Tag: lavender

Gardening Journal – Cold Stratification

With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, I’d just as soon go straight to spring and gardening season. Since that won’t happen, I’ll busy myself with a few garden tasks while the snow flies.

This year I’m planting a few types of seeds that benefit from cold stratification. In a nutshell, stratification is subjecting the seeds to cold, moist conditions in order to mimic winter dormancy. This softens up the hard seed coat and when warm temperatures arrive, it signals the seed to open and grow. Some seeds will not germinate (or will germinate very poorly) without it.

Depending on the seed, it could need anywhere from 1-3 months of stratification; this information will be printed on the seed packet. I’m experimenting with two varieties of lavender because it is a good companion plant for nearly everything else in the garden.

I’m also planting milkweed to draw pollinators to the yard. My father-in-law (affectionately known as Pa Kettle) planted milkweed for my mother-in-law so she could collect monarch caterpillars and watch them transform. Each fall, her front porch and dining room table were filled with butterfly cages. She was the cutest little mad scientist! Her middle school students enjoyed watching the process and learning about the life cycle of monarch butterflies.

This is my first attempt at cold stratification, and I’ve read that you can use either peat moss or sand. Being a more-is-more girl, I decided to try each, plus a 1:1 mixture of peat and sand. The process is the same regardless of the medium.

Some articles suggested sterilizing the planting medium so I placed my peat and sand into the oven on the lowest setting for a few hours.

Prepare plastic bags or other containers by writing the seed name and date for removal from cold stratification on the bag.

Now for the fun part! Mix a little water into the peat or sand until you can form it into a ball. The medium should be thoroughly but only slightly dampened. You should not be able to squeeze water out of the mixture. Excess moisture could cause the seeds to mildew or rot.

Mix the seeds into the medium and place into the prepared bags. Pop the bags into the lowest part of your refrigerator and you’re done!

I’ll check on mine occasionally to make sure they haven’t germinated. If some seeds do sprout, I will transfer them to planting trays and keep them in a warm, sunny spot until I can plant them outside.

Have you had any success with cold stratification? Do you have any tips to share? I’m all ears!

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 2019-2020 © 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.

Cooking with Edible Blooms

I’ve recently learned that so many of the blooms in my yard are edible: Dianthus, Impatiens, Scented Geraniums, Dandelions (of course!), Apple Blossoms, Lavender, Cherry Blossoms. The list goes on and on.

Scented geranium

Edible blooms can be used to simply to brighten up a visually uninteresting meal, like these dianthus flowers in Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl. It’s been said that we eat with our eyes first, which is a good thing. When taste tested, my husband and I decided the dianthus tastes vaguely like grass!

My lavender plant was battered by recent storms, so I purchased organic culinary lavender and dried hibiscus blooms from a natural foods store (Roanoke Co+op, if you’re local) and began experimenting with them.

The butterflies and bees have finally found the herb garden! I love watching them there.

“Experimenting” is probably a poor choice of words to describe what I’m doing. I feel very comfortable eating organically grown blooms from my own yard. I’m certain of what they are, and I know they have been grown in a manner that will not poison me.

Dianthus

Avoid eating:

  • Plants that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals
  • Commercial, non-organic and florist flowers
  • Plants grown near a roadway

No blooms of your own to harvest? You can purchase edible flowers from the produce section of your grocery store or online. Now, let’s get to the recipes!

Hibiscus Tea:
At our last home, we had a hibiscus with blooms the size of platters! I miss that thing. Note to self: Plant some hibiscus! I omitted the sugar in this recipe. The cinnamon and orange would make this a nice, hot tea in winter.
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/hibiscus-tea-recipe-1945450

If you’re concerned that lavender foods will remind you of soap, start by following recipes exactly as written. Most recipes require 1 tablespoon of lavender, or less. Once you’ve determined your own flavor preferences, you can adjust the recipe if needed.

Lavender Lemonade:
I love that this recipe is infused with culinary lavender, not essential oil. I’m very certain that 1 cup(!) of honey would make this amazing, but I left it out because, keto. I colored my lemonade with one drop each of blue and red plant based food color.
https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/lavender-lemonade-with-honey-recipe

Keto Lavender Scones with Lemon Glaze:
These little goodies are so tasty, you’ll forget that they are low carb!

I modified this recipe as follows:
Keto Lavender Scones
1 1/4 C Almond Flour
1/3 C Coconut Flour
8 packets Whole Earth sweetener
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Dried Culinary Lavender
1/4 C Almond Milk
1/4 C Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
In a mixing bowl, blend the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat™, form the dough into an 8″ round. Slice into 8 wedges. Bake at 350º for 18 minutes.

You can stop right there and serve these with fresh butter, or for extra credit, make them even more gorgeous and delicious with this glaze!

Keto Lemon Glaze:
2 packets Whole Earth sweetener
4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
4 Tbsp canned, unsweetened coconut milk cream (not the milk), at room temperature
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Optional Garnish – lemon zest and culinary lavender
Whisk sweetener, oil, coconut cream and lemon juice together until smooth and glaze the scones. While the glaze is still wet, garnish with a light sprinkle of lemon zest and lavender, if desired. Refrigerate to harden the glaze. The scones will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the freezer for a month, if they last that long!

Scones with butter. Gotta serve ’em on legit English ironstone!
Serve these glazed beauties on Grandma’s china, with a proper cup of tea.

What do you think? Do you cook with flowers? Is this something you would try?

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 2019-2020 © 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.