September 8, 2008
Secrets in a Potting Shed? You bet. Just check out the “magic” I found in my sister, Sheila’s potting shed. You can just imagine my surprise when I walked into her garden shed and found a bird nest mecca.
These potting shed creations have been collected by Sheila for some time now. Her husband Dew, was involved with yard maintenance for several years…. always on the look out for another bird nest for the potting shed collection. Sheila is continually looking for a new find… checking out tree limbs and bushes.
Bird nests of all sizes have been carefully placed on shelves… the smallest being a humming bird’s nest. All together, they make a breathtaking site when you open the door. What a collection!
P.S. I would have never thought of having a collection of bird’s nests… let alone display them in a potting shed. This idea certainly lends itself to Sheila and Dew’s country home and pastoral surroundings in rural Wallsburg, Utah.
August 21, 2008
Growing cilantro in your herb garden is easy…but in order to have a continuous crop, cilantro seeds should be sowed every two weeks. It’s a fast growing herb and can be harvest quickly.
Cilantro looks like parsley. In fact, it’s called Chinese Parsley. If you purchase a bunch at the store, smell it first and make sure it’s not regular parsley… the strong citrus like fragrance will let you know right away whether you’ve picked up the right plant.
The herb, cilantro, dates back to at least 1,500 B.C. It’s mention in historic Sanskrit writing.
Cilantro and the herb coriander come from the same plant. Coriander seed come from the blooms of the cilantro plant… it’s a two-in-one herb
Container gardening is ideal for a year round cilantro crop.
1. Find a container that is at least 28 to 20 inches wide and about 10 inches deep. Make sure it has good drainage.
2. Fill the container with good potting soil. I like to use soil that already has the fertilizer in it. I’ve found that Miracle grow works well. Moisten the soil before you sow the cilantro seeds.
3. The seeds are very fine, so sprinkle the seeds over the top of the soil. Cover the cilantro seeds lightly with soil. Spray the soil to moisten the top layer. The seeds will germinate in 7 to 10 days if the container is kept in a sunny spot. Keep the soil moist.
4. Harvest the cilantro by cutting it near the base of the plant… leaving about 2 inches of stems remaining in the container. If you harvest the cilantro herb on a weekly basis, new leaves will being to appear. You can usually get 4 cuttings.
5. When your 4 cuttings are complete… pull up plants and resow the area.
Cilantro is not only used in Mexican food, but it’s an herb frequently used in Chinese food as well.
P.S. My recipe… Fresh Mex Fiesta Salsa calls for fresh cilantro. Check it out and sign up for a free printable copy.
August 9, 2008
Growing and cooking with the herb… parsley… with it’s celery like flavor… gives a freshness to many dishes. It’s easy to grow and comes back every year. It prefers full sun but… I have found that it flourishes great in partial shade.
This garden herb does well in a container garden and is successfully grown indoors in the winter…that is… if you have a sunny window.
If you have need for it’s breath freshening qualities… chew a bit of parsley after you have eaten garlic or alcohol. If your in need of more vitamin C… this is the herb for you. It’s loaded with C.
This garden herb can be harvested frequently during the summer. New growth will spring up from the bottom of the parsley plant.
You can dry or freeze parsley leaves for use at a later time. However… fresh parsley is alway the best.
Aside from using parsley in your cooking to enhance soups (great in chicken soup)… casseroles, potatoes, stuffings and rice… it’s frequently used as a garnish. A small sprig is often used to give color to a plate of food… and can be used after the meal to sweeten your breath.
Cooking with fresh herbs is just the best!
P.S. If you want to add some fresh herb spark to your cooking… check out my Parsley Potatoes.
July 30, 2008
Dill is an herb that flourishes well in an herb garden and is a delightful herb to use in your cooking. Growing dill is easy and it does well in the full sun or part shade. Dill can be be planted by seed or plant starts. Sometimes it’s called dill weed because it comes back in the herb garden if the seeds from the previous year have fallen to the ground. It can over take an herb garden area so, you can control it by plucking out the new plants you don’t want to grow to maturity.
The dill herb reaches from 24 to 36 inches tall. However, there are dill dwarf varieties that are nice for container gardens. As the dill weed reaches full maturity, the plant may have to be staked because they have a tendency to bend over.
Harvesting the dill weed tops just before the flower opens gives you the best flavor. However, you can let the flowers go to seed for the next years planting. Also, the dill seeds from the head can be harvested and used later in your cooking.
Down on the stem of the dill plant, are airy fern like leaves. These can be harvested chopped and used in dill sauce, or a dill dip. The leaves can be cut and dried for future use. The entire dill weed head, stem and leaves are used in bottling homemade dill pickles.
An accent of the dill head and stem are lovely mixed in with a cut flower bouquet.
For me… the growing season for my herb garden is not long enough for me to experiment with all the possibilities. I am planning an indoor herb container garden for this winter. However, a 36 inch dill weed plant will not be part of my indoor herb garden selection. Too bad… for I dearly love a touch of dill.
P.S. For cooking with dill weed, check out my fantastic Fresh Dill Dip.
July 17, 2008
These hand garden tools line the inside of my sister Sheila’s, potting shed. She and her husband, Dew, scout out the dumps and antique stores in search of clever items. These antique garden tools are quite a find. The nice thing is… they’re still usable… and Sheila puts them to good use in her delightful yard. Here a a few fun photos of their safe haven in Wallsburg, Ut.
Note how well they use their “dump” finds in their landscape. What fun!
The flowers in the old bike basket is one of my favorites.
P.S. I need to get busy and put my hands on my tools… The weeds are out of control!
June 30, 2008
Today, when I watered my container herb garden, I thought… you folks needed a little up date on this little bit of fragrant heaven. One of the herbs bit the dust… it was the red basil… which was a disappointment. I meant to run right out and pick up a new plant but was way-laid by other things. So… in the little bare spot… I placed a sweet red ceramic bird my daughter Emily, gave me for mother’s day. Looks good huh!
Notice that everything is flourishing just fine. The basil is spreading because I keep pinching out the top leaves so it will bush out before it gets too tall. I’m just getting ready to pinch out the new growth again… we need a little more width before it grows in height.
Container gardening is fun because it’s so easy to control all of the plants. If one dies… replace it. If one gets too big… prune it back.
I’m looking forward to tomato season so I can dive into the basil… Mmmmmm Good!
P.S. Hope your herb garden is doing well. You don’t have one? It’s not too late… if you want to plant one. Grab a container and follow the directions on my previous post…Planting A Container Herb Garden.
June 22, 2008
A gazing ball can be part of your unique garden decor. Garden ornaments are growing in popularity every year and, I just saw one of the most clever garden gazing ball ideas… so I thought I’d pass it along to you. Perhaps you could add the idea it to your outdoor decor scheme.
Nestled up in a quiet little hamlet about twenty miles from my home is the country cottage of my sister Sheila, and her husband Dew. Their yard is definitely an attention getter…one of those “You just have to see it for yourself” kind of places.
On one of her many excursions to her local “Thrift Store,” she spotted an array of bowling balls for sell…some for as little as $1.00. Now that’s a deal.
She haul a couple of balls home… yes, bowling balls… found an old iron stand and placed one of her new finds in her garden. You could have fooled me…in fact she did. I thought it was a real gazing ball until she picked it up to show me it was a bowling ball.
Looks great huh!
I just need to keep my eyes open, my imagination alert and watch for some unique, affordable garden ornaments for my yard.
P.S. I wonder if I put a gazing ball in my flower garden… gazed into it… and made a wish that all the Morning Glory would disappear… Do you think it would work? You just never know!
June 17, 2008
Growing tomatoes in a container is a great way to have fresh tomatoes even if you live in a condo, an apartment, or just like having them on your patio for show. Frankly… I just love tomatoes no matter how or where there grown. Mmmmm! A red, ripe, juicy tomato… picked right off the vine and warmed by the sun. Nothing like it. And… of course…lots of salt. And…fresh tomato slices with cheese, basil, and vinegar is just the very best… my mouth is watering already… And… stuffed tomatoes… And… on and on.
Get busy and grow your own… they sure beat the one’s you buy in the store. Notice I have couple of tomatoes on my vine already… and I just planted it a week ago!
There are a few tomato growing tips for your container garden:
1. Find a nice size tomato plant! Down with those dinky little things…. start it out big. I found one that already had a tomato in the making. You can find container tomatoes… but I just found a regular tomato called “Celebrity”… nice flavor and it produces well.
2. Find a container with good drainage. You’ll need at least a 12 qt. size.
3. Pick up a bag of Miracle Grow Garden Soil (fertilizer included)…. Not Potting Soil. Because the vine bears heavy fruit… you’ll need the soil to be a little more firm than the potting soil can provide.
4. Mix a bit of perlite to the soil. This holds the moisture. (About 1 qt. perlite to 12 qts. of soil.)
5. Plant the tomato covering the bottom set of leaves. I know this seems strange but any stem below the soil line will root…. giving the vine a sturdy base.
6. Prune off sucker leaves… the small cluster of leaves in the crotch of the stems.
7. Water. Tomatoes like to be watered when the soil is dry. Important to be consistent.
8. You can stake your tomato with a rod..or a stick. (I just cut up an old nylon and tie the plant to the stake.) Oh by the way… if you want to pollinate the plant yourself… just tap the stake a few times and the pollen will fall.
9. Your tomato will need at least 8 hours of sun a day. No problem! Set your container on a rolling plant coaster and move it to the sun.
Hope you find the video helpful. Have a good time growing your tomato garden in a container. Happy harvest!