Day 27

Purple Cherokee

Yellow Pineapple

Red Zebra 


The Handyman Will Be Rewarded.

He's done it again.  He built me something pretty.  

And since he knows the way to my heart, he included all of the important things- it's cute, recycled and  functional!

He made the CD bookcase years ago with scrap wood, when we first started dating.  Since we've gone the way of the times, the CD's are now uploaded and stored away.  Our unspoken mantra for 2011 is "minimize", so this bookcase was pretty much saved from the yard sale pile by getting a second life.

The neighbor's kitchen remodel resulted in free 2x4's for the legs, rustic and sturdy.  He drilled holes for drainage and added a screen to the bottom.  What served previously as shelves will now be busy defining boundaries and providing a sweet ass design element.

Ain't she swell?

It was an amazing gift and it was an easy decision.  I decided to plant herbs I'll use in cooking delicious and healthful things to both repay him.  Here's to celebrating the good old back & fourth!

1. French Tarragon

2. Fern Leaf Dill

 3. Tri-colored Sage
Evidence shows that throughout history, sage was associated with immortality and longevity, and it was believed to increase mental capacity.  It's also been studied lately, with the possibility of helping with the results of Alzheimer's. It's antibiotic and anti-fungal. Homemade cleaners?  However you slice (or chiffonade) it, it is welcome in my garden + kitchen.  Helpful growing tip:  To encourage full bushy growth, pinch growing tips in spring, and remove old leaves after frost or before new growth appears.

4. Golden Oregano
5. Curled Parsley
 6. The Lemon Thyme and English Thyme 
 It will do great in the spot that gets the most sun.  They tend to propagate like hussies, so separating them from the rest of the herbs should cool their laurels for awhile.  If it grows and grows, I can easily dry some and keep it in an air tight container.  It will be a common flavor supporter in my soups and roasts, providing some much needed iron.

7.  Stevia 
The leaves will make a great natural sweetener for some well earned mojitos.  I assume that's where all of my mint may be headed too!

8. Coriander Cliantro  
My biggest challenge to date, who is constantly teaching me lessons in the garden. It's dry but then quickly overwatered.  It's wilting in the sun but not much better with some shade.  I spoke to a few guys at Armstrong Nursury who gave me a pep talk though. I will desperately try to keep it healthy!
9. The Marigold and Dianthus flowers  
bring in a little jazz.  Marigold's are actually hard workers though too.  They deter harmful insects from making your garden their home, while simultaneously attracting butterflies. Rumor has it that you can even use it in teas!  (My newest obsession.)

Beautifully HANDCRAFTED container 
LOVINGLY grown herbs

I'd say we both win in this scenario.  
Team Minton!


Profile: Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a hardy perennial herb. 
I have found it very easy to grow, flourishing in my container garden.  
Unfamiliar with it?  Well, it's extremely aromatic and flavorful, being on of the primary ingredients of absinthe. The bulb is crunchy and slightly sweet, treated as a vegetable, often being found in salad or braised down as a side dish.

The leaves look similar to dill, and can be as an herb or garish.  The seeds are used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.
It has a mild anise like flavor, and reminds me of black licorice.  It's much more mild though- I avoid licorice like the plague, but can appreciate the mild and delicate bite of fennel.
The herb is also used as a natural medicine to aid digestion.  It's also given to nursing mothers to help encourage milk production.  
If you look, you may find wild fennel, as it has become an invasive species in North America.
Hop on over to Epicurious for from great recipe ideas.
"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." 
 ~Lewis Grizzard


PROGRESS REPORT: Heirloom Tomatoes

As an attempt to give my husbands and animals a break, I decided to mother something else instead: 72 baby tomato plants. There are 4 heirloom varieties. 
I have equal numbers of Yellow Pineapple, Brandywine, Purple Cherokee and Red Zebra.  The first 3 varieties were from seeds I saved in the fall, from McGrath Family Farms.  You can find my how to post here.
90% of the seeds have sprouted!
Maybe it's the magical combination of light, water, warmth.  Is it the thoughtfully mixed soil?  Is it my constant concern?  Maybe.  And just maybe it's the 24 hour jazz.

Only 2 seeds didn't sprout- not bad since I started with 72!
The 2nd set of leaves have come in on all of the seedlings.
  We're moving right along. 

Please stand by.