Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, January 16, 2017

eBundle Sale has Started - 1 Week Only!

Dear Folks,

Here it is!!  The eBundle Sale has started.  You have one week, through midnight January 22nd to purchase this wonderful library of sustainable books and more.  You have the rest of 2017 to download the library at your convenience!!

Included are special bonus discount offers on products like "Kraut Source" a special stainless steel cap for mason jars to make your own fermented veggies, like homemade sauerkraut.

The ebooks include gardening, cooking, chicken and livestock help and DIY sustainable information.  There are also eCourses as part of the bundle.

Your price is $29.97 for a downloadable PDF library of information worth over $800 retail.

You have the option of purchasing your library on a flash drive, with our without access to the online PDF library.

There is a 30 day money back guarantee.

Click here to see all the that is included in this great opportunity.

AND here is my bonus offer -- purchase the eBundle, save your order number and I will email you a Free PDF of my special Herb Inspired book, a menu and recipes of 12 courses.

"Using the old fashioned tradition of a sumptuous dinner, Catherine, The Herb Lady, Crowley created a 12 course menu with a focus on the flavor of one or more herbs.  While this type of dinner is no longer in fashion except for special events, Catherine took the theme to showcase creative and unique ways with herbs, flavor and food. Using fresh herbs from her gardens Catherine encourages the reader to do more than cook, with herbs, but to also grow some or more of the vast, tasty, and healthy range of herbs."

Make sure you save your order number when purchasing the eBundle.  Contact me with your name, order number and preferred email address and I will send the PDF file to you on or about about March 1st.  The eBundle people and myself need the time window to sort through all of the orders and reports.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

February Planting / Sowing Tips 2017

Dear Folks:


FEBRUARY PLANTING:
[Pictured: Poor Man's Cloche]


I am repeating my post from last year with some extra pointers.


Set out your tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant and similar frost sensitive warm weather lovers on February 1st.  Use the Poor Man's Cloche shown above to protect them and keep the soil around them warm until all danger of frost is gone.  Keep handy for possible hail through the end of March.

VEGETABLES, FRUITS & HERBS TO PLANT

Artichoke; Asparagus; Basil; Bay; Bean, Lima; Beets; Bok Choy; Cantaloupe; Carrots; Chard; Citrus Scented Marigold (Tagetes Nelsonii); Collards; Corn; Cucumbers; Epazote; Fruit Trees; Jerusalem Artichoke; Lavender; Lettuce & Greens; Marigold; Marjoram; Melon, Musk Melon; Melon, Winter; Mint; Mustard; Onion, Sets; Onions, Green; Oregano; Peas; Peppers; Potatoes; Purslane; Radishes; Sage; Savory; Spinach; Squash, Summer; Strawberry; Thyme; Tomatoes; Turnips; Watermelon

EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:

Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma); English Daisy ; Hollyhock; Jasmine Sambac (Arabian); Pansies; Primrose; Purslane; Safflower; Scented Geraniums; Snapdragons; Sunflower; Sweet Alyssum; Tangerine Scented Marigold (Tagetes Lemonii)

Frost/Freeze:  Average last frost day is approximately February 15th, however frost and hail has been seen as late as the second week in March or later.  It is best to have your frost covers handy.

GARDEN TIPS for February

February is the transition time for the garden from Winter to Spring sowing, transplanting and harvesting.

There is still time to get a last batch of carrots, sugarpeas, lettuces and similar in the ground. Choosing short maturity varieties, particularly of the root veggies, will give you more harvesting success as the weather jumps to heat in a couple of months.

February is also the time to start your warm season plants like tomatoes, basil and peppers, to name a few.  But they may need some initial frost protection.  Keep in mind that they may actually stop growing if there is a cold day or several, which chills the soil.  Then they resume when the soil heats back up (an interesting phenomenon I finally caught on to several years ago).

Consider using chicken wire hats to protect your young transplants or newly sown areas from birds and critters.  I have a couple of short videos on my youtube channel to illustrate using the "hats"

Global Weirding (as Karis over at the Valley Permaculture Alliance put it so well), makes for some required diligence in the garden in February and March.  It pays to remain more mindful of what the weather will be rather than just sow and try to grow.

February is the end of the primary perennial best planting time in the valley (October - February).  What this means is that to ensure the best success for your perennials like rosemary, oregano and fruit trees, it is best to have them in the ground before the end of February and the beginning of our temperature increases.

New to-the-valley residents can be surprised by the common spring joke of "when is spring here?" and the answer is "do you remember that period in early March when it was about 78-83 or so degrees for about 2 weeks? - that was it!"

This of course is due to the sudden rise of temperatures from balmy mid 70s in late February / early March to the 90s by April 1st (or higher - we have had the rare 100+ degree days in late March or early April).

The plants just can't take the stress of dealing with putting down roots while the temperatures soar into the 90+ range in just a few short weeks.

Fertilize fruit trees now -- Use Valentine's day as the target -- (and again in late May (Memorial Day) and early September (Labor Day).
    Pecan trees need zinc sulfate, applied at the rate of 1 pound per trunk inch width.

ABOUT FROST
    The last frost date averages around February 15th, although we have had frost as late as March 1st or 2nd (usually the result of a late winter storm with hail).
    Frost in the Valley at the 1100 or lower elevations is usually limited to ‘soft frost’ where simple sheets or paper placed over sensitive plants (or moving potted plants beneath patios or trees) is sufficient to protect them. Hard/Killing frosts are rare particularly in February/March.
    For every 1000 feet over 1100 in elevation the last frost day is moved back 10 days and the possibility of hard (killing) frosts starts to occur.  At 2000 feet or lower, this is still a rare occurrence.
    Getting your edible seedlings in the ground as early as possible provides longer-produce seasons - especially with plants like tomatoes.
    Use homemade 'cloche' covers to protect seedlings -- cut the bottom of gallon milk containers or 2 liter soda bottles - clean very well to avoid mold -- place over plants each night until frost danger is past, remove during the day, or if you need to be gone for several days remove the cap to allow excess heat and humidity to escape.
    How do you know if we are finished with frost?  There are some examples in nature, but you still need to be prepared to cover sensitive plants through the 2nd week in March.
        a. Ant activity in the garden indicates the soil has warmed up sufficiently for them to start gathering food again.
        b. If the mesquite trees have started to bud out, it is unlikely to frost after that
        c. Be aware that a warm storm can contain some hail through March.

HAIL
    Here in the Valley we can have Hail on an expected basis in Spring, early Summer and Fall.
    The perfect conditions for Hail are warm OR WARMING soil, cool air mass coming in AND wind.

    February and March have the perfect combination of warming soil and a cool system moving in.  If you add wind you will generally get hail.
    So, while actual frost may not happen keep your frost protection covers and jugs handy in the event of hail to safeguard your new seedlings and transplants.
 
Mark Your Calendar! 

eBundle Sale runs 1 Week -- January 16 - 22, 2017.  Click here to learn more and purchase - I am offering an additional book for anyone who purchases the eBundle.

January 28, 217 -- FREE Seed Share and Q&A with me, Catherine, The Herb Lady at Mesa Urban Garden.  Seedling starts will also be available for sale if you want to jump-start the garden in addition to some free seeds.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

eBundle Sale Starts Midnight Sunday!

Dear Folks,

The eBundle Sale will begin Sunday Midnight (that means Monday morning - January 16th) and last until Sunday the 22nd.

This is a wonderful opportunity to have a library of sustainable books and more, all in a downloadable PDF file.  Price is $29.97 a 96% savings from the total value of all of the content.

You will also have the option to purchase the files on a flash drive.

Here is a short summary of what the eBundle contains.

73 items in the bundle totaling $814.94 in retail value. Here is the count of those items by category:

Simple Living:  8
Cooking From Scratch: 9
DIY: 9
Frugal Living: 5
Gardening: 7
Homesteading: 7
Natural Remedies: 6
Natural Parenting: 8
Food Storage: 9
Preparedness: 5


Plus I am adding a bonus book if you purchase the eBundle.  Instructions will be given on how to claim your bonus PDF book from me once the sale starts.


Click here to add your email to let you know when the sale starts or save for use when the sale starts. 





-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fruit and Roots In The Garden! Bananas, Horseradish, Ginger and Turmeric

Dear Folks,

ROOTS

My horseradish has come up!

On November 19th, I got some nice fat organic roots at Whole Foods, broken them into 3 pieces and planted in 3 different locations, 2 near my ginger and turmeric and 1 in a shade spot where I have an Arabian Jasmine and a Gardenia (I think I found that Gardenia's happy spot but that will be a different post :-).

I've been growing horseradish for quite a while but the bed did not sprout this year the way it usually had, so I figured it was time to get some fresh roots and try some new areas.

Horseradish is one of those root crops which is not supposed to do well here in the desert.  Partial shade has been the key and they usually grow opposite (that was the other key point I figured out some years ago).  The plant usually starts to die back in late Spring/early Summer when the weather gets too warm, and I harvest then, putting some roots back in the ground.  I do not harvest the first year I plant, but I may just have to take a peek this spring to see how the roots are doing.

When horseradish is growing lushly - harvest some of the greens for a nice sharp addition to salads and soups.


>>>eBundle Sale Starts in 4 Days!  Entire Library of Healthy and Sustainable Information. More Information on this post. <<<


Other roots that "should not grow in the desert" are Ginger and Turmeric.  Like the Horseradish, they need a shady spot but with some filtered sunlight.

All of these root foods have found the "northeast" under canopy areas of my gardens their happy spots.  While horseradish does not need frost protection, the tropicals Ginger and Turmeric do.

Pictures are two "green" ginger plants book-ending a yellowing turmeric.  This is my first year growing turmeric so I'm curious as to how the roots perform.  I will let you know when I decide to harvest.

All of these root crops are so good for us, if you can grow them -- do so.

Something you cannot see - yet - on either side of the turmeric I sowed "Ramp" seeds in one of my grand experiments.  It remains to be seen if and when they sprout as the information available indicates it can be a year or more for the Ramp Seeds to sprout.  I chose this spot and one other (near another horseradish) for the same reason - filtered shade.

FRUIT

I've been growing the "Ice Cream/Blue Java Banana" for many years.  We have not had fruit often because 1) the spots where I have stuck the plants in are not the best, and 2) the fruit often has come out at a less-than-optimal time for maturing before frost.

So is the story of this fruit.  Pictures is a bunch we spotted on November 15th.  Because it looked like potential frost I harvested the bunch on November 29th and hung it inside over the sink for light and humidity.  Banana fruit takes approximately 4 months to go from flower appearance to mature fruit.  I have to say the fruit took its time and was looking sad when it suddenly turned yellow almost overnight and appeared ready collapse so I peeled and readied for a bowl of cereal.  A few of  looked like they were more seed than fruit, so I split them and have planted them in a pot - now in my greenhouse.

The last part of the collage is - surprise - a new bunch of bananas spotted January 9, 2017.  Because there are leaves over the fruit, partially sheltering from frost, I will leave these on the plant until they are ready to harvest :-)

So "ice cream"?  This refers to the taste of the banana which is supposed to be like vanilla ice cream.  In the past the fruit has had a creamy vanilla flavor - most of us tasting them agreed.  This time I could not detect any vanilla, but the bananas were creamier than a standard Cavendish (the type you buy in the store).

So is it worth while growing bananas?  Sure. Among other things I love the tropical look of the plants and the leaves are wonderful for steaming/grilling food in, they impart a fruity flavor to foods like fish.

I hope this inspires you to try growing more of these kinds of roots and fruit.

Have a great time in the garden and kitchen with your bounty!



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Free Seed Share and Q&A With Catherine, The Herb Lady at Mesa Urban Garden

Dear Folks,

My Semi-Annual FREE Seed Share has not gone away, even though, sadly, the Mesa Farmers Market has closed.

COME OUT to the Mesa Urban Garden, for the new Seed Share Location.

A fun combination event.

Saturday, January 28, 2017
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Seed Share and Q&A with Catherine, The Herb Lady
Mesa Urban Garden (MUG)
212 E 1st Ave (NE Corner of Hibbert and 1st Avenue)
Mesa, AZ 85210

(602) 370-4459

AND

POTLUCK - Noon to 1 p.m.
Bring a dish of your choice if you want to participate in the potluck

QUESTION and ANSWERS  Catherine will discuss transition gardening with edibles and take questions.

FREE SEED SHARE Pick up some seeds to get growing or expand your garden.

RAFFLE - Get your free entry ticket to win either a gardening calendar or book written by Catherine, The Herb Lady

SEEDLINGS FOR SALE - seedling starts will be available for sale all ready to put directly in the ground.

MUG - Mesa Urban Garden is an all volunteer, non-profit community garden.  You can rent a bed, all ready to garden in.

Donations help support MUG's year round programs of helping people grow their own food and also contribute fresh produce to the local food bank.





-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Monday, January 09, 2017

eBundle - Library of Healthy & Sustainable Tools! One Week to Sale Launch

Dear Folks,

"68 authors, 73 books, courses and videos, all with a retail value of $814.94. With a price of the bundle being $29.97, that's a 96% discount." 

All in a PDF file, a library of sustainable, healthy lifestyle information.

The sale will last one week - January 16 -22, 2017.  You will have the rest of the year to download your purchase.

You will have the option to purchase on a flash drive mailed to you for a little higher price.

I am offering a Free Bonus Book PDF when you purchase the bundle.

Click on this link to sign up to be notified when the sale starts, you don't want to miss this opportunity.

. . .

Earn Money.

If you have a website, blog or a mailing list of followers you can earn a commission on sales of the eBundle.

Click here for more information.



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Sunday, January 08, 2017

Lumpy Lemons? Sour Oranges? What Gives? Rootstock!! Seed Share Coming.

Dear Folks,

It is that time of year in the Valley of the Sun where folks are harvesting their citrus, some for the first time, some gifted, and some discovering a sour surprise.

>>> Seed Share Coming UP! Watch For Details <<<

Some of the garden forums have been fielding questions about why their sweet oranges are NOT sweet or why they have lumpy lemons some with the look of "orange"?

The quick answer is the tree disease-resistant root stock took over the target fruit.  Look closely at this picture to see the end result of the sour orange root stock melding with the graft.  You can see instead of a single straight trunk, there is a ridge type long vertical protrusion on the tree.  The resulting meld allows the stronger sour orange to replace or combine with the intended fruit like lemon, sweet orange or tangelo/mandarins.


How did that happen?

The Citrus tree is a shrub, not a true single trunk tree.  So as a shrub in its natural environment it can have many, many trunks all bearing the fruit of the variety:  Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime etc.

Citrus grows very well in the desert southwest, however the desert soil harbors certain diseases which would kill off the citrus tree rather quickly if not for the practice of grafting - we will talk lemons for now - lemon stock on to the disease resistant sour orange stock.  The allows for a health, well maintained citrus to produce great fruit for decades.  [Some areas of the valley have healthy citrus trees over 50 years old.]

Once the lemon tree is grafted on to the sour orange root stock, you have to maintain a single trunk for a couple of feet to keep track of the suckers that the root stock tries to send up.  Look at this photo and observe 1)  The green suckers and 2) where the graft is - it is quite noticeable - a "lump" in the trunk.


ALL OF those suckers need to be removed and you MUST check regularly to keep them cut off.  When they are very small you can just see the green leaf tips and you can rub them off the tree.  One they reach the sizes of the ones you see in the picture you need to prune off with sharp pruners as close to the trunk as you can and check those areas regularly - they will try to come back.

In the example of the tree where the meld occurred there is probably no way of saving the tree.  It would take observing which main branch/trunks are the fruit want and sawing off all of the others, creating a lopsided tree.

 
However, if you have the room and want to keep the tree, you can USE the juice and fruit.

The Sour Orange is also called the "Seville Orange" in Europe and  the juice in particular has historically been used in place of vinegar or lemon.  You can search the internet for Seville Orange recipes.  Lots of interesting uses.  And of course you can make marmalade - I have a great recipe for marmalade which uses the whole fruit (except for the seeds), just adjust the sugar to your taste with sour fruit.

I hope this helps you understand how to maintain your citrus trees and how to deal with a problem if you catch it in time.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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