Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thai Roselle, Florida Cranberry

Another one of my favorite heirloom varieties is the Thai Roselle, also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry or Red Thai Hibiscus.  This is another unique variety that would make a great addition to your garden!

From Mary's Heirloom Seeds,
"A valuable plant for making cranberry-flavored bright red beverages, jelly, pie and tea. Much grown in Asia and the mid-east as the flavor is wonderful. A tasty sauce can be made by boiling and sweetening the fleshy calyxes; the leaves are also used to make a drink. The entire plant of this Hibiscus is red and very beautiful. Start early, unless you live in the far-south. Citrus-flavored flowers are delicious on frozen deserts.
Also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry and Hibiscus"
Roselle was called “Florida cranberry” in the 1890s. The flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang.

Hibiscus, of which Roselle is a variety of, is a tropical plant, but if started indoors it can be grown successfully in more northern climates.  You want to start your Thai Red Roselle around the same time you would plants like peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Since this is a heat-loving plant, you want to give it as much of a head start as you can.

Thai Red Roselle is susceptible to aphids, so either use an organic spray or companion plant to control insects. Roselle branches should be pruned when they are 12-18 inches tall to help control height. These plants can reach up so 6 feet in height.

From esgreen,
"Botanically speaking, it's Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (family Malvaceae) and it’s the bushy H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa that produces the edible products.The edible parts used to make “juice” or tea (actually, an infusion) look like reddish dried-up buds. In fact, they’re not flowers but calyces. It’s the calyx, the red, fleshy covering enclosing the flower’s seed pod, which is used for flavoring, cooking and food coloring. The flower of this variety of sabdariffa is yellow, white or light pink.

Roselle(Hibiscus) has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative, as well as in treating cancer and cardiac and nerve diseases. Although information is limited, the potential for hibiscus use in treating hypertension and cancer, as well as for its lipid-lowering and renal effects, are being investigated.

Although roselle is being studied, it hasn’t yet been proven to have the healing powers of bael fruit. It is high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C and iron, as seen on this Purdue University page. And the beverages have no caffeine. In East Africa, "Sudan tea" is consumed as medicine to cure coughs. In Guatamala, roselle is believed to cure hangovers. In Senegal, a roselle extract is said to lower blood pressure. In India, Africa and Central America, infusions made from roselle calyces or seeds are prescribed as a diuretic, to stimulate bile production and to treat fever."

Ready to make Tea with Thai Roselle
I use Thai Roselle to make a delicious tea.

Ingredients include:
Thai Roselle
Fresh Ginger, grated or chopped
2 apples, chopped
cinnamon, sticks or powder

Simmer all ingredients on low for 1 1/2 to 3 hours.  Serve hot or cold 

Dogwood Lane Rambles blog offers a simple Thai Roselle Jelly recipe 
6 cups Roselle petals
6 cups water
3/4 cups wild honey
3 tsp calcium water
3 tsp Pomona pectin
yield 2 pints 

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article and video.  Please share so that we may help more people grow their own organic food!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Black Mint, Wild Marigold Plant

In case you're looking for a fun and unique addition to your garden, we have a very special variety called Black Mint.

I was gifted with the original seeds from a country un-touched by gmo crops.  There was very little info given except it's official name Tagetes minuta.

So many tiny seeds!

Black Peruvian mint also known as Huacatay (pronounced "wah-kah-tie") plays an important role in southern Peruvian cuisine. Enthusiastically known as Tagetes minuta, it is an annual herb of the Asteraceae family, and is the Peruvian cousin of the Marigold

Black Peruvian mint's flowers and leaves produce a strong odor as it contains an essential oil called Huacatay oil. The Huacatay oil is used to make herbaceous and floral perfumes.

From wiki,

Tagetes minuta has numerous local names that vary by region, most commonly found in the literature as; chinchilla, chiquilla, chilca, zuico, suico, or the Spanish term anisillo. Other names include muster John Henry, southern marigold, stinking roger, wild marigold, or black mint, is a tall upright marigold plant from the genus Tagetes, with small flowers, native to the southern half of South America. Since Spanish colonization, it has been introduced around the world, and has become naturalized in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, and Africa. 

Can you count the BEES?
This Black Mint, "Wild Marigold" plant has been the BEST plant in the garden this season for attracting bees.  Every time I stepped into the garden, the bushes were buzzzzzing!

Now that we have harvested a few times from our gardens, we're able to offer Black Mint "Wild Marigold" seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.
*Because of high demand and limited quantities, we can't guarantee varieties such as these will be available for very long*

2 container-planted Black Mint plants and they're HUGE!

The flavor is a blend of basil, mint, citrus, tarragon and it goes great on mild flavored dishes like risotto or meats like chicken and fish.

The natural insecticidal properties of the huacatay protect them from bean fly and nematodes, and at the same time provide a living trellis for the beans to grow up! They are tall straight plants, just perfect for trellises and pyramids.

From Only Foods

Huacatay Medicinal Usage

The medicinal use of Huacatay goes back to the ancient Inca civilization. This plant contains Anthelminthic, carminative, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, emmenagogue, fungicidal, and stomachic properties, which make it a great medicinal herb. Huacatay is used in many ways. The dried flowers and leaves of this herb are largely used to make traditional medicines. It contains thiophenes which have antiviral effect. People use this herb as a flavorful tea for medical benefits such as cold, respiratory inflammations etc. It is also effective for the treatment of asthma. The infusion of its leaves is used to cure stomachaches. The herb is effective against Ascaris and hookworms, but not so much against tapeworms and pinworms.
In recent years, apart from its uses in cuisines or in medicinal purposes, there has been a growing interest in us herbal products made with this herb.

1 rocoto pepper
1 hot chile pepper (Peruvian aji amarillo is commonly used)
1 cup of huacatay leaves
light olive oil or another relatively neutral oil (corn, sunflower...)

Puree the peppers and leaves together, adding oil until you get a smooth puree - it was less than a ½ cup. Add salt to taste.

From Chowhound
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons huacatay paste
3 tablespoons shredded mint
2 cloves garlic

In a blender or food processor, puree lime juice, vegetable oil, huacatay paste, mint, garlic, and salt to taste.
Spoon over grilled tuna, swordfish, or Chilean sea bass or serve with ceviche.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesdays with a Twist #184 LINKUP

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party!
It's finally October!!

In case you missed it, FALL means Garlic Planting!

I also offer a Planting Guide for 2016.  I'm really excited about our new garden expansion

I've been busy learning and sharing about SOIL.  Find out more below!

Are you ready for the party?   We're your hosts 
Mary @ Back to the Basics and Mary's Kitchen
Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures
Angie @ God's Growing Garden
PLEASE welcome back JOYCE @ Heavenly Bodies

Add our button if you've been featured!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Planting Flowers in FALL in the US

It's no secret, I love to plant seeds.  Wildflowers are a favorite since they add so much color to the garden and attract beneficial insects and beautiful pollinators.  Wondering what to plant in FALL?

Planting Time in Mild-Winter Areas
If you live in an area with minimal or no winter frosts (parts of California, Florida, southern Texas or parts of the South West) you can plant wildflowers any time, however, the hottest time of the year is not recommended. It is best to take advantage of the rains and plant in the fall when the rain begins. 

Planting Time in Cold-Zones
If you live in snow zones or areas with bitter-cold winters, it is best to wait and plant in the spring or some even say you can plant in fall. The advantage of planting in the fall is you will see those blooms earlier than if spring planted.
Fall Planting - Timing - best to wait until after a good hard frost. The seeds will not sprout until the spring when the soil has warmed up enough for germination.

Unless specifically buying a shade-loving mix, wildflowers like full sun. But they don’t like soggy, wet feet, so a good draining location is a must.

Give your pollinators a good food source and enjoy the long lasting blooms in your garden or backyard.

Just a few from our HUGE selection of pollinator-friendly varieties include
Plains Coreopsis

A few of my favorites include
"Save The Bees" Mix
Butterfly Garden Starter Kit
"Wild About Wildflowers" Combo Pack 
Edible Flowers Combo pack

We have an older article that I share over and over because it is still VERY relevant Plant for Pollinators and Increase Crop Yields

"Scientists concluded that an almond tree can compensate for the lack of nutrients and water in the short term by storing the nutrients and water in the fruits instead, but cannot compensate for insufficient pollination"

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Friday, October 21, 2016

FLASH SALE: 99 Cent Seed Packs this Weekend!

This is a 1 weekend only FLASH SALE at Mary's Heirloom Seeds!

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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October 21, 2016

As promised, we have added a bunch of new varieties for 2017 and they are available NOW!  It took us almost 2 weeks to get all of the new seeds packaged up AND package up our current offerings!
Don't miss out on these for your 2017 garden!

I decided to start the weekend Early with a FLASH SALE of 99 Cent Seed Packs!
*Click the images below for full descriptions and background on each heirloom variety*

NEW for 2017

Some of you missed our last sale so I've brought back a few varieties just for the occasion. 
SALE ends Monday, October 24th

Sweet Basil - Large Leaf 

Long Purple Eggplant 
An Italian Heirloom first mentioned in 1870

Rouge d'Hiver Lettuce 
A French heirloom from the 1800s that is  
commonly used as baby leaf lettuce.

Wild Sunflower

Purple Coneflower - Echinacea


on these SPECIALS    

Coconut Coir Brick 

**Sale Ends October 23rd** 
BONUS: FREE SEED PACK with every purchase of coconut coir products thru October 23rd!
Includes purchase of Coconut Coir Pellets





If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 

Happy Planting,

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065