Monday, July 25, 2011

Collection & Conservation~of Water

It is the time of season when a lot of water is in demand.

Those of us who have small farms or home gardens can and should practice the options given by nature to conserve and use water in the wisest ways possible.

Collecting rain water is one of the most simple methods of water management we have.

The market offers many different styles of rain barrels for this purpose-or, one can simply use large outdoor containers or cisterns to catch and store rainwater.

Place these containers under the downspouts of your buildings and wait for the rain to come :)
You may want to treat the stored water for bacteria and to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes. Keep a screen covering over the containers to keep debris and animals out.

Other ways to keep water usage at a savings level is the soaker -hose or installed irrigation system. ( for larger projects.)

Water in the early morning, never the hottest part of the day ( evaporation will be the highest ) or too late in the day ( your plants will be too damp over night and will be a temptation to pest looking for moisture.)

Each time you water test the soil at least 4 to 6 " deep for moisture-don't water again until the soil is dry at that same depth.

**Never water lightly or sprinkle the tops of your plants/garden-shallow watering encourages the roots to come to the surface for the moisture, causing shallow rooted plants, this will result in breakage and/or pest infestation.**

A 2 to 3 " of organic mulch around the base of your plants, ( not too close to the crown ) will help to retain moisture. ( shields the soil from the sun.

If you have individual plants that are scattered around your yard that needs even watering...such as fruit trees, shrubs, etc., I have found this to be a perfect solution. ( using gallon plastic jugs-punch tiny holes in the bottom, fill with water, set close to the base of the plants...just refill the jugs as needed....really does save water and time.

Happy gardening and respect and control your water is the source of life.

Happy Gardening and a lovely summer~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz

Monday, July 11, 2011

July's Herb~

July's herb/Summer's herb...has to be Basil~

Basil has a long history of use; the herbalist john Parkinson in 1629 said of it, " The ordinary Basil is in a manner wholly spent to make sweete or washing waters among other sweete herbs..." and also "the smell thereof is so excellent that it is fit for a king's house."

Basil is one of those herbs that grows best in the hottest of climates, or in a greenhouse/conservatory. With the first hint of frost it is gone until the next year.

Basil is equally at it's best in the culinary arena or in the medicinal one.

There are many varieties of Basil and each one has it's own special attributes.

Genovese...compact and highly aromatic...used in Italian cooking along with simple dishes such as sliced tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese....

Purple exotically dark with clove like very small and grows well in pots, excellent in salads or teas.

Crispum...has curly leaves with the ability to outgrow all others.

Parts that can be used...leaves and the essential oil from all of the varieties.

Basil essential should not be used during pregnancy without the guidance of your health care person.

Want to know more about this delightful herb...just ask...

Bea Kunz
Sage Hill Farms