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Drying Mint for Tea – Best Techniques?

June 15th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Spearmint Comin' Up

Spearmint Comin' Up

I just harvested the first cutting of my four varieties of mint growing in various gardens. I am growing

  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Greek Mint
  • Another Spearmint Variety (Large Leafed)

Some techniques commonly used to dry mint are:

  • Bundle and hang from Stems in a dark, very dry place (if possible with paper bags around the bundles)
  • Put in Paper bags
  • Place in oven at very low temperature for a short while and then turn oven off (hang in oven if possible)
  • Hang and Air Dry in ventilated place
  • Dry in Microwave
  • Place in front of dehumidifier [

→ 12 Comments Tags: Herbs · Medicinal · Organic Gardening Techniques · Storing Techniques

Perennial Flower Profile – Lupine

May 29th, 2009 · 6 Comments

2nd Year Lupine Plant

2nd Year Lupine Plant

My fiancncé brought home some flower seeds a few years back and Lupine was one of them.  I was happy with the germination percentage and gave it a shot in the ground to see what happens.  We were very into settling on perrenials and giving them space in the flower garden.  The lupine did not flower the first year but did have attractive folliage.  The next year it surprised me coming back with a vengence.  Maybe it was because of the mulch I put down around it but I think I need to give this plant a bit more credit.  It really surprised me and

What Beautiful Blooms!!

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→ 6 Comments Tags: Flowers

Ruth Stout’s System of Mulching – Lazy is Genius!

May 26th, 2009 · 5 Comments

The first time I read the Mother Earth News article about Ruth Stout’s No-Dig Gardening, I said

“yesss!  I love this woman. This is one of those lessons of a lifetime.”

Her technique has faced skepticism from all sides but to me, has always seemed to be a fantastic approach:

“mulch everything…and mulch some more.”

Her attitude of “this is who I am and it works for me” comes across vividly in the interview.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

My no-work gardening method is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both my vegetable and flower garden all year round. As it decays and enriches the soil, I add more. The labor-saving part of my system is that I never plow, spade, sow a cover crop, harrow, hoe, cultivate, weed, water or spray. I use just one fertilizer (cottonseed or soybean meal), and I don’t go through that tortuous business of building a compost pile.

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→ 5 Comments Tags: Flowers · Herbs · Organic Gardening Techniques · Vegetables

Hostas – Divide and Conquer

May 12th, 2009 · 5 Comments

Split Up Your Hostas and give em to your friends.

Split Up Your Hostas and give em to your friends.

So you have some large and tight hosta plants just screaming to spread themselves far and wide?

Dig Them – Split Them – Transplant Them!

It doesn’t get any easier than this.  Hostas seem delicate but their roots are very strong and can bounce back from poor treatment.  I love to dig them up and split them up and know they will perform for me even if I beat them up a bit.  I guess then you can call it another way to get out aggression.

Reasons to split up your overcrowded hostas:

  1. You get more beautiful, easy to take care of hostas for free!
  2. You get more beautiful, easy to take care of hostas for free!
  3. You get more beautiful, easy to take care of hostas for free!
  4. You can give them to your friends and family and look like a rock star when you make the neglected shady spot in their yard where nothing else will grow look like an extravagant bonanza of texture and contrast.
  5. They grow in poor soil so when you dig them up and re-plant them you don’t need great potting soil, just tell your friends to try and give you back the pots you gave them.

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→ 5 Comments Tags: Organic Gardening Techniques · Transplanting

Starting Impatiens From Seed

March 18th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Anybody else tired of paying high dollar for Impatiens?

If you have the space under the grow lights or in the greenhouse, you can benefit from starting them from seed.  I started a tray of them three to five days ago now (early to mid March) and they are starting to sprout up nicely.  Considering they can survive many types of soil, I imagine once I get them sprouted and off to a good start, they should be easy to take care of from there on in.  I don’t want to speak too soon but I can’t wait get them in the ground when the time comes. I’m not even going to say it (that I’m getting well…I can’t say it ; ) [Read more →]

→ 2 Comments Tags: Flowers · Seeds

Stop Getting Phone Books, its 2009.

March 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Paper Comanies + Clear Cutting + Phonebooks = Deforestation & Inhumane Forestry Practice

I look out my window about 4 times a year to see large yellow pages books in plastic bags thrown onto my lawn.  I just let them sit there for about, ohhh, two months or so to see what will happen.  They get a bit moldy and soggy and I’m sure if I left em there long enough they would become compost.  The deforestation practices that go into making that phone book which I did not ask for are quite inhumane.  Now I know that trying to stop a paper company by refusing a phone book doesn’t seem like it would do much good, but I feel I need to be the change that I want to see.

Clear Cutting Kills Forests for the Paper Industry.  Old growth virgin forests are basically extinct.  The paper industry is a business that looks to maximize profit and instead of utilizing renewable selective forestry techniques, the large profiteering corporations have their bottom line at the forefront of their minds.  Clear Cutting is a common practice and destroys ecosystems that have taken hundreds of years to build. [Read more →]

→ 1 Comment Tags: Go Green · Trees

Companion Planting

March 6th, 2009 · No Comments

Companion Plantings with Reason:

  • Cabbage and Dill – As dill flowers it draws beneficial insects to eat cabbageworms and aphids.  If you don’t already know about cabbageworms, I had an issue with them.
  • Flowers like Calendula and Cucumbers and Squash – The pollen from the flowers attracts pollenators and thereby increases yields.

Please send in your companion plantings.   Return back to see updates or subscribe to our e-updates here.

→ No Comments Tags: Flowers · Herbs · Organic Gardening Techniques · Vegetables

Integrative Doctors in Long Island to New York City

January 21st, 2009 · 10 Comments

Have you ever wanted to see a doctor and have him/her prescribe ginger mint tea rather than stool softener?  Or echinacea (immune booster) tincture when you feel a cold coming on rather than wait for it to get worse and then have to resort to antibiotics?  How about cleaning out the colon to improve overall health just by eating differently? [Read more →]

→ 10 Comments Tags: Long Island · Medicinal

Synopsis – Tulsi (“Holy Basil”) – Ayurvedic Medicinal Herb Used for Thousands of Years

December 10th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Tulso - Holy Basil

OK here is one of my favorite herbs (if not THE favorite).  It smells like BUBBLE GUM for crying out loud!

Tulsi / Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

If you have ever grown this herb, you know what amazing surprises it offers.  When I brush by it, I get this smell of heaven that I have never smelled anywhere else.  Just like all Basil species, the aroma is amazing; Sweet, Dreamy, and smells just like Buble Gum (I know, Im crazy).  But Tulsi/Holy Basil just blows my mind.  Its a proven winner in the garden.  I have never been disappointed in the results from growing this herb.  If you let it seed itself it will come up year after year and surprise you.  I like to make sure there it loads of it in my garden so at the seasons end I can harvest it for tea.  Actually you are supposed to harvest it before it flowers but thats just too soon in my book.  I can never get to it on time.  Maybe Ill try this coming year.  I get my Holy Basil / Tulsi seeds from Seeds of Change.

Waht intrigues me the most about this herb is its multitude of healing properties.  It has been used for thousands of years.  Years back, I was doing research on herbal medicine that has been around a while and came across tulsi tea.  I picked up some literature after I saw and tasted how good it was (and good for you).

The rest of this blog entry I am going to devote to that information.  Its a good reference to come back to from time to time and I will add to it as necessary. [Read more →]

→ 4 Comments Tags: Herbs · Medicinal

Follow the life of a plant.

April 6th, 2008 · 1 Comment

This blog began with an inspiration to follow the life, death, and resourcefulness of the plants in my garden.  I also wanted to find out what my fellow gardeners were up to as well.  I am working how to make this site a community place (in addition to just adding comments to my blog entries), but for now I will concentrate on what is happening in my garden. [Read more →]

→ 1 Comment Tags: Long Island