Using Your Garden Foliage: Yarrow Tea & Yarrow Pepper

Yarrow is a medicinal plant that can used to aid in the treatment of menstrual cramps and constipation. It’s flowers, leaves and stems can be used in recipes to act as an anti-inflammatory, astringent, insect repellent, expectorant, antibacterial and even an antiperspirant.

Its taken two years for my Yarrow plants to flower and I thought it would be fun to share with you the process of making Yarrow tea and dried herbs.


Yarrow Flowers


1 cup of clipped Yarrow flowers to be steeped for medicinal tea.


Yarrow leaves steeping in hot water. I placed a  salad plate  on top of the yarrow to hold it down under the boiling water.


Yarrow leaves offer a peppery herb flavor to foods. It can be sauteed like spinach or dehydrated for a dried peppery herb.


Yarrow leaves ready for the oven.


The remaining Yarrow stem stimulates decomposition and will be added to my compost bin.

I didn’t share any pictures of the tea or the herbs…..because I forgot to takes some.

MY EXPERIENCE: The Yarrow tea  (the tea is bitter) did help with menstrual cramps and it does stimulate bowel movement. I would not suggest having a cup of Yarrow tea before leaving home :o)

The dried Yarrow taste delicious in gravy’s, soups and as a seasoning on meat. I have been using the Yarrow in place of black pepper.

COST: A pack of Yarrow seed can be purchased for around .98¢ at Walmart. One pack can yield multiple plants over many years.

FREE Basil Seeds

Sign up for TomatoHeirlooms.com newsletter and just for doing so they will send you a FREE Basil Seed Pack! You variety package will include 3 garden size packets of Classic Genovese, Dark Purple Opal, and Lemon Basil.

I’m definitely signing up for this one. See…I told you earlier that gardening wasn’t expensive. Growing Basil is so easy and mine was gigantic last year.

Update: I just received my email and the offer requires that you do the following to get your seeds:

Please take advantage of our free seeds offer by sending a self addressed self stamped (SASE) envelope to the address below:

4151 Hwy 86
Brawley, CA 92227

Sign up for your FREE seeds HERE!

(Thanks Thrifty Mom!)

Growing Vegetables at Home Using Re-Purposed Planters

 Recycle, Re-Purpose,  Sustainability,  Compost, Compost Bin, DIY Compost Bin, DIY Projects

…is what I often here from friends who don’t garden. Yeah… if you use Martha Stewart Living as your standard (Sorry Martha, I love your work…I’m just sayin’).

We use magazines and gardening shows as a way to generate ideas for my gardening experience but not as the general rule for what I do in my gardens. Gardening for me has to be frugal.

If I am paying more to grow tomatoes than it would take to buy them at the grocer, than it defeats my purpose. The biggest key to gardening on the cheap is to make a plan.

I started composting in Spring 2009 using a very frugal method that I demonstrated here. It saves me a ton of money and it allows me to get more that one use out of the food from my kitchen.

Composting is a slow process so in order to reap the benefits you must plan ahead. We started composting last summer and throughout the fall and winter.

By planning ahead we have saved money on the  purchasing compost and fertilizer.

 Recycle, Re-Purpose,  Sustainability,  Compost, Compost Bin, DIY Compost Bin, DIY Projects

Starting your garden from seed rather than those pretty pre grown vegetable plants at the gardening center is going to big a big money saver.

We purchase all of seeds at the end of the season when they are cheapest, which means we buy them a year in advance. If we do buy potted plants, we buy them from the clearance area of the gardening center. When we buy regularly priced plants we look for the smallest pot size which are generally cheaper and allow them to mature in our gardens.

Buying smaller plants can make your garden look empty in the beginning stages, but once they mature they will be just as beautiful as a fully grown plant only at a fraction of the price.

Once you’ve gotten your seeds and compost you’ll need something to plant them in. I use the egg cartons, styrofoam containers, plastic containers and just about anything I can find. Just make sure not to use any containers that came into contact with raw meat.

As you can see, gardening and growing your own food does not have to be expensive. Growing your own vegetables will allow you to save money and control the quality of what your family eats. I can’t wait to eat all of the delicious goodness that will come from these plantings.

How To Make A Compost Bin

Compost, Sustainability, Gardening, Recycling, Compost Bin, DIY Compost Bin, DIY Projects

Composting seems like it should be something very difficult to accomplish but on the contrary it is quite easy and very helpful for our environment. Composting reduces the amount of waste in our landfills which reduces the amount of hazardous runoff in our water resources.

Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

How to choose Compost Container

To make your own compost bin you’ll need a sturdy container for composting. I used a rectangular Rubbermaid container but, you can use the upright Rubbermaid trash can as well.

Compost, Sustainability, Gardening, Recycling, Compost Bin, DIY Compost Bin, DIY ProjectsHow to Make your Compost  Bin

You’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver or and electric drill. Drill whole in the lid of the bin and around the bottom and sides or the bin. When drilling the whole around the sides be sure to drill them about 2 to 4 inches below the top rim of the bin.

Compost, Sustainability, Gardening, Recycling, Compost Bin, DIY Compost Bin, DIY Projects

What Materials Can You Compost:

  • Paper napkins & towels
  • Freezer-burned vegetables or fruit
  • Fresh or rotten veggies or fruit scraps
  • Burlap coffee bags
  • Pet hair
  • Post-it notes
  • Wood chips
  • Lint from dryer & behind refrigerator
  • Hay
  • un popped Popcorn
  • Old spices & herbs
  • Pine needles
  • Leaves
  • Matches (paper or wood)
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Grass clippings
  • Potato peelings
  • Paper with black & white ink
  • Weeds
  • Hair clippings
  • Stale bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Wood ashes, Sawdust
  • Tea bags and grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit rinds
  • Pea vines
  • Houseplant trimmings
  • Old uncooked pasta
  • Garden soil
  • Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
  • Kleenex type tissue paper (not toilet paper)
  • Tree bark
  • Flower petals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
  • Expired flower arrangements
  • Citrus wastes (like lemons, orange and lime)
  • Old leather gardening gloves
  • Tobacco wastes
  • Nut shells
  • Straw
  • Shredded cardboard
  • Fish bones
  • Shrimp, Lobster & crab shells (I personally avoid adding animal products)
  • Toenail clippings
  • Leather wallets
  • Fruit pits
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Stale breakfast cereal
  • Pickles
  • ‘Dust bunnies’ from under the bed
  • Pencil shavings
  • Wool socks,
  • Artichoke leaves,
  • Leather watch bands
  • Brown paper bags
  • Burned toast (not buttered)
  • Feathers
  • Animal fur
  • Vacuum cleaner bag contents
  • Old or outdated seeds
  • Liquid from canned vegetables or canned fruit
  • Snow
  • Dirt from soles of shoes
  • boots
  • soap scraps
  • Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
  • Cardboard (shredded)
  • Grocery receipts

What Compost Material Should You Avoid?

Diseased plants, Animal products (meat,bones & dairy) they can create a foul smelling compost bin, Colored/color printed paper such as Rite aid & CVS circulars and weeds that root easily. I personally avoid all weeds.

How should you organizing your compost bin?

Your bin should alternate between green material and brown material. Brown material would things such as bark, pine needles, newspaper, wood chips or lint. Green materials would be things such as fruits or veggies.

Start your compost bin by adding a 2-4 inch thick layer of brown material to the bottom of your bin and water. I usually start with newspaper. Now add in a 2-4 inch layer of green materials. This is where I had my egg shells, tea bags, coffee grinds, fruit and vegetable scraps. I water the pile again, then I repeat a layer of brown and green. I alternate between layers until the bin is 3/4 of the way full. I give it a final water and seal it shut.

I set my bin in a sunny location and forget about it for 1 week. After 1 week I shake and turn the bin the mix the content together. I may take a peek inside but there is really nothing going on at this point. If my material seems dry I sprinkle it with water and seal it shut.

Kitchen Compost Collector: Each week I collect compost material from my kitchen. I store it inside of a old plastic butter container under the kitchen sink or in the refrigerator. Once the container is full, I dump it into the bin. Each time I dump the kitchen scraps I add a layer of newspaper. I shake or flip the bin over a few times and seal it shut.

Compost, Sustainability, Gardening, Recycling, Compost Bin, DIY Compost Bin, DIY Projects
Maintenance Commitment: After initially making the bin, you will not need to give it much more attention than to flip it every couple of weeks. Continue adding materials to the bin as often as you accumulate them.

Using Your Compost: Four to six weeks prior to the time that you’d like to use your compost, discontinue adding materials. This would be a great time to construct another bin in order to continue collecting your scraps. Once the compost is ready use it in your gardens.

Pesto from the Garden

I made some pesto this week using up, what I thought would be he last of my garden basil and oregano. However after cutting it all back, the parsley has grown back lusher than ever.
My recipe for pesto is really simple. I use it to add flavor to soups stews and pasta dishes.

The Proverbs Wife Pesto2 cups basil
1-2 parsley
1/4Olive Oil
(I use X-tra Virgin)
1 t-spn salt
1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)

Run everything through the blender or food processor. Add EVOO until you archive desired consistency. Pour into ice trays and freeze or store in airtight container in fridge for 7-10 days.
Making pesto allows me to still enjoy the taste of herbs from my garden during the winter months. Basil and Parsley are two of the easiest herbs to grow. They are virtually maintenance free and can grow in the ground or in a pot.

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Green Thumb Gardening Tips

Hosta

Kyshasaid… 

I wish I had a green thumb. Maybe you could post some green thumb tips. Your garden looks beautiful.There is no one particular method that will work for everyone but I will share what has worked for me. Begin by asking yourself the following questions.

 

What types of annuals and perennial grow well in my area?

Began to observe the landscaping in your community to see what grows well. Also think about what types of plantings appealed to your taste. For instance do you like dramatic flowers such as Dahlia’s, Lillies and Jumbo Zinnia. Or do you you like plants that grow in mounds such as Lanatana and Candy Tuft.

 

Jumbo Zinnia

What type of soil and weather conditions do I have? clay, sand, rich soil, rocky, etc.

Lantana 

The reason why certain plants grow well in some places better then others is due to there hardiness. If you plan on growing Lantana under a shade tree, than they will probably die since they like direct sun/partial shade. Likewise, Hostas can hardly tolerate any direct sun without burning. So be sure to figure out the conditions of your garden prior to adding plants.

How much time/money do I have to invest?
For beginners I would suggest going to the local dollar tree and purchasing some bulbs to experiment with. Many bulbs such as Gladiolus, are easy to grow and don’t require much attention. In addition many varieties spread and can fill up a small flower garden in 2-3 years.
Dahlia 

In addition a good investment would be to start flowers from seed. All it takes is a bag of soil and some recycled pots such as yogurt containers or egg cartons. Once the plant is strong enough it can be transplanted outdoors into the garden.

Why do I want to garden in the first place?

Lantana

 

You must have a reason. One that will motivate you. So that when summer rolls around and it’s hot, and going outdoors to water and weed is not as much fun as it was in the Spring. My motivating reason is just a pure love for growing things and making our outdoor living space just as beautiful and inviting as our indoor one.

Mature Lantana

 

Once you have answered all of these questions begin looking for plants that bloom on the fall. Pick out a small space and begin adding to it each season. If you have a little bit of money but a lot of patience buy plants in their smaller stages of growth and let them mature in your landscape. Smaller plants are often less expensive then mature plants. Start some seeds in and empty egg carton. The 10 cent seed packets at Walmart will do fine. As they mature begin to set them outside for a few hours each day for about two weeks. Then transplant them into your flower bed.

More Hosta Varieties

Goals met this Month

I hope that everyone has had a great weekend. I spent part of my weekend making dish cloths. I have really enjoyed making these dish clothes for friends and family. I will be adding them to mini gift baskets filled with inexpensive kitchen gadgets and a sweet smelling dish soap. As I crochet each of these clothes my mind is free to think about the friends and family members who will receive them. I am able to pray for them and get encouragement knowing that they love me just as much as I love them.




Here is a photo of my indoor Impatience plant. This is my first experience with ‘Impatience’ and I am not sure how long they will bloom or grow for that matter. I have had them since Memorial Day. I purchased two 8 packs for $1.00 so, I think that I did pretty well.


Here is my Basil plants. Well one of them. I brought this one inside because ‘Japanese Beetles’ were beginning to much on the leaves before I could. I still have four more outside in my vegetable garden and the slugs and caterpillars get to much on a few of those leaves before I harvest them.

Here are the annual ‘Petunias’ that I bought early in the Spring on clearance. I paid $1.00 per pot and was able to fill in a good bit of my front yard landscape at that price.


These are my ‘Gladiolus’ that were planted three years ago. I love them because they are so hardy and beautiful as cut flowers.
I only cut the yellow, because if I don’t the ‘Japanese Beetles’ will have a field day with them. For some reason they are not attracted to the red ‘Gladiolus’.
This year I added some purple ‘Glads’ which I will share pictures of once they bloom in the Fall.



I love the colors found in my Tropical Plant. This plant is an annual, but I will bring it inside during the Fall to see if it will last until next season.

Below are the new additions to my flower beds. First is a pink blooming ‘Lantana‘.
Next is the Peaches and Cream ‘Lantana‘. Next is the “Red Spread Lantana” which blooms red and orange.


Also making a debut is seed grown mini ‘Zinnia’s’

And store bought large ‘Zinnia’s. The first picture is a Zinnia as it unfurls it’s beautiful petals.

The next addition is the ‘Pink Phlox”.
Finally, are some of my foundation plants. I have ‘English Ivy’…
and a few Hosta’s.


This is my backyard veggies and flower bed. I started it this year so it is a work in progress. In front is a yellow ‘Wild Cone Flower’

Behind it is a ‘Juniper’ bush and garlic sprouts.
Tomato plants below.



Thank you for stopping by and checking out what I have gotten done this month.
What have you accomplished this month that brings you joy?