Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Growing Salad Greens in Texas during the Fall and Winter

Fall and winter are some of the best times to grow salad greens in Texas! Why? Because salad greens thrive in temperatures between 40 to 70 degrees and withstand light freezes (to 28 degrees), without any protection. The cooler temperature also insures that the crop of salad greens lasts longer because hotter temperatures make them go to seed (bolt), and become bitter and inedible. You can enjoy fresh, endless greens from November to early May!  No pests will be alive after the first frost to eat your salad greens. Home grown salad greens are fresher and are said to contain more vitamins and minerals than those bought in the store.
A salad made of loose-leaf lettuces, spinach and roquette with edible flowers
pansies (blue), and nasturtium (orange). This salad was actually made in the spring.
All ingredients are home grown except the olives.























My Favorite Salad Greens:

Some of my favorite salad greens are Lolla Rossa (red loose-leaf lettuce), Royal and other Oak Leaf lettuces, Four Seasons lettuce, Swiss Chard, Spinach (Bloomsdale Long Standing), and Roquette. All of the lettuces and other greens are loose-leaf varieties.

Colorful and mild tasting Four Seasons lettuce.














.
Roquette is a fast-growing, zesty, peppery tasting green..
It is also known as Arugula in Italy and Rocket in England.


I prefer to grow loose-leaf varieties because I can harvest the outer leaves when needed without harvesting the entire plant. New leaves are always growing from the center, so taking outer leaves does not disturb the growth. This practice of only harvesting the outer leaves insures that you have a continuous crop with no downtime while you wait for a new plant to grow to maturity.  Here are some other loose-leaf lettuce varieties from Cooks Garden. Cooks’ Heatwave collection would be good for Texas. 

How to Plant Salad Greens:

Plant from seeds in late September and in October in a sunny location. Plant lettuce and roquette seeds 1/8” deep and spinach 1/2" deep and thin to 6” apart and leave between 8” to 1’ of space between rows. Plant Swiss Chard 1/2" deep and 8” to 1’ apart with 18” between rows. Do not plant spinach and Swiss Chard next to each other. Lettuce and roquette seedlings should emerge in a few days, while spinach and Swiss Chard emerge in 7 to 10 days. 

Harvesting Your Salad Greens:

Once your lettuce, spinach and roquette are 6” tall and the Swiss Chard is 8” tall you can begin to harvest outer leaves. Use a pair of scissors to gently clip off the outer leaves within one inch from the  base of the plant.

Harvesting an outer leaf of Four Seasons lettuce.

Harvesting Oak Leaf Lettuce in a densely grown cold frame. You may need
to move the leaves around a little more to find outer leaves in this situation.

Protecting Your Salad Greens from Hard Freezes:

As stated earlier all of the salad greens will survive a light freeze (to 28 degrees), without any protection, but some will need a little more protection for temperatures that are colder. All are cold hardy to 25 degrees except Bright Lights Swiss Chard which is cold hardy to 28 degrees. If snow or ice are expected or the temperature falls to 25 or lower for the lettuce and 28 or lower for the Bright Lights Swiss Chard you will need to provide some protection for them. You can simply put a blanket over the plants for the night. Remove the blanket after the snow or ice has melted or the temperatures are above 28 degrees. Also make sure to water your greens when the ground is even slightly dry. Greens that have enough water in their cells can withstand freezing weather much better than a dry plant. Floating row covers are also good for protecting your plants. These are simply frost fabric draped around metal hoops. The material and hoops can be bought at a nursery or online. Here is a description of them from Gardener’s Supply.


Growing Greens in Cold Frames:

A cold frame is basically a south facing box set partially into the ground with a plexi-glass top that creates a protected and warmer growing environment for plants during the winter. It is perfect for winter greens. If ice or snow is expected, just shut the lid.



Most of the winter, I have the lid propped open a few inches. This way the salad greens are more protected and kept warm. During our 70 degree winter days, I open the cold frame door all the way.



The cold frame needs to be built in a sunny area in the south so that it can collect as much sun as possible. The cold frame works by passive solar means. The sun enters through the plexi-glass top during the day and the heat is stored in the ground. When the temperatures drop at night the heat is released into the inside of the cold frame to keep the plants warmer than that outside temperature. It is an amazingly simple and fun gardening structure. My cold frame measures 4’ wide by 6’ long. This size is large enough to raise enough salad greens for a family of 4. Lettuce and spinach are all spaced approximately 6" apart to take advantage of the space. I usually plant my most prized lettuce varieties and spinach in the cold frame and plant taller Swiss Chard and durable roquette and parsley in the regular garden beds (and cover if needed). Some past Texas winters were so mild that I did not need to cover the greens outside the cold frame even once.

Growing Greens Under Cloches:


Don’t have a cold frame, then make cloches from clear plastic bottles. Cloches are like mini-greenhouses.  Just cut the bottom off the plastic bottle and voila, you have a cloche.

Water bottles with the bottom cut off make great cloches.

















Put one cloche over each plant.  Push the cloche in the earth at least a half an inch so that they don’t blow off.  Leave the lid off at all times except when ice or snow is expected. When ice and snow are forecast, just put the lid on and take it off after the snow melts.  If a plant gets too large for the cloche the edges of its leaves can get a little freezer burned if they are pressed to the edge of the cloche and ice or snow form on the outside. The leaves are still edible-just cut that part off.

When you get ready to pick some salad leaves, just remove the cloche and clip off a leaf or two with the scissors and then put the cloche back over the plant.

When watering plants under cloches, just sprinkle water in through the top hole. I cup my hand over the end of the water hose and funnel the water into the holes of the cloches. This is really easy if you have arranged the plants/cloches in a row.

Good luck to you. I hope you have fun growing and eating your salad greens.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall is the Time to Divide and Transplant Perennials


Fall has finally arrived in North Texas! Fall (before the frost), is the best time to divide and plant your perennial flowers so that they have time to develop good, strong root systems for spring bloom.

Perennials are plants with a life cycle of three or more years, compared to an annual that lives for one year. Perennials should be divided and transplanted every three years. When perennials are too crowded they produce less flowers and wilt easily because too many roots are vying for water and soil nutrients.

Some perennials that I will be dividing and transplanting in this blog are: daylilies, Shasta daisies, Bearded irises and Spider lilies.

A perennial flower bed that needs to be divided. Shasta Daisies (front), daylilies (left) and Bearded irises (back). 















To divide the daylilies, place the shovel approximately 8" from the stem of the clump of the lilies and push the shovel straight into the ground, submerging most of the head of the shovel. Dig in this manner in a circular pattern around the clump, then lift the clump out of the ground. If you are not strong enough to get the shovel deeply into the ground then use the weight of your body to dig deeper by placing a foot on each side of the top of the head of the shovel and lean into the handle (like a pogo stick), and gently move your body forward and backward sending the shovel deeply into the earth.

Dividing daylily roots.

















Dig the clump of crowded daylilies out of the ground. Gently remove extra dirt from the roots with your hands. You will now see the individual plants that need to be separated. While holding the roots only, gently divide the daylily plants from each other.

Dividing Shasta daisies

Dividing the roots of Shasta daisy plants.
Dig the Shasta daisies the same way you dug the daylilies. Gently break off the extra dirt around the roots so you can see them better. You will now see individual plants connected by long roots. Gently separate these plants from each other while holding the roots. Some plants may require that you break them off of a large main tap root. Make sure each plant has a root attached.

An individual Shasta daisy plant that has been separated from the clump.
 Dividing Bearded Irises
Dividing Bearded iris rhizomes.
Since Bearded Irises grow from horizontal rhizomes you may need to begin to dig more than 8" from the base of the plant. Most of the rhizome can usually be seen near the top of the ground so just clear any debris from around the plant so that you can see the formation of the rhizomes and not cut into them with the shovel. Once the rhizomes are lifted out of the ground, the individual irises and their rhizomes are easy to divide. A fan shaped iris plant will be connected to each rhizome.

 Dividing Spider Lilies

Lifting a clump of spider lilies out of the ground.
 Dig spider lilies the same way daylilies were dug.

Dividing Spider lily bulbs.
Spider lilies grow from bulbs that separate easily from each other. Do not hold the green parts of the plant. Hold the bulbs in your hands as you separate them from each other.

Preparing the Flower Bed for Planting:

All of the perennial flowers just discussed grow best in full sun, in a southern or eastern location in well drained soil. To reinvigorate your soil, add some organic humus to the garden bed and dig it into the old soil.  

Layout/design of the Perennial Bed:

There are different ways you can design your perennial flower bed. You can plant the perennial flowers in groupings of one type of flower or in rows. The most important part of planning the perennial bed is to plant the taller plants behind the shorter plants and leave enough space between the individual plants. I also like to plant shorter blooming spring and winter annual flowers in front of the perennials so that there are beautiful flowers blooming in the bed year round. Spring annual flowers that look nice in front of the perennials are vinca, dwarf marigolds, short zinnias and rose moss. Winter flowers that look nice in front of the perennials are dianthus and pansies. 

Here is a guide the to the height and spacing needs of the perennials.

Daylilies grow16" to 24" tall depending on the variety. Space 12" apart. Blooms in the spring and fall. The tops of the daylilies will die down after the first frost of winter and will re-emerge in spring from the roots.

Shasta Daisies
can grow up to 36" tall (Alaska variety).  Space 12" apart, Blooms late May and June and in the fall. Varieties like Alaska will stay green in the Texas flower bed year round. Trim off spent flowers (dead head), to prolong bloom. 

Bearded Irises
grow 16" to 24" depending on variety. Space 12" apart. Blooms in the spring. Foliage remains green year round.

Spider lilies
grow 12" to 18" tall. Space 6" apart, blooms in September. Spider lily blooms emerge from a single stalk in September followed by green foliage that grows until late spring and then dies back down only to repeat the process all over again beginning next September. I like to plant shorter annual flowers in front of spider lilies since they have short-lived, but spectacular blooms.

Water the perennials well after planting and when the soil dries.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Controlling Grasshoppers Organically in the Urban Garden



In the last couple weeks I have noticed a rise in the number of grasshoppers in the garden and surrounding fields. I am not really surprised because last year we had hordes of grasshoppers. In fact, the grasshoppers were so numerous that more than a few people in these parts made allusions to the plague of locusts mentioned in the Book of Revelation and were sure it was yet another sign that the end of the world was near. Whether it was a sign of such great importance or not; I think we can be a little more sure of one thing and that is many of those grasshoppers laid eggs last fall that are responsible for the numbers of grasshoppers we are seeing today. 

The female grasshopper deposits pod shaped egg sacks just under the surface of the soil during the fall. Each pod contains between 20 to 120 eggs!  Each female grasshopper can lay between 8 to 20 of these pods!  If the following winter and spring seasons are dry with less rain then more eggs will survive unharmed and more grasshoppers will hatch in the spring and more may come to maturity in the summer.
 

Actually when you look at the numbers of eggs that one female grasshopper can lay combined with the drier Texas weather this winter and spring, you can see that the situation could be much worse this year. Perhaps this is also just the beginning of larger numbers of grasshoppers to come in August and September!

Signs of Grasshopper Activity

A leaf on the left showing grasshopper damage and grasshopper feces on the right.
Grasshoppers eat large holes out of leaves, or eat halves of peaches or other fruit while they are still hanging on the tree, etc. They leave tell-tale oblong feces beneath where they have been eating.

Weeding and Mowing

Grasshoppers like to stay in tall grasses, weeds and tall crops like corn and grains. Therefore, it is good to keep your garden weeded and free of tall grasses so they will choose to hide out in tall grasses and weeds instead of the usually shorter, less dense garden plants.

Another useful organic control measure is to mow a patch of grass between your garden and the surrounding taller plants. Grasshoppers are more vulnerable to predators in open areas because they are easily seen. 

The Birds are your Allies against Grasshoppers

Grackles taking turns bathing in the birdbath. Grackles are grasshopper eating machines.
Birds are your best allies for controlling grasshoppers organically. It is in the gardener’s best interest to make their yard and garden a haven for birds so that the birds choose to live in and or visit your yard every day. The best way to create a bird haven is to provide food and water on a regular basis. Put out bird feeders and fill them with sunflower seeds or even plant sunflowers near your garden. I prefer to provide sunflower seeds instead of the typical bird seed mix because it attracts more helpful birds and less sparrows. I do not want to attract sparrows because they demolish pepper plants and Swiss chard by eating the leaves!

Provide one or more water sources for the birds. Some of the most voracious grasshopper eating birds are mockingbirds. Mockingbirds are not feeder birds, but will be drawn to your garden by water sources, but also tomatoes and berries. If you have tomatoes and berries, cover them with netting to protect them from mockingbirds. You just have to let the birds know what vegetables and fruits you want to keep for yourself and then your relationship is great ; ).
You don’t have to buy expensive stone birdbaths to attract birds. One of the most successful birdbath models is a plastic dish pan with a rock in it. I have two birdbaths in my backyard. One is a blue plastic dish pan on top of a 6’ tall tree stump. Doves, cedar waxwings, wrens, and mockingbirds love this model. 

The other birdbath is a large ceramic dish that is about 2.5’ in diameter with a large rock in it that sits on the ground. Birds that love this ground model are grackles, cardinals, robins and bluejays.  This birdbath is located in an open spot where no cats can ambush the birds. It is very important to put a rock in the birdbath on the ground. The rock provides a ramp into the water for the birds to choose the depth of water they want to wade into to bathe. The rock serves another very important function; it is a ladder for young birds that will learn to drink water for the first time from your birdbath on the ground.  These young birds will choose this birdbath because they can reach it easier than a tall birdbath.  Young birds with very short wing and tail feathers may also slip off the edge of the bowl and drown if there is no rock to swim to and make their way out of the water.  Your birdbath on the ground is a life saving water source for young birds that have just left the nest. 
*Change the water in birdbaths every day or two days to prevent any mosquito eggs that may have been deposited in the water from hatching.

Organic Control: Catch and Remove Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers captured over a 3 day period and put in a bottle to transport out of the garden.
While the birds are controlling most of the grasshoppers and their destruction is minimal, I have found an additional 2 or three of them in my garden each evening while watering. I spray the bamboo and corn with the water hose. If there are grasshoppers in there, they will fly toward me. I then catch them with a cupped hand while they are readjusting in the spot where they have landed. Don’t cast your shadow on them and you will be more successful catching them. Hold the grasshoppers by the back legs (as shown in the top pic), to prevent them from jumping or clinging to you with the 4 front legs and getting brown juice on you.  They secrete a brown juice from their mouths when they feel threatened-it is harmless.
 
After catching the grasshoppers, I hold them by their back legs while I put them in plastic bottles head first. The bottles have air holes punched in them (don’t use a sharp object to punch holes in a direction toward your hand). The small mouthed bottles work well because you can easily add more grasshoppers to the bottle without any hopping out because only one grasshopper can fit through the opening at a time. You can then relocate the grasshoppers from your garden if you are a non-kill organic gardener and or worried about your karma ; ). I give the grasshoppers to my neighbor who is an avid fisherman. He keeps them in a terrarium and feeds them well before using them for fish bait ; ).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Growing Zucchini and Yellow Squash


Zucchini and yellow squash are some of the simplest and most rewarding vegetables to grow in your garden. Zucchini and yellow squash are summer squash varieties. They grow into bushlike plants that stand almost 3 feet tall and several feet wide.

Planting Zucchini and Yellow Squash:


Planting Squash Seeds in a Mound
 Plant summer squash in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. That is usually after the vernal equinox around March 21st. Plant it in humus rich, well drained soil. I prefer to plant my summer squash in a mounds of humus rich soil that measure 1’ tall and are spaced at least 2 feet apart with 3’ between rows.  The mound supports the growing habit of the squash plant and provides a warmer environment to sprout the seeds.

Pat the soil of the mound with your hand to give it some structure and scoop out a little bowl formation at the top of the mound and fill it with rich potting soil. 

Plant the squash seeds about ½” deep.  I plant 2 or 3 of seeds in the mound in case an insect gets one of them.

Gently mist the mound to help it keep its shape and avoid erosion. Water the squash seeds too. Squash seedlings will sprout in 5-8 days.

Squash Flowers and How to Harvest the Squash:

Squash Flowers (male)
Squash will bloom in as little as 6 weeks. Zucchini and Yellow squash make male and female blooms on the same plant.  Bees visit the male flowers and then the female flowers and so pollinate or fertilize the squash.

Male flowers are usually on a longer stem and have a fairly straight base. The flower I am touching in the picture is a male flower. Female flowers have a ½ “round bulge at the base of the flower (at the location where my finger is touching the bloom.  This round bulge is the ovary and indicates a female flower.  Only female flowers will turn into a squash. Many beginning gardeners think something is wrong when they begin to notice that not all of the squash flowers are turning into squash. But don’t worry, that is just nature taking place.

Picking and Cooking Squash Blooms:

At this time, I have a lot of male squash flowers on my plants. This is pretty common in the beginning of the season.  If you have too many male squash flowers you can cook them.  Pick the male flowers while they are closed.  Squash blossoms are open in the morning and then close during the afternoon or evening. The way to prepare squash blossoms is to fry them. Fried squash blossoms are a delicious treat.  To fry squash blooms, dip them into a thin milk and flour batter and then fry them like you would fry potatoes.

Harvesting Squash:

Harvest your squash when it is between 6-8” long. Don’t let it get any longer than that or the outer skin will become harder and the inside seedier.  Harvest your squash frequently so that the plant can put more of its energy into making more new squash.

To harvest your squash, cut the green stem above the squash. Turn your knife so that you cut away from the central stalk (so you don’t slip and cut into the plant. Don’t pull on the squash.

Squash Dishes:

Zucchini and yellow squash is great sautéed with rosemary, thyme and basil. Zucchini squash is also used in zucchini bread. Southerners love fried yellow squash. They slice it into thin round slices and roll it in cornmeal and fry it like potatoes.

Squash Pests: 

Squash Bug

Watch for pests on your squash. The most common pest is the squash bug (also commonly called a stink bug because it emits a stinky smell when it is squished).  Check your squash frequently for squash bugs by gently parting the leaves and looking toward the central stalk of the plant. If you see a squash bug, hand remove them (don’t smash them on your hand).

If you are having trouble catching the squash bug, use the board trick. Lay a small board on the ground near the central stalk of the plant.  Make sure there is a little dugout of space under the board. Then come out the next morning and pick up the board and the squash bug(s) will be gathered under the board. Then you can get them all in one place.

Squash Bug Eggs:

Squash Bug Eggs
Also check your plants periodically for squash bug eggs by looking on the underside of the leaves. If you find bright brownish red eggs, remove them at once. To remove the squash bug eggs, put a bowl under the eggs and scrape the squash bug eggs off with your fingernail, catching them in the bowl.

Watch the Video for more information:


May you have a bountiful squash harvest. Good luck to you. Rebecca

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Saving Your Tomatoes from the Birds

Birds like tomatoes as much as we do. There are different methods that you can use to outsmart the birds so that you get to enjoy your tomato crop instead of losing it to the birds. Three methods are discussed in this blog and more detail is given in the video below.

Method 1:

The first method involves the use of bird netting. Bird netting is available at nurseries and home and garden stores. It is very economical and comes in a variety of sizes.
Gently drape the center of the netting over the top of the tomato plants and tuck in the ends of the netting around the base of the plants.











Method 2:

The second method involves the use of cd's connected with yarn to rings that slide back and forth along a wire. The cd's blow in the wind and as they turn they reflect blinding flashes of light from the sun. To connect the cd's to the wire, I used jewelry slip rings (available at hobby stores). You can use any rings you have, including shower rings. This allows the cd's to be moved wherever and whenever you need. I hung some cd's on shorter strands of yarn so that they dangle over the top of the plant and other cd's are on longer strands of yarn so that they hang near the center of the plant. These places are the most strategic places where ripening tomatoes will be located. *If the wind is really high, you might want to put clips or just a piece of tape on either side of a ring to keep the cd's from being moved and bunched together along the wire.









Method 3:

The third method is to pick the tomatoes while they are light orange in color and then ripen them on your windowsill inside the house. This method allows you to pick the tomatoes before they turn red (ripen). Once the tomatoes become red and ripe is when the birds become interested in eating them.

Video on Saving Your Tomatoes from the Birds

Monday, June 4, 2012

Growing Cherokee Blue Mustard for Food and Seeds

Plant Cherokee Blue Mustard seeds 1/8" deep in a sunny location in well-drained soil in the fall or spring. The Cherokee Blue Mustard in this blog and video was planted in late September and the seeds were harvested the last week of May. Cherokee Blue Mustard grows through the winter here in Texas.
Seeds were obtained from the Southern Seed Legacy

Here is a pic of Cherokee Blue Mustard when it was about 2 weeks old.















When the Cherokee Blue Mustard is over a month old, it starts to lose some of its blue color and becomes more deep emerald green. Harvest the young leaves to eat before it begins to flower. Instead of harvesting the entire plant, you may pick the outer leaves as needed for salads and cooking. This practice gives you more of a harvest for a longer period of time because the plant keeps growing more leaves from the center outward and you don't have to wait for a new plant to grow.


Once the plant begins to flower and make seeds, the leaves will begin to get tough and taste more acrid. At this stage the plant will make less and less leaves and will put all of its energy into making seeds. If you want to grow Cherokee Blue Mustard for seeds, let the flowers bloom and become pollinated by honey bees and butterflies. It is quite a beautiful plant when it is flowering and will grow 6' tall.


 




















The flowers will then turn into individual seed pods that contain 8 to 12 small round black/brown seeds each. When the seed pods are golden brown and the seeds inside are ripe (dark brown), the seeds can be harvested.



















To harvest, snip off the stems filled with seed pods and put them in a large sack. Let the seed pods dry for one week in the sacks. Many of the seeds will fall out of the seed pods and be captured in the bags while they are drying. To remove the remaining seeds from the pods, gently rub the stems with seed pods together between gloved hands over a sack or newspaper.


Now use a collander over a large bowl to sift and separate the seeds apart from the husks. You may need to sift several times to finally remove the husks.

See the video to find out more about growing Cherokee Blue Mustard and the process of harvesting the seeds:


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The First Tomatoes and Peppers

The first tomatoes and peppers of the season have ripened today.

Tomato varieties include: Big Cherry, Sweet 100 Cherry, Pear and Grape Tomatoes, Porters and Sun Gold.

I prefer to plant smaller tomato varieties that mature quickly to beat the Texas heat. I have continued to have the most success with these varieties in North Texas. My tip is not to buy tomato varieties that are shipped in from the chain stores that might grow better in say Michigan. Buy your tomato plants from a locally owned nursery. They know what varieties grow best here in Texas.

Pepper varieties from left to right include: Giant Sweet Marconi, Sweet Banana and California Wonder Bell Pepper. Peppers grow well in Texas. I always get large, continuous pepper crops in the spring, early summer and fall. During the heat wave of July and August, production slows down. During this time keep watering the plants to keep them alive and you will be rewarded with a huge crop of peppers when the weather begins to turn cooler in the fall.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Growing and Using Thyme

Thyme is a very hardy and easy to grow herb. The word thyme comes from the Greek word "thymos" meaning spirit or smoke. Thyme survives below zero temperatures and is evergreen here in Texas. It likes full-sun and good drainage. There are many types of thyme. Some of the varieties include: French thyme, English thyme, German thyme, caraway thyme and lemon thyme.

Some thymes creep along the ground forming 6" to 8" tall spreading carpets and others grow into a 1.5' clump. The carpet-like varieties look nice planted at the front of a garden bed, in a rock garden or between paving stones. Thyme blooms in mid-spring and attracts lots of honey bees. Thyme honey is considered some of the very best.

The easiest ways to propagate or multiply thyme are by root division or rooting cuttings in water.

To Propagate Thyme by Root Division: Lift up the plant and find the places where the roots are growing into the ground. You will notice that there will be roots coming down from the carpet of thyme every foot or so. Place your shovel about 5" from the root system of the plant you want to separate and push the shovel all the way into the ground. Lift the shovel at an angle to separate the root system of the plant you want from the rest of the carpet. Now plant this newly separated plant in your garden. Choose a place where the thyme can spread a couple of feet or so over time. Water the new plant thoroughly.

To Propagate Thyme from Cuttings: Cut a non-woody 6" sprig of thyme from the parent plant. Remove the last 2 or 3 inches of leaves. Put your sprigs into a clear glass or plastic container and add enough water to cover the area where the leaves were removed. Sit your thyme sprigs on a window sill or other sunny place outside to root. Watch the water level and do not let it evaporate and if the water turns dark, refresh it with new water. In a couple of weeks roots will emerge from the places where the leaves were removed. When the roots are at least 1" long plant the thyme sprigs in your garden. After planting, water the new thyme plants with the water they were rooting in and extra water if needed.

How to Harvest and Use Thyme:

Thyme is best used fresh. Cut thyme leaves any time of the year that you need them. To use thyme fresh, cut the sprigs you need with scissors, wash, and then strip the leaves from the stems and cut the leaves to help release more flavor. Use thyme early in the recipe to help balance out its strong taste and to give it time to adequately infuse the food.


Thyme can also be frozen, refrigerated and dried and bottled for later use.

Check out this video for more detailed instructions and tips:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bird Nesting Season and Your Garden

A video about some of the materials birds take from your garden to build nests and some things you can do to prevent damage to your garden structures and still make the birds happy. Trellises and coconut hanging basket liners are specifically discussed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

How to Propagate or Grow Herbs from Cuttings

A demonstration about how to multiply your herb plants from cuttings.
Rosemary and mints are specifically discussed. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A general tour of my kitchen herb garden.

This is a general tour of my kitchen herb garden. The most common cooking herbs are shown growing in the garden along with a description of their space and growing needs. Subsequent videos will talk about each herb in more detail.