Gardening 101 Day 24~ How-to Store Your Asparagus Crowns Before You’re Ready to Plant Them!

“You are also far less likely to waste food when you have nurtured it from a seed into a plant.” — Darina Allen

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s tall wispy stalks teasing to cut back and cook on a grill slathered with thyme infused olive oil… oh yum. Spring’s bounty can’t come quickly enough!

As many of you follow me on Facebook and Instagram know, I just recently received my Purple Passion and Martha Washington asparagus crowns. Well, I certainly am not ready to plant these beauties, and I need to make sure they remain moist and viable for when I am ready to plant them.

Check out my video at my YouTube Channel!

Here’s my easy step by step on how to store your asparagus crowns!

Here is a super quick and easy tutorial on how to store your asparagus crowns if you receive them before you are ready to plant them. Be sure to check out my blog on How-to Plant and Care for Asparagus if you missed it!

Step 1: Carefully remove the asparagus crowns from packaging, making sure not to cut any of the roots when opening.

Step 2: Take 4 to 5 sheets of paper towel and stack together, then get them wet; wring out about 90 percent of the water.

Step 3: Place the wet paper towels on your counter or table; Carefully layer the asparagus crowns on the center of the sheets.

Step 4: Carefully fold the wet paper towels over the crowns like an envelope.

Step 5: Place the packaged asparagus crowns into a zip lock type storage bag; carefully press out most of the air being sure not to press on the crowns.

Step 6: Place the package in your vegetable crisper drawer or in the fridge in a location they won’t get crushed or banged around. 

Be sure to let your family members know what they are and to be careful.

Check the package weekly to make sure the paper towels are still damp. If they begin to dry out, repeat the process being careful not to damage the crowns or roots.

Once you are ready to plant your asparagus crowns, remove them from the packaging and follow my planting instructions found at my blog post!

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at http://www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats in either a spiral bound soft cover OR NEW, a Downloadable PDF version. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,

Jean

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Gardening 101 Day 22 ~From Seed to Sprout: How to Tips and Tricks for Successfully Starting Seeds Indoors

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. ” Gertrude Jekyll

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know my passion for gardening & cooking. Of course in mind, they go hand in hand. Recently on both my Facebook & Instagram I shared starting my seeds! Well, here is the blog to go along with it! 

Whether you’re a novice or experienced gardening enthusiast, you know that starting seeds indoors is a great way to get a head start on the growing season, although if you’re new to this process, it can seem overwhelming. There are so many different brands of seeds, seed starting soil mixes, and containers to choose from, where do you even begin? 

Fear not, fellow green thumbs! Today, I’ll take you through the basics of starting seeds indoors, from selecting the right seeds to caring for your seedlings as they grow. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener looking to refine your skills or a newbie looking to dip your toes into the world of gardening, I’ve got you covered. So, roll up your sleeves, grab some dirt, and let’s get started on our journey from seed to sprout!

Now lets chat about how to successfully start your seeds indoors!

1. What are the benefits of starting seeds indoors?

There are several benefits to gardeners when starting seeds indoors. 

  • First, it allows you to get a head start on the growing season, and who doesn’t want that! When you start your seeds indoors, you provide them the optimal conditions they need to germinate & grow before the weather outside is warm enough for outdoor planting. This allows you the opportunity to enjoy fresh produce earlier in the season.
  • Another benefit of starting seeds indoors is it gives you more control over the growing conditions. When you plant seeds outdoors, you’re at the mercy of the weather and the soil, & if you live in an area with cold winters, you know this is definitely a benefit. By starting seeds indoors, you can control the temperature, humidity, and light levels to ensure your seedlings get off to a good start.
  • Last, but certainly not least, starting seeds indoors can save you money. Buying seedlings from a nursery can be expensive, especially if you need to buy a large quantity. By starting your own seeds, you can save money and have more control over the varieties you grow.

2. What materials do I need to start my own seeds indoors?

Before you get started, you’ll need a few basic materials. Here’s a list of what I suggest you start with:

  • Seeds: Choose the seeds you want to start indoors. Make sure to choose varieties that are well-suited to your area. Like I always say, be sure to read the package instructions and guidelines for planting.
  • Seed starting containers: You can use plastic or biodegradable pots, trays, or cell flats. Make sure they have drainage holes. I save all my plastic salad, grape tomatoes, and even carry out containers to make great containers to start seeds in. 
  • Soil mix: Use a soil mix that’s specifically formulated for seed starting. It should be light, well-draining, and nutrient-rich.
  • Watering can or spray bottle: You’ll need a way to water your seedlings. Be sure all your containers, no matter what you use, have proper drainage holes & a tray of some sort to catch water under the container.
  • Grow lights: If you don’t have access to natural sunlight, you’ll need grow lights to provide your seedlings with enough light. If you have your containers in a window, be sure to turn them everyday once they sprout to avoid becoming leggy due to ‘reaching’ for the sunlight.
  • Thermometer and humidity gauge: If you want to go the whole nine yards, you can invest in a way to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your growing area. I personally don’t use this.

3. How do I know what seeds to choose for indoor planting?

Unfortunately not all seeds are well-suited to indoor planting. Some seedlings require more light and space than you can provide indoors. If you have a four season room, this would make a great grow house, but it must be heated. 

Here are some tips for choosing the right seeds:

  • Choose seeds that are well-suited to indoor growing conditions. Look for varieties that are compact, disease-resistant, and can be grown in containers.
  • Consider the space you have available. If you have limited space, choose seeds that can be grown in small pots or trays.
  • Think about the amount of light you have available. Some seeds require more light than others. If you don’t have access to natural sunlight, choose seeds that can be grown under grow lights.

5. You really need the right soil for seed starting!

Soil preparation is key to successful indoor seed starting. Here are some tips:

  • Use a soil mix that’s specifically formulated for seed starting. These mixes are light, well-draining, and nutrient-rich.
  • Moisten the soil before planting. Use a spray bottle or watering can to moisten the soil mix before planting your seeds.
  • Avoid using garden soil for indoor seed starting. Garden soil is too heavy and can contain diseases and pests that can harm your seedlings.

7. Proper watering and fertilization are important for the health of your seedlings.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Water your seedlings regularly, but don’t overwater them. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems.
  • Use a spray bottle or watering can with a fine rose to water your seedlings gently.
  • Fertilize your seedlings with a diluted liquid fertilizer once they’ve developed their first set of true leaves.
  • Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for dilution rates and frequency of use.

4. Now it’s time to prepare your seed starting containers!

Once you’ve chosen your seeds, it’s time to prepare your containers. Here’s how:

  • Clean your containers: If you’re reusing containers from a previous growing season, make sure to clean them thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Add drainage holes: Make sure your containers have drainage holes in the bottom. This will allow excess water to drain away and prevent your seedlings from sitting in water, otherwise they will rot, or seedlings will drown. Watch my video for a simple how-to.
  • Fill containers with soil mix: Fill your containers with your chosen soil mix, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top. I always recommend an organic blend.
  • Label your containers: Use plant labels to identify the type of seed you’re planting and the date you planted it. Don’t believe you will remember… you won’t! Trust me!

6. Sowing your seeds properly is crucial to success!

Now the fun begins, it’s time to sow your seeds. Here’s how:

  • As I constantly say, be sure to read the seed packet for specific instructions on planting depth and spacing both when direct sowing, and when you transplant out to your garden.
  • Plant your seeds at the recommended depth. This is usually two to three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Space your seeds according to the instructions on the seed packet.
  • Cover the seeds with soil mix and gently ‘tamp’ down to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. I use a similar sized container so I don’t accidentally get a seed stuck to my hand! Yes it can happen!
  • Water your seeds gently using a spray bottle or watering can.

Lighting and temperature are crucial factors!

Light and temperature are critical factors for successful indoor seed starting. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Place your seedlings in a location that receives plenty of natural sunlight. If you don’t have access to natural sunlight, use grow lights.
  • Keep the temperature in your growing area between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you have one, or choose to purchase one, use a thermometer and humidity gauge to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your growing area.

8. Let fun really begin~ How & when to transplant your seedlings outdoors!

Once your seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted outdoors. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Harden off your seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over the course of a week.
  • Choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil.
  • Dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the root ball of your seedling.
  • Gently remove the seedling from its container and place it in the hole.
  • Backfill the hole with soil and water your seedling gently.

Indoor seed starting can be tricky, and there are several common problems that can arise.

Here are some tips for solving them:

  • Damping off: This is a fungal disease that can cause seedlings to wilt and die. To prevent damping off, make sure your containers have good drainage and avoid overwatering.
  • Leggy seedlings: If your seedlings are growing tall and spindly, they’re not getting enough light. Move them to a location that receives more sunlight or use grow lights.
  • Mold or mildew: If you see mold or mildew growing on your soil or seedlings, it’s a sign of too much moisture. Reduce watering and improve air circulation.

Starting seeds indoors can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to get a head start on the growing season. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy, productive seedlings.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at http://www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats in either a spiral bound soft cover OR NEW, a Downloadable PDF version. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,
Jean

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All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content

How-to start Basil From Stem Cuttings

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. ” Alfred Austin

This is a really handy dandy way to get the most bang for your buck when purchasing basil plants. If you notice, when you purchase a planter with basil, there are multiple stems. Sometimes as many as 10. That in reality means there are 10 basil plants in that container. You have a couple options depending on how many plants you would like to have. 

First, you can simply and very carefully separate each of the stems, be careful not to harm the roots and replant each one. I advise trimming back some of the larger leaves so the plant’s energy will go into root development rather than trying to keep those leaves alive.

The second is what I am going to show you how to do. Let’s roll friends! Check out my easy tutorial here at my YouTube Channel!

Here’s the how to for growing basil from stem cuttings!

Step 1:

Carefully remove the plants from the container and separate each stem as best as possible.

Step 2:

Take each stem and cut it on an angle below the second set of true leaves; place in a container of water; repeat this process with each stem until you have them all done. You may need several containers of water to hold each one. I used food storage containers but anything will work as long as it is at least 2 inches deep. Be sure to keep fresh water for your stem cutting. Change the water or add every couple days as you see is needed.

2019

Step 3:

Take the remaining stems with roots attached and plant in organic soil; water regularly until new growth appears.

Step 4:

After a root system begins to appear, you will transplant them into containers with a good organic planting medium.

PRO TIP: Other containers you could use are yogurt containers, sour cream or chip containers, etc.

When you are ready to start gardening, simply transplant your seedlings into their summer homes.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at http://www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats in either a spiral bound soft cover OR NEW, a Downloadable PDF version. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,

Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content.

Gardening 101 Day 19: Easy How-to grow your own Ginger root!

“Growing your own food may be one of the most powerful steps you can take for the health of yourself, your family, and your planet.” ― Lindsay Oberst (foodrevolution.org)

Did you know you could grow ginger root? Well, you sure can and it is super easy to do. I found this information provided by Penn State Extension and had to share it with all of you. I’ve also included a few recipes to use with your ginger root!

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Let me know if you’ve ever grown your own, and how it worked out in the comments below! I love your feedback.

How to start your ginger indoors!

What is ginger anyway? Ginger is a subtropical plant which requires a longer growing season to reach maturity. If you live in the Midwest or any other area that has a harsh winter, you will need to start your ginger indoors and bring it in over the cold winter months. It is essential to start your ginger root indoors a couple of months before it can be planted outdoors. You can keep it in a container, or grow it in the ground.

Follow these easy steps to grow your own ginger root:

Preparing the ginger for planting:

Cut ginger root into 3-inch pieces, ensuring each contains at least three growth buds.

Allow pieces to callous over for a week before planting.

Choose a good potting mix & container:

I recommend using an organic potting soil with some type of moisture control if possible. You will need a container with a water tray. A great option is a large mixed greens plastic container. You can use the lid as the watering tray and they are the perfect depth to plant your ginger root.

Spread the soil in the container so that it is uniformly 3 inches deep and lay the ginger pieces horizontally on top.

Bury the ginger root:

Cover with an additional inch of soil.

Caring for your ginger root:

Water from the bottom every five to seven days until sprouts emerge. Then water enough to keep the soil moist but not wet.

After sprouts emerge, use a seedling heating pad and grow light to provide the necessary warmth and 16 to 18 hours of light required to get ginger established.

How to prepare & plant your ginger outdoors.

After the danger of frost has passed and the temperature at night is consistently above 40 F, ginger can be transplanted outdoors. Follow these steps:

  1. Harden off plants for five days to prepare for outdoor planting.
  2. Choose a sunny site with loose, loamy, well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. You may also grow ginger in containers if soil conditions are not favorable.
  3. Dig a shallow trench and plant ginger 3 inches deep and 12 inches apart so that sprouts are visible just above the soil. If you choose containers, plant each plant in a container with a 12-inch diameter or larger.
  4. When new shoots form or the pink shoulders of ginger are visible, hill your plants (pile more soil around the base of each shoot) with an inch of soil and add a granular fertilizer.
  5. Water plants two to three times a week, soaking them deeply.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is sometimes called ginger water and it wonderful for the stomach or gut. It is, quite simply, hot water infused with fresh ginger. It has a bit of spice which is easily adjusted by adding more ginger or letting it steep longer. Adding honey adds the final touch to make this tea a favorite for all.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 TBSP freshly grated or sliced ginger root 
  • 4 cups spring water
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 TBSP local honey, to taste

1. Peel your fresh ginger and slice it as thin as you can to maximize the surface area. This will ensure a very flavorful ginger tea.

PRO TIP: Use the large slicer side of a 4 sided cheese grater.

2. In a medium sized pot, add the water and ginger; bring to a boil for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger and tangier tea, allow to boil for 20 minutes or more, and use more slices of ginger.

3. Remove tea from the heat, strain, and add the lime juice and honey to taste.

Dijon Ginger Dressing

This zesty dressing will make any salad better. You can use it as a marinade for chicken as well!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ TBSP grated ginger, lightly packed
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP your favorite Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • ½ cup safflower or canola oil
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
  1. Peel your ginger and grate it finely
  2. Blend all ingredients in a small blender or immersion blender.
  3. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at http://www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats in either a spiral bound soft cover OR NEW, a Downloadable PDF version. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,

Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this conte

Resources

Gardening 101 Day 20: What is the Differences Between Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes? YouTube Video

I like gardening. It’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself. – Alice Sebold 

Welcome to Day 19 of my Gardening 101 Series! If you’ve been keeping up with all my posts, then you’ll remember in the last one, How to plant a Vegetable Container Garden I mentioned the different types of tomatoes. Not varieties, but whether or not a tomato is determinate or indeterminate. I also told all of you I would be doing a blog on this topic.

You may be thinking, “A whole article on whether or not a tomato is determinate or indeterminate… really Jean?”. Well, let me tell you, whether you’re a home gardener or a market gardener, this is an incredibly important thing to know. 

When choosing your variety of tomatoes, there is more to understand then just whether or not it’s a Heirloom or hybrid, the color, size, or type. You need to determine what you want to do with the tomatoes you are growing. Do you simply want to have a few fresh tomatoes to enjoy with a dinner salad or eat fresh with some salt or pepper? Do you plan on sharing with friends & family? Are you planning on putting up or canning your harvest? If the answer is yes to the latter, than this is a very important factor to consider. You’ll need to factor in how many pints or quarts of tomato product you want to can, which is another blog post when canning season begins, so keep posted for lots more coming on that topic!!

When choosing your variety of tomatoes, there is more to understand then just whether or not it’s a Heirloom or hybrid, the color, size, or type. You need to determine what you want to do with the tomatoes you are growing. Do you simply want to have a few fresh tomatoes to enjoy with a dinner salad or eat fresh with some salt or pepper? Do you plan on sharing with friends & family? Are you planning on putting up or canning your harvest? If the answer is yes to the latter, than this is a very important factor to consider. You’ll need to factor in how many pints or quarts of tomato product you want to can, which is another blog post when canning season begins, so keep posted for lots more coming on that topic!! tomato varieties.

Check out my video below to get the down low on the difference between Determinant and Indeterminant tomato varieties.

As promised here is a list of my preferred tomatoes for fresh eating, sauces, and of course canning!

As promised, here is the list of my favorite tomatoes for your reference: CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE PDF

I certainly hope you are encouraged to garden. Even if you start with only two or three of these things, that’s a great start! 

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook or Instagram, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden!

Until next time friends, eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content.

Gardening 101 Day 18 Part 2~ How to Create a Vegetable Container Garden YOUTUBE VIDEO

“I love things that are indescribable, like the taste of an avocado or the smell of a gardenia. ” Barbra Streisand

Welcome to Day 18 of my Gardening 101 Part 2 on how-to create a container garden. In Part 1 I discussed how to create an herb container garden, today let’s look at how to incorporate veggies into containers. 

Many of the elements will be similar, especially in the types of containers, making this post a bit shorter. If you missed Part 1, just jump on over for an informative recap!

If you are a novice gardener you may be wondering how you can grow veggies in containers. You may be an experienced gardener who is considering the option of moving your veggies from a standard tillable garden to downsize or just utilize space more effectively. 

If you are a novice gardener you may be wondering how you can grow veggies in containers. You may be an experienced gardener who is considering the option of moving your veggies from a standard tillable garden to downsize or just utilize space more effectively. 

If you’ve been eyeing up container gardening lately, then you’re probably wondering what it has to offer you. After all, growing in a garden doesn’t really work like that. As you all know I am a huge advocate for container and raised bed gardening. Raised beds are in reality just another form of containers, as I showed in Part 1. You can grow herbs and vegetables in a standard tillable garden, but that type of gardening takes so much more effort and planning. With container gardening, everything becomes simpler and more accessible than it is with other methods. 

If you missed my two part series on the benefits of raised bed gardening, click these links. Part 1 and Part 2.

Have you been wondering how to get started with a vegetable garden, or just want to be able to grow your own vegetables at home? Well, a vegetable container garden might be just the answer you’re looking for. A vegetable container garden is essentially an easy way to extend the space of your yard so you can grow plants more effectively. 

With this guide, I’ll be showing you everything you need to know about creating successful container gardens as well as the many benefits they have to offer. After reading through the following tips, you will understand why having a container garden is one of the best ways to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables all year round.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at http://www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,

Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content.

Gardening 101 Day 17 Container Gardening Part 1: How to create beautiful container gardens with herbs, how-to grow & care for them PLUS BONUS Recipes!

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. ” Gertrude Jekyll

As all of you know I love raised bed gardening, and with that comes a bit of container gardening as well. I primarily use containers in my raised beds for more aggressive perennial herbs that have a tendency to go rogue if allowed. Such herbs include oregano, thyme, chives, and all the mints to name a few. Of course regular harvesting and not allowing the plants to go to seed help, but their root systems still want to expand their horizons!

By planting them in  your raised beds, this allows you to remove them and divide as necessary and then simply replace the pot in its allotted spot. The reason I plant the pot in the garden is to protect the roots from winter’s harsh cold here in Michigan. I also use a thick layer of mulch around them for extra protection. I generally mulch with grass clippings, old straw and even leaves.

I’m going to break this topic of container gardening into two parts, the first on herbs & then the following on veggies.

Creating a planter with herbs is an excellent way to bring the beauty and flavor of nature into your home. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned plant enthusiast, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to create and maintain a beautiful herb container garden.

Be sure to read on for some BONUS recipes to make with all your herbs!

Best Containers to Use

When it comes to selecting the best container for your herb garden, there are a few things to consider. The size and shape of the container will depend on the type of herbs you plan to grow, as well as the available space in your home. I have used all of these with great success. Have you used anything different? Let me know in the comments section below… I love your feedback!

Terra Cotta or Ceramic Pots

Terracotta and ceramic pots are a classic choice for herb gardens! They both come in so many fun and whimsical shapes and sizes. Terracotta pots are porous and allow air and moisture to pass through, which is beneficial for the plants. Both terracotta and ceramic provide good drainage, which helps prevent waterlogging. The downside of both however is that they can be fragile and easily break if dropped. Proper winter storage, if not brought indoors, should be done to ensure minimal breakage. Store pots upside down so if moisture does get in, they don’t crack when any ice thaws.

Window or Railing Boxes

Window or railing boxes are another great option for growing herbs. They are typically made from wood or plastic and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. If you are in an apartment or condo, window boxes are a perfect option! Even if you have a garden you can keep these on your deck or patio railing for easy access when cooking or grilling! They can easily be hung on the side of a window or railing for easy access, and you can have several growing different herbs! The downside to window boxes is that they tend to dry out quickly, so you’ll need to water your herbs more often.

Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are another ideal choice for growing trailing herbs such as oregano and thyme. They too come in a variety of sizes and are made from materials such as wicker, plastic, and metal. The advantage of hanging baskets is that they help conserve space and can be moved around your porch, deck, or patio. They also can come indoors easily in the winter months. The downside is that they tend to dry out more quickly than other types of containers, so you’ll need to water your herbs more often.

Self-Watering Containers

Self-watering containers are a great option for busy gardeners. They provide a consistent supply of water to the plants, so you don’t have to worry about over- or under-watering them. These containers are usually made from plastic and have a built-in reservoir at the bottom. These are again a great option for the apartment or condo dweller, or to place on a deck or patio outside your kitchen for easy access. The downside is that they tend to be more expensive than other types of containers.

Raised Beds

If you have a larger outdoor space, then a raised bed is an excellent choice for growing herbs. Raised beds provide good drainage and allow for easy access to the plants. They can be made from wood, metal, or plastic, and come in a variety of sizes. The downside is that they require more maintenance than other types of containers, as they need to be regularly weeded and watered.

Galvanized Metal Tubs

I love to use old galvanized metal wash tubs, buckets, or any other cool container I can find. You can actually purchase these at feed type stores such as Tractor Supply Store or similar. I love the feel of a cottage garden and these fit perfectly with my theme. The key is to make sure there are proper drainage holes placed in the bottom. You can easily make these with a hammer and a nail or use a drill with a large enough drill bit. The downside is that they tend to dry out more quickly than other types of containers, so you’ll need to water your herbs more often.

How to Care for Your Herbs!

Once you have the right container and plants for your planter, it’s time to start caring for your herbs. Here are some tips & tricks for keeping your herbs healthy and thriving:

Watering

Herbs need plenty of water in order to grow and thrive. Water your herbs regularly, but don’t over-water them. Make sure to allow the soil to dry out between watering’s to prevent root rot.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing your herbs is a great way to keep them healthy and full of flavor. Use a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks, or add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil once a month. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the fertilizer package.

Pruning

Pruning your herbs is essential for keeping them healthy and preventing them from becoming overgrown. Trim off any dead or diseased leaves, and cut back the plants to encourage new growth.

Controlling Pests

Pests can be a problem for any type of garden, so it’s important to take steps to keep them away from your herbs. Planting companion plants such as marigolds or chrysanthemums can help deter pests, and using insecticidal soap or neem oil can help control pest populations.

Harvesting

Harvesting your herbs is an essential part of caring for them. Harvest herbs when they are young and tender, and be sure to use sharp scissors or pruners when cutting them. Avoid harvesting more than one-third of the plant at a time to ensure that it continues to grow and produce.

How to Harvest the Herbs

Harvesting your herbs is the best part of having an herb planter, as you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Here are some tips for harvesting your herbs:

Timing

The best time to harvest herbs is in the morning, after the dew has dried and before the sun is too hot. This will ensure that the herbs are at their peak flavor and will retain their essential oils.

Tools

The best tool for harvesting herbs is a pair of sharp, clean scissors or pruners. Avoid using a knife, as it can bruise the leaves and damage the plant.

Storage

Once you’ve harvested the herbs, it’s important to store them properly to preserve their flavor and freshness. Herbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or they can be dried and stored in an airtight container for longer periods of time.

Now lets talk herbs!

Once you’ve selected the right container for your herb garden, it’s time to decide which herbs you’d like to grow. Herbs are generally divided into two categories: annuals and perennials. Annuals are herbs that grow and bloom within a single season, while perennials are plants that come back year after year. Here are some of the best herbs to grow in a planter:

Would you like my delicious Pesto recipe that I taught on Fox TV2? Click this LINK and enjoy friends!

Basil is a popular annual herb that is easy to grow and is great for adding flavor to dishes. It’s best to start with a small pot, as it can quickly become overgrown. Basil prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Chives are a perennial herb with a mild onion flavor. They can be used fresh or dried, and are perfect for adding flavor to salads, soups, and sauces. Chives prefer well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Would you like some recipes for Herb Infused Olive Oils? Click this LINK!

Oregano is a perennial herb that has a strong, pungent flavor. It’s versatile and pairs well with a variety of dishes. Oregano prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Thyme is a perennial herb with a strong, lemony flavor. It can be used fresh or dried, and is perfect for adding flavor to soups, stews, and sauces. Thyme prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Rosemary is a hardy perennial herb that has a strong, earthy flavor. It can be used fresh or dried, and is perfect for adding flavor to roasted vegetables and meats. Rosemary prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Sage is a perennial herb with a strong, earthy flavor. It can be used fresh or dried, and is perfect for adding flavor to roasted vegetables and meats. Sage prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Creating a planter with herbs is an easy and enjoyable way to bring the beauty and flavor of nature into your home. With the right container, plants, and care, your herb planter can provide you with a bounty of fresh herbs for years to come.

I certainly hope you are encouraged to garden. Even if you start with only two or three of these things, that’s a great start! 

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook or Instagram, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden!

Until next time friends, eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day,
Jean

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Jean Roman is a mother of six, published author, Podcaster, YouTuber, organic gardener, organizational guru, and influencer. A self-professed master gardener with over twenty years experience, she loves to write and teach about her passion and knowledge in organic gardening, the local food movement, food preparation & preservation.

Jean spent fifteen years as a Mennonite where she co-authored her cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. Selling over twenty-thousand copies throughout the US & Canada, the book is cherished by many. Roman recently started her Podcast, sister to her blog. In addition to chatting about her beloved topics including gardening, cooking, & organization she shares topics including healthy lifestyles & entrepreneurship. Jean brings experts in these fields and shares a combined knowledge with her listeners.

The NEW sister, her YouTube channel is filled with great content including recipes, easy & fun how-to projects, gardening tutorials all only seen there! You can also listen to all of her Podcasts there!

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Jean

Gardening 101 Day 16: Top 9 Perennial Fruits & Vegetables to grow for the Home Gardener & How-to care for them~ PODCAST

“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration. ” D. H. Lawrence

Today I am going to discuss my top 9 favorite perennial fruits & vegetables to grow for the home gardener and how to care for them! Of course there are so many more, especially for those of you who live in Zones 6 through 10, however I really only feel comfortable providing all of you information on plants I’ve personally grown. But don’t fret friends… in a few short years Dave & I are retiring down south. We are aiming towards Savannah Georgia… oh how I long for those wonderful warm winters!

Perennial vegetables are a great choice for home gardeners because they come back year after year, providing a steady supply of fresh produce without the need for replanting. These are all super easy to grow when provided the proper growing environment and care. Some require pruning such as strawberries, but the rest you can just plant, walk away, watch them grow, and dine on deliciousness for years to come.

Click on the video below as I discuss my top nine favorite perennial fruits & vegetables for home gardeners to consider growing, along with tips & tricks on how to care for each of them. Enjoy friends!

To see episodes 1 thru 14, visit me at my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com 

You will find a plethora of information there, so be sure to check it out.


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Please follow me here and at my blog at http://www.forddragonfliesandme.com, and if you have not visited me on Facebook & Instagram, please like & follow me there for daily inspiration, recipes, and gorgeous photos. 

Until next time Dragonfly friends,

Remember to eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day!

Gardening 101 Day 15: How-to Host a Spring Perennial Plant Swap with 9 Simple Steps!

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. ” May Sarton

Spring holds a promise for the newness of life! It’s when I look out and dream of new flower beds & anticipate the first crops springing up out of winter’s cold ground. As I scan the yard and realize all the work needing to be done at my new home, I admit… it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. Thankfully I have Dave & the boys, and we will get at it as soon as the nicer weather affords us the opportunity. I can’t wait to be able to spend time in my personal Eden. 

Now I want to get into today’s topic! Have you ever hosted a plant swap or exchange? Maybe you’ve participated in a local community? I have hosted my own, as well as organized several for the City I worked for. 

Hosting a spring or fall perennial plant swap is a great way to share and acquire new plants for your garden. It can be a fun and social event for you & your friends and family, or for your community.

Here are some tips & tricks and for my steps to help you plan and host a successful perennial plant swap.

Here’s my easy 9 Step how-to host a spring perennial plant swap!

Choose a date & time!

Plan the date and location of your plant swap. Spring is the perfect time to host a plant swap, as many plants are starting to grow and flourish. Choose a date that is convenient for your community, and find a location that is easily accessible and has plenty of space for attendees to set up their plants.

When choosing the date, take into consideration when most of your perennials are starting to pop out of the ground. You want them to be at least 6 to 12 inches high so they are mature enough to handle the transplant, but not too mature to go into a hard shock with transplant.

Mid to the end of April is an ideal time for a spring swap, and mid to the end of September is great for a fall swap. More on that coming 🙂

Let people know what’s going on… ADVERTISE!

Advertising your plant swap is essential for optimal attendance. The more people that know about your event, the more successful it will be, it’s that simple.

Posting in community or garden groups on social media is a great way to spread the word. If you have a budget advertising in your local newspapers is another great resource. Posting fliers on community bulletin boards also help to spread the word.

Utilizing an automated email platform such as MailChimp or Constant Contact is also a great way to promote your event if you have an email list from previous events.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have a budget, reach out to your local greenhouse and nursery, or even your hometown newspaper to sponsor the event. Offer them a spot to market their company at the event. Partnering with local businesses is a win win for everyone!

Set up a way for attendees to register!

Setting up a registration process is a great way for you the organizer to have an idea on how many people could potentially be attending your plant swap. It will also allow you to send out reminders.

Setting up a Facebook event is a great way to to do this. Another platform is Eventbrite is another great option.

Provide ideas on what to bring to swap!

Create a simple Q&A sheet for people on how and what attendees should bring, as well as how to prepare their transplants. I’ve share a list below you can feel free to use.

You want your plant swap to have a good selection of plants for attendees to choose from, so encourage people to bring a variety of perennials, including different types, sizes, and colors.

Perennial herbs are another great option for attendees to bring!

What about transplant containers?

I often save some of the pots I purchase my plants in each year for this very reason. You should advise your attendees to put the divisions in practical, temporary containers. These can include plastic or paper cups, tin cans, plastic containers such as the ones that salad mixes or cherry tomatoes come in, plastic plant pots/ terra-cotta pots or any other container you have handy. Just be sure to add drainage holes to water tight containers. 

What plant is this? It’s all in the details!

One of the key things you will need to inform your attendees to do is to clearly identify the plants they are bringing. The plant information including care, size, and whether they prefer sun or shade, and any other pertinent growing conditions required is very important.

Encourage all attendees to provide information cards or handouts for each plant they bring to swap.

Make it fun… invite a guest speaker, specialty vendors, local garden clubs, etc.!

You can create a fun and social atmosphere by incorporating some local groups including garden clubs & Master Gardeners. You can even host an informative garden talk!

Inviting specialty vendors can also add value for attendees! This can also add revenue to your event by charging vendors a small participation fee. A plant swap is a great opportunity for people to connect with others who share their passion for gardening. Encourage attendees to share their gardening experiences, tips and tricks, and to make new friends.

Uggg… what about the leftovers?

There will always be left over plants. You should have a plan on how to distribute them. Sadly, there will be some plants that don’t find a home. In order to ensure those plants don’t go to waste, be sure to advise all attendees what to do with them.

You can have the attendees who brought them be responsible to take them back You can also have a free pile where they are placed, and then other people who may not have wanted to trade for them, will want to take them for free. You can also make arrangements with a local school or community garden, or ask attendees to take them home with them.

Connections matter!

If this is a community event, you will want to be sure to have an email sign up sheet at your registration table.

This will allow you to follow up with attendees and thank them for their participation. Sending a thank you email to all attendees will help in enticing them for future events.

You can also create a Google Form survey to all of the attendees requesting feedback on the event. For example asking them what they enjoyed, and what they would like to see at future events.

It also provides you the opportunity to invite them to future events you may be hosting for the community.

Here are some additional helpful tips on how to divide, care for and prepare your transplants for the exchange:

*The best time to divide a plant is shortly after it emerges in spring.

*Try to divide the plants as close to the plant exchange date/time as possible.

*Loosen the soil around the plants perimeter and then use a sharp spade or knife to cut through the roots to divide.  Be sure to keep a large root clump with the plant to ensure successful transplanting.

*Put your divisions in practical, temporary containers: paper cups, disposable aluminum muffin cups, tin cans, plastic containers, plastic plant pots/ terra-cotta pots or any other container you have handy. Just be sure to add drainage holes to water tight containers. 

*Give a tag/label with each division including: name/variety of plant, sun/shade requirements, mature plant size- height and diameter, water/soil requirements, zone hardiness, perennial or annual. A nice description for ‘new’ gardeners will be so appreciated.

*Make sure to plant/water as soon as possible once you have the plants in their new location.

How to harvest seedlings:

*Be sure the seedlings are at least 6-12 inches tall with at least 2 sets of true leaves.

*Get all the plants roots.

*Replant the seedling into a small container with appropriate drainage holes and gently water immediately.

Plants that divide easily and transplant well include:

*Hosta’s

*Day Lilies

*Bleeding Heart

*Peony

*Bee’s Balm (Monarda)

*Black Eye Susan, Shasta Daisies and any Coneflowers

*Columbine

*Sedum

*perennial Geraniums

*Helianthus

*Purple Bellflower

*any early blooming bulbs that have bloomed and died back at least half way- Snow Drops, Crocus, Daffodils, Tulips

PRO TIP: I always say, if in doubt, do without… so if you are not sure about one of your plants, ASK! Or look up in a good garden guild any special tricks that certain plants may have before you divide if you are not sure.

Hosting a spring perennial plant swap can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your community. By following these steps, you can ensure that your event is well-planned, well-attended, and enjoyable for all.

I certainly hope you are encouraged to garden. Even if you start with only two or three of these things, that’s a great start! 

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook or Instagram, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden!

Until next time friends, eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day,
Jean