butterflies

Happy Gardening !

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 !