Gardening

The most amazing plant discovery ever!

Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in Gardening | 0 comments

Last year I made the most amazing plant discovery ever.  Seriously.  This plant is a medicinal powerhouse.  Chew it or chop it up and apply it for immediate relief from bug bites, bee stings, nettle stings, and rashes.  Apply it to a deep sliver and it will actually pull it out of the skin.  It cures infections, stops bleeding, and, oh yeah, you can eat it too.

As you are probably imagining, this is a rare rainforest plant only recently discovered and this is why the general public doesn’t know about it yet.  It is sold at such high prices that only the elite have access to it.  Um, not quite.

This plant is actually a “weed” that grows prolifically just about everywhere.  Even city dwellers can probably find it sprouting between side walk stones.  But somehow, in the ease of plunking down our money at the nearest drug store, it’s medicinal use has been long forgotten.

This amazing plant is the topic of my last instalment of the Forgotten Plants series over at Gnowfglins.   I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this garden weed in the pages of my medicinal herb book and I can’t wait to make better use of it in my garden, and medicine cabinet, in the spring.

If you know of any other “forgotten plants” I’d love to hear about them!

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Forgotten Plants Series

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Gardening | 2 comments

It has been a very busy few months around here as we moved to a new town, settled into our new house, and began our new jobs.  And yes, since we just can’t seem to help ourselves, we have begun renovations on our new house, too.  (How many of you already knew that was going to happen?)

In the midst of all the busyness, I was also accepted as a contributing writer at GNOWFGLINS.  Are you familiar with Wardeh’s bolg?  It is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in raising their own food, preserving the harvest, and preparing healthy, in-season meals for their families.

My first series is all about “Forgotten Plants: once prolific in the kitchen gardens of our ancestors, but now so rare that the average person might never have even heard of them.  Many of these deserve to find space in our gardens again!” 

 

Lovage is an easy-to-grow perennial that can be used very much like celery.  I even included a recipe for Lovage Lemon Chicken.

Borage is one of my garden favourites!  It’s wonderful for eating as well as a helpful companion plant!  The flowers are pretty on a salad, and the leaves are perfect for a cool glass of borage lemonade.

Walking onions are one of my new favourites!  Click on over to read how I discovered these at our local historical settlement!

And finally, an old favourite from The Handy Reliable Cookbook (remember my great-grandmother’s old cookbook?)  I even included one of the old recipes in the post!

The final instalment in the series will be posted soon and will feature an undervalued plant that just about everyone has growing in their yard or garden, any guesses?

 

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From Lawn to Garden in a Day

Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 in Gardening | 2 comments

When I was deep into gardening plans this winter, wanting to grow more things than we have room for in our current gardens, I thought “wouldn’t it be great to turn the big patch of lawn in front of our house into a garden?”

There were many reasons this would work – we already had plantings on the other side of the house and this would even things out, it’s a hard space to mow because of the hill, and we need the space.  Hubby had his reservations, but decided to trust me on this one and went ahead and ordered the necessary soil and compost.  (I love that man!)

So, on Saturday morning, when I woke up, the front of my house looked like this.  (Well, not exactly like this because I forgot to take a before photo, and this was taken a few years ago, but you get the idea.  There is lawn in front of the house.)

About mid-morning, it was looking more like this.  We put down thick layers of cardboard to suppress the grass and started piling 6 inches of soil/compost on top.

By the end of the day – success!  Instant garden!  I transplanted a few plants from elsewhere in our gardens, plus seedlings I had started a couple of months ago indoors.  Then I planted the rest of the space with seeds for a variety of flowering plants.  Hopefully the birds won’t discover them before they have a chance to sprout.  Next year, when the grass and cardboard has had a chance to decompose, I will probably plant a few bushes along the house.

Hubby also took the opportunity to re-do our walkway, and I rearranged the other front flower beds and topped them up with soil and compost.

Not bad for one day’s work!  (But goodness were my muscles sore this morning!) :)

What’s growing in your gardens this year?

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Signs of Spring

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Gardening | 0 comments

Despite the cold chill in the air, there are signs of Spring popping up everywhere.

These pretty little flowers are always some of the first to bloom in my garden, nestled among my tulip and hyacinth leaves.  (I never actually see any tulips or hyacinths as the deer like to keep them well pruned!)  I have no idea what type of flower they are, but have found them growing all over my lawn!

The rhubarb is beginning to grow!  It won’t be long now until we are eating tasty rhubarb treats again!

And then….drum roll please….we have…..

Asparagus!!!!  I am so excited to see the asparagus return to the garden.  Last year we plunked it in with everything else and hoped for the best.  Over the winter I was doing some gardening reading and realized that there are a tonne of things you are supposed to do for Asparagus when you plant it.  None of which we did.  To try to make up for the lack, I did give them an extra dose of compost when the ground thawed and then have hoped for the best.  I am so excited to see these beautiful green spears poking up out of the ground.

There are a few signs of spring inside too….

My flower, herb, and tomato seeds have begun to sprout!  I am always so excited when the first leaves begin to appear.  Just another month and we’ll be setting them outside!

Is there anything growing in your garden or sprouting in your house this spring?

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My New Favourite Gardening Book

Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Books, Gardening | 0 comments

We have a whole shelf in our book-filled house dedicated to gardening.  Last year I posted a list of my favourites, and since then I have a list a mile long of books I have read from the library, and those that I hope to read.

But of all the gardening books I have read so far, I now have a new favourite.

You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail.

This book is different from any gardening book I have read before, and I think that is why I love it so much.

To start with, Gayla keeps things simple.  After reading stacks of gardening books with flawless photos and long lists of plants I can never seem to find, and a confusing amount of information on soil and ph and watering and garden design, it is refreshing to find a book that is, well, fun!  Rather than getting bogged down by how much there is to be done, she makes gardening sound doable, reminds you that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and then gives you lots of great ideas for making your garden a success.

And it’s not that the book isn’t meaty, because it is.  There is a wealth of information in there on starting a successful garden, no matter how small the space you have to grow (and even what to do if you are growing on a public space!)   But there are also really fun crafty projects like making your own leaf-shaped concrete stepping stones (I so want to do this!), sewing yourself a garden apron, creating moss-covered pots and stones, making tea with your own home-grown herbs, and on and on.  All told in a relaxed, you-can-do-this kind of way.

And as much as I love reading about gardening, I sometimes find the process a little stressful as the list of things I have to be doing and I should be doing and I need to be planting gets longer and longer.  You Grow Girl comes without the panic.  Instead there is the kind of enthusiasm you get when talking to your best friend about the thing you are passionate about.  I finished reading the book inspired and excited about the gardening season ahead.  (and I have yet another book  I am going to keep out of the library as long as I can….) :)  I am also adding “grow my own loofah sponge” to my list of gardening things to do.  I had no idea this was something you could grow in your garden – how cool is that?!

Gayla also has an amazing gardening blog which I read regularly, and two other gardening books which I can’t wait to check out.

Have you read any good books lately?

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Ruth Stout’s Garden – A Video Worth Watching

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Gardening | 0 comments

I discovered these videos over at Cold Antler Farm and just had to share them with you.  Even if you aren’t a gardener you might get a kick out of them!  This is definitely the way I want to plant potatoes from now on!  :)

Enjoy!

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