Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blog Moving to Wordpress

Blog Moving to Wordpress - I have moved this blog and combined it with my gardening blog.  Since I love herbs there will still be herb related posts as well as general gardening information.  Please join me http://gardeninspire.com/garden-inspire-blog/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Herbs for Hot, Dry Areas

Many well-known herbs do well in hot and dry areas so if you are wanting to xeriscape with herbs you will have quite a few to choose from.  These herbs also are available in other varieties in addition to the common types.  Generally if a plant has grayish leaves it is drought tolerant. Check the label to be sure it will survive in your climate. Remember to water regularly until established.

Sage - Other varieties include Purple Sage (purple colored leaves), Tricolor Sage (green, white, and purple varigated leaves), and Golden Sage (yellow varigated leaves).

Oregano - varieties include dwarf, white flowered, purple flowered, and varigated.  If you will be using the leaves rub and smell before purchasing - oregano can vary quite a bit in scent and flavor.

Thyme - varieties include Silver Thyme (leaves have white edges), Lemon Thyme (lemon flavor and scent - some have green leaves, some yellow varigated), Oregano Thyme (oregano scent, larger leaves), and many other flavors and scents some shrubby, some low growing.  Wooly thyme is non culinary thyme which makes a great ground cover and releases a nice fragrance when walked on.

Lavender - various types of purple or lavender flowered, pink flowered, and white flowered, gray leaves or green leaves.  Some lavenders are hardier than other so as with other plants check the label or other information to see if it will survive in your climate.

Some other herbs that may do well: Artemesias including wormwood, Agastaches, Echinacea - available in white, yellow, and reds in addition to lavender colors. Aloe Vera ( In many climates will not survive the winter outdoors.  Mine turns pale if planted in full sun), Goji berry (Wolfberry), Dianthus, hot peppers, Winter Savory, Santolina, yarrows, yucca, santolina, Russian Sage,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Arugula

Arugula Eruca vesicaria sativa also known as rocket, roquette, ruchetta, or rucula can be classified as an herb or a green.  Arugula is a peppery, tangy flavored leafy plant that can be used raw or cooked.  Arugula has an unusual flavor and scent which is not appreciated by all.  I love arugula whether in a salad or scrambled eggs.  It can also be used in place of basil in pesto, used in sandwiches, or in soups.  The flowers are edible, have a similar but milder flavor, and are used as garnishes.
Arugula is easy to grow from seed in cool weather.  Plant before your last average frost date or in a shadier part of your garden.  You can also plant a few weeks before frost in the fall for a late harvest.  Arugula may reseed if allowed to flower. 
Arugula grows wild in the Mediterranean.
Arugula recipes. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gardening - from Utah Boomers Magazine interview

My interview with Utah Boomers Magazine. How Does Your Garden Grow?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Invasive Herbs

Some herbs can be invasive which means that once you plant them you may never get rid of them. That does not mean you should not plant them just be aware. If planted in a contained area such as a large pot you may not need to be concerned. I grow my mints in 16" diameter pots.
Raspberries seem to be able to get through almost anything so I am experimenting: heavy duty landscape fabric on the ground, Square Foot Garden box on top (2' x 10'), another layer of landscape fabric inside and up the sides of the box (stapled to the sides), and filled with Square Foot Garden mix. The raspberries are planted down the center with fence posts outside the box and wire strung for support.

Some of the invasive ones - common name followed by botanical name:
Comfrey Symphytum
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana
Mint Mentha
Raspberry and Blackberry Rubus
Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke Helianthus tuberosus

Friday, April 8, 2011

Parsley

Curled Parsley

Parsley is more than that green stuff that decorates your plate at restaurants. Parsley is high in minerals and vitamins and adds color and flavor to many dishes. Pesto, tabbouleh, and parsley potatoes are just a few of the dishes where parsley is used.
Parsley is the first green thing in my garden every spring.

Parsley is a biennial. The first year it grows leaves, the second year seeds and then it dies.
Although Curled Parsley is the one most people are familiar with Italian of Flat Leaf parsley are considered the most desirable for cooking. Hamburg Parsley is grown for its root. I grow Curled and Flat but have not yet tried Hamburg.

Parsley can be grown in full sun or part shade so if you felt that you had too much shade for growing herbs parsley may be one that would grow well for you. Like some of its relatives including dill, fennel, and cilantro, parsley is known for not transplanting well. I start mine in compressed peat pellets or my Aerogarden and have not hand any problems with transplanting but the root is disturbed less that way so that could be the reason. My curly parsley is planted in one of my asparagus beds where I let it reseed itself. The Italian parsley is planted in another 2 x 4 Square Foot Garden bed where I let it reseed. This gives me a continual supply of parsley without the need to replant every year. In fact I have only needed to replant when I move.

Parsley recipes

More Parsley recipes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Herbal First Aid Kit

Things that I like to have in my herbal first aid kit:

Activated charcoal capsules – neutralize poisons, bites

Aloe gel – burns, sunburn, radiation burns

Arnica cream – bruises, sore muscles – don't use on broken skin

Arnica homeopathic – bruises sore muscles – when you can't use the cream

Bentonite clay – bites, diarrhea, colon cleansing, skin mask, itching, infections, detoxifier

Burts Bees Res-Q – healing, anti-inflammatory

Catnip – bring down fever, colic, stomach ache

Cayenne – warming, stop bleeding, heart attack, frostbite, hypothermia, shock, trauma

Chamomile – headache, stomach ache, spasms, morning sickness, calming, anti-histamine

Echinacea – viral and bacterial infections, snake bite, spider bite, immune system booster

Fennel seed – stomach ache, colic

Garlic oil caps – viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, ear ache, parasites, repel mosquitos, mosquito bites

Ginger – nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness

Nutribiotic – liquid and tablets – parasites, infections, wounds, disinfectant, sore throats, boosts immune system

Peppermint – stomach ache, sinuses

Raw honey – sore throat, burns, healing

Rescue Remedy – cream, spray, and/or drops – calming, trauma

Respiration – herb blend for strengthening the lungs

Salt – sore throat gargle

Sunbreeze oil - sore muscles, headache, sinuses

Essential oils (Therapeutic grade) including:

Tea tree – antiseptic, antifungal
Lavender – calming, burns, skin irritations, soothing, cuts
Peppermint – digestion, fatigue, respiration
Rosemary – muscle soreness
Thieves – anti bacterial

I am not trained as an herbalist. It is recommended that you check with an herbalist or with reputable books or websites before using herbs medicinally.

What herbs and herbal formulas do you have in your first aid kit?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Emergency Kit

The events around the world are a good reminder that we should have an emergency kit in case we need to evacuate whether due to earthquake, storms, or a house fire or gas leak.  In fact having a kit in our cars, at work, and at school is a good idea in addition to a kit at home.  Even if you don't feel that you have the money to get things for a kit you should be able to find a minimum of items around your house that would at least make a temporary kit.  It is better to have something than nothing.  Your kit should be able to help you survive for a minimum of three days.  If you can just begin with a one day kit that is at least something.

My first kits were assembled before I had children.  Over the years I changed and expanded them.  At first I used 5 gallon plastic buckets.  You can buy orange ones at Home Depot for less than $4.  Sometimes you can get them from a bakery for free or low cost.  If you have backpacks or duffle bags you could use them.  Garbage bags or a clean garbage can with a lid would work also.  Ideally your items would be in something that could be carried.  I later switched over to backpacks which I store in totes.  If I am able to leave in the car I can just throw the totes in the back.

Store your container in a location that would be easy to access and not prone to damage.  Check your kits at least yearly in case needs have changed or items are no longer usable. I had diapers in my 6 year old daughters kit - I had no idea it had been that long since I checked it.

The main items you would need are for survival so water is the most important thing.  You can buy bottled water but do not use the one gallon jugs like milk and spring water come in.  The plastic breaks down and they will leak or the water will evaporate.  One gallon per person per day is the recommended minimum.  Do not reuse bottles which contained anything toxic - including bleach.

Food items which can be prepared without cooking and preferably without additional water and are lightweight are ideal.  It may be difficult to find foods which fit all three at least at first.  Canned tuna, peanut butter, and jerky will all provide protein.   If using canned foods don't forget to pack a can opener.

Items for shelter and warmth may be critical depending on your climate and the time of year.
A change of clothes, first aid kit, some change, toilet paper, garbage bags, a few candles (tea lights are great), matches, phone numbers, copies of birth certificates, paper and pencil, and a whistle would all be great additions.  Garbage bags can be used for shelter, garbage, or a poncho.
More ideas of what to add.

Keep your cell phone charged and gas in your car.
Having an out of state contact for your family is a good idea.  In case of emergency it may be easier to call out of state than within state.  If all of your family members know who to call you can find out from that contact where everyone is and if they are ok.

Water and food storage information

You may also want to put together an herbal first aid kit: 
Herb Companion magazine herbs for a first aid kit
HealthWyze.org create a natural first aid kit
ehow first aid kit herbal remedies
www.1001herbs.com first aid

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) is considered to be the lemon herb with the best lemon scent and flavor.  Lemon Verbena is hardy to zone 8 so I grow mine in a pot and place it outdoors for the summer.  Before bringing it back indoors I prune and spray with insecticidal soap to prevent insects from hitchhiking indoors.  The prunings can be frozen or dried for later use.

Lemon Verbena can be purchased as a plant and is fairly easy to propagate.  Just cut an end of a growing stem, strip off all leaves except the top two pair or so, and stick in vermiculite, a compressed peat disk which has been hydrated, or in your Aerogarden.

Lemon Verbena can be used to flavor herb tea, fish, chicken, sauces, salads, soups, jellies or any recipe that calls for lemon flavor.  The leaves can also be used in potpourri.

Lemon Verbena Sorbet
Lemon Verbena in slushies

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hardiness Zones

Do you know what hardiness zone you are in?  Do you know what hardiness zones mean? Your hardiness zone and the hardiness zone of the plants you want to grow are important information to know before planning and planting.  For more information see another blog of mine Eat Your Landscape - Hardiness Zones.