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Seed Order

This is more for me to kind of keep track of what I have ordered.  I forgot to write down what I had ordered before this one.  😦

Heritage Harvest Seed
Heirloom Tomato – Amish Paste
Heirloom Herb – Chamomile
Heirloom Herb – Borage
Heirloom Herb – Florence Fennel
Heirloom Herb – Old Ukrainian Dill
Heirloom Cucumber – Boston Pickling
Heirloom Cucumber – Early Green Cluster
Heirloom Carrot – Scarlet Nantes
Heirloom Brussel Sprouts – Long Island Improved
Heirloom Lima Bean – Henderson’s Bush
Heirloom Bean – Amish Nuttle
Heirloom Bean – Arikara Yellow
Heirloom Radish – Round Black Spanish

DIY Basic Natural Medicine Cabinet

DIY Basic Natural Medicine Cabinet.

As all the chatter continues about what we eat, what we put on our bodies, and what we put into our bodies, it stands to reason that we would also turn toward how we treat our bodies for minor illness and injury. I’ve been looking into this for quite a while for my family and have decided that it’s time to pull together a natural medicine cabinet of my own. I’ll be sharing today how you can get yours started as well.

The Seeds are in…

I got the last of my seed orders yesterday.  Part of last night I spent planning what to plant where.  At some point the thought popped into my head – what about cross pollination?   So I sent Farmgal  an email asking for some advise.  She recommended a book “ Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners” by  Suzanne Ashworth.

Funny how over time I can forget things and it just takes a single word or picture for the filing cabinet in my brain to open.  After a bit of reading, I realized that I actually “knew” the information from when I was trying to cross pollinate 2 types of day lilies.

What I didn’t realize or know was how far apart some plants need to be before the risk of cross pollination is reduced enough to do seed saving.  A 1/2 mile distance for cucumbers is recommended to maintain the “mother” plant seeds.  The other choice is to bag the flower heads…not going to do.

So this year I think I will just buy a bushel or 2 of pickling cucumbers when the time comes and just grow the lemon cucumbers.  I wonder how many people that collect seeds find out the hard way that the 2nd generation of plant is not the same as the 1st generation?

Herbal Pillows

BY  at Frugally Sustainable

Dream pillows have been used for centuries. By using a blend of specific herbs and flowers one is said to be able to experience vivid and meaningful dreams as well as receive relief from nightmares. Today we acknowledge the research that proves the smell of herbs, flowers and essential oils can have a positive effect on our ability to relax, mental health, and our dreams.

Historically, babies were often given small pillows filled with herbs to help calm them or to ease crying during the bedtime hours. They have also been called sleep or comfort pillows, and they were filled with relaxing herbs.

The scent of the herbs in these dream pillows will not be as strong as a potpourri, it will definitely be more subtle. The hope is that they will promote a more restful sleep and ward off bad dreams. If you, or someone you know, has trouble sleeping when traveling, bring a dream pillow with you to as a sleep aid.

Variety of Herbs Useful for Dream Pillows

  • Anise – Repels nightmares, but be sure to use sparingly.
  • Calendula – Used to induce restful sleep.
  • Catnip – Increases restful sleep. Especially good for babies and children.
  • Cedar – Repels bad dreams.
  • Chamomile – Used for relaxation and pleasant dreams.
  • Hops – Aids in restful sleep and healing.
  • Jasmine – The dried flowers are useful for romantic and erotic dreams, especially for women.
  • Lavender – These flowers have the ability to ease stress, soothe, and relax. A simple pillow made only with lavender can be simply perfect.
  • Lemon Balm – A known for it’s ability to reduce anxiety and insomnia. Also valuable for relieving headaches and stress.
  • Mugwort – Protection.
  • Mullein – Guards against nightmares.
  • Rose petals – Adds loving and peaceful thoughts to dreams.
  • Rosemary – Repels bad dreams, but use sparingly due to the strong scent.

Creating Small Pillows

If you are handy with a sewing machine you can easily make small pillows or sachets from various fabrics or you could even make animal shapes that are stuffed with your own herb mixture to give as gifts for children. You could also sew these easily by hand with a simple stitch.

To make a dream pillow, I prefer to use muslin. Begin by cutting 2 identical sizes of fabric. I like these pieces of muslin to be 5″ by 5″ (Although any size will do. It’s a matter of preference). With the wrong sides of the material (if there are any) together, stitch down 3 of the sides to the depth of 3/4″. Turn the little sachet inside out so that the seams are now on the inside. Begin filling your sachet with your own herbal mixture or fill it with my favorite recipe below. Once filled to your liking, complete the pillow by stitching the fourth side by hand.

Dream Pillow Recipe – For Peaceful Sleep

– 1 part lavender flowers
– 1 part rose petals
– 1 part chamomile
– 1 part mugwort
– 1 part hop flowers
– 1 part cedar tops
– a small amount of rosemary

Directions: Combine all herbs in wooden or glass bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Fill small, hand-sewn pillows with enough of this herbal mixture. Note: Be sure not to overfill. The sachet should go unnoticed slipped inside the pillow case.

Tips:

-Dream pillows help you drift off to sleep naturally. Simply insert a dream pillow inside of your pillow case.
-If using dream pillow with babies, you should place the pillow under the crib sheet to avoid a choking hazard.
-The herbs in the pillow will maintain their scent for years. You may want to store them in plastic bags when you are not using them to maintain the scent longer.
-Organically grown flowers and herbs are preferred for dream pillows.
-A few herbs you may want to avoid, secondary to their ability to cause frightening dreams and/or headaches, include: artemisia, bay laurel leaves, Russian tarragon, sage leaves, tansy, and vetiver root.

Grains: A Growing Guide by Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening

Raising grains such as wheat, spelt, oats, rice, buckwheat, barley, millet, and rye in your backyard doesn’t require any special machinery, and you may be surprised at how little space it takes to grow a substantial supply of homegrown grains.  A typical family uses about a bushel of wheat (60 pounds) a year, plus about ¼ to ½ bushel of other grains. Given reasonably good conditions, you should be able to grow a bushel of wheat in a 20- by 50-foot plot (1,000 square feet).

Planting and Growing
Grains are easy to plant: Simply work the soil into a good seedbed and broadcast the seed by hand or with a crank-type seeder. Rake the soil lightly to work the seed into the top 2 inches of ground. Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of loose straw mulch after seeding to help conserve moisture and control weeds.  You can purchase small amounts of common grain seed at most farm stores. Some general garden seed catalogs carry a few types, too.
Wheat
Wheat (Triticum spp.) is the most widely consumed grain in North America. It makes excellent bread and pasta, and has tasty whole or cracked kernels. Wheat sprouts also are very tasty.
Wheat prefers a nearly neutral soil (about 6.4 pH), and does best with a cool, moist growing season followed by warm, dry weather for ripening.
Winter wheat is planted in fall, stays green until early winter, then goes dormant until spring. The onset of warm weather causes rapid new growth, and seed heads develop within 2 months. Winter wheat ripens about the first week of June in the South, later in the North.
Spring wheat is planted at the beginning of the growing season and ripens in mid- to late summer. It tolerates drier conditions than winter wheat, but doesn’t yield as well.
Hard red winter and hard red spring wheat are used for bread baking. Soft red winter and white wheat are used primarily for pastry flour. Durum wheat is used for making pastas. Regardless of their commercial use, all the wheats make good bread. There are many cultivars; choose those commonly grown in your area.
Plant spring wheat at about the same time as the average last killing frost. Plant winter wheat at about the time of the average first fall frost. If Hessian fly, a common wheat pest, is a problem in your area, be sure to plant after the “fly date.” Check with your local extension office for this date. Use about 4 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.
Spelt
Spelt (Triticum spelta), also called spelt wheat, is an ancient grain grown for its nutty-tasting, highly nutritious seeds that are easily digested. Spelt is used to make pasta, breads, and flour, and the seeds also are sold for sprouting. Many individuals who are allergic to wheat can tolerate spelt, and spelt contains a different form of gluten than wheat does. If you have a wheat or gluten allergy, check with your doctor before trying spelt products.   Spelt grows successfully in poorer soils than wheat, including heavy clay, and tolerates dryer conditions as well. Grow it as you would winter wheat, planting in fall and harvesting in spring.
Rye
Rye (Secale cereale) adds a rich flavor to bread or rolls. Cracked rye can also be used in other baked goods or served as a cooked grain. Rye sprouts are sweet and crunchy.   Rye grows better than wheat in cold, wet climates. It also grows in poor soils that won’t support wheat, but yields about 30 percent less.  Plant rye in the same manner and at the same rate as winter wheat any time from late summer to late fall. Rye ripens 7 to 10 days before winter wheat.
Oats
Oats (Avena sativa) are highest of all cereal grains in protein and lowest in carbohydrates. Oats make tasty table fare, but most cultivars have a tough hull that’s hard to remove. ‘Freedom’ oats are virtually hull free.   Oats need lots of moisture, and favor a cool climate and fertile, well-drained soil. In the South, plant oats in fall for harvest the following summer. But in general, it’s best to plant oats in very early spring. Plant about 2 to 3 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.
Corn
As home gardeners, we think of corn (Zea mays) as sweet corn, but fresh ground cornmeal is wonderfully fragrant and tasty, too. Choose a dent or flint type for cornmeal, and a flour type for a finer meal, rather than a sweet-corn cultivar. Indian corn and field corn are familiar dry-corn types.   Grow dry corn as you would sweet corn. Remember to separate dry- and sweet-corn cultivars, so they won’t cross-pollinate. Dry corn is normally left on the plant until after frost, but can be picked after the husks begin to dry. Bring husked ears under cover to finish drying.
Barley
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a delicious, nutty-tasting cereal grain, especially good in casseroles, soups, and pilaf. The grain has an outer hull that should be removed. Pearl barley has been milled to remove the tough husks. Barley flour is low in gluten and is mixed with other flours for making bread.   Plant 4 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. Spring-sown barley matures in about 70 days, while fall-planted barley ripens about 60 days after growth resumes in spring.
Rice
Although we commonly think of rice (Oriza sativa) as a tropical crop, there are early-maturing cultivars that will grow in most parts of North America. Rice is often grown in flooded fields, but it will also thrive under the same conditions as corn. Wild rice (Zizania aquatica) is native to North America and grows in ponds and slow-moving water.   Soak seed for 24 hours and plant in flats of moist, mucky soil about a month before your last frost. Prepare raised beds with plenty of organic matter and cover with a thick organic mulch. Transplant on 9-inch centers, pushing the mulch aside. Water rice once or twice a week so that it gets about 1 to 1½ inches from rain and irrigation combined. When rice flowers, make sure it gets plenty of water; cut back once the grain starts to harden. Rice is hard to hull.
Millet
Millet is a catchall name for at least five different genera and assorted species of cereal grains native to Asia and Africa, where the hulled grain is a staple food in many countries. We are most familiar with it as the shiny, little, round, yellow or orange brown seeds in birdseed mixes. It is higher in essential amino acids than other cereal grains and has a subtle, nutlike flavor when baked or cooked. To bring out its full taste, roast the grain in a pan with a little oil before using.   Millet will tolerate poor soils. The plants mature very quickly—some in just 30 days. You can sow millet almost any time from spring 278through late summer. Plant about 1 pound of seed per 1,000 square feet.
Supergrains
Amaranth and quinoa are both grown extensively in other parts of the world for their seed and edible leaves. Both types of seed contain about 16 percent protein and are high in fiber and in amino acids often absent in cereal grains.
Amaranth
Grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) is a relative of the familiar ornamental amaranth. Amaranth seed is white to yellow, round, and very small. It makes a tasty porridge and can be toasted to make a crunchy topping. The flour must be mixed with other flour for baking.   Grain amaranth matures in about 120 days. Start the plants indoors, or direct-seed in rows and thin to 1 to 3 inches apart. Seed is ready to harvest when it starts to dry. Cut the whole seed heads and hang them in clusters or in a cloth sack to dry. Thresh by beating the bag; sift chaff from seed with a fine screen.
Quinoa
Pronounced “ki-NO-uh”, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) seed is the staple grain of the Andean highlands. It is a close relative of the potherb known as good King Henry (C. bonus-henricus). Quinoa seed is tiny and, when cooked, has a delicate flavor and a fluffy texture. It can be used like rice—just be sure to rinse the raw seed first or it will be bitter. Quinoa flour gives a moist texture to baked goods when mixed with other flours.   Quinoa is adapted to high mountainous areas, and most cultivars will not make seed in areas where temperatures reach 95°F. Plant seed ½ to 1 inch deep in cool soil; the crop is easy to grow. Its culture and appearance is similar to amaranth.
Buckwheat
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) isn’t a cereal grain. It belongs to the family Polygonaceae, as do rhubarb and garden sorrel. It is commonly grown as a green manure crop and as a bee forage plant. The amino acid composition of the seed surpasses that of all other cereal grains, and the flour’s earthy flavor makes it a welcome addition to treats such as flapjacks and breads. The seed matures in just 70 to 80 days; it makes a good second crop in a two-crop rotation.   You can plant buckwheat almost any time from spring to late summer, in almost any type of soil. Generally, late-June or July plantings yield the most seed. Sow about 2½ pounds per 1,000 square feet. Buckwheat seeds ripen at varying rates, so watch the crop carefully and harvest when most of the seed is ripe.
Harvesting and Using
Harvest cereal grains about 7 to 10 days before they’re fully mature and dry. The grain heads should still be greenish or just turning yellow, the stalks mottled with green. Pinch a kernel with your thumb and index finger. It should be soft enough to be dented by your thumbnail, but not so soft that it squashes.   Cut the stalks just above ground, and gather and tie them into bunches. (The traditional tool for cutting grains is a scythe.) Stack or hang the bunches in the field or under cover to dry. The grain will cure in 10 to 14 days. When you bite a kernel between your teeth, it should be hard and crunchy.
Threshing: To thresh, put a bundle or two on a sheet spread over a hard surface, such as a patio or floor. Beat the seed heads with a length of rubber hose or an old mop handle to knock the seeds from the stalks.
Winnowing: Next, clean the grain of chaff and hulls. Pour the grain slowly from one bucket to another in front of a fan. The breeze should be strong enough to blow the chaff away, but not to take the kernels with it. Repeat until clean.
Storing: Keep small quantities of cereal grains in a refrigerator or freezer. You can also store thoroughly dry grain in a cool, dark place in sealed jars to protect it from insects.
Hulling: Hulling grain with tough hulls is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for home gardeners. You can hull small quantities by roasting the grain in an oven at 180°F for 60 to 90 minutes, and then running the kernels lightly though a blender and picking out the cracked hulls. For larger quantities, use a grain grinder.
Milling: Grains can be cracked or ground into flour in a good household blender. Grind ¼ cup at a time, taking care not to let the motor labor too much. If you make a lot of flour, you may want to buy a hand-cranked or electric flour mill. Grind only as much as you will use in a few weeks, and store prepared grains in the refrigerator or freezer; they go rancid rapidly.

Growing Camellia Sinensis (tea) by American Camellias Society

American Camellias Society
Camellia sinensis can be grown in most moderate zones in the United States. Zones 7, 8 & 9 provide the most suitable outdoor climates althought it can be grown in greenhouses and/or protected areas in colder climate zones or used in containers where you could protect it from severe freezes. Camellia sinensis will perform well in areas in bright light or full sun with balanced nutrients and plenty of water. Species Name: Camellia sinensis (Large Leaf – White Flowering cultivars) Growth Habit: Upright, bushy growth Bloom Time: Fall Maintainable Height: 3-4’ or larger Soil Conditions: Moist, well drained acid soil Light Conditions: Full sun to part shade Uses: Containers, landscape & garden plants, screens, hedges, foundation plants Although there are many varieties of Camellia sinensis, the large leaf tea is the most common. Most of these plants will produce white flowers, although some have been known to have pink tones to full pink flowers. In the fall of each year, the tea plant is covered with small blossoms and later the next spring and summer, you probably will see small seed pods on your tea plants. Sinensis is an excellent seed-setter. These seeds can be harvested, planted and new seedlings will soon sprout up. Each of these seeds will produce plants that are genetically different from the parent, and will most likely resemble the parent, but this is not true in all cases. Tea can be made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.

the Tea Connection – an educational section of the American Camellias Society

tea links