Friday, December 08, 2006
Happy Holidays to you all! It is cold in our part of Tennessee, but the kitchen is warm and starting to smell an awful lot like Christmas!
Sooooo to share:
(CHRISTMAS SALAD for the Green Lovers.)
Whatever winter greens you have...my choices, Turnip greens, mustard, kale, loose leaf lettuce's, radish tops and beet tops.
Wash and spin dry, set aside for about 10 min to dry really well.
Add sliced raw turnips, radish, beets and about a cup of sliced, well drained peaches.
Toss and serve with salted sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top.
Needs no dressing, but if you insist mix a small amount of Honey Mustard with a small amount of the peach syrup and spoon on individual plates.
8 raw sugar cubes or 1/4 tsp stevia powder
4 whole cloves
peel of one orange/white membrane removed
peel of one lemon/```````````````````````
2 cups brandy
4 cups hot brewed coffee
In a chafing dish combine sugar, cloves, orange and lemon peel, and brandy.
Heat til very warm. Spoon some of the brandy into a ladel and set aflame. Lower the ladel into the dish.
Slowly pour in the coffee. Stir gently and serve.
Makes 8 cups. Recipe is easily doubled.
(MARMALADE POUND CAKE)
This is an old British recipe in the finest of traditions.
1 pound unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
8 eggs, seperated, whites beaten stiffly
1/2 cup thin shredded orange marmalade
1 tbsp brandy
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups cake flour
Pre-heat oven to 300*
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
One at a time beat in egg yolks until well blended.
Beat in marmalade, brandy, and salt.
Gradually add and beat in flour.
Fold in egg whites.
Pour batter into 3 buttered and floured 8-inch loaf pans and bake until golden and springy to the touch. (About 1 hour and 15 minutes.)
Makes 3 cakes
Can be served plain or with your favorite topping.
(CHRISTMAS TEA EGGS)
These are lovely on a Christmas Brunch table:
10/12 fresh eggs
3 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine
1 star anise
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 slices fresh ginger, smashed with the flat side of a cleaver
3 tbsp black tea leaves
Cover eggs in cold water and boil for 10 minutes.
Drain, lightly cool eggs under cold running water.
Lightly crack the eggs but do not peel. Set aside.
Put remaining ingredients into a large pan, filled with 4 cups of water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add eggs and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Turn off heat and let eggs sit in the mixture until cool enough to handle.
Peel and cut into wedges or put into a pretty bowl and serve whole along with the rest of your food fare.
(SAGE HILL FARMS CHRISTMAS BRUNCH)
Serves 4/6 and easily doubled.
one dozen fresh eggs, beaten with a generous amount of our own Cajun seasoning.
(very softly scrambled and set aside.)
one large loaf fresh French bread-cut in half, length ways-scoop about half the soft bread out of the loaf and set aside.
one sweet onion, chopped very fine
one cup mushrooms, chopped very fine
one large tomato, chopped very fine
Saute the onion, mushroom, and tomato until just soft, season with a sprinkling of our cajun seasoning.
Drizzle the bread loaf with olive oil and sprinkle with our cajun seasoning.
fill loaf with the scrambled eggs, and layer with the vegetable mix.
Chop the remaining soft bread, drizzle with olive oil and a few pats of real butter.
Wrap in baking foil and place in a pre-heated 400* oven for 10 minutes or until good and hot, fold the foil back and put oven on broil until light and golden on the top.
Remove and cut into desired sizes, cross-ways.
Serve with golden fried potatoes and buttered grits.
Hot tea, coffee, tomato juice and your juice choice.
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms
Friday, December 01, 2006
2 cups honey
16 cups water
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons rosemary
8 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
8 cups sparkling mineral water
3 or 4 scented geranium leaves
Combine the honey, 4 cups water, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and the rosemary in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the honey is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Strain into a large punch bowl.
Press the strawberries through a sieve into the punch bowl, add the rest of the water and lemon juice, lime juice and sparkling water. Stir gently.
Add ice cubes 5 minutes before serving.
Float extra rosemary leaves and the geranium leaves on top if desired.
December is truely the month I love most on the farm. Most everything is sleeping and life slows down to a pace that can really be enjoyed. I still have that bit of child-like magic expectation that comes with cold and snowy days, warm kitchens and bright lit christmas trees. So please join me in seeking out the magical moments of this time of year and share them with someone you love.
Here in middle Tennessee, we bounce back and forth from cold to warm to rain to threats of snow and then we awake one morning and realize the cold has landed for the season. That is when you want to be sure everything is well protected and then just let it all be until spring.
We have winter greens growing in the garden, turnips, spinach, mustard, loose leaf lettuces and kale. Doesn't really matter how cold it gets they will be just fine and makes for a nourishing meal at the end of a cold work day.
We had our own pumpkin supply this year for Thanksgiving, and I have to say, they were beautiful and very tasty. From the small Baby Whites to the very large bright orange (i don't know what it is)pumpkin, they were all interesting to grow. Our first time to try that crop and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.
I learned some things and will be better prepared for the next try.
Things in your herb garden that will produce all winter...your rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano should be happy as long as you aren't too far north, I'm not real sure how the herb gardens survive the very harsh winters. Maybe someone will share their experience with me on that.
Sage Hill Farms has signed a fairly large contract with "Kids Culinary Adventure" in CA., for the upcoming spring, and as a result we will be growing herbs in greenhouses all year. This is a big step for us and I'm very excited and a little scared.
Growth is frightening sometimes, when it takes you out of your comfort zone...but then I suppose if you never leave your comfort zone you really don't grow.
I'm wishing you all a very "Happy Holiday" season.
For your herb needs, please visit us at: http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com
As always we are just a phone call or email away.
Sage Hill Farms
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This is the time of year we pull out all the favorite , time tested, and generational cooking secrets. I'm no different, I have recipes that go back to my great-grandmothers time.
Sage Hill Farms is working on a very special cookbook, and these are some of the special gifts that will be included.
Happy cooking and eat in moderation, good for the soul and the scales!
4 medium red onions, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
1-1/2 cup buttered plain croutons
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 package phyllo pastry
1 cup melted butter
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
~~~Saute' the onions in 3 tbsp butter until tender. Stir in the flour and pepper, mix in the broth and white wine.
Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Let stand until cool and stir in the croutons and cheeses.
Place 6 sheets of the phyllo pastry on a work board and cover with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out. Brush the pastry one sheet at a time with melted butter, and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal, stacking after the completion of each sheet.
Spread half the onion mixture to within 1 inch of the edge in the middle third of the pastry. Fold one end over the onion mixture. Roll, as for a jelly roll. Place seam side down on a baking sheet and brush with butter.
Repeat the process with the remaining pastry to make another strudel.
Bake at 350* for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serves 6 to 8 easily.
1-1/2 ribs of celery chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound of fresh or frozen crab meat
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1-10oz can-cream of mushroom soup (organic if possible)
1-10oz can of cream of celery (organic)
2 soup cans of half-and-half or evaporated milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
~~~Saute' the celery, onion and carrot in a sucepan until tender.
Stir in the crab meat, papriks, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the soups and mix well, pour into a food blender and process until smoothe.
Return to the saucepan and stir in the half-and-half and white wine.
Cook just until heated through. Stir often or it will stick.
Ladel into soup bowls, top with 1/2 tsp butter and a sprinkling of parsley.
Serves 6 to 8.
~~~Chicken and Dumplings~~~ (comfort food at our house)
1 5 lb hen-cut up
1 tbsp sea salt
1 rib celery, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
Combine the hen and the salt with enough water to cover in a stockpot and bring to boil. Add the celery, lemon, onion, peppercorns, and bayleaf.
Simmer for 2 hours until the chicken is tender, add water if needed.
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup pure vegetable shortening
1/2 cup milk
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut in the shortening until crumbly.
Whisk the milk and egg together in a bowl. Add to the crum mixture, stirring until a firm dough forms. Add additional flour if needed for a firm consistency.
Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick on a slightly floured surface and cut into strips.
Drop the strips into the hot broth, cover and high simmer for 30 minutes. Do not stir during cooking or your dumplings will dissolve.
Discard bayleaf before serving.
Serves 6 to 10.
~~~Oyster and Pecan Dressing~~~
8 ozs of turkey sausage, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
6 cups dry bread crumbs ( I use cornbread, but any stout bread such as french will do)
3 cups, drained, fresh oysters
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 tsp worsestershire sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Saute' the sausage in a 6 qt Dutch-oven until golden brown. Remove the sausage and drain. Reserve the pan drippings
Heat the butter with the pan drippings until the butter melts, add the onion and celery, saute' for 5 min and remove from heat
Add the bread crumbs, oysters, pecans, parsley, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and toss lightly.
Place in a well oiled baking pan and bake covered w/ baking foil until a knife test is clean. About 45 to 60 min.
You can use the dressing to stuff the turkey or chicken, be sure to follow the baking time chart for the proper cooking time if you do.
Serves 10 to 12 easily.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Around our house October and November means lots of pumpkins, big fat orange ones, and dainty, and not so dainty, white ones, fat, skinny, perfect and totally warped ones. I never ever have enough pumpkins to satisfy my never-ending use for them. Of course the pumpkin isn't the only autumn fruit/vegetable that is worthy of attention in the colorful scheme of this most loved part of the year.
Gourds, corn stalks, and the different array of apples, from green to yellow to red and a combination of all the previous mentioned colors, it really is the most colorful season.
We enjoy using the colorful selection as an inviting grouping on the front porch, a lovely selection of pumpkins on the farm table in the dining room is very fitting.
A few scattered around the gardens provide a little touch of color to a somewhat fading look by this time of year.
And...of course we must not forget the Jack-O-Lantern.
What would October be without that special face sitting by the door greeting everyone who passes by or comes to call.
One of my very favorite uses for the pumpkin is in the kitchen of course.
For the family meal at Thanksgiving I use a medium size "Sugar Pumpkin"...(best for cooking)as a serving bowl for our favorite stew.
The options are many, just use your imagination for the stew.
Cut the top from a medium size Sugar Pumpkin, scoop out at least half of the pulp/without leaving the shell too thin. Set aside to use in the stew.
In a large deep pan place the pumpkin in boiling water, about 1/3 of the way up on the pumpkin.
Place in a very hot oven and cook until all the water is gone or until the pumpkin is just starting to get soft.(don't overcook)
Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.
Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper or your favorite spices.
Saute' the firm parts of the pumpkin pulp, season according to your other ingredients. Stir all together and add to the pumpkin shell. Put it back in the oven and cook about 20 minutes, just enough to blend the flavors.
Makes a lovely centerpiece for the table and delicious too!
Enjoy this season, however you celebrate it...it is so special.
Sage Hill Farms
Friday, October 13, 2006
While cooking with herbs and spices really have no hard and fast rules, there are however some time-honored ways of using them that seem to be traditional.
Allspice~~~~~~~~~~~Stews, peaches, apple dishes and tomatoes.
Anise~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Baked Goods, fruits, and some vegetables.
Basil~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Tomatoes, fish, lamb and soups.
Bay Leaf~~~~~~~~~~~Stocks, stews, soups, chicken & tuna.
Cardamom~~~~~~~~~~~Baking, good cinnamon substitute.
Chervil~~~~~~~~~~~~Asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, fish, poultry.
Chives~~~~~~~~~~~~~Eggs, salads, baked potatoes and soups.
Cinnamon~~~~~~~~~~~Baked goods, rice pudding, coffee, Mexican food.
Clove~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Sweet baking, sweet potatoes, apples, hot teas.
Coriander~~~~~~~~~~Indian and curried foods, rice pilaf, chicken.
Cumin~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chili, curries, brown rice, black beans.
Dill~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Fish, eggs, potatoes, pasta salads and squash.
Fennel~~~~~~~~~~~~~Seafood, pork, squash, beets and pasta sauces.
Ginger~~~~~~~~~~~~~Winter fruits, Oriental dishes, carrots, hot teas.
Marjoram~~~~~~~~~~~Vegetable soups, fish, poultry, most meats.(oregano substitute)
Mint~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Roast lamb, hot/cold teas, fruit dishes and salads.
Nutmeg~~~~~~~~~~~~~Spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, cream soups, baked goods.
Oregano~~~~~~~~~~~~Tomato dishes, vegetable juices, broiled fish, greek dishes.
Parsley~~~~~~~~~~~~Eggs, meats, fish, cream cheese.
Paprika~~~~~~~~~~~~Egg salad, pasta salad, fish, cajun cooking.
Rosemary~~~~~~~~~~~Lamb, beef, roasted potatoes, grilled foods, eggplant, tomatoes.
Sage~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Pork, stuffings, squash, cornbread, stewed peaches.
Tarragon~~~~~~~~~~~Eggs, chicken, crab, mushrooms, herb vinegars, french sauces.
Thyme~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chowders, soups, stews, stuffings, meatloaf, cheese & grilled food
Beasbeatitudes Herb Blog, all rights reserved.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I'm about as pleased as a pig playing in the mud. I am so ready for some cool brisk days, and we have had those in my part of Tennessee for the last week or so. WEll, actually it has been brisk nights and mornings, heating up at midday through about 3 pm, but I'm not complaining at all.
I'm almost at a loss for something to do in the gardens, can you imagin!
The annual herbs are past the point of harvest and the garden is still producing, well, okra and tomatoes at least.
Soon we will till those under and plant a nice patch of turnip greens.
Nothing better than fresh greens for Thanksgiving.
Turnip greens are so good for you, do you know they serve as a natural detox for the free radicals that take up housekeeping in your body and make you sick.
A fine autumn dinner to please any anyone would be fresh turnip greens cooked with ham bone. Sugar beets simmered in a small amount of honey and dill, and sage cornbread cooked until it is crispy and brown.
Lets get cooking!!
Happy Autumn and be blessed.
PS: I've had a few request for a zone map, this is about as good as I could find.
As you can see it is compliments of the NGA.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Today was one of many different feelings for me.
I prayed early in the morning for all the people who were in the towers, the ones who escaped and the ones who did not. I prayed for strength to spend my day doing what would put something useful back into the universe. So it seemed rather natural when I found myself in the gardens digging in the dirt. I feel very close to my maker when I'm there on any given day....today was very special.
The air was warm, but not too hot, a slight breeze to temper the sun. There were no bugs flying around at all, I felt like an artist with a brand new canvas.......so I went to work.
I cleaned the thyme beds, cut the plants back to the ground level so they will be nice and strong by the beginning of winter.
I worked on some new beds for the spring and cut and dried lemon balm and lavender for tea blends.
I hauled compost and treated all the beds to a good feeding of fish emulsion.
I didn't watch TV today, not because I wasn't interested but because I felt moved to be outside "doing" something with my hands, something I could look at and see results when the day ended.
My thoughts ran a marathon during the course of the day....flash-backs to 2001, a friend who escaped the towers just minutes before it collapsed, why this thing happened-always the why...never an answer.
I ended the day with a loving tribute to my mother and father who gave me life, a life I am so grateful for.
May God have mercy on our world.
Monday, August 21, 2006
August is harvesting time for all herb plants.
Annuals need to be cut back as if this is the last cutting. If they give you another growth that will be a bonus, but most will die and you will want to turn those back into the soil and let them decay for good rich compost soil matter.
Perennials should be cut back to about a third of the plant, this will give the plant time to regrow and become strong again before the winter months set in.
If you cut back too late the frost will kill any new growth and your plants could easily die from the harsh cold on the tender plants.
Your basic perennials(ones that can be harvested all year)are:
Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Lavender, and Tarragon.
Of course all of these will have different levels of tolerance, depending on where you are.
Your local farm co-op is a great place to get good solid plant information on weather tolerance.
Once you have harvested your herbs, then you must decide how you wish to keep them.
They can be dried by hanging in small bundles and left to dry at their own speed...doesn't take very long, a few weeks for most.
You will want to hang them in a cool, dry place such as an attic, a clean barn or inside a closet will work.
When I dry using this method, I cover the herbs with a fine piece of netting to keep flying bugs, dust, etc., from settling on them.
My favorite way to dry most things is by using a commercial grade dehydrater.(if you are drying small amounts, then a regular one will be just fine.)
I don't like using a microwave or the oven, and would not suggest that anyone else do so.
After your herbs are dry, store in dark colored glass jars with good fitting lids, away from heat and bright lights, inside a pantry, closet or any cupboard that is used for storage. Don't store over or close to the cook stove.
TIP: If you leave the leaves whole until you get ready to use them they will retain more of the essential oils.
Enjoy your harvesting !
Monday, August 07, 2006
1-Weed your gardens before you go, if you have weeds.
2-Pinch any blooms that are showing to encourage continued growth.
3-Water abundantly, herbs will be fine for a week or longer without water if you give them a good soaking.
4-If you have a problem with any pest, do whatever treatment you are applying before you go away.(and hope for the best when you return) Pest can get out of hand in one day, so a week is a long time to be left to feast.
Now, if you are staying home some things you can be performing in the herb gardens this month are:
Rosemary, Mints and Sage can be propagated now.
As you can see from the rosemary shrubs above they have very long stems.
Lay a stem on the ground as close to the bottom of the plant as you can get, just pull it over and hold it to the ground.(don't break it from the mother plant. Instead, clamp it to the ground with a garden staple( looks like a very large hairpin.) Push it down over the stem and it should be secure to the soil.
Apply a thin layer of good compost to the spot you stapled.
Water and in a day or so add some extra compost and water again.
In a few weeks or so the arm will have rooted. Cut it from the mother plant just above the stapled section. You can now dig up the new plant and re-plant in a new location or pot it and leave for next spring.
Mints can be taken up by the root or simply broken off and rooted in good compost.
Leave your mints in the pot until spring and you will have hardy transplants to start the season with.
If you have already cut your Sage back you are seeing new shoots cropping out by now.
You can break or cut these from the mother plant and pot the same as mint or plant then directly in the ground where you wish them to grow.
Sage is cold hardy and will survive the winter.
Sage is also one of those herbs that tends to get very woody stems after about the second or third year and needs to be replaced for the best results.
All other herbs should still be producing, although they are no doubt starting to flower, herb blooms are edible and look and taste great in salads and vegetables. They can also be dried right along with the leaves.
Don't forget too, they make an awesome summer flower arrangement for the table.
I hope you are saving all your compost material for your fall production. Grass clippings, shredded limbs, dead plants(no diseased ones) vegetable peels and coffee and tea grinds along with your eggshells. ( remember, never put cooked food or any meat products into your compost, it will turn rancid and spoil the entire pile.
Have an Awesome August and happy gardening!
Friday, July 07, 2006
Summertime has arrived in Tennessee !!
The heat is very intense and some days I forget to be grateful.
But, the good news is the hotter the better for the herb gardens. They thrive in the heat and most are very drought tolerant. So we are doing good in that department.
I have had the pleasure of cutting and drying peppermint for two days.......oh- the work is so welcomed, when the aroma is so nice.
Peppermint is good for so many things in the culinary world.
My greatest use for it is of course the tea blends, but I use it in a variety of ways other than the tea.
A few sprigs dropped into a pitcher of fresh lemonade is awesome.
Tear a few leaves and toss into the salad bowl when using fruits.
A few sprigs wrapped with a baking ham is just yummy!
And of course we must not forget the pleasures of the homemade ice cream treats.
Whatever liquid you are using, just soak the peppermint leaves in it and remove before combining the recipe.
My hubby eats oatmeal for breakfast and he drops a few leaves into the water for the oats, gives them a special little twist.
This is one of my peppermint beds, it is very healthy and the butterflies enjoy it too, as well as the bees.
Want to try my Peppermint tea? It's on my web-site as "SageHill House Blend" a blending of peppermint and lemon balm. Very, very good!
I trust everyone had a marvelous 4th of July and ready for what the rest of the month holds.
Blessings for a "Juicy July!"
Friday, June 23, 2006
Being an herb grower, needless to say I have beds of herbs all over the place, and being an avid cook I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I really like a small garden just as close to the kitchen as I can get it. This one is just outside my kitchen door, so I'm just a few steps away from whatever I need for a pot or a dish.
In the kitchen garden you should have rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, a few chives, some sage and dill. Herbs will grow very crowded so you really don't need much space. If at some point you feel they are too bunched together just cut something back very close to the ground and that will allow light and sun to reach the inside of the other plants before the new growth begins to come back.
Remember this is the month to cut and dry any excess you may have, just cut,dry by hanging or in a dehydrator and place in dark containers for the fall and winter, they make great gifts and just as tasty as fresh in your foods.
Have a Marvelous June week-end!
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Thanks for reading!
A TALE OF INCREDIBLE SWEETNESS AND INTRIGUE
If you've ever tasted stevia, you know it's extremely sweet. In fact, this remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries. But this innocuous-looking plant has also been a focal point of intrigue in the United States in recent years because of actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The subject of searches and seizures, trade complaints and embargoes on importation, stevia has been handled at times by the FDA as if it were an illegal drug.
Since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), stevia can be sold legally in the United States, but only as a "dietary supplement." Even so, it can be found in many forms in most health-food stores, and is also incorporated into drinks, teas and other items (all labeled as "dietary supplements"). It cannot, however, be called a "sweetener" or even referred to as "sweet." To do so would render the product "adulterated," according to the FDA, and make it again subject to seizure.
The purpose of our Web site is to provide as much information about stevia as possible, from the scientific studies regarding its safety to the petitions submitted by the Lipton Tea Company and the American Herbal Products Association. Stevia.net will be an ongoing project for us at Body Ecology, so check back often, as we will be augmenting and updating this information frequently.
Why is the Center for Science in the Public Interest misleading the public about stevia? Contradictory comments and misleading statements are exposed: See story. Also: Commentary from the Providence Journal
If you would like to know more about this article you can find it here: http://www.stevia.net
Sunday, May 07, 2006
May is here and the planting has begun!
As badly as I have wanted to plant everything, It has not been warm enough to do so, until now....we have ventured out and put in some tomato and bell peppers.
These of course are in addition to the herbs. With the exception of Basil, herbs are pretty cold hardy and can be started much earlier. In fact they are all well on their way...I have actually already taken some cuttings from the thyme, oregano, and sage.
But, back to the vegetable garden.
If you haven't already done so, this is the time to lay your garden out on paper, get a good feel for what you wish to grow and where to want to grow it.
Nothing compares to having a plan and making it work.
I prefere the standard square for my garden, with a few spaces left in-between the rows for walking. Till the soil a few times and just let it sit between tillings.
This will help the soil to settle and fill in any open spaces left by the tilling.
It will also give the bugs and pest you don't want time to find another home.
So now the tilling and the moving is complete, you need to work in some good organic compost, nothing compares and as far as I'm concerned there is no good substitute.
Again let it sit for a few days and work it in again, breaking up any large clumps that need to be broken. A good garden fork is a must here.
Now your ready to lay your rows out, some folks mound them up, but to me that is just extra work, rain, working the soil, weeding, etc., just tears it down, so I'd skip that part. If you tilled enough and with the good composting, you really shouldn't have that many weeds. I'm not big on weeding!
Companion planting is a really good idea. Some plants make good neighbors for other plants and some don't.....kinda like the human species.
The reason being, they serve as a natural deterent to pest and disease that would otherwise attack the protected plant.
Oregano makes a good companion to plant next to Broccoli and Cabbages.
Garlic close by your Rose beds will keep aphids and Japanese beetles at bay.
Spinach with strawberries is very beneficial to the berries.
Do not plant Asian Cabbage next to regular cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower.
They are susceptible to many of the same pest and disease.
Beets grow well where peas and beans grew the year before, as these plants fix nitrogen in the soil.
You might wish to protect your dill patch from the rabbits and woodchucks, either can consume a full planting overnight.
Parsley worms can eat a full parsley plant or the leaves from your carrots in an hour. BUT before destroying them remember they are the larva of the beautiful Black Swallowtail Butterfly. ( I plant a small patch of parsley just for the them. When I find them on my garden plants, I just pick them off(with gloves)and move them to their own little garden, where they live happily until they fly into my garden.
Plant a garden, watch it grow and be blessed!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
In their native habitat of 'The Cape of Good Hope' they are perennial's, but in most parts of the US they are grown as annuals or tender perennials.
The leaf texture of the SG can be smooth, sticky or velvety. The back of the leaf is what releases the scent for which each geranium is named.
They are well suited for growing in container's but do very well in the ground also. They thrive in sunny locations and need evenly moist soil, and they do much better from rooted cuttings than from seed.
It's a good idea to water several hours before you plan to take cuttings.
While there are well over 100 varieties of the SG , for culinary use the rose, lemon and mint are most in demand.
They do attract some pest and careful attention is required if you wish to have healthy and thriving plants. Caterpillar's, aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies are just a few of the things you may find having lunch.
You can easily control the caterpillars by lifting off and placing some-place else.
I always grow an extra small patch of parsley for them to feed on.....they will turn into beautiful butterflies you know, so please never kill them.
The other pest you can wash away with diluted alc0hol and a Qtip.
A good insecticidal soap will work also.
If you need a good book about these lovely plants:
"Knowing, Growing and Enjoying Scented Geraniums" (by) Jim Becker and Faye
Monday, April 10, 2006
There are many things we can do in April that will help move things along rapidly when we do get the final go-ahead.
We can start pre-paring our soil for planting providing it isn't too wet....never work your soil when it's wet, it isn't a good thing for many reasons. This is a great time to get the weed problem under control if you have them. One good way to avoid that problem is to grow in raised beds. Another benefit is it gives your garden very good drainage.
This is a good time to lay out new locations, build beds, move plants to other locations, and do some snipping and pruning of certain things. Also time to sew seeds in transplant trays for later planting.
Another must have project is to start a compost pile if you don't have one.
It's never too late to do this......it's the best fertilizer you can find anywhere,
and of course if your growing by organic methods, compost is black gold!
I think April is my favorite month in the garden....not because it's the most beautiful time but because the options are so many......just dream it and you can do it !
I would love to hear from you and know what you are planning for your garden this spring.
We have added three new items for certain.....garlic, lavender and blueberrie's.
Sooooo if you are in our part of the country...please feel free to stop by and say hi.....we are most always home!
(Do you Know:) Oregano packs 42 times more antioxidents than an apple.
Eat a well balanced diet and don't get hung up on the paticulars. A variety of produce and whole grains and you'll get a good mix of nutrients.
Have an "Awesome April"......................
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms
Thursday, March 02, 2006
In my gardens I have Rosemarys, Thymes, Oregano, Parsley, Chives and Sage, all just waiting for me to uncover them and give them my approval to welcome spring! But.......March is fickle, just when we think it has settled into nice warm days and all the cold is finally over-wham....a heavy frost. So, patience is a must if you wish to keep Jack Frost from having your beautiful plants for breakfast.
I use March to get aquainted with my gardens and my landscape again.
Walk it, get the feel of all the low and high spots. Maybe decide where you will put that special bed of something new you haven't grown before.
My hubby loves roses, so this year we are doing a rose garden, it will have a two fold purpose....one, because he likes them and enjoys seeing them grow. The other will be a tribute to both our mothers, who also loved them.
A memory garden.......now don't you have something or someone you could do a memory garden for?
Some herbs I will be growing this year that I haven't grown before are, garlic , and lavender. I am very anxious to get started and see how these two new members adapt to my garden.
A little note to remember about growing herbs, they do not require a lot of pampering, in fact, the less you tend them the better they will be.
Just give them good basic soil(compost)a fair amount of water(don't over water) herbs do not require as much water as vegetable plants do.
I'm also excited about my pumpkin patch this year, it will be small, but it's a start.
And the blueberry field, oh....I wish I had a 100 acres to plant !!
But that is for another time and topic.........you can grow a lot in a small space, so if you don't have much space, that doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful garden.....we will talk about that next time.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
My thinking is most of us need to work on our immune system's.
With our food supply being so lacking in good nutritional value, regardless how much we try, most of us do not get the proper balance of what it takes to keep our system operating in a healthy mode.
Stress is such a major factor in everyday life for most, just no way around it.......
and stress is the major culprit among all the threats to our immune system.
I'm certainly not a doctor(nor do I wish to be one)and I'm in no way advising anyone to stop medical treatment of any kind.........but, it's way past time for us to take more responsibility for our own health. I do believe we are faced with the fact that medical doctor's and pills, etc, isn't working for the majority.
We have to work on the cause, practice better maintance. Be aware, take control, fight back !
If your interested in a really good book on this subject; "Herbs for Health and Healing".......by "Kathi Keville" is one of the best I have read.
Published by "Rodale Press, Inc."
I'll repeat myself here at the risk of your rath....maintance is the key.
Discover herbs and the role they can play in your every day diet.
Used in a systematic way on a regular basis, it is the single most important thing you can do for your body, your mind , and your general well being.
Want to know more? Visit my web-site and sign up for "Sage Hill Farms" free
Have questions? Feel free to email me from my web-site, I will return your mail.
Thanks for reading,
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Just a brief summary of herbs that pair well with certain foods. This is by no means a hard and fast rule...I'll be the first to try new blendings of taste that may seem a little out of the norm. Some work out and some don't. But do be bold, work out your likes and dislikes,it's all about your personal taste.
Lavender, Most of the Mint family, Sweet Violet, and Thyme. Thyme can be used in almost every dish you can imagin.(with it's delicate clove-like flavor.
(Meats and Fish)
Basils, Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Coriander(Cilantro)
Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Sage, and Tarragon.
(Sauces, Soups, and Stews)
Basils, Oreganos, Thymes, Horseradish, Hyssop, Lovage, Sweet Marjoram, Flat Leaf Parsley,Tarragon, and Burnet.
(Vegetables)Both cooked and Raw.
Thyme, Tarragon, Rosemary, Flat Leaf(Italian)Parsley, Garlic, Dill, Chives, Chervil, Borage, and Basils.
Most any of the herbs above you can work into breads and breakfast dishes that include eggs. Dill, Chives and Basils are super stired into egg dishes.
Fennel adds an awesome taste to Apple pie!
And of course good healthy teas can be brewed from most any herb.
Some of my favorites are:
Sage and Apple Mint Tea.
Rose Scented Geranium Tea
Lavender and Lemon Balm Tea
Peppermint and Thyme Tea.
And the list could go on and on....
Herbs are the most versatile ingredient you can add to your kitchen. It's just a matter of taste.
So jump in, give it a try, I promise you'll have great fun and your tummy and your taste buds will love you forever!
4 old-timer herbs that aren't as well know as most culinary herbs today.
(Lovage, Chervil, Burnet, and Borage)
(Borage)- Goes back to ancient Celtic times. Soldiers drank it in wine before battle to give them courage.
It has a cucumber like flavor, the leaves and flowers can be tossed into salads and vegetables. The stems can be eaten raw like celery. It's best used fresh, does not hold up well to drying.
(Burnet)-Was popular in Elizabethan England. Used in salads and vegetables. Sprigs can also be popped into white wine spritzers.
(Chervil)-Is of course one of the "fines herbs" very much used in French cooking. Has an anise flavor, can be used in place of parsley. Great on vegetables. When adding to a cooked dish, never cook it more than 10 min, it will turn bitter if cooked too long.
(Lovage)- Was used by Psychic's in the Middle Ages.
Has a celery flavor but holds up better in cooking than celery. It's wonderful in potato salad and on poultry.
BeaKunz/Sage Hill Farms
Eat Well, Be Well.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
February puts us one month closer to spring, that's something to love!
February is the month of love...we perk up at the thought of that beautiful box of our favorite sweet treat or our most desired goodie, be it jewels, furs, cars, a trip maybe?
Well, you are going to laugh when I tell you what I would like from my sweetie.
Books....some new and updated books on herbs and organic foods. Not that I don't have books already, a few dozen, maybe more...but I want new ones, that's not asking too much, is it? And of course anything else he opts to add to my request is just ok with me.
We worked outside in the "bog" today...lovely day in Tennessee, sun was shining, I actually had to remove my jacket after about an hour.
In the "bog" (a low section of the farm with a very large natural rock formation.)
I'm planning to put swamp ferns and honeysuckle along with some other wild plants so graciously given to me by my friend Annie, from Georgia.
The "bog" is a haven for frogs and turtles and Mr. Tigger(above) (resident mouser)he keeps all the field mice away. Thank you Mr.Tigger!
Until next time, be well and stay safe.
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Thursday, January 19, 2006
This week we have had tons of rain, winds that will take you off the ground and some of that beautiful white gold...Snow!
Nothing more beautiful than a tree covered in snow and colorful birds nestled in the branches. We have an abundance of Cardinals, Bluejays, Finches and a few Buntings.
I try to get up close photo's, but as soon as I go outside they all take flight.
Yes, ladies I have been spending a bit of time with my seed and plant books. It's that time of year!
I am also planning to try some new types of Basil, and yes, there are so many.
Of all the ones I have grown so far, the "Genovese" is my favorite. It's just an all around easy variety to use. Very hardy and just makes a beautiful plant.
AS you can see here: This was after it had gone to seed. It just did not want to stop growing!
I am starting to get the planting itch.....and it is toooo early!
Have to find more books!
See you soon,
Sunday, January 01, 2006
January is a lovely month in my eyes, I love the cold and the snow. I love the trees with no leaves. I love the promise you can find if you look under the dead and dying
plants, little lives in the making just waiting to be warmed and nourished and given permission to grow.
Most of the year in middle Tennessee I see green rolling hills when I look out my windows, and thats a lovely picture always, but to see those rolling hills covered in snow and grey low-hanging sky--it sends a message to slow down and re-group for the coming months. I like that reminder!
About the herb garden in January-Where you are located has a major impact on what you can do now. Here in the middle south, we just kinda relax, read good books(mostly about growing things, enjoy the things we stored from last years harvest and wait for spring.
If you were going to plant garlic for a crop this coming summer, it should already be in the ground.
Remember also if your growing herbs inside, they need to be in a location that gives them at least a half-day of sun and or light. I'm not a real supporter of growing inside, just too many problems, requires a lot of tending in order to have good strong healthy plants. But if your willing to put in the time and the interest is strong enough to push you to gain the knowledge, it can be rewarding.
I love doing things as natural and with the least amount of resistants as possible.
So, I'll stick to the outside growing.
For those of you have ask, yes, I will be growing garlic, lavender, chamomile, bay,fennel,and more dill.
Have a request? Send it along...always room for one more thing!
Remember your feathered friends during these cold months. Keep plenty of fresh water and bird seed and suet out and you'll be blessed with beautiful birds all winter.
Sending each and all the most prosperous wishes for the coming year.
Be Well in 2006.