BASIL- the world’s most popular herb

What to and how to-

 

Basil likes it hot, so wait to plant it until the daytime temperatures are above 70 degrees and night temperatures STAY above 50.  Any chill will cause the leaves to blacken and curl

 

Basil needs rich organic well drained soil, and basil loves the sun.   To harvest, take off whole stems by pinching just above any pair of leaves further down the plant.   Another key tip is to pinch off any flowers-  this helps promote more growth.

Basil is best used fresh, but any extra that you have can be set inside a vase with water for a week or so.  You can also preserve through freezing in ice cubes.

Use Basil to:

  1.  BUST STRESS:  Add some basil leaves to your bath along with Epsom salt to help you relax.
  2. SOOTHE YOUR STOMACH: For digestion, steep three or four basil leaves in a cup of boiling water.  Drink in between meals throughout the day.
  3. ENHANCE BUTTER:  Place 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, 1 clove of chopped garlic and 1 stick of salted butter in a bowl.  Stir until combined.  Place on wax paper, roll into a cylinder and refrigerate.
  4. KICK UP YOUR COCKTAIL:  Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and a handful of basil leaves in a pot and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar dissolves, pull from heat and let cool.  Strain, refrigerate syrup for up to a week/10 days.    You could also muddle basil to release the oils then add your favorite mixers…
  5. BATTLE AGAINST BITES:  Rub a drop of basil oil or leaf on a bug bite to get rid of the itch.

April Thirsty Thursday Recipes

Join us this Thursday night, April 20th from 5:30-7pm. We will showcase seasonal cocktails made from the plants you grow in your own garden. We will demonstrate how to use your garden harvest to create tasty, refreshing, praise worthy cocktails  to share with your friends, neighbors and family- From Garden to Glass! Everything from herbs, veggies, berries, shrubs and flowers.  We highlight what is in season now or what will be coming into season very shortly.  This Thursday we will be showcasing mint, rhubarb and strawberries.

Mint Ginger Lemonade
Ingredients:
Mint Ginger Simple Syrup:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup packed mint leaves, torn
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, diced

Lemonade:
3 cups cold water
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (roughly 6-7 large lemons)
batch of mint ginger simple syrup (see recipe above)
fresh mint
1 lemon, sliced thinly

Directions:
Prepare Simple Syrup:
Combine all of the simple syrup ingredients in a small saucepan.
Bring to a low simmer, and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Boil and simmer the syrup for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove and place in a heatproof bowl. Allow to come temperature, or alternative cover and allow to infuse in the fridge for at least 30 to 45 minutes or overnight (for a more intensely flavored lemonade).
Once chilled, strain simple syrup through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the mint leaves and ginger pieces.

Make Lemonade:
In a large pitcher, combine the water, lemon juice, and a full batch of mint ginger simple syrup. Stir well.
Add fresh mint and sliced lemon slices to the pitcher as desired. Chill.
Serve lemonade chilled or alternatively, over homemade mint ice cubes (simply add fresh mint leaves to your ice cube tray–optional). Continue reading “April Thirsty Thursday Recipes”

Time to Lime

Lime, Lime, Lime

We feel that lime is absolutely the most important step in having a thick, green, disease resistant, weed free lawn. So many people come to Scenic Roots and ask how much lime they need for X amount of lawn, but then proceed to buy less than half of what we recommend. We understand when we tell you you need 10 bags of lime for 10,000 sqft., you may get sticker shock. WE do not mean to break your bank, but buying an inadequate amount of lime is wasting your time and money. Not only on the lime, but on any grass seed and fertilizer you buy throughout the year. We say this because without the proper pH the grass seed will not establish very well and the fertilizer will not give you the desired outcome. Without the proper pH level, weeds will take over, moss will grow, bare spots will be a problem, and disease will be more apt to occur. The best way to fight all this is to have the proper pH level. The #1 key to that is proper liming!

Limestone aka lime is a white/grayish mineral compound used to combat acidity and to supply calcium for plant growth. The rate of application is 40lb per 1,000 sqft. Each application raises your pH level by .5 Therefor several different applications might be needed for your proper pH.

Basic Veggie Gardens _ Part 2

What are you planting?

Ok so here is where I get overwhelmed.  If you are like me you will have your garden spaces all marked out, soil prepped, and fertilized.  BUT there are sooo many veggies and herbs I want to plant, how will they all fit? What kinds of tomatoes do I want (cherry, beefsteak, heirloom…), how many kinds of hot peppers do I REALLY want and will I eat them all?  Here are a few suggestions to help you decide:

What to pick?   Select what you and your family love to eat, but be open to branching out to different varieties than what you see in on the supermarket shelves.   Talk to fellow gardeners or your local nursery about how many plants per person should be grown.  This gives you an idea of spacing and if your gardens can handle all the plants you want to grow.  For example; it is recommended to grow 4-6 tomato plants for a family of 4.  Four to six broccoli plants for a family of 4  (you get the point). And lastly, what do you really cook with on the regular, then  pick one or two new vegetables to test out each year.

Continue reading “Basic Veggie Gardens _ Part 2”

Basic Veggie Gardens_Part 1

Where do you start?  From the ground up of course!

Growing your own vegetables can be the most gratifying hobby you do and also the most flavorful.  Believe it or not it is also relatively easy as long as you start correctly from the ground up.  There are three basic ways to grow edibles: containers, raised beds or the ground.  Choosing a spot has to be right for you first and foremost.  Once gardening becomes a chore- it isn’t fun anymore.   If you start out with a 50ft bed and no time to manage it, you leave the garden behind, left to collect weeds, never to be tended to again and you decide you hate gardening and it is too hard.  That’s not fair to you or your garden.   So, you need a site in your yard that has the most sun.  Veggies require 6+ hours of sun. Then you can choose the way you will grow your veggies.

Containers:
Pros- They’re perfect for small spaces. Just make sure they’re deep enough for roots to grow and wide enough so the plant doesn’t blow over in the wind.  They are also easy to move and place elsewhere if they are not getting enough sun.
Cons- When it is hot and sunny they need frequent watering; almost daily.

Raised Beds:
Pros- You can customize size, soil and correct problems easily.  *use untreated wood to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil.
Cons-  Since you need to fill the beds with soil, initial costs could be higher than growing in the ground.  You may also need to water and feed more frequently because they drain so effectively.

In Ground:
Pros- This method is most economical and requires less work in the beginning.  You can water less.
Cons-  You have to work with what Mother Nature has provided, which could include poor soil or lots of inconveniently placed tree roots or rocks.  Therefor adding to the cost.