Tag Archives: Lavender

Progress 3-23-14 Pea Planting Time.

Season 5 Peas, Maestro and Green Arrow

Season 5 Peas, Maestro and Green Arrow

Spring is like magic. One day the skies clear, the sun warms the soil and the birds call my name. You know the lawn needs cutting but it will happily wait for you. There are peas that need planting.

I think this tool is meant to be used for pulling weeds but I use it to plant onions and for working with soil blocks. It moves gently between blocks and scoots them to an easy-to-pick-up spot.

I think this tool is meant to be used for pulling weeds but I use it to plant onions and for working with soil blocks. It moves gently between blocks and scoots them to an easy-to-pick-up spot.

Season 5 (2014) seems wetter then other seasons in Everett, Washington. I put most of my peas into soil blocks this year. They sprouted in the greenhouse and have patiently waited for me to take them to their garden home. Even though pea greens do not look very large, the roots surprise me with their length. I started out making holes in the patch just large enough for the soil block, my normal soil block planting method, but worried about what was happening to those wild roots. The better method was to dig a shallow trench, lay the roots I the direction they grew in the tray, then back-fill the trench. Much quicker, less stress.

Garlic, planting it on Halloween is as close as I get to celebrating. Boo!

Garlic, planting it on Halloween is as close as I get to celebrating. Boo!

The shallots and garlic are not nearly as thick looking as I anticipated. I expect to harvest shallots for a short season but I want the garlic to get me through to next spring. Normally I plant my garlic under a thick layer of maple leaves for insulation through winter. This year I just put the kitty cover on the bed (a cold frame that fits my 4×4 SFG’s–square foot gardens). This may have been a mistake. For the last week the cover has been off of the garlic-shallot bed, it is time to move it to the broccoli bed.

Broccoli started under the Snow Moon (February)

Broccoli started under the Snow Moon (February)

The SFG the spring broccoli will go into has been worked with home-grown compost, a small layer of that awesome horse manure compost from the neighbors boarding stable, alfalfa meal (worm candy) and a bit of lime. The best broccoli I ever grew was in season 3. The largest head was nine and a half inches across (Thompsons OP)!  That broccoli bed was strictly MM (mel’s mix, the “soil” in SFG) made with Toy Box compost (dominated by our chicken bedding). I tried to duplicate that in season 4 with the horse compost and got lush growth but really small heads. So for Season 5 I just lightly amended my compost with a bit of horse compost. You know that if I have something to brag about I sure will! The kitty cover will have the poly rain-coat repaired (winter winds) and be moved to the broccoli bed in time for the pink moon when I plant it out (about a week from today) However, if the evenings after school are too beautiful to ignore, I’ll be out early to plant.

Season 5 Broccoli, in the green house and about ready to plant out (all are OP open pollinated)

  • Thompsons (longer season, produced the 9.5 inch broccoli)
  • Solstice
  • Nutri-bud (early with summer long production of side shoots)
  • Umpqua (the only heirloom, mixed feelings about the low production I’ve had in the past)
Tarragon makes a come-back

Tarragon makes a come-back

Meanwhile…… Both of the parsleys and spinach have been planted out. In fact my parsley has taken off. After not planting parsley last season, I am very tempted to start harvesting the immature sprigs. Green omelets are sounding good. I am forcing myself to wait. The lettuce under the cold frame in the front garden is growing slowly. No salads yet. I look with envy at “First salad” posts on facebook. None of those posts are from the PNW but it doesn’t change my longing. Still no sign of the new rhubarb. I thought there was, but it turned out to be a leaf that fell off of the root at planting time. No sign of fava bean sprouts either. The first potatoes should have been planted. Saint Patrick’s day came and went and I still do not have my early yellow seed potatoes. Ray has promised me a ride to Mount Vernon for my birthday (last week in case you wonder, it was happy) to find a new source of organic yellow seed potatoes. I guess it is time for two things. 1. Time to start saving yellow seed potatoes. Currently I only save fingerlings and buy the reds, yellows and russets I want every spring. 2. Time for a Sunday drive. Finally, Those tomatoes I was impatient for are up and growing and will soon need to be up-potted. Most are getting their true leaves already.

Pots of old lavender set out, testing the sun from this spot.

Pots of old lavender set out, testing the sun from this spot.

In the Back To Eden – food forest, Ray has planted our blueberries. After five years of not being certain we could afford to stay in Everett, we have finally moved those berries from big pots to the ground. We are still amazed that the bills get paid month after month. YHVH is kind. Next in is our old lavender plants. It might be better to just buy new lavender starts (or try making my own… humm) and I saw that Lavender Wind Farm on Whidbey Island is selling lavender at their Coupeville market. But I think we will take a chance with these old faithful plants. The BTE bed is narrow, I am trying to leave room for my artichokes which are doing well, thank you very much!

Rudy Valentine

Rudy Valentine trying to stay warm by the chicken tractor while I plant pea blocks. It must be getting warmer for Rudy to stay out with me.

Faithful Rudy The Underground predicts sun today. They are telling me that a light NW breeze will bring in afternoon clouds but boldly promise 0% chance of rain! 52/39 Sunup at 7:05 AM and apparently shining until 7:26 PM for 12 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. Now that is a sure sign of spring!

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Cold, cold July (until today)

The Toy Box

Suburban Farm Episode #25 (Season 3)

I have no idea why or how you-tube chooses a cover picture. This looks liked my pumpkin vine growing outside of the fence. By the way, I did finally get my lawn mown. Sorry about the mess.

Is that a dragon fly sitting on my corn?

Today was warmer outside than it was inside, we have not had many days like that. Blue sky, 75/57 sunrise at 5:37, 15 hours and 15 minutes later the sun set at 8:52. I am missing my late walks with the dogs.

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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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Lavender-Sour Cherry (bread machine) Focaccia

Focaccia with lavender and sour-cherries (I think you can click on the picture to go to the movie I made for this bread)

Lavender-Sour Cherry Focaccia for a 1.5 lb bread machine loaf

Dry:

  • 4 teaspoons dry  yeast
  • 2 cups whole  wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached  bread flour
  • 1.5 Tablespoons  dry milk powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea  salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon  lavender buds

Wet:

  • 1.25 (1 and 1/4)  cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons  Olive Oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons  honey

Toppings

  • 2 cups sour  cherries (or whatever you have)
  • 1 Tablespoon  (organic) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lavender  buds (fresh or dry, use the same amount)
  • 2 Tablespoons  oil for infused lavender oil

Add the wet and dry ingredients to your machine in the order the  manufacture calls for. Set the control for manual.

Toss the cherries with the sugar (probably just before using  them on the bread)

In a small bowl mix the Tablespoon of lavender and the 2nd 2  Tablespoons of oil together. You may choose to heat this in the microwave for
30 seconds to speed the infusion process. Set aside.

To finish:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. The bread will bake on the bottom  3rd of the oven–adjust a rack.

note you may proof the bread once after it is removed from your  machine. I like to do this with whole wheat but not with white.

Generously oil a baking sheet. You can use some of the infused  oil.

With your fingers, press out the focaccia. (does not need to  proof/rise once it is in the pan)

With a pastry brush generously oil the top of the bread with the  infused oil.

If you have not already, toss the cherries with the sugar.  Alternately you can sprinkle the sugar on top of the cherries
and bread.

Press the cherries into the bread.

Note; for this focaccia you do not need to dimple the dough,  pressing the cherries will accomplish that for you.

Bake 20 minutes at 425. Remove from the sheet to a cooling rack  right away. Enjoy hot or cold.

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Lavender-Cilantro Cole Slaw

This recipe has been adapted from the LAVENDER COOKBOOK by Sharon Shipley. In Ms Shipley’s book this is a sauce for Crab Cakes. Her recipe makes
a generous amount of sauce. The first time I made this I knew that the leftover sauce would be lovely as a dressing for cole slaw. With very little tweaking,
it is now a regular at my table when cabbage is garden ready. I make the dressing before I chop the vegetables so that the flavors have a chance to assert themselves

Creamy Lavender-Cilantro Dressed Cole Slaw

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (both sour cream and yoghurt will work)
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 generous Tablespoon Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds, rubbed between the palms of the hands
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk everything, except the salt and pepper, to a smooth sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

 

Use this dressing on thin sliced cabbage with any additional vegetables and fruit that you may normally use for cole slaw.

 

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Pink Lavender

Miss Katherine; a short border type of lavender with the same scent that makes Melissa delightful to cook with.

After the spring rains I thought that I might lose all of my lavender. Only one plant is a total loss. Much to my delight, the pink lavenders are not only budding, they are starting to color out. Like my strawberries, they responded to the last three or four days of warm weather. Pink lavender and pink strawberries (they are fixen to turn red) abound. The white and purple lavenders are coming along.

It may be that the weird spring weather that has set nearly everything in the vegetable garden back at least a month, might just give me a rare treat in a week or two. Ripe strawberries and pink lavender at their prime at the same time. I think I will have to make a new ice cream.

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Lemony-Lavender Loganberry Bars

Pastry Crust Base

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and combine the mixture into a loose dough. Pat the mixture into a 9 inch square pan. Bake the pastry until just browned around the edges, about 10 minutes.

Filling

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup Loganberries (or black, rasp, blue, marian, or lingian berries can be used)
  • powdered sugar for garnish

In mixing bowl (for mixer) add eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice, lavender and sugar. Beat at medium low-speed until mixture is thick and smooth (about 5 minutes) In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the flour to the running mixer, and continue running the mixer until well blended.

Fold the berries into the lemon/egg mixture. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pastry crust base. Bake the filling for about 20 minutes or until set.

Remove from oven, cool on a rack. . Sift powdered sugar over the cooled pastry. Cut into bars and serve either chilled whipped cream or ice-cream. Yield 12 to 16 bars.

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