Herbs

Gardening for Seniors – Adjusting to Limitations

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs | 10 comments

Gardening for Seniors – Adjusting to Limitations

  Adapting to limitations has to be the gardening senior’s biggest annoyance in addition to being an ongoing challenge.  Just when you’ve adjusted to accommodate one problem another one pops up and you have to try something else again.  Seniors come with a bunch of different physical or mobility problems so for them to continue to garden safely means adjustments geared to each individual. I’ve had to adjust many times the older I get. I started with “in the field” gardens, moved on to raised beds set on the ground and next moved up to the current garden beds raised to table height.  My gardens have also become smaller each year. This year I won’t grow any vegetables as I did in the past but concentrate solely on my salad and herb gardens.    Garden size becomes another limitation.  Seniors often downsize and move into smaller townhouses, apartments or condos where they feel they no longer have the room to garden, so they quit. Gardening is such a healthy activity with both physical and psychological benefits that seniors should be encouraged to carry on. Putting one of the methods shown below in place allows the small size gardener to continue. When my parents moved from their country home to a city apartment you could tell where they lived from a mile away – mom’s balcony was a blaze of colour, flowers of every kind growing in pots and placed everywhere, even hanging from the balcony rail. The smaller area certainly didn’t stop her from enjoying her flowers. Gardening for Seniors – Adjustments: Most seniors find bending over difficult which makes the garden beds raised to table height ideal. The beds can be built any size, even as small as 1 or 2 feet wide by 3 or 4 feet long. For details about raised bed gardens, click here. The senior should be able to reach the centre of the garden without leaning on the soil to prevent compacting the soil. My gardens are 4 feet wide but that is because I can walk all around them and easily reach the centre from both sides. For anyone able to access only one side or for those less mobile, 2 or 3 feet wide will be the better choice. All walkways should be kept clear to prevent falls and to never obstruct safe movement, whether walking, using a walker or in a wheel chair.  Gardens should be placed in the most convenient locations – especially salad and herb gardens which should be close to the kitchen door for easy harvest. If space is limited any of the gardens shown in picture 2 are an attractive alternative. A previous post “vegetable gardens for small space gardeners” details how easy it is to adopt the alternative methods. When large patio pots are used they should first be placed on wheeled platforms. We seniors are a determined lot and if we don’t like where a planter is situated we’ll do what we can to move it. Having the wheeled platform will help avoid muscle strains, damaged backs or worse. A super idea is to wrap the handles of garden hand tools with bright coloured duct tape. This serves two purposes – it makes it easier to keep track of the tools and also provides a better grip for arthritic hands. Electric tools shouldn’t be used. Older hands can’t always be counted on to do what’s required and they may let go at the most critical times which could lead to serious injury. Instead use manual tools – not necessarily specific garden tools either. A couple of...

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Add Beauty To Your Yard With Shade Loving Herbs

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Herbs | 26 comments

Add Beauty To Your Yard With Shade Loving Herbs

In Ontario, where I live in garden zone 5, the gardening season kicks off on the Victoria Day weekend (this year May 20-22). At that time all the garden centres and nurseries will be offering huge deals on plants of all kinds, including vegetables and herbs. When I was asked to share this infographic  about shade loving herbs I was delighted to accept – it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m sure this information will help many decide which plants to choose during the sales, making this infographic not only informative and fun to read but even help the bottom line. Hard to beat that combination, enjoy………Lenie “In our infographic below, find out which herbs and plants will do best with limited sunlight, including roots like ginger and ginseng. Our guide has a comprehensive list of which herbs thrive in the shade, including their grow zones, size, planting characteristics, and uses. Herbs that make good cooking ingredients such as cilantro, dill, and rosemary tend to thrive in the shade, as well as herbs used to brew teas such as lemon balm and even catnip, which isn’t just for cats! We also have tips for making sure your shade-loving herbs flourish. Shady herbs tend to grow tall, so be sure to give them adequate growing space and support. Keep in mind that herbs that grow in the shade tend to prefer moist, humus-rich soil. Read the rest of our tips and then get ready to start planting!” Source:...

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Blending Edible Plants with Ornamentals

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Herbs | 29 comments

Blending Edible Plants with Ornamentals

Designing a beautiful landscape can feel overwhelming to non-gardening experts. But designing a landscape that seamlessly integrates edible plants? That may seem unrealistic—but it’s not. Here’s a great place to start: Understanding the basics of line and form in your outdoor spaces. There are different types of lines—curves, straight, vertical, horizontal—as well as forms. Those work with structures and plants to create pleasing visuals. And while many people assume that most fruits and vegetables must be planted every year, there are edibles that grow multiple years in a row. That can help when designing a landscape that has consistency from year to year. Although many people plant edibles for the harvest, there are considerations of height, color, leaf structure, and more to consider, and how those can accent the plants you have already in the landscape. In addition, many edible have flowering times, which can be a great complement to other blooms in the yard. Whatever your approach to landscaping, this graphic can help you integrate more plants to harvest in your yard.   Source: Fix.com Blog When I was asked to publish this infographic on my post I was delighted to comply. It’s exactly the kind of information that’s great to share. Instead of adding it to the sidebar I decided that the infographic would be the post. Attractive, colourful and loaded with useful information to make blending edible plants and ornamentals easy. What’s more, we all know the cost of fruits and vegetables have gone way up and from all reports, will continue to increase. Isn’t this a beautiful way to control those costs? Talk to you again next week, Lenie If you liked this post, others will too. Please share. Save Save...

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Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Herbs, Lavender | 22 comments

Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

I’ve been researching Lavender use during the Victorian Era and this has turned into a fascinating project. Queen Victoria was passionate about lavender and insisted on having it used throughout the castle. She believed lavender meant cleanliness and that it purified the body and spirit – we now know she was right on – lavender does indeed have antiseptic, antibacterial and restorative properties. Of course this meant that lavender was used in lots of different ways – for cleaning, grooming, fragrance, cooking, medicinal, and lavender sachets. With all these items using lavender to choose from, I decided that My Etsy Shop would only feature items based on Victorian products, starting with lavender sachets. Lavender Sachets – Victorian Style: Lavender Sachets were an effective way to keep homes free from bugs and smelling nice. A gentle squeeze of the sachets was enough to release the fresh, clean lavender fragrance. Sachets were hung from doorknobs in all public rooms to freshen the air; Decorative ones were hung from the arms of chairs for the same reason; Small sachets were slipped between the sheets in linen presses for the clean fragrance and to deter insects; They were a required item for the bedroom: Several were tucked in with the bedding to deter bed-bugs; One or more were hung from bedposts to clean the air; Small sleep pillows were placed on or under pillows to ensure restful sleep; Sachets were placed in wardrobes and drawers to keep insects out; Quite often a small sachet could be found in a woman’s reticule; Daring young women would tuck little lavender sachets in their cleavage; Small sachets were often tucked in with a lady’s stationery. Lavender lost a lot of its appeal during the mid to latter part of the 20th century when cosmetic companies developed their chemical products and clever marketing encouraged the consumer to buy. Fortunately we are becoming aware that chemical is not the way to go and many of us have returned to natural, homemade products. I’m enjoying the research into Victorian times and find it interesting to design products for today based on items from the past. Another item is already on the drawing board which I’ll share with you next month. For now it’s lavender sachets because they are as useful today as they were in Victorian times. Talk to you again next week, Lenie If you enjoyed this post, others will too. Please...

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Mosquitoes Bugging You? Banish Them

Posted by on May 29, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Health and Safety, Herbs, Lavender | 28 comments

Mosquitoes Bugging You? Banish Them

Mosquitoes  are no longer merely summer’s party-poopers, they have turned into dangerous guests. While we know that many mosquito-borne viruses have been around for centuries there are two serious ones that have impacted North America in recent years. West Nile Virus: Symptoms range from very mild to encephalitis/meningitis to death. Transmitted to birds, horses and humans. Most at risk – the very old and the very young. Zika Virus: May cause neurological defects in babies, muscle weakness, paralysis and death. Most at risk – pregnant women. It is therefore essential that we do what we can to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes – Preferences: You know how you’re hiking with a group of friends and the mosquitoes like one person best? There is truth to that. Some people do attract mosquitoes more than others. Carbon Dioxide attracts mosquitoes and of course we emit carbon dioxide when we do anything – breathe, talk, walk, or eat. Breathing is rather necessary but maybe we could talk or eat less while outside? The more you sweat, and the older the sweat is, the more mosquitoes you will attract. Exercise produces sweat and panting (release of carbon dioxide). For the very active person a strong mosquito repellent will probably be necessary. (See the Consumer Report Paragraph at the end of this article). For some reason mosquitoes like people with blood type O while anyone with blood type A will be last choice. Anyone with high uric acid levels tend to attract mosquitoes. If you fall in this category, up your Vitamin C and Citric Acid intake. A couple of tablespoon apple cider vinegar added to citrus juice/fruit salad/salad dressing will help balance things out. For many people beer is the drink of choice during the summer. Unfortunately, unless they want to get bitten, they may have to change their beer to lemonade, at least while they’re outdoors. Mosquitoes – Prevention: While it’s impossible to eliminate every mosquito from your yard, there are steps we can take to make our yards less appealing to them. The most obvious one – remove all standing water. This includes empty planters, wheelbarrows, old tires, bottles, cans and other containers left laying around, unused wading pools, pool covers, bird baths. Keep gutters/storm drains free from debris, cover rain barrels with fine mesh.  Any water features should have a pump to keep water moving. Add lots of mosquito repelling plants to the flowerbeds and along walkways – Lavender, Lemon Balm, Basil, Marigolds, Lemongrass, Citronella, Catnip, Spearmint. Banish them while you’re enjoying the outdoors: Throw a few Rosemary stems on the BBQ. This adds flavour to foods while keeping mosquitoes away. Place a variety of pots with mosquito repelling plants around the deck or patio and use one as a centrepiece(s) for your patio table.  Add a few drops of pure Citronella oil to beeswax candles. Do not buy the cheap citronella candles or rings found at Dollar stores. They are ineffective and toxic. When sitting outside, place a fan behind you. Mosquitoes are very light and the breeze will just blow them away. Ways for you to be less appealing to mosquitoes: Wear light colour clothes – the darker the clothes, the greater the chance mosquitoes will find you. Mosquitoes have a great sense of smell and are attracted to scents. Best not to use anything scented – perfumes, soap, shampoos, etc. If possible, wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and socks. Don’t wear baggy clothes that could trap mosquitoes and so be carried indoors. Use the right kind of mosquito repellent applicable to the situation. Mosquitoes –  Repellents: Mosquitoes...

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The Cook’s Herb Garden

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in Bookshare, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Herbs | 28 comments

The Cook’s Herb Garden

The Cook’s Herb Garden is another DK book that I’m delighted to share with you. Now is the perfect time to prepare the summer’s herb garden and this book is filled with step-by-step pictorial instructions for choosing, growing, harvesting, storing and using herbs. Herbs are probably the easiest plants to grow since they really don’t like a lot of fussing. Most grow best in a 50-50 well-draining mix of sand and soil, require regular watering and an occasional feed of liquid fertilizer in summer. That’s it, couldn’t be easier. Images below from: The Cook’s Herb Garden – copyright 2016 Dorling Kindersley Inc – used with permission and with thanks.  The Cook’s Herb Garden – Everyday Essentials: While basic growing, harvesting and cooking instructions are attached to each herb listed in the comprehensive herb catalogue, everyone of those topics is described in greater detail further on in the book.  One of the things I really like about the section on using herbs is the recipe section. There are some super recipes that I haven’t heard of before but can’t wait to try: Cream of Herb Soup; Watercress Butter; Chimichurri (Argentinian Meat Sauce); Black Currant Cordial; Mixed Herb Pesto, shown below; plus many more. Suggestions for using the Everyday Essential Herbs shown in planter: Cilantro: Use fresh, chopped leaves in salads, with coconut, citrus, avocado, fish and meat. The dried seeds are spicy, sweet and mildly orange-flavored – use them in Indian and Asian dishes. Thyme: Add to any savory dish or use to flavor poultry, pork, and fish dishes; add to stuffings and vegetables. Flat-Leaf Parsley: Both the stems and leaves can be added to a multitude of savory dishes; from omelets to stews to baked fish. Sage: Chop very fine and use in small amounts. Add toward the end of cooking to risotto and pork, veal and venison dishes; pick a stem for bouquet garni; use dried leaves for stuffing, poultry, fish, potatoes and carrots; use flowers to make summer teas. Purple Basil: Basil is best known for use with tomatoes. Basil’s flavor intensifies when cooked. For a more subtle taste use it raw or add it at the end of cooking. For more ways to use basil check out Basil does it all Oregano: Oregano’s pungent, spicy flavor gives a unique lift to Mediterranean ingredients and dishes – pizza, pasta, fish, meat beans, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Mixed Herb Pesto recipe, from The Cook’s Herb Garden, uses basil, oregano, flat-leaf parsley, and garlic – all herbs that you can easily grow yourself. Toss the pesto with pasta, stir it into rice or use as salad dressing (whisk 1Tbsp. balsamic vinegar or lemon juice into 3-4 Tbsp. pesto.) Serves 2 Prep 15 MINS Cook 20 MINS 3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped basil 2 tsp. coarsely chopped oregano 3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley 2 garlic cloves Coarse sea salt 1 ¾ oz (50g) Parmesan cheese, grated 3-3 ½ oz (90-100ml) fruity olive oil Freshly ground black pepper 10 oz (300g) dried pasta 1 Tbsp. heavy cream (optional) Put the herbs in a large mortar, reserving 1 Tbsp. to finish. Smash the garlic with the flat of a knife, peel and add to the mortar. Sprinkle in a little salt. Pound down onto the mixture until it is mushy. Add the Parmesan a little at a time and beat vigorously to blend. Slowly beat in the olive oil until you have a thick coarse paste, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsp. of the cooking...

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