Showing posts from May, 2018

Herbs are Easy

Herbs are so easy to grow they are among the plants that are ideal for young gardeners because they will have success from their first attempt. 
Herbs add scent in bouquets and their flavors create delicious beverages, salads, vegetables and meats that rival any restaurant fare. 
Patsy Wynn of Tulsa Herb Society said that since most herbs are ancient, they add history to the garden. Wynn said she cooks with basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano mostly.
“Mediterranean herbs are the easiest to grow,” Wynn said. “Give them average soil, plenty of sun, a little fertilizer and average water. The biggest mistake is keeping them too wet.”
To create an easy-to-grow container, Wynn suggested an airy, tall, fennel plant for the middle, golden oregano or sage for the center and parsley or thyme for the low growing plants. Just be careful to not over-water.
The kitchen herbs we grow come from the parsley and the mint plant families. From the parsley plant family: Dill, Celery, Caraway, Fennel, Cumin, Cel…

Comfrey the Power Plant

For herbalists and organic gardeners Comfrey is considered a power plant for its healing properties. 
Wild Comfrey, Cynoglossum Virginian is a short plant that populates wooded areas from Texas to New York. The name Cynoglossum is Greek for hound’s tongue, referring to the shape of the 14-inch long leaves. 
The sun-to part-shade comfrey in our garden, Cynoglossum officinale, is also called Symphytum officinale and Hound’s Tongue in the plant trade. It grows into a fairly large plant and forms colonies. The dangling clusters of blue flowers make it recognizable as a relative of the culinary herb Borage. 
Comfrey is cold hardy in zones 3 to 9, disease and insect resistant. It can grow 3 to 5 feet tall with large, fuzzy leaves. It is not suited to formal or small gardens.
Biointensive gardeners cultivate comfrey as a compost crop since the leaves provide a highly desirable, nutrient-rich biomass. Called a wonder plant by permaculture growers, comfrey draws minerals from 10-feet deep, is made…

Garlic Scapes - Harvest Now

Garlic scapes are the flower stalks and flower buds of hardneck garlic, leeks and onions.
If they are not trimmed off before they flower two things happen:  1) the plants' energy goes to producing flowers, inhibiting the growth size of the garlic heads underground; and, 2) the pollinators enjoy the pollen of the garlic flowers and tiny garlic plants come up everywhere in your flower beds the next year.
How do I know? because more than half of the scapes in the red colander are from our flower beds.
The scapes must be picked young if you want to use them. If not harvested now, they dry up and become tough/stringy and horrible to use in pesto. Definitely harvest them before they form flowers.
This year we also grew leeks and they are now forming scapes, too. They will get used in the same recipe. But there are lots of other recipes Garlic Scape Carbonara – Sarah’s Cucina Bella Garlic Scape Pesto – Dorie Greenspan
White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip – The Kitchn
Pickled Garlic Scapes – Not …

Gillenia trifoliata, Indian Physic, Bowman's Root Porteranthus, fawn's breath, Ipecacuaha vinginiana, American ipecac,

The flowers in the photo belong to a native perennial that is attractive to butterflies but not eaten by deer or rabbits. Called Indian Physic and Bowman’s Root, Gillenia trifoliata has loose clusters of star-like white flowers on dark red stems from late spring to early summer. Gillenia is a sub-shrub of the rose family or the spirea family, depending on which expert you consult. Native from the east coast to OK, Bowman’s Root is disease and insect free and cold hardy in zones 3 to 8. Since they prefer filtered shade and grow two to three-feet tall and wide, they are suited to the front of a shrub row or native plant bed. Bowman's Root is also widely used in bouquets and dried for arrangements. It only flowers once but the blooms last up to three-weeks. After the flower petals fade and fall, the red sepals (outer part of the flower) stay for a while. In the fall, the leaves become red-orange, adding another season of appeal.  The seed heads remain into winter. Indian Physic spreads…

Butterfly Gardening

Some of the most beautiful and watchable life in our gardens include butterflies, moths and skippers. To attract them to your garden, provide flowers with nectar for the adults, plants for caterpillars to eat, muddy places for the males and a pesticide-free environment.

Generally, butterflies are more likely to gather in  mass plantings. A bed full of zinnias or petunias will attract dozens, if not hundreds of skippers and butterflies while they are in bloom.
White flowers attract night feeders such as moths. Red, orange, pink, purple and yellow flowers attract butterflies.
Some nectar plants: Spring: Carrots, violets, native cherry, vetch, clover, lilac, lunaria, catnip, coreopsis, blackberry, sweet pea, sweet William, daffodil, Dame’s rocket, and hyacinth
Summer: Dill, Queen Anne's Lace, pentas, goldenrod, lemon balm, milkweed, butterfly-weed, coneflower, petunia, mint, marjoram, bergamot-Monarda, sage, marigold, black-eyed Susan, mallow, passionflower, pipe vine, yarrow, honeysuck…