Experiencing Herbs with your Child

Experiencing Herbs with your Child

Herbs and Children, Using Herbs
[caption id="attachment_396" align="alignright" width="300"] Bash, processing thyme and lavender with Mom.[/caption] Here is a picture from last summer. Bash was helping me process thyme and lavender. Lavender is his FAVORITE herb. He loves the little purple flowers and the smell, I mean who doesn't? Well my weirdo herbalist of a mother isn't the hugest lavender (fragrance) fan...buuut...more for US! ;) Hello beautiful people! Relishing in this absolutely beautiful sunny day! Wandered around my garden barefoot this morning slowly soaking up that positive Sagittarius energy. I did not want the quiet morning to end. It lasted a good solid 3 minutes until I realized my bare feet were two inches away from a mound of dog poop left by my beloved blue heeler Winston. OH glorious morning!! I MUST say though,…
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Growing Carrots and Food Security

Growing Carrots and Food Security

Food Supply, Growing Food, Organic Gardening
I don't talk a lot about varieties, I grab seeds from the Farm Supply store, read about them seed catalogs, and various websites, and work very often with trial and error. That is the sum total of how I write, how my garden works. You can read and read, but nothing in the world prepares a person to grow their own food like hands on growing. Like Nike said, "Just do it!" It is the only way. However, rather than get off on a long discourse on the necessity of organic gardening, let me write simply about getting started. Much could be said about gardening. When I read, then review books for this website, I often think that next to love and religion, this is the most written about subject…
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Organic Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

Soil & Compost
When used in reference to fertilizers, the word organic generally means that the nutrients contained in the product are derived solely from the remains or a by-product of an organism. Cottonseed meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, manure and sewage sludge are examples of organic fertilizers. Urea is a synthetic organic fertilizer, an organic substance manufactured from inorganic materials. When packaged as fertilizers, organic products have the fertilizer ratio stated on the package label. Some organic materials, particularly composted manures and sludges, are sold as soil conditioners and do not have a nutrient guarantee stated on the package, although small amounts of nutrients are present. Some organic fertilizers are high in one of the three major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, or potash,) but low or zero in the other two. Some are…
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How to Grow Horseradish

Herb Gardening, Organic Gardening
In 1995 the International Herb Association started naming a Herb of the Year. This practice brings focus each year to a particular herb so herb enthusiasts, groups and gardeners can learn more about an individual herb. This year, 2011, Horseradish, Armoracia rusticana, is the herb of the year. So, let's explore this pungent, powerful herb. Want to clear you sinuses? Prevent scurvy? Bring tears to your eyes? Then Horseradish is the herb for you! Botanical Info: Considered a bitter herb, helping digestion and appetite. Family: Brassicaceae- related to mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Genus and species: Armoracia rusticana Other common names: Scurvy Grass, Mountain Radish, Great Mountain Root, Pepperroot Horseradish is a root crop that is thought to be native to Northern or Central Europe. It is…
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Winter Rye

Winter Rye

Soil & Compost
The hardiest of cereals, rye can be seeded later in fall than other cover crops and still provide considerable dry matter, an extensive soil-holding root system, significant reduction of nitrate leaching and exceptional weed suppression. Inexpensive and easy to establish, rye outperforms all other cover crops on infertile, sandy or acidic soil or on poorly prepared land. It is widely adapted, but grows best in cool, temperate zones. Taller and quicker-growing than wheat, rye can serve as a windbreak and trap snow or hold rainfall over winter. It overseeds readily into many high-value and agronomic crops and resumes growth quickly in spring, allowing timely killing by rolling, mowing or herbicides. Pair rye with a winter annual legume such as hairy vetch to offset rye’s tendency to tie up soil nitrogen…
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Oats

Oats

Soil & Compost
Oats are not particularly winter hardy. If you need a low-cost and reliable fall cover that winterkills in Hardiness Zone 6 and colder and much of Zone 7, oats is the cover crop for you. Spring-planted oats are used for green manure, while fall-planted oats provide winter-killed ground cover. The residue is incorporated before the early planting of vegetables. Oats are particularly useful in rotations with vegetable crops because they grow quickly and are easily killed. They are an excellent choice to mix with legumes, like hairy vetch and peas, for forage, erosion control and weed suppression. Oats are a wonderful nutrient catch cover crop. It takes up excess Nitrogen (N) and small amounts of Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) when planted early enough. Late-summer plantings can absorb as much…
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Buckwheat

Buckwheat

Soil & Compost
Buckwheat is a fast-growing summer cover crop; a succulent that can be grown as a green manure because it adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil. It smothers weeds, protect the soil surface and provides habitat for pollinating and other beneficial insects. Buckwheat seed can germinate within days of planting, especially if the soil is warmer than 55 degrees. Because it doesn't require much water and tolerates poor fertility, buckwheat succeeds in many less than ideal places in the garden. Buckwheat does not like the shade or soggy soil. It improves the short-term condition of soil and readies it for planting. It is particularly efficient at taking up phosphorus from the soil and storing it in its tissues. Because it grows so fast, it is ideal for planting in…
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White Sweet Clover

White Sweet Clover

Soil & Compost
Sweet clovers (both white and yellow) are excellent soil-builders because they have a deep taproot that extends through the soil profile which takes up nutrients and minerals that can be used by crops. What is the difference between white (Melilotus alba) and yellow (Melilotus officinalis) sweet clovers? The biennial yellow sweet clover takes two years to produce a flowering plant. The first year, the yellow sweet clover grows in a rosette. After a vernalisation period it produces a shoot and flowers. It can produce up to 2.5 tons of dry matter and can grow up to 24 inches. If conditions are favorable, it can reach up to 8 feet in the second year. Below ground, its tap root can extend down 5 feet by the end of spring. White clover…
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Yellow Sweet Clover

Yellow Sweet Clover

Soil & Compost
Melilotus officinalis or Yellow Sweetclover was the king of green manures and grazing legumes in the South and later throughout the Midwest in the first half of this century. Sweetclover is used as a cover crop most commonly now in the Plains region. This cool-season biennial is an expert at mining insoluble minerals like potassium and phosphorus from the lower levels of the soil and bringing them to the surface. Its long tap root also helps loosen hard, packed soils. Says SARE... Within a single season on even marginally fertile soils, this tall-growing biennial produces abundant biomass and moderate amounts of nitrogen as it thrusts a taproot and branches deep into subsoil layers. Given fertile soils and a second season, it lives up to its full potential for nitrogen and…
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Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch

Soil & Compost
It is said that few legumes match Vicia villosa or "hairy vetch" for spring residue production or nitrogen contribution. Widely adapted and winter hardy through Hardiness Zone 4 and into Zone 3 (with snow cover), hairy vetch is a top nitrogen provider. The cover grows slowly in fall, but root development continues over winter. Growth quickens in spring, when hairy vetch becomes a sprawling vine up to 12 feet long. Height rarely exceeds 3 feet. Its abundant, viney vegetation can be a benefit and a challenge. The stand smothers spring weeds, however, and can help you replace all or most nitrogen fertilizer needs for late-planted crops. Hairy vetch ahead of no-till corn was also the preferred option for risk averse farmers in a three-year Maryland study that also included fallow…
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