Sunday, July 3, 2011

Time to enjoy a long weekend!

Tomorrow is July 4th, Independence Day. There are many reasons to celebrate, most importantly the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the battles fought and lives lost so that we may be free from tyranny.

This weekend I'll be celebrating and exercising my freedoms!

My goal for my garden is to become less reliant on store-bought produce and herbs. I do enjoy my weekly trips to the farmer's market but I would still like to be more self-sufficient. Saving money is one reason to grow your own food but taste is what I really notice. Growing up, my Gran always had the most delicious homegrown tomatoes.

Today I am planting herbs: Cilantro, Echinacea Purpurea, German Chamomile and Oregano. In a later post I'll explain how to make your own plant markers. For now I've posted a picture below.

Planting Herbs:

Planting and growing herbs can be very simple. Use good soil, sprinkle seeds over desired area, gently cover with 1/2 inch of dirt (a few specify NOT to cover) and lightly water. Keep soil moist as containers dry out quickly. Harvest when ready.

Cilantro growing in soil that reaches 75F will bolt and go to seed. This means that the ideal growing conditions are cool but sunny. Cilantro will only last about 8-10 weeks before flowering. Once it does flower, it will make seeds which can be harvested as Coriander seeds or they can be replanted to grow more Cilantro plants.

Echinacea, also known as coneflowers, enjoy a sunny location with fertile soil. If your soil isn't particularly fertile, work in a little compost and supplement with a good organic fertilizer. Well-drained soil is a must.

German Chamomile prefers well-drained sandy soil and self-sows freely. Sow seeds indoors on surface of soil (do not cover). Transplant outdoors in early spring just before last frost.

Oregano is a perennial warm-season herb, hardy to frost and light freezes. Sow seeds indoors just beneath surface of soil. Transplant outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Prefers very well-drained soil.

I like to recycle as often as possible. I've used a containers from my salad and poked small holes in the bottom for drainage. I added dirt but not to the top. Sprinkle with seeds and add more dirt if necessary. Water gently.

Here's a picture of the Cherokee Purple tomatoes from a few days ago. After they were all settled in the dirt I put them out in the sun.

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