Tag: herb garden

Planting Garlic in the Herb Garden – A Final Task Before Winter

I meant to pre-order my garlic bulbs back in July, and it slipped my mind. Oops. Fortunately, we were able to get some of the last supply from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. (Thanks, Anna!) We ordered Russian Red garlic and the bulbs arrived in perfect condition. Russian Red is a pungent, hard-neck variety, with large cloves. It’s a good keeper.

Planting garlic is super easy. Divide the bulb into individual cloves, by removing the papery outer layer(s). Leave the final layer of paper on each clove. How pretty are the colors on these cloves?!

Dig holes to a depth of 3″ – 4″, spaced about 6″ apart. If you’ve got a dibbler, now is the time to put it to work! Place each clove into a hole with the root end facing down and the pointed end facing up.

Without disturbing the clove, carefully smooth the soil over and fill in the hole. Harvest a few more shards of tile and glass, and a couple of rusty nails while you’re at it.

We placed a few inches of mulch over the garlic to help insulate them throughout the winter. And that’s it. Now tap your fingers impatiently and wait for spring!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Drying Coriander Seeds

I mentioned in the mid-summer garden update that I turned my head for a minute and the cilantro bolted. Yep. That happened.

Did you know that the herb cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant, and coriander, the seed, is a spice? Cool, huh? She’s one hardworking plant.

I’m harvesting and drying the coriander seeds this week. Once the plant has started to turn brown, snip off the seed heads. Since I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure how brown is brown enough. Half of the plants are still green.

Allow the seed heads to dry fully. I’ve read that you can harvest the seed heads directly into a paper bag for drying, but I’m experimenting with drying them on the window screens that I used to dehydrate the basil. Which worked beautifully, by the way.

We run our dehumidifier in the basement constantly, so that area should work well for drying any plant. Once dry, the seeds will fall, and can be collected and stored in a sealed container.

I’m not sure if I can get one more crop of cilantro out of the herb bed before frost, but I’m going to try. Regardless, I’ll save this seed to plant in the spring.

For more reading on cilantro/coriander:
https://www.almanac.com/plant/coriander-and-cilantro

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Preserving Fresh Basil -Trial and Error, and More Trial

Last weekend I harvested our first large batch of basil. Because there is no way we can use this much fresh basil in a timely fashion, I decided to try my hand at preserving it. The first method I’m using is to simply dehydrate it.

I don’t have a fancy schmancy dehydrator, but it’s been blisteringly hot and sunny here lately, so I decided to put the weather to good use. I washed the basil really well and picked it off the stem. Mind-numbing work, right there.

Then, using freshly scrubbed window screens, I simply laid the leaves in a single layer and topped it with another screen to keep bugs out. My plan was to leave this in the sun for a few hours and collect my dried leaves, crush them and store them in an airtight glass jar.

Mother Nature had other plans. While Mark and I were spreading the basil on the screen, we heard thunder rumbling in the distance.

Within a few minutes, we were moving the basil onto our covered porch and scrambling for cover ourselves. Not to worry, we figured we’d just wait until the storm rolled through and put the basil back out when the sunshine returned.

Guess what didn’t come back for three days? Yep. My solar basil dehydrator is kaput. We’re trying to salvage this batch by drying it in the basement where we run a dehumidifier 24/7. We’ll see if this works. Gardening (like life) is all one giant experiment, right?

For the second preserving method, I’m freezing a small batch of clean, destemmed and blanched purple basil in olive oil. The blanching process goes like this: Dip the basil into boiling water for two seconds (yes, two!), and transfer it immediately into an ice bath. I used a large, mesh strainer as my scoop for this process.

After blanching the basil, I chopped it finely in the food processor and spooned it into ice cube trays. Add a splash of olive oil to cover, and into the freezer it goes. Once the cubes were frozen solid, I popped them out of the tray and into a freezer bag. These basil cubes are perfect for adding to soups, sauces and homemade salad dressings.

I’m planning to experiment with oven drying fresh herbs later in the growing season. But while it’s hotter than blue blazes in Virginia, I’ll do nearly anything to avoid heating up the house.

If you have a favorite method for preserving herbs, leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Rescuing Clearance Rack Perennials

While shopping for deer fence T-posts, I happened upon several racks of clearance perennials marked down to $1 each. Of course I loaded up my cart! Some of the blooms were ready for deadheading, but the leaves looked fresh and healthy. I figured these underdogs were worth a chance.

Perennial flowers are fantastic because you do the work of planting once, and are rewarded with year after year of blooms. Given the right growing conditions, most perennials are easy care, requiring only deadheading and occasional dividing.

We purchased these for the herb garden, because that is the sunniest area of our property. They range in height from 6″ to just over 2′ tall, so they shouldn’t shade other sun loving plants nearby.

Thinking about their mature size, bloom time and relation to neighboring plants, I placed them around the garden. I like to arrange them in irregular shaped, odd numbered groupings of 3, 5 or 7 of the same plant. This gives the garden visual ‘flow’ and is more appealing than planting in straight rows, as you would in a vegetable garden.

Here’s what we planted:

Balloon Flowers – one blue, one white
I’ve wanted to try balloon flowers forever. These deer resistant plants are whimsical and fun. They both had tags showing blue flowers, so the white one was a surprise!

Poppy
This one is a mystery plant only because I misplaced the tag. Oops! I seem to recall that it is an orange variety.

Darling Daisy™ Shasta Daisy
Daisies were my husband’s great aunt Ruth’s favorite flower, so I remember her fondly when I see these. This variety is fairly compact, growing to just 12″ tall. I deadhead these about once a week, and they are blooming their little hearts out.

Dwarf Coreopsis
We picked up nine of these, and I’m hoping they will provide a sea of golden blooms. They grow to 12″ tall, and bloom from spring through fall.

Giles Van Hees Speedwell – These tiny flowers bloom in summer. They seem a little finicky and we’ve already lost two of the five that we purchased. (R.I.P., little guys) I’m holding my breath that the remaining three will settle into the garden nicely.

Little Women Daylily – I’m not sure where we are in the bloom cycle, but I suspect that we’re done for the year. I bought three of these for their unusual, peach color which will pair nicely with the nearby lavender.

Hopefully our plants will be happy here, and provide some interest to the garden. They’ve already drawn the attention of neighborhood butterflies, so we think the bees will find them soon as well.

How about you? Do you take pity on the clearance rack plants, and take them home?

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Succession Planting Herbs

Succession planting is simply sowing seeds at intervals so that you have a constant supply of produce. In years past, I’ve made halfhearted attempts at succession planting our gardens. I’ve never made a planting schedule and stuck to it. This year I’m sowing seeds at two week intervals, so that we can enjoy our favorite herbs throughout the growing season.

Purple Basil. But you could’ve guessed that!

I’ve planted cilantro, flat leaf Italian parsley and three varieties of basil; lime, purple and Thai. These are all familiar plants except the lime and Thai basil. I try to plant about a dozen seeds each time, because we tend to pick small batches.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

My method isn’t very organized but it seems to be working. Every two weeks I wander out to the garden, seeds in hand, and find a little patch of soil near the previous plantings. I pull the mulch back with a hand rake and loosen up the surface of the amended soil underneath. After carefully placing the seeds over the loosened soil, I sprinkle bagged garden soil over them to the recommended planting depth. Basil takes 1/8″ of soil and the parsley and cilantro require 1/4″ of soil covering.

Cilantro

Once I’ve pressed the new soil down lightly; I water the planting area, taking care not to wash the seeds away. Unless we get a nice, overnight rain shower, I water every morning. If the weather is unseasonably hot or dry, my planting beds get a second drink of water in the early afternoon. After the seedlings sprout and the plants are established, I water according to the directions on the seed packet.

Just look at those babies in circle two!


I hope you will give this project a try. If you do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or email me at arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

Lime Basil

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

An Experimental Deer Fence

Now that we’re planting the herb bed, we need a way to keep the deer out of it. My father-in-law (affectionately known as Pa Kettle) is a country farmer from way back, and he’s tried nearly everything to prevent deer from ravaging his garden. Mothballs, garden spray with hot pepper, smelly plants like marigolds; you name it, he tried it. He hung bags of (humanely collected!) human hair on stakes throughout the garden, and did the same with bars of Irish Spring soap.

Each of these methods works for awhile, the deer acclimate to it, and then it’s no longer effective. He currently has an 8′ tall, wire fence around the garden which seems to prevent most break-ins.

Just look at those wee, little seedlings, will you?! I’m like a kid at Christmas!

Our neighbors paid $500 to have an electric fence installed around their large garden, and we’ve watched the deer leap right over it as gracefully as ballerinas. The little, tick-ridden acrobats.

Because this garden is in our front yard, I need a fence that is reasonably attractive. Or, at least not ugly. I read about a fishing line deer fence and decided to give it a shot. It’s easy to install, low maintenance and a minimal investment.

Materials:

  • T-Posts, or other fence posts – we needed 10 – Cost: $70
  • 1 spool of 30 lb. fishing line – Cost: $2
  • 1 Sturdy Gate Post – we used rebar
  • PVC Pipe – two pieces, cut to 18″, use the correct diameter for your gate post
  • O-ring, Rope or another contraption to use for the gate latch
  • Shovel or Post Hole Digger

We dug the post holes about 5′ from the edge of the bed. This leaves a wide path to maneuver a wheel barrow or push mower inside the fence. It’s far enough back that if deer manage to poke their nosy, little heads under the fence, they still can’t reach my herbs.

T-Posts are easy to install. The process goes like this: dig, level, fill, move on, dig, level, fill, move on, dig, level, fill, move on. Repeat until you can’t stand to look at another fence post, ever again. Burying the metal flange just below the surface stabilizes the post.

Once the posts are up, it’s time to wrap them with fishing line. Leaving the gate section completely open, I worked my way back and forth, wrapping the perimeter using one continuous piece of line. I might come back and hit the knots and hooks with a little E-6000 if the line doesn’t stay in place, but for now it’s holding.

The gate post is made from a piece of rebar. If this works well, I’ll paint it to match the T-posts. We tied fishing line from the post to the right of the gate and straight over to the rebar. The rebar recesses into the PVC pipe and it holds the gate in place.

To secure the top of the gate, slide an O-ring or loop of rope down over the top of the T-post and rebar post. I didn’t want to put downward pressure on the fishing line, so I looped a hair elastic through a hole in the T-post and attached a carabiner to it. The carabiner slides over the rebar to hold it in place.

When we want to open the gate we simply lift the rebar out of the pvc, walk it over to a second piece of pvc that we sunk into the ground to the right of the gate. This holds it upright until we’re ready to close the gate again.

We’re hopeful that this experiment works and we don’t have to resort to using guard dogs and explosives. (I’m kidding about the explosives. Mostly.) I’ll keep you posted.

Gate open.
Gate closed.

To read the post that inspired this project, go here:
http://blog.seedsavers.org/blog/deerfence

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Amending Garden Soil

Judging by the heavy, clay soil and the copious amounts of debris here, this area of our property has never been gardened. Our first job is to improve the soil by adding rich, new garden soil and compost.

Materials List:

  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow or heavy, plastic tarp
  • Gloves – I prefer leather gloves for this job
  • Strong Back
  • Soil Amendments (depending on your garden’s needs – new garden soil, compost, manure, sand, peat, etc.)

Here’s how to amend the soil:
Dig the first row about 12″ deep (or the depth of a shovel head), and place the soil in a wheel barrow, or on a heavy, plastic tarp. Pour the soil amendments down into the row.

As you dig the second row, shovel the soil from row two over row one and mix it in. You’ve just finished amending row one.

Now, pour soil amendments along your newly dug row two.

Row Three: Dig and place soil amendments over row two, mixing as you did before.

Rows 4 – Last: Repeat the above process until you reach the final garden row. Once you have added the amendments to the last row, pour the soil from row one on top and mix it in.

Rake the bed smooth and pick up any rocks or clumps of soil. Your garden is ready for planting!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Digging a New Garden Bed – A Literal Bed of Nails

Now with BONUS crazy story!

I’m so excited because we’re finally creating an herb garden! I’ve wanted one for years but the few sunny areas of our yard are out of sight and mostly out of mind. Recently, a wind storm took down a pear tree near our house, opening up the perfect place to grow herbs.

RIP, pear tree. You were a good climber, from what I hear.

First, we determined the size and shape of the bed. I wanted an interesting shape because this bed is smack-dab in the middle of our front yard. At the center of the bed I stuck a weeding tool into the ground and tied a string to the handle. I marked the string at 8.5′ and used that as my guide to spray paint the perimeter line. (This is my very unscientific method, and I’m purposely avoiding using words like radius and circumference here. I have to trick the right side of my brain into participating in math and science.)

Anywho, then we got to diggin’. Closely following the painted line, we dug a very deep border edge (8″ – 10″) and transferred that sod into a wheelbarrow.

Resisting the temptation to turn or till it under, we removed the sod layer entirely. This layer is full of seeds (grass and weeds, in our case) and they will sprout in the garden bed. We could have moved it to our compost piles, or filled a few low spots in the yard, but we chose to create a small berm instead, and we’ll have to aggressively weed it going forward.

Dig, remove sod, repeat. Dig, remove sod, repeat. Go to bed. Get up and do it all over again. You can see the berm taking shape in the back of the picture below.

Now that we’ve cleared away all of the sod, we’re ready to begin amending the soil. But for now, it’s time to stand back and admire our handsome new garden bed.

Crazy Story Time:
Soon after we bought this house we noticed that whenever it rained, shards of broken glass and tile would work their way to the surface of the lawn. That discovery was quickly followed by a “no bare feet outside” rule. The debris that has surfaced since then seems to have no end.

Broken tile

Almost with the first shovelful of soil that we turned over in this bed, we began picking up rusty nails and other debris. The first day we threw them out. The second day we started tossing them into a 5 gallon bucket just to save a few steps.

We found half a license plate, bits of wire, metal springs, screws, a Willard battery cap and beer can tabs. Not surprising, since the original owner ran a neighborhood garage from our property.

That green blob on the right is proof that balloons don’t biodegrade.
The Great Archaeological Dig of 2019

We unearthed half of a broken, plastic cup, two table knives, four glass marbles and a tiny, blue game piece. Also not surprising, because the Thompson family raised fourteen children here. I can just imagine Mrs. Thompson raising Cain as her utensils slowly disappeared from her kitchen, never to be seen again!

And oh, my word! The nails that filled this bed! It’s been a week since we finished digging, and we haven’t found more nails, but I’m not deluding myself into thinking we’ve found them all.

Guess how many nails we dug up from the herb garden? Can’t imagine? Here’s a hint:

We picked up seven. hundred. and. eighty. two. rusty. nails!
782!
I would love to know what on Earth happened here, to have so many nails in the yard!

And then there is the glass! Our nieces and nephews have played on this patch of lawn forever. They’ve chased lightning bugs, played What Time is it Mr. Fox?, Tag and Toilet Tag here. They’ve scoured this area for hidden Easter eggs. This is where we have our New Year’s midnight silly string battle. Our nieces turn cartwheels here. It’s really amazing that no one has been injured by a glass shard.

I told my sister-in-law that we’d never be able to work in this bed on our hands and knees, and she suggested that we use a small bag of soft mulch as a kneeling pad. Great idea! We will certainly do that.

The best discovery of all (the only good discovery?) are these two glass bottles that my husband dug up. The larger bottle is absolutely perfect with no chips or cracks. I cannot believe that it survived undamaged, considering that we used shovels and a mattock to dig this bed! The smaller bottle has a chip on the lip, but is otherwise in good condition.

Is it just me, or does that white marble remind you of a glass eye?

So that’s your crazy story for the day, kids. Now, go update your tetanus shot!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.