Herb Gardener Gift-Giving Idea: Hori-Hori

The Herb Society of America Blog

I’ve asked five blog contributors to share their favorite herb-related gift ideas.  HSA’s blog will be running one per day during the first week of December. – Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster

By Beth Schreibman-Gehring, Chairman of Education for The Western Reserve Herb Society unit of The Herb Society of America

image2My father had over three acres of the most glorious organic gardens, filled with historic roses, lilies, and every kind of beautiful perennial and herb imaginable. I remember perfect summer evenings when he’d wander his gardens with a cocktail in one hand and a sprinkling hose in the other. He taught me everything I know about growing beautiful gardens organically and with a minimum of intervention.

The funny thing about my father is that he didn’t have a garage full of tools. He wasn’t into the latest, greatest gardening anything, well except for permaculture which really isn’t a latest and greatest secret…

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Bittersweet … A Tale of Two Sisters

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Kathleen M Hale, Western Reserve Herb Society

The Sisters’ Shame
We were two daughters of one race;
She was the fairest in the face.
    The wind is blowing in turret and tree.
They were together, and she fell;
Therefore revenge became me well.
    O, the earl was fair to see!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

bittersweetA lot of legends of magic, revenge and sorcery begin with two sisters. Sometimes they are friends.  Sometimes they are rivals.  But an unspoken message in many stories is, “Don’t pick the wrong one!” Increasingly, North American gardeners are finding themselves faced with this dilemma.  The choice may be between a native plant and its sometimes seductive, sometimes invasive sister, introduced from elsewhere.

Bittersweet gives us such a story. American bittersweet, Celustrus scandens, is seen everywhere this time of year in wreaths and dried arrangements. It has tiny vivid orange fruits…

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Add Lemongrass to Your Garden Plans — The Herb Society of America Blog

Lemon grass is probably one of the easiest, cheapest herbs you can grow.

via Add Lemongrass to Your Garden Plans — The Herb Society of America Blog

Building Soil Fertility with Fall Gardening at the Equinox

The Druid's Garden

Leaves - nutrients AND enjoyment! Leaves – nutrients AND enjoyment!

In the druid wheel of the year, we have three “harvest” festivals.  Lughnasadh, the first harvest.  So much of the garden produce starts to be ready at this time–and also at this time, the garden is still at its peak, but quickly waning. In the weeks after , our pumpkin patch died back with beautiful orange pumpkins and said “ok, I’m done for the year!” Then we have the Fall Equinox, where things are continuing to be harvesting, but many of the plants are in serious decline. By Samhain, everything is dead, the hard frosts have come and the land goes to sleep. It seems then, on the surface, that what we should be doing in the fall is primarily harvesting and sitting on our laurels and watching fall and winter come.

However, as a gardener and homesteader, my busiest time, by far, is the…

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Plant Spirit Communication, Part I: Your Native Langauge

The Druid's Garden

When I was  new to my first job, a colleague had given two of us both who had been recently hired an elephant ear plant seedling for our offices. Our offices were next to each other, both with the same window. Each plant was planted in an identical pot and in identical soil. My elephant ear plant grew quite large and beautiful, while my colleague’s plant kept sending up small shoots and dying back. Finally, she said to me, “Why is your plant doing so much better than mine?” And I responded as a druid, totally without thinking, “I just talk to the plant and it tells me what it needs.” She rolled her eyes at me, let out an exasperated sigh, and walked away. She was never a very pleasant person, but she was particularly nasty to me for some time after that. Perhaps she thought I was mocking…

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6 Bug Repellent Patio Plants

Six Bug Repellent Patio Plants …

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

We love to spend our summer days outside with family and friends, but pesky bugs are quick to drive a party indoors. For a chemical-free way to keep insects at bay this season, we asked the experts from our green goods team to recommend their favorite bug repellent plants. Planted near the doorway or transformed into essential oils, these six natural options deter mosquitoes, flies, and more uninvited guests in the summer garden.

1. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Like many members of the mint family, this herb provides protection against summertime mosquitoes. To make a quick, all-natural bug repellent, crush a handful of lemon balm leaves and rub onto any exposed skin. If you’ve already suffered a bug bite, its soothing oils can limit itching as well. This easy-to-grow herb also has a number of additional applications, from infused teas and vinegar to green salads.

2. Ageratum ‘Artist…

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Tips For Growing and Preserving Herbs In The Low Desert

By Crooked Bear Organics

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Soil Preparation:

In low desert areas, growers are not blessed with the rich, organic soil we’d prefer to have. Most gardens will need some organic material, soil sulfur, ammonium phosphate, and gypsum. Every year, as a matter of fact, you may need to add organic matter and gypsum. Pay close attention to your garden soil. If you get a soil test, you’ll know what the pH and fertility are and can make any necessary adjustments. If the test indicates your soil needs it, add fertilizer during pre-plant soil preparation, when it is easier to amend the soil; you’ll also find the results more effective. Spade the soil deeply, to a depth of 18 inches, to loosen compact soils. Enrich the soil with plenty of compost and well-rotted manure. It greatly helps gardeners to spade as much as 6 inches of organic material into the top 12 inches of the planting…

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Honey Bees; Heros of Our Planet

By Crooked Bear Creek Organics

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Have you ever had the opportunity to observe the busy work of a tiny honey bee as it meanders from flower to flower on a clear, sunny day? There’s something truly captivating about honey bees that draw us deeper into their world. We see honey bees frequently in books, movies, and television, where they are often associated with making hives filled with delicious, golden honey. You might recall reading about a hungry bear character in search of the honey bee’s golden treasures in various children’s stories. Honey bees are known for their production of honey and beeswax, as well as the large role they play in the pollination of plants and flowers. Honey bees can also be considered super-organisms due to their complex social systems and dynamic, tight-knit interactions with one another and their environments.

Bee Species

There are actually seven recognized species of honey bee within the genus Apis…

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A Living Herbal Apothecary

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Whether you’re an experienced farmer or completely new to the world of gardening, medicinal herbs offer a unique growing experience. In this article, you’ll learn the steps you need to take to create a living herbal apothecary outside your door. If you have the land to cultivate and would like to grow your own herbs, start right here.

Herbs From the Ground Up:

Gardening begins with the soil; it’s the “ground of our being,” to borrow a phrase. If you take care of the soil, the soil, in turn, will nourish and feed the plants you grow for healing and health.

Soil Types:

An important first step in growing outdoors is to find what kind of soil you have. Take a handful of soil from a couple different places in your yard or on your land, make sure each one is somewhat moist, squeeze it gently in your fist, and…

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Apartment Dweller’s Series: Urban Apartment Gardening: Gardening Tips For Apartment Dwellers

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

I remember the days of apartment dwelling with mixed feelings. The spring and summer were especially hard on this lover of green things and dirt. My interior was festooned with houseplants but growing veggies and larger specimens were something of a challenge, having minimal room on the patio or balcony. Fortunately, urban gardening ideas abound and there is a host of ways to grow tiny gardens for the space restricted gardener.

Challenges for Urban Gardening in Apartments

Finesse and commitment are required for urban apartment gardening. Space is not the only issue. Lighting and ventilation pose a concern, as well as the species and varieties which will thrive in confined and restricted spaces. Over the years, I gleaned some tips on how to grow a garden in an apartment. Follow along as we investigate gardening tips for apartment dwellers for a successful tiny landscape that is both beautiful and productive…

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