Category Archives: landscaping & gardening

Growing Herbs – Book review for Medicinal Herbs

medicinalherbsThere are times that I look around and ask myself “why don’t you just take a tylenol like everyone else… and then I remember all of the side effects and that I hate the fact that everything in medicines are so processed. 

We picked up this book about a year ago and I was so fascinated that we are now grown 80% of the plants from this book because we want to learn to use these plants rather than running to over-the-counter medicines. 

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book is a fantastic starter guide for anyone looking at growing their own medicinal herbs.   This book not only has a list of different herbs and their uses, but also how to make tinctures, herbal teas, poultices, salves, infused oils, syrups, decoctions, etc. When reading through the book, I noticed that there are several herbs that I already use for our family including garlic, elderberries and turmeric for colds as well as yarrow and mint teas for fevers. But there were recipes for other herb combinations that I knew that I needed… so I began ordering seeds to get our garden growing. 

The books include the following herbs: 

  • basil
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • thyme
  • turmeric
  • aloe vera
  • burdock
  • calendula
  • chamomile
  • chickweed
  • dandelion
  • echinacea
  • elder
  • goldenseal
  • hawthorn
  • lavender
  • lemon balm
  • licorice
  • marsh mallow
  • mullein
  • nettle
  • oats
  • peppermint
  • plantain
  • red clover
  • st. john’s wart
  • spearmint
  • valerian
  • yarrow

Planting Potatoes

Krisandlarry.com potato towerEvery year, we plant potatoes in our garden. I hated harvesting and felt like I was digging and digging and digging forever to get them out of the ground. Guess what?!?! For the last 3 years, we have been making potato towers using left over fencing,  straw and potting soil and it works WONDERS!

Start with a spare piece of field fencing. Make a ring out of it. Next, line the bottom with about 6 inches of straw. Start making the straw into a birds nest. Add 16 quarts or so of potting soil into the center and continue to build up the side with straw. 

On top of the soil, add 12 small planting potatoes (preferably with eye growth already) around the outside. Cover those potatoes with 16 more quarts of potting soil and add additional straw to the sides.  The straw keeps the soil and the moisture inside the ring. Continue this same layering of soil and potatoes until you run out of potatoes. On the final top layer of potatoes, you can put a few in the center, cover with soil and then several inches of straw. 

When watering, water the top of the tower until water seems out the bottom. After several weeks, you will see green plants beginning to grow out the sides and top of the tower. Do not worry! That is your potato plant. You can use a similar method win sweet potatoes too. 

I will revisit my potatoes in about a month or so in the blog so that you can see the progress!

How does your garden grow?

We have had monsoon weather the last few days with a ton of rain and cooler weather… My garden is SPROUTING!


We planted garlic, onions (green, red and yellow) zucchini, round zucchini, butternut squash, radishes, carrots, peas, string beans,  tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapenos.  I can’t wait to really start eating out of the garden!

We also have a full herb garden with mint, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, pineapple sage, thyme, lemon thyme, oregano, basil, chives and more.

Stage 1 Landscaping…DONE

Lar and I finally finished our stage 1 of landscaping. This is what I was hoping to accomplish this year (and what we budgeted for) Boysenberries, raspberries and grapes planted on the trellis, between are strawberries, mint and lavender.  We have planted 5 trees – 2 silver maple in the top patio area, 2 chokecherries down the steps to the garden. The 4 garden beds are in and onions are planted in one of them. Lar made me 2 sets of steps down my hill – one to the garden and one towards my parent’s house. (we have metal fencing up against my trellis so the dogs don’t dig up in the fresh dirt for now)

 


My battle against dirt – part 2

I know that I will never win my war against the dirt on our mini kid ranch… but this battle is turning more and more into FUN! There is no way to landscape ALL of the dirt in our yard… however, we have round 2 completed!!!

The first section of trellis wall is up – yep, all 32 feet is up and hanging. The flower bed edges are in… and about 1/2 of the soil is in the flowerbed.

What do I need to do to complete this (slave labor was complaining this morning that it was too windy to “work” outside) so we stopped…for now. 🙂

I need about 10 more sacks of potting soil. I need about 4 more wheelbarrows of “ZooPoo”. Good thing that we have llamas living next door at Vic and Lana’s!! I need to put the “end caps” on the flower bed (which means that Lar has to get out the saw and half one of the ties!!! And I need to plant my grapes which also means that I need to chicken wire them so that those meddling black labs can’t dig… I think that “dig-up-mom’s-new-plants” is all 3 of their middle names, well, that is if dogletts  had middle names. Calling them meddling is funny… can you tell that Berlyn and I watched ScoobyDoo earlier?

Here are 3 more photo shots of the latest version of our yard. 🙂

 

 

Revisiting Garlic

If you have been following our blog for a while, you know how important it is for us to have a garden. We love fresh produce and it helps off-set the cost in the summer, not to mention that we eat every night during the summer months with at least one thing from our garden on our table. This last summer, we bought a box full of Russian Red garlic (Here is the link!! CLICK ME!) We planted it in my “old bathtub” outside by the backyard patio. I was watering yesterday and LOOK!!! We have about 35 of them coming up now so far!!!!

 

Note to self – Do NOT let Berlyn help  water ANYTHING in the yard unless you want rocks in the flower bed. 🙂

And so it begins… the quest for less dirt in the yard!

I LOVE my house. It is big enough for everyone! We have a schoolroom, I have a studio. There are 4 bedrooms and a TON of land for us… however, the land is all dirt. I want plants and trees to bring birds and butterflies and bees…. My amazing husband has been put out on a quest to make that happen.

Lar and I have been collecting all of our landscaping goodies for months… and this weekend was BEAUTIFUL! So, outside we went… wrangling every kid, including my nephews for landscaping. My youngest nephew Jake looked at me and said… so we are doing yardwork then? I told him that “landscaping” can go on his resume but yardwork couldn’t!!!! LOL

OK… So here is our yard at the beginning… just dirt (I have new climbing roses in the red pot(there are 3 on the patio)

This weekend we managed to get the 9 fence posts in the ground cemented.  The new grapevines are in my greenhouse window staying warm for a few more weeks. The trellis to go on the fence posts is in the garage waiting for next weekend.

 

And, we have started our garden – yes I know that it is a bit early, but we needed to get the onion in the ground before it heats up or they may not take. So we have the first of the  raised beds filled and planted!!! Lar and I plan on added steps in the hill next weekend (as long as the weather agrees!)