Category Archives: vegetable gardening tips

Freeze Your Herbs for Cooking

Do you like cooking with fresh herbs? Not only are they taste great, they smell lovely too! Most herb plants are easy to cook with and are better if used fresh. Just snip a few sprigs from the nearest plant and mix in with your other ingredients.

But what do you do when it is winter and fresh herb plants are few and far between?

Try freezing as a fresh alternative to drying them because it’s a simpler and better way to keep your herbs fresh. In three steps you can store them for future dishes—grow your herbs, harvest your herbs and freeze them. It is not important to dice them before you freeze them. Even after they’re frozen, you will not have to chop them to use them.

Some people dice their herb plants and freeze them in ice cube trays. Once you chop the herb plants, put a tablespoon of herbs into the ice cube tray compartments and cover with water. Put these cubes into the freezer bags and later, when you are ready mix a few cubes into your soups, stews and other meals.

Here are some herb plants that really retain their flavor and taste when frozen:

Basil

Once you harvest your basil, slice the stem just before the buds, remove the foliage and dry your herbs. Put the dried leaves into a plastic container so that you can use your herbs later on. You can also skip the drying out part and stick them straight away into the freezer. Another way to keep your basil is to layer them in the bottom of a plastic container and cover them with extra virgin olive oil, which will both preserve and bring out the flavor. You can store your herbs this way for several months.

Parsley

Do not keep this awesome herb as just another pretty garnish.  Parsley will work well in almost any Italian meal. Poor parsley is pretty under-rated because it doesn’t have the power-packing flavor or scent of oregano, basil or garlic.  What it does have is the ability to strengthen the tastes of other herb plants. Toss it into any dish (usually near the end of the cooking process) and parsley will make the rest of the herbs that much nicer. I generally take the leaves and put your herbs into a freezer bag, put the bags on the shelf of my freezer and then put a box of vegetables on top of my bagsto freeze them flat. When you take out the bag to use the herb, just scrunch up the bag in your hand. No need for dicing.

French Tarragon

Harvest sprigs of this fabulous plant throughout the summer, but stop in early fall so that you do not damage the herb. Of course it’s best to use the leaves fresh, but you can tuck some of these leaves into a freezer bag and they will get you through the winter months. Add them to your chicken or fish dishes. French tarragon also goes well with cream sauces, vinegars and mustards.

Do not forget to write the name of the plant on the freezer bag so that when you bring your herbs out of the freezer you will know what it is.

Good luck with your herb gardening. Be sure to let me know how your herb garden grows.

Create a Flower Garden That Draws the Birds and Bees

Organic gardens involve the use of all-natural compost, garden tools and pest deterrents. When you’re flower gardening, you may want to consider creating an ecosystem where wildlife and other animals can thrive. Perhaps you enjoy the wonderment of walking through the garden and seeing ladybugs, praying mantises, dragonflies, hummingbirds and butterflies enjoying your natural creation as much as you do. Here are some gardening tips to create an enduring, wildlife-friendly garden.

If you are considering designing a garden that will draw song birds, then you can incorporate several special shrubs, annuals, perennials, cultivated and native foliage to draw them to your backyard. By raising plants from each group, you can provide fruits and seeds for all seasons to keep the birds singing throughout the year. Be sure to add a bird bath and toss seeds around in the wintertime to keep your bird family happy.

Furthermore, consider the fact that, as well as your blooms, birds like trees for protection, nesting and cover from the elements. Sometimes the trees even supply food including berries, sap and seeds. You can consider leaf bearing trees including hazelnut, American mountain ash, chestnut, dogwood, red mulberry, black walnut and sassafras, along with evergreen trees including blue spruce, American holly, red cedar California juniper, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and white cedar.

Flower gardening is an important source of food for sparrows, finches and other songbirds. You can try perennials like penstemon, tickseed, bee balm, goldenrod, cosmos, purple coneflower and four o’ clocks, or you may try annuals like sunflowers, asters, bachelor’s button, spider flower, snapdragons and cockscomb. Garden guides also recommend planting shrubs and vines where birds can hide from predators and seek out food. Some tasty plants (like cherries and raspberries) are preferable to our flying friends, but they’re picked clean in a hurry. On the other hand, birds can be seen feasting all year long on elderberries, blackberries, huckleberries, chokecherries, bayberries, Oregon grapes, beauty-berries, silver-berries, blueberries, crab apples, cranberries and currants all year long.

Naturally, flower gardening to attract both hummingbirds and butterflies is ideal. Gardening tips suggest incorporating bee balm, California fuschia, salvia, columbines, daisies, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, peas, clover, mint, milkweed, parsley, violets and pansiesthe to increase your odds of keeping these creatures nearby. Nature stores also sell very effective red and yellow hummingbird feeders that these little winged beauties just love. Since hummingbirds can be pretty territorial, you might want to set up more than one in different locations around the yard if you notice the birds are coming to your home.

Your house may be beautiful, but if the surrounding area isn’t well maintained, it ruins the whole effect. Home gardening can make a tremendous difference in the appearance of your property. Visit the landscaping Ideas site for some fabulous ideas to add class and style to your property.

Organic Seedlings Make An Instant Organic Garden

Providing yourself and your family with safe and healthy food from your own organic garden is very popular these days. Some people however, don’t start with this activity because they find it very time consuming. But by using organic seedlings straight from the garden center you make it much easier. Without spending extravagant amounts of money and time. The drawback of normal gardening as a hobby is that the whole process has been a slow and time consuming process. But as in all things in this modern world, time is becoming a major factor in every form of activity and so the instant organic garden was born. The term instant organic gardening is still relatively new but we do know some of the techniques for years in the form of using organic seedlings and plants. this type of vegetable growing is also very suitable for children.

The solution is in organic seedlings

The best option is to grow your own fruits and vegetables; they will not only be completely fresh and healthy but will have had a zero environmental impact. But the main reasons people have to not become involved in organic gardening is the time and effort that is needed to both start and maintain a garden. This is why the instant organic garden came into being. You can start an instant organic garden with organic seedlings bought from a gardening store. The (large) pot may be either a permanent one suitable for indoor use or a bio-degradable one that can be planted directly in the ground. The soil you need for the organic seedlings is chemical free and it is usually supplied along with organic soil nutrients and plant supplements to keep the organic seedlings healthy without the use of any strong and harmful chemicals.

The advantages of using organic seedlings

When you use organic seedlings or even organic plants you will create an immediately present garden, it its almost instantly ready to harvest. You do not need to seed and wait before anything is visible. You just buy healthy organic seedlings and plants and you are ready to go. This quick and easy type of gardening is also suitable for children.

The author of this article, Hank Gordon, writes at his website Gardeners Info Point. com about Patio Landscape Design and for example the indoor herb garden.

Balcony And Roof Top Gardens

If you’re a city dweller and are fortunate enough to have access to a little roof or balcony space, you have the unique opportunity to create an oasis garden in the midst of all the concrete. Creating garden and landscaping ideas in areas like these can be a challenge due to severe winds and direct sun. However, with careful planning and planting you can create a screen to block much of the wind, and some shade, either manmade (screens, awnings, canopies) or natural, to give protection from the worst of the sun.

The first step in planning a garden like this is to research how the building is constructed. Take the time to find out what materials the roof or balcony is made of and how it is constructed and put together. A balcony can be a very small and limited area. if it’s planned to be loaded with containers and their contents which can be very heavy, it has to be able to hold the weight. To prevent leaks, small gardens that are placed on roofs should be completely water proof as well as have proper drainage. if it is going to be easily accessed and enjoyed, there should be a safe way to get to the roof or balcony garden.

It’s probable that there will be utility poles and wire in and around the area of your roof top garden. With the right plant placement, these can be masked or hidden. Small planters, pots, and containers filled with flowers and plants will help make the atmosphere in the garden while bigger container plants can do the same and also create a green screen to keep out neighboring views. Roof top gardens are the same as any small garden designs, patio design, and courtyards, in the sense that you should try not to crowd the small amount of space that you have. A nice view should be framed rather than destroyed by a rooftop jungle as well as making sure there is room for somewhere to sit and enjoy it.

Long wooden planters will spread the load and are preferable to using many small round pots. It’s a good idea to also add water absorbing crystals into your planting medium. This can help lessen your plants daily watering as they hold water until plants need it and it all doesn’t just evaporate. You may also want to consider hydroponics if the roof is unable to hold much weight. And since plants grown hydroponically require only a liquid medium, the pots weigh a lot less than containers filled with soil.

Your roof or balcony garden is also a good place to keep a small wormery or a bokashi system, so your precious plants can benefit while you are disposing of household waste in a way that is both useful and ecologically sound.

How Earthworms Make a Difference in Your Garden

There is a reason why there’s a saying that all creatures are important, big and small, from the beetle to the tiniest spider. One of the most important creatures is the inconspicuous earthworm. You may not know this but an earthworm is a gardener’s best friend. They don’t only exist for you to gross your sister out or for kids’ amusement.

“The intestines of the earth” are earthworms according Aristotle and Charles Darwin mentions that earthworms have basically had a taste of everything that has ever existed on this earth, from everything natural and unnatural. Earthworms are actually worshipped in some cultures. Earthworms should therefore be cherished as they are part of the ground we live on.

Earthworms‘ mains functions are too make pathways through soil to let in air, water and plant roots, this in turn enriches the soil for plants to survive. Another function would be that they distribute castings (earthworm poop) through the soil. Their castings are filled with compounds that improve plants’ resistance to disease. It is noticeable that gardens that have more earthworms are healthier than gardens that fewer earthworms. They can also clear the earth from contaminants restoring the soil its natural balance. Not only are they vital for the earth some cultures eat worms as a source of protein.

Compost makes for fantastic earthworm habitats. As most gardeners know or for new gardeners, spreading a nice thick layer of compost over newly planted bedding is ideal. This is because this feeds the soil and also attracts worms, especially earthworms. You can also speed up your composting process through using earthworms by either buying them or farming with them. This is called vermicomposting, this is an admired technique for gardeners throughout the world.

For vermicomposting at home you need a few things. You need to get bins, this can be anything from wood, plastic, and metal containers. The size of the bin depends on how you plan on storing your worms and how you will feed them. Although you may use any bin, there are less favorable ones, like metal will conduct too much heat throughout the bin and also it might rust by sending heavy metals through the compost making it poisonous for the worms.

Vermicompost gives seedlings a really good start in life and earthworms are part of this wonderful process of maintaining a beautiful garden. Making the earth greener starts with you and you don’t have to have millions to make a difference. Earthworms are your key making a difference.