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Archive for the ‘Growing Things!’ Category

The honey-sweet scent of these follows me through my work in the garden!

I thought it would be nice to do an illustrated report of my small raised bed garden. Everything is (thankfully) Thriving, and I dont even mind the weeding this year! Raised Bed, I’ve found, is really the way to go!

This is my small Raised bed and it is packed with veggies! Yesterday I found out I have a reason to be proud of it. My friends little six year old boy came over with his Dad and was very interested in it. When asked what it was, I told him everything in the Garden was edible. He proceeded to pick Collard and Spinach leaves and eat them raw, sitting on the ground, giving half to my rabbit! Apparently the Spinach was extra sweet!

 

My Winding Row of carrots is finally peeking it's head, along with the chives beside them!

Not sure if this is a disease or an adaptaion, but this interesting feature is what started this little photo essay of mine :). It seems the spinach has formed a little cup, perhaps to catch rainwater? Or perhaps its a disease...

 

Another example of the same occurance...Oooo! maybe my spinach is mutating into a carnivorous plant! Lol, Now I feel like Poison Ivey from Batman!

 

A Beautiful little flourette forming!

 

My poppies popping up around the Broccoli!

 

Thinning the radishes, Mr. Bo loves the thinnings!

 

Lettuce, Kale, Radishes and Onions in a small space. They are flourishing!

 

Im so happy I dont have to buy these from the produce section anymore, Collards go from the Garden, straight to the pot!

 

Lovin his radishes!

 

Hope you enjoyed my little Garden! Im hoping to build more raised beds soon to acomodate all the warm weather veggies and herbs I want to grow. Though getting Bear to help me build anything is easier said than done! 😉

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I must sincerely apologize for the complete lack of my normal Saturday post! The end of the week proved to hail a whirlwind of activity and the blessing of the company of old friends. To be quite honest, I must admit that on Friday evening I stayed up until about 6:30 in the A.M, I really felt like I was in High School again! Then Sunday showed my home full of the laughter of both children and men (you know they act like kids most days anyway;) and my new stove got broken in in a most appropriate way for a homestead…two whole batches of cookies!-all of which were consumed within the hour:)

But now I shall make up for it with this collection of wild medicinal (and of course edible!) plants, all of which can be found growing throughout the wilds of Georgia and I’m sure most of the southeast! I also had the pleasure of taking a wild weed walk in my mom’s Secret Gardens, so these pictures are a culmination of both her homestead and mine. So once again, won’t you join me on the farm, and in my mother’s gardens as we walk with heads pointed down to the ground exploring the bounty of our lawns!

The first in the series is common in most areas of the country in one form or another- Chickweed! This diminutive plant is both edible and medicinal in nature; having the properties to Treat coughs, hoarseness, constipation, kidney related disorders, and is now revealing itself as an effective antihistamine! With a whole host of vitamins and minerals including Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc, this plant is a treasure waiting to be discovered!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One easy way to identify chickweed is the tiny star shaped flowers, which upon closer inspection reveals instead of ten petals, five deeply cleft petals. It also has a line of hair running along a creeping purplish green stem, this particular variety is called mouse-eared chickweed, and is fuzzier than the variety shown above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This beautiful weed is called Ground Ivy, it makes a lush green ground cover and grows in areas grass doesn't like...but be careful, it's related to the mint family and tends to take over! Thankfully, it's medicinal and edible so it adds greatly to the useful lawn. It makes an excellent spring tonic, aiding in relieving congestion and inflammation of mucous membranes associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis, stimulating the appetite, treating allergies, digestive disorders, gastritis, acid indigestion, and diarrhea. These are just a few of it's many benefits. It is also an appetizing salad and soup green adding a great host of nutrients to the meal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since it is a member of the mint family, it's stem is square, hairy and creeps along the ground forming a mat, it's leaves are heart shaped and scalloped. The leaves, stems and flowers can be harvested year round, since it is a perennial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do not, under any circumstances, confuse ground ivy with this plant! This is called Delphinium and is very poisonous!some distinct differences include the serrated leaves, rather than lobed, and the more compact nature of the entire plant instead of the creeping nature of Ground Ivy. Remember, always properly identify before you even touch a plant, let alone harvest it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite appearances, no this is not a strawberry leaf! This ancient plant is called cinquefoil, otherwise known as Five Finger Grass. Purely medicinal in nature (I tried a leaf and neither the texture nor taste is appetizing in the least, so, though you could probably eat it as a salad green...well, let's just say I told ya so 😉 It's medicinal uses include treating Diarrhea, Menstrual Cramps, Mouth Inflammation, PMS, Sore throat and used as an astringent skin wash. In the old days, this herb was almost considered a 'cure all', it's scientific name; 'Potentilla' can attest to that...see 'Potent' in its very Latin origins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A close-up of this precious groundcover, notice the five serrated leaves on a single axis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmmmm....is this one of those 'what is this' closeup pictures you sometimes find in the back of a magazine? Nope! This is a most amazing resin from a very common plant...the Pine! Members of the Pine Family grow almost everywhere in America and most, if not all, are medicinally interchangeable to varying degrees of success. The Native Americans used this as a very valuable food supply in the winter when fresh vegetables were scarce. Because of it's very high vitamin C content, it's very useful in treating scurvy; the severe vitamin C deficiency commonly found in malnourished countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another amazing quality of Pine sap (and pine needles) is it's ability to treat just about any form of influenza, and though I've not come across a case, I'm almost certain even the bird or swine flu could not stand up to this resin's healing properties! More research is defiantly required in this area and if you come across any vases I would be delighted if you shared! On another note, pine sap also makes an amazing healing and drawing poultice for splinters, glass, spider bites and other small wounds. There are a great many old-timey pine sap slave recipes out there so I'll not take up more space with another one, simply know the knowledge is there for the taking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was overjoyed to recently learn (from my brilliant mom:), that this curious looking wild plant I've been wondering about for over a year now is actually the ancient healer Fumitory! This beautiful little plant has been used in medicine for thousands of years and just it's name brings images of monastery cottage gardens, ancient monks tending the healing plants in times such as King Arthur and Robin Hood lived! Many times I'm sure the smoke of this plant has graced the halls of catholic churches and has even been used to purify sick rooms and quarantine areas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internally, Fumitory is useful as a digestive tonic, treating gall bladder and Liver conditions, along with Being gently laxative and sedative in it's nature. Externally, it has been used to treat skin conditions such as rash, eczema, and other inflamations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for joining me once again as we explore the bounty nature has provided for us! Last weeks it was a salad, this week a healing potion…all from plants freely given to better our bodies and minds! Ahhhhh…..I love Spring!:)

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 Well everyone, it seems the groundhogs were right! Though it’s only the 15th of February, I can already tell that spring is, well springing into action! Three factors go into this reasoning; first, there is the dirt beneath my fingernails that refuses to be washed away, second, the mysterious nicks and cuts on my hands that always appear, and third the forgotten pack of seeds in my pants pocket that, every year inevitably gets washed with the laundry (for some reason it’s always radishes!). Ok, well maybe it’s four factors…Allergies have returned (early) to ruthlessly ravage my every waking moment! But I can’t pay attention to my pounding head, my stuffed nose that makes every  ‘N’ sound like a ‘D’, or even my watery eyes, No! whatever nature throws at me, there is one thing that must prevail….Gardening!  
So despite these achy muscles and ballon-like feeling in my head, Bear and I went Valentines day shopping, no, not for lingerie, for plants! (insert giddy excitement here) We finally found the time this weekend to build raised bed number two, this one six foot by four foot, and again, seventeen inches deep. Once again filled with a mixture of organic material (i.e. Grass clippings, shredded leaves, spoiled hay) and good garden soil. After two days of planning and configuring, this is what I managed to stuff into 24 square feet:

8 Georgia collard plants-12 inches apart
1 broccoli plant -12 inches 
15 spinach plants-6 inches apart
1 four foot long row of chives
2 four foot long rows of carrots
8 heading iceberg lettuce plants-8 inches apart
1 big beautiful purple Kale plant-15 inches is the spacing but I stuck it in a corner:)
13 onion sets, stuck between rows and wherever I could find room
4 pansies, also stuck in corners and wherever there was room
2 four foot long rows of radishes
1 four foot long row of sugar snap peas
Various Nasturtium seeds, stuck wherever there was room
California poppy seeds strewn around the broccoli plant.

The completed Raised Bed

Most of the spacing is taken from an intensive planting guide, I’m hoping that the plants are close enough together to shade out any weeds, though a thick layer of mulch will be applied, on top of the nourishing layer of compost spread yesterday. All of the flowers included in the mix are both insectory (meaning they will attract beneficial insects ) and edible. The nasturtiums will actually repel some leaf munching insects and I’m planning on adding some sweet alyssum as a living mulch later on. In other words, I’ve tried to pull out almost all the stops on the organic gardening pathway, including companion planting, which we will discuss on a later post. So hopefully, fingers crossed and prayers to agricultural gods everywhere, this garden wont have near the problems my others have had!

Iceberg lettuce

   Now it’s time to get back outside (hence the reason for my shortest post ever:). It’s a warm 63 degrees here in Georgia today with nice, sunny skies and a cooling gentle breeze…time to work on raised bed number three!

Gwenevere

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