When it comes to container gardening and rules I usually say, “rules schmoolz! You do what you want.” Well, that is not entirely true. Just as in life there are rules, guidelines if you will. Always use your directional when making a turn, look both ways when you cross the street, do not eat yellow snow. Blah, blah, blah… So as in life, here are a couple rules to follow to keep you on the straight and narrow:
Choose the right plant for the right sun condition. I will never let you choose a plant that needs shade for you to put it in the sun so that it can fry and turn crispy. Same goes for a plant that loves the sun and you want to plant it in the shade. That poor little baby will go limp and never flower for you.
Choose plants that compliment each other. Those plants that are drought tolerant and can go days without water like a camel should not be planted with someone who likes a cool drink everyday.
Adhere to the rule of height. Do not plant someone that only gets 8 inches behind someone that gets 18inches. You’ll never see it!
That’s it! As far as color goes- YOU DO FOR YOU! You aren’t planting to make your daughter or your neighbor or your mommy happy. At the end of the day it is you that has to come home to your planters. When you pull up into your driveway and see your window boxes, containers or flower beds you want to smile, not feel deflated. If you want to put pink and red together- GO AHEAD! If you want to plant all foliage, if you want to put red and yellow together- GO AHEAD. At the end of the day, its all about YOU!
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:
BUST STRESS: Add some basil leaves to your bath along with Epsom salt to help you relax.
SOOTHE YOUR STOMACH: For digestion, steep three or four basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. Drink in between meals throughout the day.
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.
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…
BATTLE AGAINST BITES: Rub a drop of basil oil or leaf on a bug bite to get rid of the itch.
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
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
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)
1 lemon, sliced thinly
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.
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”
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.
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.