Drying Your Herbs

Now that your herbs are bigger you may be thinking about how to dry them and use them in the long run. It turns out there are some nifty little things you need to know about this!

When drying your herbs it is best to be a little patient with the growing process. You will want to wait until herbs, such as oregano, are a decent size. Though the herbs should be a little bigger you will want to harvest them before they flower.

When harvesting your herbs make sure to use a very sharp knife to cut the stems. Tearing and ripping can cause moisture loss in the plant. If you plan on hanging the herbs to dry cut towards the base of the plant so that you will have something to work with.

Herbs such as chives do not really dry. A good way to use chives is to place them in a plastic bag and freeze them. You can try to dry them out in the oven over a long period of time, but this process will take at least seven hours. Frozen chives will last 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

Larger herbs, like oregano, can be dried by hanging in a cool, dry and dark place. You can also hang the herbs upside down in a paper bag somewhere out of way. This process takes between 1-3 weeks.  Lastly, leafy herbs can usually be dried in a paper towel that is folded in half. Leave on your counter for 1-3 weeks, until the leaves are dry and crunchy. Place in a plastic bag to store.

Hints: 

If you are hanging herbs make sure to check the rubber band or string every few days. As the herbs dry they will shrink and may fall out of their holder.

Remember to shake off any insects before you start the drying process. You may want to do a quick rinse and pat dry before drying the herbs.

If you are hanging herbs in a paper bag remember to cut holes in it so the herbs have an air flow.

Good luck!

Posted by: Amanda

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May 31, 2011. baking, Food Fun, Gardening, In The Kitchen, Make Your Own, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Great Website For Natural Ideas

This is such a great website! There are tons of energy saving tips, and cute ideas for the house. Click on the photo below to visit Mother Earth News!

Posted by: Amanda

May 19, 2011. Gardening, In The Kitchen, Make Your Own, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

It Works!

So, Apollo is obsessed with the wild bunnies in our yard. We often find him sitting by a window or the sliding glass door just sitting, waiting, wishing. (You like that Jack Johnson reference thrown in there, don’t you?) He just sits there, longing to romp with, chase, and possibly kill (accidentally of course) every fuzzy little one of them.

You may remember a quick mention of our bunny problem from my veggie garden post. In order to deter the fluffy-tailed vegetarians from annihilating my first official garden, I put up a small chicken wire fence.

You can imagine I was super stoked to look out our bedroom window this morning and witness my little fence working its magic. One of our bunny friends was tempted by the baby veggie plants, but ultimately, intimidated by the big scary chicken wire. Yes!

Here he is sneaking up to the fence. He thinks he’s so smart. Ha!

 

You can see the evil in his eyes can’t you? He thought for a second about the pros and cons of digging under the wire, and in the end, decided it wasn’t worth it. Quickly after this was taken he scurried away. Good thing, because I’m not afraid to let Apollo take care of that situation. (Apollo wishes.)

Chicken Wire: 1     Evil Bunny: 0

posted by: Rhiannon

May 12, 2011. Tags: , , , . Animal Friends, Gardening. 2 comments.

Planting Herbs on a Low Budget

I wanted to have a nice herb garden, but I didn’t want to pay a lot of money. I just wanted to get the basic herbs that I use a lot in cooking. I headed to a small local nursery and bought oregano, cilantro, banana peppers, rosemary, chives and lavender. After I got the herbs I went to the local Dollar Tree to see if there was anything I could use.

Pots and a spade I got from the Dollar Tree

Hanging basket I got from the Dollar Tree

Once I made this awesome find, I ran over to the local hardware store and lucked out with a bag of $5.99 potting soil. I then planted my herbs and packed them tight in the dirt. Most herbs need full sun so make sure your little plants get plenty of light!

Final product!

I planted these a little close together, but they should be okay for awhile. When they start getting a little bigger I will re-plant some of them into their own pots. If you have any questions about what your plants need, make sure to read the little info tab that comes with them.

Total cost of this project: $22.00 ($12.00 if you already have your herbs)

posted by: Amanda

May 9, 2011. Tags: , , , . Gardening. Leave a comment.

Veggie Garden Extravaganza

So this is what the back of my house looks looked like.

I’ve been staring at this mess for almost two years. Thanks to my good friend Melissa, I was finally inspired to do something with this nice patch of weeds, trash (left over from the lovely people who lived here before us), dirt, and random plants.

Time for a veggie garden!

So I raked all of the junk out of the flower bed and onto the grass. (Later to be disposed of by my dear husband. He’s the best!)

I thought I might keep the few random plants that looked halfway decent, but quickly decided that my OCD would not let me because they were all crooked. So, away they went. After digging up the pesky plants and roots, I cleared out all of the remaining debris, marked the corners with chicken wire posts, and laid out the veggie plants (in a nice straight line of course).

At the far end I’ve got a cucumber, then a random plant (I have no idea what the heck it is, but decided to keep because it was way too hard to dig up), a red bell pepper, a yellow bell pepper, and a roma tomato. Time to dig some holes and throw in some compost!

After all of the plants were nice and snug in their beds…

I opened up the chicken wire and wrapped it around the posts. This was a little tricky because the wire likes to sag. To remedy this, I just pulled nice and tight and hooked the wire to the little hooks on the posts. Oh, and my assistant helped supervise of course.


This is Apollo, our child. He’s pretty much the best dog ever (well, besides Amanda and Seth’s dog Jazz).

I also put some sweet basil and cilantro in pots. I just mixed some soil with a little compost, and voila!

There was another plant that I managed to save, and hopefully it won’t die on me. I sort of forced it to climb up this old trellis that was hanging out back here. Maybe we’ll even have some pretty flowers bloom from it sometime soon.

To top off the veggie garden, I laid down some newspaper, and sprinkled on some grass clippings and compost. This should keep moisture in, and weeds out (crossing fingers very tightly).

And that’s that. All I did after that was water everything down really well.

Stay tuned for updates, and cross your fingers our wild bunnies don’t know how to dig under chicken wire!

posted by: Rhiannon

May 7, 2011. Tags: , , , . Gardening. 1 comment.

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