• GardenBite@Facebook • GardenBite@Twitter

It’s Shopping Day

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Shopping Day

Fueled with food we’re ready to shop till we drop!  Well, maybe some of us are…  I have a short list of some favorite gifts for gardeners.  I like to keep it simple.  Obviously, there are tons more ideas out there.  Some very fancy – you can find plenty of those items at local nurseries.  I just wanted to share a few of my favs…

A great Garden Fork

A great Pruner

Felco Pruner

Felco Pruner

Books are a great gift and one that I highly recommend is by a local woman Atina Diffley.  It is a true love story of the land and our connection to it.  She is also an amazing advocate for organic farms.  I have a lot of respect for this woman!  Check out her website too.  I had a chance to interview her about her book “Turn Here – Sweet Corn”.  You can hear it by clicking HERE.  I interview a lot of authors on a huge variety of subjects on a show I created called “15 with the Author“.  Check out the other books like Field Exercises and another coming up called The Market Gardener.

Turn Here - Sweet Corn

One of my favorite authors on books for gardeners is Jeff Gillman – Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota Horticultural department.   He has a number of books, this is one of many I like.

Book - The truth about garden remedies

Don’t forget my favorite magazine Northern Gardener!

My cat, Dino, enjoys a good read too!

My cat, Dino, enjoys a good read too!

Northern Gardener

Self-watering containers are a great gift for those without a lot of time or folks with limited physical abilities.  Take a peek at the different types from Gardener’s Supply.  I always suggest buying LOCALLY first but if you can’t find what you want, then certainly, take advantage of the internet!

Don’t forget the gloves!  There are LOTS of types.  These are decent gloves at a decent price from Garden Girl.

Garden Girl gloves

They carry a lot of other items.

 

No Comments Tags: ,

Happy Thanksgiving

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Happy Thanksgiving


May your home and your belly be full!  This is the Fresh Herb stuffing I make…

I am also required to bring the Pumpkin Dessert.  That recipe is in my Recipe tab.

If you grew ornamental grasses, now’s the time to bring them indoors, put them in a vase with some red-twigged dogwood.  If you have berries still clinging to your trees or shrubs, use them as part of a centerpiece.  Just don’t eat them!!

grass art by JW

grass

Harry Lauders Walking stick is a cool shrub that is most awesome in winter!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!!  Thank you for stopping by and send me an email with your questions, comments or suggestions.  I’d love to hear from YOU!  If you’re on Facebook, LIKE my page “Garden Bite with Teri Knight”.  You can also connect with me there.

 

No Comments

Thanks for the aromas

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Thanks for the aromas

The baking and roasting, the sautéing and simmering…  Thanksgiving Day cooking fills homes with such wonderful aromas!

Having herbs, vegetables and/or fruit that you’ve grown on the Thanksgiving Day table just adds to the  thankfulness of the day.  What’s on the table that you can grow next year?

Those roasted tomatoes are fab with a mild cheese and crackers!

roasted tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes

The above photo has kale, red cabbage, jalapeno, beets and beans in it.  A little tough to see!  I have a lot of great recipes in my Recipes tab.  Check it out and find some wonderful choices.

Fresh Herb Dressing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 cups toasted plain bread cubes or unseasoned stuffing croutons
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • I added some savory the last time and loved it!  Just a teaspoon or less

Preparation:

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter; add the onions and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the sage, salt, pepper and stock; bring to a simmer.

Add bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and pour over the hot broth mixture. Add the fresh herbs and mix well. If the bread seems too dry more stock can be added. Taste for salt, and adjust if needed. Transfer to a buttered two-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes, or until top is golden-brown.  That’s purple basil leaves on top.

Fresh Herb Stuffing

No Comments Tags: ,

The uninvited houseguest – Mice

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  The uninvited houseguest – Mice

Oh the pitter patter of tiny feet…  House mice.  EEK

Oh sure, he looks cute but the destruction and, egad!, waste left behind by these little creatures is NOT something you want in your home.  Some facts about mice:

  • as cold seeps in, so do mice
  • gestation period is just 19 days
  • they can have 6 or more babies per litter
  • they can have 13 litters a year
  • that’s a minimum of 78 mice
  • where you find one, there are more
  • they will eat whatever you have on hand and use glue, paper, soap, anything to make nests
  • they can jump, swim and run up to 8 mph

The best way to catch them is with a snap trap using peanut butter, just make sure you don’t have curious pets or children that could have access to the traps!!

If you do, you can use a live trap – for those, sunflower seeds are the best bait.  Just remember, you’re going to have to dispose of them once caught!

There’s always getting a cat!  Introducing “Dino Valentino”.  I will say we haven’t had mice yet…  so maybe he’s doing something.  ;-)  Besides being adorable.

Dino V

Hard at work!

He does like to read!

My cat, Dino, enjoys a good read too!

No Comments Tags: , ,

2015 trends in Gardening

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  2015 trends in gardening

So what’s the buzz?  What’s trending for 2015?  Some of the same things that have been trending.  In particular is people aren’t just gardening for beauty but they are gardening to nourish their communities, the environment and their own wellbeing. All things fruit are trending.  Blueberry bushes, raspberries, even currents and gooseberries.  All of which grow just fine in cooler climates.  Of course, blueberries need more acidic soil.  For those with small spaces Bailey Nurseries has 2 more columnar apple tree introductions:

Colonnade Flamenco

Colonnade Flamenco

Apple Colonnade Flamenco

Colonnade Flamenco

Colonnade Polka

Colonnade Polka

The trees grows straight up to 10 feet tall with a spread of just 2 feet.  The fruit is borne on narrow branches as well as the main leader.  They have 2 varieties Colonnade “Flamenco Apple” and Colonnade “Polka Apple” .  Both are said to have good flavor.   These trees would easily fit into nearly any landscape!

Teal and pink are reportedly the new colors for 2015.  Compact plants with rich colors and textures is also trending for 2015 as small space gardening and balcony gardens continue to bloom.

There’s a new shrub-like Japanese Maple from Bailey Nurseries that looks a bit like Christmas as it’s leaves slowly change in the fall from green to red.  Those leaves start with a yellowish rose hue in the Spring.  It slowly grows to just 4 feet tall with a mounding habit.  It’s spread is 3 feet.  This plant is rated to zone 5 but it’s so pretty I would give it a go in cooler climes where you might find a microclimate near your home or on a berm.

Japanese Maple Cynthias Crown Jewel

Japanese Maple Cynthias Crown Jewel

 

No Comments Tags: , ,

Air Plants

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Air Plants

Most of our outdoor chores are done and it’s time to bring a little more life indoors!  Air Plants aka Tillandsia are lovely little plants that take little effort but you need bright indirect sunlight for them to thrive and, of course, they need some moisture., especially with our drier indoor air during the winter months. They’ll need water 2 to 3 times a week.  Either dunk the entire plant in tepid water for up to an hour or mist the plant until it’s dripping wet.

air plants

Air plant - Ionantha Guatemala

Air plant – Ionantha Guatemala

Air plants from Air Plant Supply Co.

Air plants from Air Plant Supply Co.

The finer the leaves the more frequently you’ll need to mist.  Green-leafed types also need more moisture than those with silvery foliage.  If the leaves are curling or shriveling, they need water.  these plants need no soil, in fact, if you plant them in soil, you’ll kill them.  Many garden centers or floral shops carry air plants but you can also order online.

Air plant - the little plant on the side is called a pup

Air plant – the little plant on the side is called a pup

The containers you place them in are vast.  I’ve seen them in everything from galvanized pipe from the hardware store to an embroidery hoop.  Use a piece of wire to hold the plant against the fabric.  Organic Gardening magazine suggests an old candlestick holder, a wine cork with one end hollowed out  or even in an eggshell sitting on a napkin ring.

air plant in cork

You can even use a hot glue gun to glue these plants onto anything glue sticks to!!  It won’t harm the plants.  Check out pinterest and google images.

air plant cork ball

Air plants

 

 

No Comments Tags: ,

Soothing salts

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Soothing salts

Ahhh, soothing bath salts!  Another hostess gift idea.

Bath salts - lavender and rosehips

Historically baths were a way of treating ailments..  Holistic practitioners  use salt and herbs for a number of maladies.  There are different types of salts as well.  Epsom is probably the most popular and the one we’ll focus on. It’s actually magnesium and sulfate, minerals known for their medicinal value as well as beauty and garden products.

Bath salts - types

To make a bath salt, start by measuring the salt into a glass or stainless steel bowl.  Add the essential oil, adjusting the amount for a lighter or stronger scent.  Mix thoroughly.  Stir in the herbs, reserving a few for decoration.  Pour into a pint jar.  Place reserved herb sprigs or petals on top of the salt before sealing the jar.

Bath salts - making

Epsom salt, lavender, rosehips

Bath salts with essential oil

Lavender, rosehips and lavender essential oil

For invigoration:

mix 2 cups salt with 4 to 8 drops of peppermint essential oil and 1 or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves.

For sore muscles:

Mix 4 to 8 drops of wintergreen or lemongrass essential oil ( or a mix of the two) with 2 cups salt and 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried lemon verbena leaves.

For relaxation:

2 cups salt mixed with 4 to 8 drops of essential lavender oil and 1 or 2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers and rosebuds.  I was able to use the lavender from my own garden as well as the rosebuds.

You can add beet powder for festive color.  It won’t stain you or your tub!

I found this site that has a lot of information about Bath Salts and other simple home products to add to your bath for a variety of reasons!  Salt Works

No Comments Tags: ,

Infused sugars

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Infused Sugars

This time of year our calendars start to fill with party dates.  Hostess gifts are sometimes one of those last minute thoughts.  Today I thought I’d give you a little prompt and suggest some fun, easy  yet thoughtful ideas.

Infused sugar - lavender essentials

Infused sugars.  A sweet small token of appreciation in a cool looking jar.  Start with organic sugar and a dried herb or spice.  I buy at our local coop.

Infused sugar - lavender

Combine the sugar and herb or spice into an airtight container in a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar to spice.  Approximately.  Some of those herbs/spices do not need to be that strong!  Experimentation is the key.

After about 2 weeks, the sugar will be infused and it will keep well for at least 3 months.  There are lots of herbs and spices that go well with sugar.

  • Vanilla, use vanilla bean
  • Mint, dried any kind
  • Orange or lemon peel
  • Dried rosehips (although I’ve heard people using the petals and didn’t like it)
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Nutmeg
  • Cayenne
  • Juniper berries
  • Chili pepper
  • Fennel seed – tastes like licorice
  • Whatever you can think of!

Infused sugar - orange peel with peeler

You can package your  sweet treat in any number of containers.  The only must is that they be airtight. well, clean too!  Thrift stores are great for finding fun stuff.  Do sanitize the jars.  PS I dried the orange peel and zest in my dehydrator.

Infused sugar - orange

After your sugar has been infused, you can either sift out the herb or spice or leave it in.  I like the way it looks left in the jar.  Add suggestions on the use of the infused sugar and be sure to add that they should sift the sugar if there are large pieces.

  • Sprinkle on sugar cookies
  • Sweeten coffee or tea
  • Sprinkle on fresh fruit
  • Fold into cookie, muffin, cupcake or bread batter
  • Rim a cocktail glass

Infused sugar - vanilla

No Comments Tags: , , ,

Moonlight Garden

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Moonlight Garden

“Walking… after midnight…  in the moonlight… “  I wonder if Patsy Cline enjoyed the flowers in the moonlight?

A moonlight garden can lift your spirits on a gloomy, cloudy day as the flowers stand out best during those days as well as in the moonlight.

Lillium ‘Casa Blanca’

White flowers and light foliage are stunners for the Moonlight Garden.  Here is a comprehensive list of plants that would make “…walking in the moonlight…” garden even lovelier

The Moonlight Garden

This list of plants was compiled by Shirley Mah Kooyman from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum:

Shade (in order of bloom time)

  • Helleborus orientalis – Lenten rose
  • Dicentra spectablis ‘Alba’ – white bleeding heart
  • Astilbe japonica ‘Deutschland’
  • Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ – Japanese anemone (invasive)
  • Tricyrtis hirta – toad lily

Sun (in order of bloom time)

  • Muscari album – white grape hyacinth – very fragrant
  • Anemone blanda – windflower
  • Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ – snowflake – likes boggy areas
  • Iberis sempervirens – candytuft (part sun)
  • Tiarella cordifolia – foam flower (part sun)
  • Narcissus ‘Thalia’ – white daffodil – very fragrant
  • Narcissus ‘Mt. Hood’
  • Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ – double flowers, fragrant
  • Galium odoratum – sweet woodruff (part sun) mildly fragrant leaves when dried
  • Iris siberica ‘White Swirl’ – Siberian Iris
  • Aruncus dioicus – goatsbeard (part sun)
  • Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’
  • Lilium ‘Casablanca’ – lily
  • Phlox ‘David’ – mildew resistant – wonderful fragrance
  • Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ – Shasta daisy

Shade – leaves

  • Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’, ‘Majesty’, ‘E.B. Anderson’ (3 varieties to start!)
  • Hosta ‘Patriot’
  • Hosta ‘Grand Master’
  • Carex siderosticha ‘Variegata’
  • Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ – Japanese painted fern

Sun – leaves

  • Salvia argentea – sage
  • Stachys Byzantine ‘Big Ears’ – lambs ears
  • Artemisia absinthium ‘Lambrook Silver’

This is by no means a complete list but it is a great start!! Try Lilacs too and don’t forget the Malus ‘Doldo’ or ‘Sugar Tyme’ – white crabapple

Malus 'Dolgo'

No Comments Tags: ,

Permaculture

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Permaculture

By now you’ve likely heard the term permaculture but perhaps you’re not really sure what it is.  The word is derived from two words PERMAnent agriCULTURE.

Harvest

Veggies!

What began as strategies to growing food in a sustainable way has become a movement that, and I quote “encompasses all aspects of how we as human beings can live harmoniously in relation to our Earth and it’s finite resources”.   Putting it more simply, it’s moving more to nature’s rhythms than trying to manipulate nature.

There are MANY ways to permaculture, sustainable living.  For me, it’s about growing all kinds of edible plants and that includes plants for wildlife.  Also planting certain types of plants to attract good bugs, the kind that eat the bad bugs!

Below are pictures of ‘Edelweiss’ and ‘St. Croix’ grapes and ‘Summercrisp’ pears from my former home.

Grapes 'Edelweiss' and 'St. Croix'

Grape harvest 12 lbs

Pear 'Summercrisp'

I’m not talking about ripping out your entire lawn, unless you have a lot of ambition, but slowly, as you change your landscape, think about the broader concept of sustainability.  Rather than use chemicals to kill unwanted pests, plant plants that attract the good bugs.  Raise a few chickens that will keep the pest population down and provide you with eggs for a few years, then meat for stew or soup.  There’s a new book for those of us new to permaculture called “The Vegetable Gardeners Guide to Permaculture” by Christopher Shein.  It’s an easy to use, unintimidating guide for those who want to dip their toes into the movement of an edible landscape. This isn’t about working harder, it’s about abundant food with modest effort.

The vegetable gardener's guide to permaculture

 

No Comments Tags: ,