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Herbal Balm

posted by: westelle on 06.29.2009 at 07:32 pm in Herbs Forum

This sounded like an interesting thing to do, possibly for future small gifts or even stocking stuffers. I included the link so you can watch the video too.

Moisturizing Herbal Balm
Tauton Press Vegetable Gardener

Herbal balms are a fun and inexpensive craft you can make using plants from your garden. You can use this recipe to make a moisturizer for your hands or your lips.

Here's what you'll need:

2 cups olive oil
1 cup dried herbs
Essential oils
1 cup grated beeswax, packed
A double boiler
Containers for storing your balm

Bring water in a double boiler to simmer on your stovetop. Add the olive oil and dried herbs to the top of the double boiler. Keep on the heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently so the herbs release their oils.

Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove most of the herbs from the oil. Discard the leftover leaf material, rinse out the pot, and return it to the double boiler. Pour the oil, which has been infused with herbs, back into the top of the double boiler and heat it up again.

Add 20 drops of the essential oil to the infused olive oil and stir. Add the beeswax to your mixture and stir it until it melts.

After the beeswax has melted, you'll need to check the consistency of your balm. Remove your stirring spoon from the heated balm and let it cool slightly (you can stick it in the fridge for a minute to speed the process along). You'll be able to tell if your balm is thick enough because it should solidify slightly on the spoon into the consistency of a commercial lip balm. If it doesn't seem solid enough, add more grated beeswax until you're satisfied with the consistency.

Pour your balm into small jars. This recipe makes enough balm to fill two 4 oz canning jars. Let the balm cool completely, uncovered.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable Gardener


clipped on: 07.02.2009 at 09:48 am    last updated on: 07.02.2009 at 09:48 am

Tips for newbies planting out for the first time...

posted by: nan-6161 on 04.19.2009 at 06:48 pm in Winter Sowing Forum

As I gardened the past two days, I kept thinking about how much I have learned in the past 3 years. Let's start a thread where we share some of this wisdom:

1) After spending a great deal of time clearing weeds from a spot in your garden, FILL IT. Put out some sprouts as soon as you can. I use to try to clear whole beds over a weekend or two, then on the 3rd or 4th weekend go back with a tray of babies and - you guessed it, the weeds came back.

2) Plant large groups. It is tempting to take the container of sprouts of a plant you think your going to love and "spread it around". But what often happens is then you just get a few flowers here and there, not enough to make a statement. I am planting whole containers at a time these days - breaking them into HOS and making large circles.

3) that's another thing - circles not straight lines!

Jump in folks.........



clipped on: 04.20.2009 at 07:19 am    last updated on: 04.20.2009 at 07:20 am

Poppies--can we talk about the?

posted by: dorisl on 01.16.2009 at 11:00 am in Winter Sowing Forum

Does this stuff sound right to you? I didnt realize how many different kinds of poppies there are and Im trying to pick which is best for me.

California Poppies are annuals. They keep blooming if you deadhead them? They reseed well if conditions are right.

Oriental Poppies are perennials? Bloom once?

Flanders Poppies are annuals? These bloomed more than once for me after I picked off the flowers. They wont reseed cuz I didnt let any of them set seed(didnt want them to because--)! The flowers I had were too weak, the petals fell of if I blinked to hard when I was looking at them. I think this is a reflection of the conditions (drought etc) rather than a plant characteristic?

what else ya got?


PS -- kids are home and (the nerve) want to use the puter, so I will be a normal person and check back after lunch instead of sitting her and chatting.


clipped on: 04.19.2009 at 10:25 pm    last updated on: 04.19.2009 at 10:25 pm

RE: Possible Swap? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: greenthumbgrow on 02.04.2009 at 02:29 pm in Round Robin Exchange Forum

FYI - Heres some info I picked up on edibles... Thought it was very informative.

ALSO BE CAREFUL YOU EAT ONLY THE PARTS THAT ARE EDIBLE sometimes this is the leafs, sometimes the flower, sometimes the roots.

Alliums (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives) - Known as the "Flowering Onions." There are approximately four hundred species that includes the familiar onion, garlic, chives, ramps, and shallots. All members of this genus are edible. Their flavors range from mild onions and leeks right through to strong onion and garlic. All parts of the plants are edible. The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves and the young developing seed-heads are even stronger. We eat the leaves and flowers mainly in salads. The leaves can also be cooked as a flavoring with other vegetables in soups, etc.

Chive Blossoms - Use whenever a light onion flavor and aroma is desired. Separate the florets and enjoy the mild, onion flavor in a variety of dishes.

Garlic Blossoms - The flowers can be white or pink, and the stems are flat instead of round. The flavor has a garlicky zing that brings out the flavor of your favorite food. Milder than the garlic bulb. Wonderful in salads.

Angelica - Depending on the variety, flower range from pale lavender-blue to deep rose. It has a flavor similar to licorice. Angelica is valued culinary from the seeds and stems, which are candied and used in liqueurs, to the young leaves and shoots, which can be added to a green salad. Because of its celery-like flavor, Angelica has a natural affinity with fish. The leaves have a stronger, clean taste and make a interesting addition to salads. In its native northern Europe, even the mature leaves are used, particularly by the Laplanders, as a natural fish preservative. Many people in the cold Northern regions such as Greenland, Siberia, and Finland consider Angelica a vegetable, and eat the stems raw, sometimes spread with butter. Young leaves can be made into a tea.

Anise Hyssop - Both flowers and leaves have a delicate anise or licorice flavor. Some people say the flavor reminds them of root beer. The blossoms make attractive plate garnishes and are often used in Chinese-style dishes

Apple Blossoms - Apple Blossoms have a delicate floral flavor and aroma. They are a nice accompaniment to fruit dishes and can easily be candied to use as a garnish. NOTE: Eat in moderation as the flowers may contain cyanide precursors. The seeds of the apple fruit and their wild relations are poisonous

Arugula - Also called garden rocket, roquette, rocket-salad, Oruga, Rocketsalad, rocket-gentle; Raukenkohl (German); rouquelle (French); rucola (Italian). An Italian green usually appreciated raw in salads or on sandwiches. The flowers are small, white with dark centers and can be used in the salad for a light piquant flavor. The flowers taste very similar to the leaves and range in color from white to yellowish with dark purple veins. Arugula resembles radish leaves in both appearance and taste. Leaves are compound and have a spicy, peppery flavor that starts mild in young leaves and intensifies as they mature.
Arugula Salad
Arugula, Pear and Asiago Cheese Salad
Walnut, Arugula & Gorgonzola Crostini

Aquatic Plants - Cattails have edible shoots and roots and even the pollen has been used in making biscuits. Arrowheads form large edible tubers at the root ends, called duck potatoes, which were consumed by Native Americans. Watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum) has many historic medicinal uses and its spicy vegetation continues to be used in salads and garnishes. Water lily roots are a common source of food in many parts of the world especialy in Far East and have historic medicinal value.

Banana Blossoms - Also know as Banana Hearts. The flowers are a purple-maroon torpedo shaped growth appears out of the top of usually the largest of the trunks. Banana blossoms are used in Southeast Asian cuisines. The blossoms can be cooked or eaten raw. The tough covering is usually removed until you get to the almost white tender parts of the blossom. It should be sliced and let it sit in water until most of the sap are gone. If you eat it raw, make sure the blossom comes from a variety that isn't bitter. Most of the Southeast Asian varieties aren't bitter.

Basil - Depending on the type, the flowers are either bright white, pale pink, or a delicate lavender. The flavor of the flower is milder, but similar to the leaves of the same plant. Basil also has different varieties that have different milder flavors like lemon and mint. Sprinkle them over salad or pasta for a concentrated flavor and a spark of color that gives any dish a fresh, festive look.
Linguine with Tomatoes and Basil

Bee Balm - Also called Wild Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, Monarda. Wild bee balm tastes like oregano and mint. The taste of bee balm is reminiscent of citrus with soft mingling of lemon and orange. The red flowers have a minty flavor. Any place you use oregano, you can use bee balm blossoms. The leaves and flower petals can also be used in both fruit and regular salads. The leaves taste like the main ingredient in Earl Gray Tea and can be used as a substitute.

Borage - Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms have a cool, cucumber taste. Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.

Broccoli Florets - The top portion of broccoli is actually flower buds. Given time each will burst into a bright yellow flower, which is why they are called florets. Small yellow flowers have a mild spiciness (mild broccoli flavor), and are delicious in salads or in a stir-fry or steamer.

Burnet - The taste usually is likened to that of cucumbers, and burnet can be used interchangeably with borage.

Calendula - Also called Marigolds. A wonderful edible flower. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as Poor Mans Saffron). Has pretty petals in golden-orange hues. Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads. Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs.

Carnations - Steep in wine, candy, or use as cake decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Dianthus are the miniature member of the carnation family with light clove-like or nutmeg scent. Petals add color to salads or aspics. Carnation petals are one of secret ingredients that has been used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur, since the 17th century.

Chamomile - The flowers are small and daisy-like and have a sweet, apple-like flavor. NOTE: Drink chamomile tea in moderation as it contains thuaone; ragweed sufferers may be allergic to chamomile.

Chervil - Chervil flowers are delicate white flowers with an anise flavor. Chervil's flavor is lost very easily, either by drying the herb, or too much heat. That is why it should be added at the end of cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state

Chicory - Earthy flavor, eat either the petals or the buds. Chicory has a pleasant, mild-bitter taste that has been compared to endive. The buds can be pickled.

Chrysanthemums - Tangy, slightly bitter, ranging in colors from red, white, yellow and orange. They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. They sould be blanched first and then scatter the petals on a salad. The leaves can also be used to flavor vinegar. Always remove the bitter flower base and use petals only. Young leaves and stems of the Crown Daisy, also known as Chop Suey Greens or Shingiku in Japan, are widely used in oriental stir-fries and as salad seasoning.

Cilantro/Coriander - Like the leaves and seeds, the flowers have a strong herbal flavor. Use leaves and flowers raw as the flavor fades quickly when cooked. Sprinkle to taste on salads, bean dishes, and cold vegetable dishes.

Citrus blossoms (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat) - Use highly scented waxy petals sparingly. Distilled orange flower water is characteristic of Middle Eastern pastries and beverages. Citrus flavor and lemony.

Clover - Sweet, anise-like, licorice.

Cornflower - Also called Bachelors button. They have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor. Bloom is a natural food dye. More commonly used as garnish.

Dame's Rocket> (Hesperis matronalis) - Also called Sweet Rocket or Dame's Violet. This plant is often mistaken for Phlox. Phlox has five petals, Dame's Rocket has just four. The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The flowers are attractive added to green salads. The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens (for culinary purposes, the leaves should be picked before the plant flowers). The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads.NOTE: It is not the same variety as the herb commonly called Rocket, which is used as a green in salads.

Dandelions - Member of Daisy family. Flowers are sweetest when picked young, and just before eating. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Good raw or steamed. Also made into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. When serving a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.

Day Lilies - Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Their flavor is a combination of asparagus and zucchini. Chewable consistency. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Also great to stuff like squash blossoms. Flowers look beautiful on composed salad platters or crowning a frosted cake. Sprinkle the large petals in a spring salad. In the spring, gather shoots two or three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus. NOTE: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation

Dill - Tangy; like leaves but stronger. Use yellow dill flowers as you would the herb itself - to season hot or cold soups, seafood, dressings or dips. Seeds used in pickling and baking.

Elderberry - The blossoms are a creamy color and have a sweet scent and sweet taste. When harvesting elderberry flowers, do not wash them as that removes much of the fragrance and flavor. Instead check them carefully for insects. The fruit is used to make wine. The flowers, leaves, berries, bark and roots have all been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. NOTE: All other parts of this plant, except the berries, are mildly toxic! They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide. The cooked ripe berries of the edible elders are harmless. Eating uncooked berries may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

English Daisy - The flowers have a mildly bitter taste and are most commonly used for their looks than their flavor. The petals are used as a garnish and in salads.

Fennel - Lovely, star-burst yellow flowers have a mile anise flavor. Use with desserts or cold soups, or as a garnish with entrees.

Fuchsia - Blooms have a slightly acidic flavor. Explosive colors and graceful shape make it ideal as garnish. The berries are also edible.

Garden Sorrel - Sorrel flowers are tart, lemon tasting. So use like a lemon: on pizza, a salad topping, in sauces, over cucumber salads.

Gladiolus - Flowers (anthers removed) have a nondescript flavor (taste vaguely like lettuce) but make lovely receptacles for sweet or savory spreads or mousses. Toss individual petals in salads.

Hibiscus - Cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones. Use slightly acidic petals sparingly in salads or as garnish.

Hollyhock - Very bland tasting flavor.

Honeysuckle - Sweet honey flavor. Only the flowers are edible. Berries are highly poisonous - Do not eat them!

Hyacinth - Only the Wild Hyacinth (Brodiaea douglasii) bulbs are edible. The bulbs can be used like potatoes and eaten either raw or cooked and has a sweet, nutlike flavor. NOTE: The common hyacinth (found in your gardens) is toxic and must not be eaten.

Impatiens - Very bland taste.

Jasmine - The flowers are intensely fragrant and are traditionally used for scenting tea.

Johnny-Jump-Ups - Lovely yellow, white and purple blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads, to decorate cakes, or served with soft cheese. They are also a great addition to drinks, soups, desserts or salads.

Lavender - Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. NOTE: Do not consume lavender oil unless you absolutely know that it has not be sprayed and is culinary safe.

Lemon Verbena - Tiny cream-colored citrus-scented blossoms. Leaves and flowers steeped as an herb tea, and used to flavor custards and flans.

Lilac - The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant. Very perfumy, slightly bitter. Has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones. Great in salads.

Linden - Small flowers, white to yellow was are delightfully fragrant and have a honeylike flavor. NOTE: Frequent consumption of linden flower tea can cause heart damage

Marjoram - Flowers are a milder version of plant's leaf. Use as you would the herb.

Mint - The flavor of the flowers is minty, with different overtones depending on the variety. Mint flowers and leaves are great in Middle Eastern dishes.

Mustard - Young leaves can be steamed, used as a herb, eaten raw, or cooked like spinach. NOTE: Some people are highly allergic to mustard. Start with a small amount.

Nasturtiums - Come in varieties ranging from trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors with peppery flavors. Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse. Leaves add peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for capers. Use entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers.

Okra - Also known as Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo, Quingumbo, Ladies Fingers and Gumbo. It has hibiscus-like flowers and seed pods that, when picked tender, produce a delicious vegetable dish when stewed or fried. When cooked it resembles asparagus yet it may be left raw and served in a cold salad. The ripe seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee; the seed can be dried and powdered for storage and future use.

Oregano - Milder version of plant's leaf. Use as you would the herb.

Pansy - Pansies have a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor. If you eat only the petals, the flavor is extremely mild, but if you eat the whole flower, there is a winter, green overtone. Use them as garnishes, in fruit salads, green salad, desserts or in soups.

Pea Blossoms - Edible garden peas bloom mostly in white, but may have other pale coloring. The blossoms are slightly sweet and crunchy and they taste like peas. The shoots and vine tendrils are edible, with a delicate, pea-like flavor. Here again, remember that harvesting blooms will diminish your pea harvest, so you may want to plant extra. NOTE: Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.

Peach blossoms

Pear blossoms

Peony - In China the fallen petals are parboiled and sweetened as a tea-time delicacy. Peony water was used for drinking in the middle ages. Add peony petals to your summer salad or try floating in punches and lemonades.

Pineapple Guava - The flavor is sweet and tropical, somewhat like a freshly picked ripe papaya or exotic melon still warm from the sun.

Primrose - Colorful with a sweet, but bland taste.

Queen Anne's Lace - Also known as Wild Carrot and Bishop's Lace. It is the original carrot, from which modern cultivars were developed, and it is edible with a light carrot flavor. The flowers are small and white, and bloom in a lacy, flat-topped cluster. Great in salads.

NOTE: The problem is, it is closely related to, and looks almost exactly like another wild plant, Wild or Poison Hemlock, which often grows profusely in similar habitats, and is said to be the most poisonous plant native to the United States. The best way to differentiate between the two plants is to remember that Queen Anne's Lace has a hairy stem, while the stems of Wild Hemlock are smooth and hairless and hollow with purple spots.

Radish Flowers - Depending on the variety, flowers may be pink, white or yellow, and will have a distinctive, spicy bite (has a radish flavor). Best used in salads.

Rosemary - Milder version of leaf. Fresh or dried herb and blossoms enhance flavor of Mediterranean dishes. Use with meats, seafoods, sorbets or dressings .
Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Roses - Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. In miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. Freeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads. NOTE: Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals
Rose Petal Jam

Safflower - Its dried flowers, Mexican saffron, are used as a food colorant in place of the more aromatic and expensive Spanish saffron.

Sage - The flowers are violet-blue, pink or white up to 1 3/8 inches long, small, tubelike, clustered together in whorls along the stem tops. Flowers have a subtler sage taste than the leaves and can be used in salads and as a garnish. Flowers are a delicious companion to many foods including beans, corn dishes, sauteed or stuffed mushrooms, or pesto sauce.

Savory - The flavor of the flowers is somewhat hot and peppery.

Scarlet Runner Beans - Bean pods toughen as they age, so make use of young pods as well as flowers. Please note: Sweet Pea flowers are not edible.

Scented Geraniums - The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers. They come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and pastels. Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice cubes. NOTE: Citronelle variety may not be edible.

Snap Dragon - Delicate garden variety can be bland to bitter. Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Probably not the best flower to eat.

Squash Blossoms - Squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible and taste mildly of raw squash. Prepare the blossoms by washing and trimming the stems and remove the stamens.

Sunflower - The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavor is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes.

Sweet Woodruff - The flower flavor is sweet and grassy with a hint of nutty, vanilla flavor. NOTE: Can have a blood thinning effect if eaten in large amounts

Thyme - Milder version of leaf. Use sprigs as garnish or remove flowers and sprinkle over soups, etc. (anywhere the herb might be used.)

Tuberous Begonia - NOTE: Only Hybrids are edible. The petals of the tuberous begonias are edible. Their bright colors and sour, fruity taste bring flavor and beauty to any summer salad. Begonia blossoms have a delicious citrus sour taste and a juicy crunch. The petals are used as a garnish and in salads. Stems, also, can be used in place of rhubarb. The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism.

Tulip Petals - Flavor varies from tulip to tulip, but generally the petals taste like sweet lettuce, fresh baby peas, or a cucumber-like texture and flavor. NOTE: Some people have had strong allergic reactions to them. If touching them causes a rash, numbness etc. Don't eat them! Don't eat the bulbs ever.

Violets - Sweet, perfumed flavor. Related flowers, Johnny jump-ups or violas, and pansies now come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues. I like to eat the tender leaves and flowers in salads. I also use the flowers to beautifully embellish desserts and iced drinks. Freeze them in punches to delight children and adults alike. All of these flowers make pretty adornments for frosted cakes, sorbets, or any other desserts, and they may be crystallized as well. heart-shaped leaves are edible, and tasty when cooked like spinach.

Yucca Petals - The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (a hint of artichoke). in the spring, they can be used in salads and as a garnish.


clipped on: 02.05.2009 at 06:03 pm    last updated on: 02.05.2009 at 06:03 pm

Sinningia Basics??

posted by: Jane_in_Bristol on 11.27.2002 at 03:45 pm in Gesneriad Forum

Hi, well, I posted on the houseplant forum, and was SURPRISED to see... Gesneriad forum! Who knew? Cool!

Anyhow, I have my first Sinningias, which I found out by accident had tubers! Neat! But now, I don't know if they need a period of dormancy, and whether, (or how) I should "force" them into dormancy. In the heat and my own neglect at the end of the summer, they had a period of dormancy where they at first languished, and then looked dead, but got watered on occasion only because they were in the same long tray as an AV, and I was too lazy to "clean them up". Then, they completely surprised me by growing again once the weather turned cooler. I've repotted them into little clay pots, moved the AV elsewhere because there wasn't room, and converted their shared tray into a "pebble tray" for humidity.

I have S. 'Apricot Dream' , S. 'Silhouette' and S. 'April Star' x self, all of which I got last spring at a combined plant sales from the local AGGS chapter.

Jon has been nice enough to comment over on the HP forum, and discussed the exposure of the tuber in the larger species, but now I'm feeling daunted by the question of dormancy.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.


clipped on: 01.28.2009 at 06:55 pm    last updated on: 01.28.2009 at 06:55 pm

Containers for Free

posted by: retiredprof on 01.12.2009 at 07:40 pm in Winter Sowing Forum

Too funny: Today I started WSing and needed two more containers to finish. Nowhere in sight. I scoured the basement and garage. I thought I would kill myself before dinner.

Placed a "wanted" ad on our state Freecycle Board. Within 15 minutes I had 7 responses: "I have at least 50 2-liter soda bottles." "I have Gallon water Jugs--I'll even drop them off to your house." "I have 2 trash bags of soda bottles and milk jugs. I can't make it to the recycle center. so they're yours."

I'll be busy tomorrow. YES! Consider this freecycle source for great stuff. Last year I got 2 giant bags of straw/hay for the composter, slate for under the birdfeeders, and potting trays.

Check this out:


WS containers including Strawberry boxes
clipped on: 01.24.2009 at 07:33 am    last updated on: 01.24.2009 at 07:34 am

I must not be doing this right... (Light set ups)

posted by: clumsygrdner on 12.03.2008 at 06:23 am in Growing from Seed Forum

I know it's supposed to be cheaper to build a light set up for indoor sowing, but I can't seem to find a way to do it right.

By the time I add up the cost of the shelf, the light fixtures and the bulb, I'm at the cheapest spending 350 dollars. At that price I might as well order it from Burpee.

Please tell me how much you spent on your light set up and how you built it.

No wood working please. I'd like to keep all my fingers. lol


clipped on: 01.03.2009 at 08:56 am    last updated on: 01.03.2009 at 08:56 am

Endless supply of seed envelopes

posted by: pitimpinai on 02.05.2006 at 02:47 pm in Winter Sowing Forum

I became more serious about seed trading in October and have been experimenting with seed envelopes. I've used plastic baggies and envelopes made from templates, etc.

A couple traders sent me seeds in folded envelopes made of a 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" piece of paper. I thought what a terrific idea. Someone mentioned making seed envelopes from catalog pages. Here 's what I have been making the past couple weeks while waiting for the cold weather:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Place seeds between the flaps, fold it dow, place a small piece of the transparent tape on the tip and the envelope is ready to go. The seeds never came out of the envelopes that I received.

Thanks to my wonderful traders, I've found another way to recycle those seed/plant catalogs. :-) The seeds won't get moldy either. Neat, huh? Pretty too.


clipped on: 10.25.2008 at 07:40 pm    last updated on: 10.25.2008 at 07:40 pm

Definition of a Cottage Garden

posted by: redthistle on 10.13.2008 at 10:41 pm in Cottage Garden Forum

Before I even had any idea of what a cottage garden was, I always knew I liked the slightly wild look of a garden that I would describe as rambling and without a lot of pretense/rules. While plants in neat rows were pretty, I was never drawn to them as much as to a carefree garden with surprise plantings that did as it pleased or at least appeared to.

I've been working to create a cottage garden since 2001, but back then, I didn't know that was what I wanted. In 2003, I finally realized what my garden wanted to be or rather what I wanted it to be. :-)

So, I just looked up the definition of a cottage garden in the FAQs for this site, and I pretty much agree with it.

In 2003, I attended a Cottage Garden conference. Recently, while scouring the web for anything related to "Texas Cottage Gardens" I came across this article, which was from that conference:

The article gives me pause, and I wanted to know your thoughts on it. Specifically, the article's author hints/impies that a REAL cottage garden should have a humble cottage to go with it, otherwise it's just a cottage garden-wannabe. I'm not sure I agree with this.

I think most suburban homes don't look anything like humble cottages with their garage in the front. Similarly, a stately Victorian isn't exactly humble either. Is a ranch-style home humble? Do we absolutely have to live in a cottage to have a cottage garden? I think this is a bit anal, but wanted your reaction.

My personal feeling is that a cottage garden doesn't have to have a specific kind of house or even a house at all to be a cottage garden. I disagree with the author. Further, I think the definition of a cottage garden can be as different as the kind of bathing suit one wears.--Bikini, one piece, two piece, etc. Surely, the gardens are different in the plant materials used simply because we live in different climates.

In addition, the author states that one of the reasons cottage gardens have gone out of popularity is that. "Skilled garden labor is expensive and hard to find." Do most of you hire someone to do your gardening?? I don't.

I think informality is the name of the game in a cottage garden...What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Designing the Country Cottage Garden


clipped on: 10.22.2008 at 09:44 am    last updated on: 10.22.2008 at 09:44 am

RE: OT please help with arranging trade list page (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: trudi_d on 10.09.2008 at 09:44 pm in Winter Sowing Forum

Hi Melissa, you need to learn some HTML codes. I will paste in a link to some beginner sites. It's not hard at all but it does take some practice before you really feel comfortable with doing a page.


Here is a link that might be useful: HTML Guides and Tutorials for Beginners


clipped on: 10.13.2008 at 08:24 am    last updated on: 10.13.2008 at 08:24 am

RE: Drying Peonies (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: neil_allen on 01.03.2008 at 01:53 pm in Dried & Pressed Flowers Forum

Peonies are some of our favorite flowers to dry, although they can take a little more time and work than other flowers.

Any colors will work. Whites tend to get a little beigeish and some reds may go purplish but in general colors hold up well.

We air-dry ours, either by hanging upside down or by putting the stems through hardware cloth that's attached to table-height frames. With doubles and bombs, either method works. With singles, see how the petals fall when you hang them upside down and change to upright if you want a different effect. When we do them on the screens, we sometimes support the petals lightly (with small wads of tissue paper) of to get a more rounded, rather than flat, effect.

One thing to watch for is Indian meal moths. We use pantry pest traps in our barn when the peonies are drying there, and cover the flower heads with tissue papeer when we can. After they're dried, a few days in the freezer can help kill any larvae that have hatched. We store the flowers in plastic boxes with tight-fitting lids and dessicant packs.


clipped on: 09.20.2008 at 08:47 pm    last updated on: 09.20.2008 at 08:47 pm

NEW: Back to School 2008 New Spectacular Seed Swap

posted by: godsgarden9 on 08.13.2008 at 04:20 pm in Round Robin Exchange Forum

Welcome to the Back to School 2008 New Spectacular Seed Swap. I want to thank all of those that have participated in the swaps over the last few years, and hopefully this will be the best ever. Welcome to all the newbies, whether you send in 10 packets or 300, you will receive alot of new items to try. Here are the guidelines for you:

1) All seeds are fresh from 2008, so this will be best for everyone. You can send from 10 packets to a limit of 300 total seed packets for this swap. Please sign on to join, after reading the following guidelines for the swap.

2)Please send a self addressed return envelope or enough postage for me to return seeds to you. All seeds must be turned in by September 30, if you are a couple days late that is okay.. I will begin to mail your packages beginnin the end of the first week of October. Once you sign on to join the fun, I will send you a email with where to send the seeds to.

3)Seed specific minimums per packet of fresh, new 2008 seeds are if they are large (10 per packet), medium (25 per packet), small (50 per packet), and tiny (100+ per packet).

4)Please send no more than 10 packets of the same variety of seed. The greater variety, and the more uniqueness of the content of the seeds, the greater your return will be. I will try to reward those accordingly to the content of the seeds in their packets.

5)Please list the seeds sending, and the number, this will help, so you will receive all different seeds. Please indicate kind of seeds you want. If you include vegetables, you will get a mixed bag, unless you want all vegetables.. If you send all flowers, you can can receive all flowers or mixed, or vegetables only. Flowers are greatest in demand, So please indicate your preference, and if you would like, a wish list, I will try to send as many as possible on your list...

6)Please sign on today, and start collecting seeds and packaging to get ready to send in by the end of September. I will do a fall seed swap, following this one, if you would like to be included in that one also, please let me know... and I will send you an update on that.. It will start at the end of September...

7) Most of all have fun, this is lots of fun, its been a blessing to make new friends and a blessing to keep in touch with all of my old friends. so sign up today, and before you know it, you will get a great surprise package in return before you know it...


clipped on: 09.11.2008 at 09:58 pm    last updated on: 09.11.2008 at 09:59 pm

sase-sasbe is NOT a self addressed envelope-bubble or otherwise

posted by: chemocurl on 07.06.2008 at 10:55 pm in Seed Exchange Forum

hmmm...Just to clarify things a bit to those new to GW or to The Seed Exchange, an sase,or an sasbe is not a self addressed stamped envelope, or a self address stamped bubble envelope. The use of those terms is very confusing I'm sure.

It is actually a bubble envelope and postage. (I like to call them BEAP)

The member offering the seeds will likely request a bubble envelope, and the amount of postage they feel it will cost to mail the seeds back to you.

They will also want
1-An address label with your name and address
2-Possibly a list of what they are to send you, or a list of your choices
3-Your Garden Web they can match up the replies with the envelopes received.
5-possibly other things, per their instructions.

If in doubt or confused, just email the offerer for further clarification, of what they require. They will likely be glad to explain things further to you. We were all new, or newbies at one time.

When doing actual trades, most members use Bubble envelopes and prefer that their seeds be sent to them in bubble envelopes. If is doubt about that, it is best to check with the member you are trading with.

Some seeds can safely be traded and mailed without using a Bubblie, but I won't go into that here and now.



clipped on: 09.01.2008 at 09:35 pm    last updated on: 09.01.2008 at 09:35 pm

It's August and time for the 'toothpick' technique

posted by: nandina on 08.23.2006 at 01:13 pm in Plant Propagation Forum

I have not posted this propagation method in several years. Time for a repeat. Just a reminder that all cuttings need to callus before they will root. This method allows the callusing to take place on the mother plant before the cutting is removed and is most helpful for those hard to root trees/shrubs. Plan to use the toothpick technique during the last weeks of August up until mid-September. This is a little known process and when I first posted it a number of growers contacted me, pleased to know about it as it requires no misting systems, etc.

A very sharp, small penknife or Exacto knife.
A small block of wood (to prevent cutting fingers!)
Some colored yarns or tape for marking purposes.

1. Select the stem from which you wish to take a cutting. Look along it until you locate a bud ON LAST YEAR'S GROWTH.

2. Place the block of wood behind that point and make a single VERTICAL cut all the way through the stem, just below the bud.

3. Insert a toopick through the cut.

4. Mark each cutting with colored yarn/tape so that you can locate it at a later date.

5. Walk away from your toothpick cuttings until the end of October or November. Leave them alone!

You will note that a callus has formed where you wounded the cutting and inserted a toothpick. With sharp pruning shears remove the cutting just below the toothpick. Trim off the toothpick on either side of the cutting.

7. Dip your cuttings in rooting hormone and set them in a cold frame. Water well and close up the frame for the winter. Water as needed. If you do not have a cold frame, set the cuttings right next to your house foundation on the east or north side. Lean an old window or glass pane up against the foundation to protect them.

8. Rooting should take place by mid-spring. Those with greenhouses can leave the cuttings on the mother plant into December/January before setting them to root. Commercial propagators will find this useful.

This method requires a bit of practice but works well. In August/September select the stem to be used as a cutting. Locate last year's growth on the stem and grasp it between thumb and forefinger. Snap the stem lightly until it breaks in half. Leave it hanging on the plant where it will callus. Then follow instructions above for setting cuttings. Snip the cutting off, when callused, at the wounded part. This is a useful technique for azaleas and many woody shrubs and Japanese maples.

Hopefully I have explained this method so it is understood. Reading it over a few times may be necessary.


clipped on: 08.30.2008 at 07:52 am    last updated on: 08.30.2008 at 07:53 am

RE: Rooting sweet potato vines to overwinter (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: helenh on 08.21.2008 at 11:47 pm in Annuals Forum

I had some in pots last summer. I dug up big sweet potatoes out of the pot (not the kind you eat, ornamentals). I put the washed S. potatoes in a clear plastic shoe box with a lid no soil or peat moss. They survived the winter in my cool basement. In early spring I potted them up but they didn't do too well. After it got warm I put them outside and they took off. These were the purple ones. They do root quickly in water. You could buy some in spring and take cuttings then to reduce your expense.


clipped on: 08.25.2008 at 08:22 pm    last updated on: 08.25.2008 at 08:22 pm

Preparing Plants for Shipping

posted by: remy on 04.07.2008 at 04:59 pm in Plant Exchange Forum

Hi All,
I was asked (and have been asked before) about how to prepare plants for shipping. I put together a photobucket album with descriptions of how I do it. I may have been too thorough, but better than not enough info right? lol.
I do hope people find it helpful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Preparing Plants For Shipping


clipped on: 08.25.2008 at 09:37 am    last updated on: 08.25.2008 at 09:37 am

RE: Postage question revisited. (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: gunnysack on 10.23.2007 at 01:06 pm in Seed Exchange Forum

It worked ! I cut a bubble envelope in half, put the seeds inside it and put the bubble envelope in a long white business envelope and mailed the whole thing for 41 cents ! The postal person was able to put them through the slot..which he did not bother with before. From now on I am mailing my seeds this way .


clipped on: 08.24.2008 at 08:03 am    last updated on: 08.24.2008 at 08:03 am

RE: Nothing to trade-sasbe-asking for things for postage (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: chemocurl on 03.27.2008 at 11:48 am in Seed Exchange Forum

Member has nothing to trade or is asking for things for postage...just starting out

Welcome to Garden Web and the Seed Exchange!

Since you are just starting out, I suggest you maybe reply to some of the many more recent sase/sasbe offer threads. Look for threads that say SABE, SASBE, or FREE

You might want to respond to those that are offering more than one variety, to get the most bang for your postage cost.
Read the �Offer� and post to the thread per the offerer�s instructions.

You will then likely be asked to mail a BE (Bubble Envelope). These can be found at WM, the Dollar Store, CVS Drug Store, Office Supply places, etc. Depending upon the size of the envelope, you may be able to cut a large one in half and make two envelopes. Be careful though that you do not make them square, as opposed to rectangular, as that will cost extra postage when mailing it both ways.

Include in the envelope whatever you are instructed to send by the offering member.
It usually includes
A list of the agreed upon seeds (if they were agreed upon) or whatever the offering member requests of you.
A note with your member name, and your real name
A label of some sort with your name and address to be used when the envelope is mailed back to you.
Postage STAMPS...NO POSTAL TAPES as they are only good for mailing from the PO where they were purchased
The amount of the postage should be the actual amount the offering member thinks will be required, considering what they will be sending you and in what quantities.
There may be other instructions as well thathave not been addressed above.

Please send the envelope out in a timely fashion, or let the member know if it is going to be delayed. Please let the member know if you have changed your mind about the SASE/SASBE offer. Often seeds are put aside for these sasbe offers, and if members don�t follow through with mailing out their bubble envelopes, those are seeds being just tied up, when they �could� have been shared and enjoyed by another member.

Once you receive your goodie package please let the member know that they arrived at their destination.

Last, but not least, try and take a moment to post a review for the offering member at the Rate and Review Forum. I have included a link to the forum below. Instructions for using the Forum are at the top of the main page there. Please be sure and do a search to see if there is an existing review for the member. If there is, please post to it. If there are numerous review threads, please post to the one that has the most replies.

Happy Gardening!
(signed)member name, member name abbreviation, real first name

Comments welcome! Suggestions for improvement welcomed! Spelling? grammar? Better wording? Additions?
Once it is refined, I hope to get it in the FAQ, so it is accessible to all in helping newbies.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rate and Review Forum


clipped on: 08.16.2008 at 07:54 am    last updated on: 08.16.2008 at 07:54 am

HAVE: 08 Yearly Bulb Swap Announcement

posted by: gardenpoppy on 07.06.2008 at 04:58 pm in Bulbs Forum

Im writing today to invite you to join my yearly bulb swap.
Each year we get bigger and better as more learn about this fun event.
In addition to the bulb swap, we may incorporate themes into the swap. Maybe one year we will have seeds along with bulbs, or garden gloves, or a number of other extras.
Each year the swap is held between Sept.1st-Oct.15th.
Send your bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, corms, etc. between Sept. 1st and Oct. 15th along with a wish list of bulbs you would like to receive and postage in the amount of what it costs you to send your box. If you have no bulbs and want to participate, you can Paypal or snail mail $20 and I will purchase bulbs for you for the swap. Please Paypal/snailmail between Aug. 15th-Sept. 1st.
This makes a great mix, making it easy to personalize your box.
They make great gifts and secret pal gifts too.
The 07 bulb swap was great!!! At least 20 participants and over 120 different ty pes of bulbs were exchanged, making this the biggest bulb swap in the 5 years I have been hosting them.
Wont you join us?

I took a quick look at your list and the bulb swap looks like something I think you would enjoy. Popular items included in the plant swap are daylilies, asiatic lilies, voodoo lilies, iris, cannas, calla lilies and much more.
If you decide to join us, make sure you check out the database to get an idea of some of the things that participants want and have. Email me for more info.
Im inviting gardeners that are interested in bulbs, and participating in this fun event. Hope to see you there!


emial sent to inquire on 8/14/08
clipped on: 08.14.2008 at 09:55 pm    last updated on: 08.14.2008 at 09:56 pm

NEW: Cracked Pot Gardeners: A new Begining

posted by: micyrey on 07.23.2008 at 07:54 pm in Round Robin Exchange Forum

Cracked Pot Gardners

Times have been hard and money is tight so we would like to post a few changes to our group.
Galium, and Micyrey(my self) would like to open sign-ups for our monthly trade group. this group(Cracked Pot Gardeners) is for swapping plants, bulbs, and seeds. we don't want to swap many gifts and some people might not want to receive "gifts" at all just plants, seeds, and bulbs. we also will have a chat room where we can get together and have little "parties". we are not looking for people to send large heavy boxes, just a few plants, or seeds, or bulbs/tubers, shipping is expencive so we just want to keep it simple make some new friends and share some plants. everyone interested will have to fallow a few rules.
1. send good healthy plants, and seeds that are no more than 2 years old
2. ship priority, when shipping plants
3. ship by the set date for each month (unless you notify us of late shipping) we will not be e-mailing people reminding them to ship, if you do not ship by the given dead line and have not notified anyone that you would be late you will be asked to leave the group.
5. put info on GW trade page titled FOR SWAPERS to help players to pick plants for you, and note if you will like gifts other than plants, or just plants, or just seeds
6. post when you have sent your box with DC# , and post when you get your box
7. all disputes will be decided by the Hostess(galium, and Micyrey)
8. use delivery confirmation always
9. we will no longer be requiring everyone to send every month our 1st month for swapping will be august but if you would like to be in for sept let us know, I need to know by the 20th of each month if you will be swaping for the next month(this month dose not count) so we can set up partners.
10. partners will be getting their addresses from each other. if partners are having trouble getting in touch please let us know.
partners will be posted at the begining of each month

please post here if you are interested.
thanks and have a great day
micyrey, Galium and the Cracked Pot Gardeners


clipped on: 08.12.2008 at 10:03 pm    last updated on: 08.12.2008 at 10:03 pm

Special Instructions for Exchanges:-Please Read!

posted by: chemocurl on 04.21.2008 at 11:12 am in Plant Exchange Forum

Special Instructions for Exchanges:

* This area is for the purpose of exchanging seeds or plants of the type covered by this forum.

* The exchanges were created to facilitate the arranging of trades of plants and seeds between members. Please do not use them to solicit donations, ask for free plants or seeds, or ask for items in exchange for postage. All requests must be in the context of arranging a trade. If you have nothing to offer at this time, please wait until you do.

* All exchanges are restricted to users from a particular country, region or state. If it isn't indicated otherwise, the exchange is restricted to residents of the U.S. To find an exchange for your location, check the the exchange index.

* Each post must have a type of trade, subject and a message.

* Trading is done at users' discretion. GardenWeb has no control or responsibility over trades arranged here. Keep in mind some traders may let you down, so it might be wise to keep your initial trade with someone limited to smaller items.

* Messages addressed to or meant for particular users should be sent via email and are not allowed in the exchanges.

* If you have trouble with another person coming through with their end of a trade, you must deal with it privately. It is the consensus of the forum users that this type of thing be kept out of our forums. Any public accusation in this forum, or elsewhere at GardenWeb, will result in the accuser being banned.

* To avoid problems when shipping across borders and some state lines, it is best to ship plants bare-rooted and to label the container as such. It is up to the users involved to determine what is legal and what is not.

* This forum is for the purpose of exchanging material, there should be no need to mention money in any postings. If money is mentioned, the posting will be considered an advertisement and the poster will be banned.

* Trading of patented material is unlawful and is strictly forbidden.

Please do not respond to this post, so it will stay at. or near the top of the page. If it slips, please bump it back up.
Currently the link to the actual Special Instructions is a broken one. (I finally reported it, meant to the other day.)
Anyone with any questions concerning the Instructions, feel free to post a question on the Off Topic-Conversations Side of the Exchange Board. The link to Conversations can be found on the main page here, just above the list of Trade Threads

Additionally, if one has nothing to trade, they may want to check out some of the numerous 'offers' of seeds at the Seed Exchange. Look for threads containing SASE, SASBE, BEAP, Newbie, or Free in the Subject of Posting line.


clipped on: 08.12.2008 at 09:39 pm    last updated on: 08.12.2008 at 09:39 pm

Product Review: Safer 3-in-1

posted by: ponce418 on 08.08.2008 at 02:47 pm in New England Gardening Forum

I was just posting a reply on the rose forum and thought I'd share the info here as well.

I ran into a problem earlier this season w/ Japanese Beetles. I had heard they LOVE rose bushes but strangely enough, my beetles seemed most attracted to my hardy hibiscus. And with that, I realized something.

I'm not a fan of insecticides. But I did want to protect the one rose bush that I did have. So in the spring, I purchase a product called Safer 3-in-1 Garden Spray from Calado Nurseries, specifically to spray my rose bush.

I picked this product because it had the organic gardening stamp of approval on the bottle, was safe for use around people and pets, and made from all natural ingredients.

Evidently, it works. Because I haven't had a one japanese beetle problem w/ my rose bush. Haven't had but the most minor issue with blackspot either. No aphids. No thrips. No nothing.

So I started using it on my partially eaten hibiscus plant and, sure enough, haven't seen a beetle on that plant since.

Now I'm using it, when needed on ALL my perennials with, seemingly, great results.

Therefore, if any of you are looking for "pest control" without inundating your yard w/ nasty chemicals, I'd give this product a shot. I purchased my bottle for about $7 and so far I'm very pleased w/ the results.


clipped on: 08.11.2008 at 12:49 pm    last updated on: 08.11.2008 at 12:49 pm