Tag Archives: Chamomile

Good by Snow Moon

2february-11-2017-2
Somehow we came to the end of February and the chores are all checked off of my list.

  • Soil Blocks made. I can see broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage sprouting
  • Winter Sowing didn’t get to those, but we did plant artichokes, and parsleys.
  • Fava Beans were the last to go in , but they are in!
  • Potatoes were beyond Chitted, we found our seed potatoes had sprouted.
  • Onions had a hair cut
  • Fruit trees pruned

Just made it! I had to put our yellow potatoes into dirt. There is a huge pot of yellow potatoes in the green house and a tub of potatoes growing just off of the deck. As I write this they are being snowed on. Last hurrah for the Snow Moon.

2february-23-2017-1 Late start on the greenhouse salad because of rat wars. YUCK They are not gone yet, but they seem to be out of the greenhouse. Thanks Ray! If I look closely I can see mixed Asian greens from Botanical Interests. Grab a pack if you ever come across them. They make a lovely spring mix. We like them while they are still tiny. I also see French Breakfast Radish from seed I saved a couple of seasons ago. Still waiting for winter Spinach and Scallions.

2february-23-2017-5 Artichokes and parsley are doing a nice job, Onions have had a hair cut, even the Tarragon has been divided and repotted. I was worried about my Tarragon. I’ve had this plant for as long as we have lived in Everett. If I had to buy a new start it would not be the end of the world. I guess it is a matter of pride that I’ve kept it alive and fresh all this time. Wa-hoo Creation!

2february-232017-3 Outside, under our kitty kover, the garlic and shallots are doing great! Every time I flip the lid off for the day the scent of the herbs inspires me to make soup. Yes, I see weeds, but they are not ALL weeds It looks like the chamomile is already coming back. I think it liked wintering under the kitty kover.

2february-232017-1It was late when I pressed the last Fava Bean into the chilly loam, but I promise the day was clear and bright when Ray and I went out to putz in the garden. Ray pruned our trees. There is a video but I have not tackled that yet. The new plum is covered with buds. On the espaliered apple tree I think he might have removed as much wood as he left. We still need to tackle the the different cane and vine berries, they are waiting for us. I planted my Fava beans near by that day. Now and then he wanted my opinion on what did I think about what he is cutting. Isn’t he awesome! Look at the beautiful soil under the chips. Sadly, the rows look a little red neck (I r redneck). There are not many open spaces for the dogs to run in the garden. The mini fences and blue bailing twine is to discourage the dogs from running through the new bed of beans.

2february-25-2017-1 Just a hint of whats happening in March, under the Worm Moon. Why Worm Moon? It is going to start warming up enough to make happy worms!

  • Choose your tomato seed
  • Get a bed ready for peas
  • Choose pepper seed
  • Get ready to plant onions
  • Are your early potatoes ready?

Now, Whose going to teach me about Dahlias?

febuary-toy-box-copy

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, In the greenhouse, Urban Farm

Last weekend of January

January 30, 2016 (2)
January was good for a weekend farmer, bring on February.

Actually it is nice to only have to sweat over my journal. This last weekend in January is cold. Not back east cold, but I’m not back east. It has been raining buckets. The ground is squishy and the chicken run, usually low maintenance with a thick layer of straw to turn into spring compost, stinks because of the mild weather and rain. I’m going to need to take care of that well before spring. Fava beans are here and waiting for the crocus to show, broccoli, cauliflower and peas are all ready to plant!

From the Winter Garden

January 29, 2016 (2)

Flowering Brussels Sprouts a.k.a Kalette

Did I mention that the local gang of thug deer have been eating my winter crops? They knocked down an artichoke and topped all of the leeks. Not a huge deal, but it still gets my goat!

Those spicy winter greens have been growing in the mild PNW. A good poppy-seed-balsamic dressing seems perfect for their winter heat.

We have kalette… now what? The seed was very expensive and it took forever to grow. Now I need to do something with it. Any ideas?

January 29, 2016 (4) Garlic on purpose! I do not remember what happened in 2014. School I think. But if it had not been for forgotten, unharvested garlic, left in the ground, there would not have been any garlic for 2015. It got planted on purpose and I have neat rows of our favorite seasoning for 2016. Whoo-hoo!

In the Green House

January 29, 2016 (8) It is starting to look like a sanctuary again. It also smells better. No matter what the weather, Ray’s potting bench is pleasant to work at. The weather has been so mild that the onions are already living in the greenhouse. Every day I make at least two trips out there to carry the chamomilelobelia, and alyssum out and back in again at night. I grow most of my chamomile as winter sown plants, but I thought I’d try some on the heat mat… no difference, might as well save some energy and winter sow them.

January 29, 2016 (5) The onions are ready for their first hair cut. They look cute with their little black seed caps but if they are cut (a little less then half… do not go below any visible brackets) then they put more energy into girth rather then height. Trust me, they will do more then survive if you trim them back. Thicker onions are easier to transplant then threads.

January 29, 2016 (7) This pot of tarragon is about the perfect size to divide into more plants. I just need to collect and wash the pots they will go into. Like mint, tarragon spreads underground. It is not as aggressive as mint and it will not survive really cold temperatures. About April there will be a handful of stone pots filled with graceful boughs of licorice scented tarragon. What happens to it after that is up to me… or you if you happen to get one of them.

January 29, 2016 (6) Every year I worry that the seed that I have saved is not going to do well. Seed companies always talk about superior viability. I don’t know what makes them superior. All I know is that the pods of seed heads that I leave in the greenhouse to finish drying before I thresh them always do well for us. This is the little greenhouse bed I planted earlier in January. The French Breakfast radishes and the red (beaujolais) spinach from seed that I saved shot right up. I’ll take it! By the way, that is not mildew or mold on the bed, it is slug bait.

January 30, 2016 weather The farm is still looking seriously bleak. We have our bright spots and tend to focus on them but April-May still seems like a long way away.  After the “River of Rain” that invaded Everett, we have already had to empty the rain gauge. On this last weekend of January we have measured about 7.5-inches of rain and 0 of snow. Very unusual. The Almighty bless you!

 

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Filed under Fresh from the garden, Urban Farm

Subsistence Farming in January

December 31, 2015 (5)

I always get the itch to start… right before my fingers get numb and painful.

January in Everett, Washington

There is something empowering about seed catalogs.  Summer hues, flowers, lush fruit, abundance. I feel like I can grow anything in January. Honestly it is still too cold and even though my favorite weather page is telling me that the days are getting longer, I’m not really feeling it. I still have the itch to get started.

Here’s what I do to scratch that itch.

Seed Inventory

January 2, 2016 (1)

Seeds stored in the crisper drawer. Some are eight years old and still come up strong.

Before I start to memorize those catalogs, I take an inventory of what I have.  I have a file on my computer called “Seed Inventory” and a drawer in my refrigerator full of seeds with just a few of Ray’s Mason Bees. I am LOUSY at organizing but I do enjoy sorting. Before I make a single seed order I’ll go through my list, comparing it to what I actually have.  If Ray were in charge of  seed storage they would be in some kind of order so that I wouldn’t have to go through EVERYTHING every couple of weeks in the early season when we start our garden. His efficiency doesn’t stop there. When we plant together he puts in more then twice as much as I do because I fuss over every rootlet and pause to figure out what bird is singing that song. I tend to sit back and mentally write my blog or take pictures. He gets the job done.

January 2, 2016 (3)

A pocket size (or at least fanny-pack size) notebook for two of my passions. Bible-Hebrew study and dreaming about the garden.

 Somewhere between seed inventory and the green house I also inventory the things I need to make soil blocks, the condition of my flats and 4-inch pots. I’m probably going to need more.

Winter Sowing (link to an essay on my early attempts at winter sowing from my original blog, Rainsong) While going through my seeds and supplies I’ll be looking for the things I always winter sow. Artichokes, parsleys, tricky herbs like chamomile and echinacea (Purple Cone Flower). This year I am going to add snap-dragons and pansies to the Winter Sown list.

Job 3 The Green House

March 7, 2015 (6) Greenhouse

This is close to how it should look in here.

What a mess! The walls get green (despite the name, it is the plants, not the house itself that should be green). It does not smell right. It has become a storage shed for everything I don’t want getting wet, for seeds that need to be threshed and a bunch of other junk that needs to be tossed or put in its place. The green house is the one place that I love to keep orderly.

Job 4 Late Winter Salad

March 21, 2015 1st day of Spring (1)

March 2015 (from a late January planting) Radishes made my grid. Scallions and spinach did well but the tender lettuces did not like the radiant heat during the day and the near freezing temps at night. Just a couple of slugs ate those stressed babies.

There is a small square box in the very back corner of my greenhouse. During the summer it will hold eggplants or peppers, maybe cucumbers, but early in the season, well before I should, I will plant hardy Asian greens and mustards, radishes and scallions…. just because I can. Most of them will go into bentos, sometimes a slug will have a feast before I remember to sprinkle Sluggo, but sometime in early March, there will be a salad, far better then anything Costco or Trader Joe’s can ever hope to sell to me, that I will love more then the birthday cake I’ll have.

Are you ready? Then get out and get dirty! Afterwards, make something with the leeks and celeriac still growing in your winter garden!

February 6 uprising 2014 (2)

Uprising Seeds from 2014, almost time for 2016

Shabbat Shalom! January 2, 2016: clear and cold. Pretty to look at, brutal to be in. Sunrise at 7:58 and 26 degrees F. I saw a (Ruby Crowned?) Kinglet flitting about in the one surviving artichoke plant. The temperature got all the way up to 38 degrees. Sunset at 4:27 for 8-hours and 25-minutes of cold daylight

Debs

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Filed under Everyday Adventure, Urban Farm

July is for herbal flowers

Hidcote Lavender from the Toy Box herb garden

I went out this morning to harvest one of my lavenders. Yesterday I harvested the buds of an unnamed pink lavender. The pink has a floral scent but the hidcote lavender has the classic lavender scent that I love as a cooking herb and in sweets. While I was out, I harvested about half of my white lavender too.

Comfrey

The comfrey was lush and lovely through June. The graceful sprays of deep blue blossoms were attractive to bees and humming birds. I harvested some of the leaves to make a hot process oil that is awesome for relieving pain in my arthritic shoulders and sternum. I also make a tea of fresh comfrey leaves with lemon balm and mint (the last two are mostly for flavor) and it instantly relieves pain from my acid reflux. I’ve never tried to dry comfrey before. I have so much of it that I have togive it a try. My Jason used to make a poultice of the fresh leaves when he was boxing. I’m not sure if he ever broke a rib or just bruised them but he knows why comfrey has the nickname bone-knit. The pain relief is amazing. I still have quit a stand of comfrey to take care of. I could use more comfrey oil to mix with the St Johns oil that is cold processing on my shelf. I am told that combination is the best way to relieve joint pain.

One of two small stands of Chamomile growing at the Toy Box

Using my fingers as a rake I was quickly able to gather a pint of chamomile blossoms for tea. I’ve also been taking the blossoms of calendula (Pot Marigold) and will make a cream or ointment from those petals.

Need oregano?

This powerhouse plant is taking over. I hacked and pulled until there was a large scented heap of oregano in the pathway. I ended up stuffing it into the potato tower (where the indeterminate potatoes “Burbank Russets” grow. Usually I put straw or grass clippings into the tower to grow potatoes in layers but I had to do something with all that oregano. Chris thought I should feed it to the chickens for preseasoned eggs. Hummm.

After attacking the herb garden.

Really, I only went out to harvest the lavender. I do not know what got into me.

Oh yum, Marion berries are coming

Warm and humid. It runs me down.  70/57 with a heavy cloud cover. If you could see it you would know that the strawberry moon is waning. Sunrise at 5:29, Setting at 9:00 (15 hours and 31 minutes of gloomy daylight.)

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Filed under Fresh from the garden, Urban Farm