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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

herbsWe all know that herbs, especially fresh herbs picked right out of your garden or from your window box, can transform a simple meal into a flavorful feast. But herbs are so much more than deliciousness. They’re an essential part of the ancient and wondrous healing arts as well as a fragrant and decorative addition to your home.

Mint

Mint

Want a delightfully refreshing greeting when you come home from work? Plant mint in your walkway. This plant actually loves to be stepped on and every step you take will make your nose happy. Mint is an excellent remedy after a hard day of the stress you’ve been building up at the office. A few drops of essential mint oil on a cotton ball can help relieve migraines, improve your mood and all while making the room smell wonderful.

Basil

Basil

One of my favorite herbs is basil. I love cooking with it and I had heard that if you’re feeling tired, smelling basil will reduce your fatigue. What I didn’t know is that some basil is also excellent for better memory and clearer thinking. Added to bath salts or essential oils, many herbs have the power to balance our minds and transform our moods. At the end of this article I have a simple method for making your own essential oils and some awesome bath salt recipes.

Dill

Dill

The medicinal use of herbs can be found in almost all cultures and they are the base component of many modern medicines. But there is a certain comfort in knowing you have the ingredients for dealing with simple ailments growing in your backyard. For an upset tummy, try some mint, dill, basil, rosemary, fennel, or turmeric from your garden. For a memory boost, you could also try sage, turmeric or, what do you know, rosemary. You want antioxidants? We’ve got them in oregano, basil and that rosemary that keeps turning up.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Herbs can keep your garden healthy, as well. Our edibles expert, Kip Litehiser says, “There are a lot of herbs that are great for controlling pests in your garden and herbs are so easy to grow.” Rosemary is a robust plant that helps ward off cabbage moths, bean beetles, carrot flies and root knot nematodes. If you’re barbecuing in the summer, you can also put some of it on the grill to scare away mosquitoes. No one likes slugs feasting on their spring garden, but the sweet smell of lavender keeps the slimy pests at bay. It also looks beautiful in any garden and can attract friendly butterflies while deterring pesky moths and fleas.

And mint’s strong smell is exceptionally unattractive to a number of critters, including ants, aphids, rodents, cabbage worms and cabbage moths. I’m already thinking about how to make a garden border of mint and lavender. Herbs are naturally beautiful and with their wonderful fragrances they’re ideal for creative fencing and borders. I know our landscape expert, Ryan Sanders, has some charming ideas for your yard or garden.

Lavender

Lavender

On Sunday, March 24 at 1:00 pm, we’re excited to have Patrick Matthews of Blooming host Herb Gardens: Beyond Spice, a free seminar at The Plant Farm. The Plant Farm staff can set you up with a great combination of herbs to put in your garden this spring. You’ll not only have the ingredients for spicing up your kitchen and table, but the means to bring harmony and health to your family and friends.

Essential Oils

There is a quick and easy method of making your own essential oils that’s as easy as preparing mint julep: In a glass container, place you herbs. Gently crush or bruise the herbs, which will begin releasing the oil. Fill the container with a mild vegetable oil, such as canola, and seal the container. In two to three weeks, strain the herbs from the oil and bottle the oil.

Seize the Day bath salts
Ingredients:
● 4 cups Epsom salts
● 1 cup Sea Salt (a coarse grind)
● 10 drops rosemary essential oil
● 10 drops lemon essential oil
● 3 Tablespoons dried rosemary leaves

Seize the Sleep Bath Salts
Ingredients:
● 4 cups Epsom salts
● 1 cup Sea Salt (a coarse grind)
● ¼ cup lavender essential oil
● 3 Tablespoons dried lavender blossoms

For each recipe:
Combine the salts, essential oil and dried herbs into a large mixing bowl (I prefer to use a ceramic bowl) and mix until the oils and herbs are thoroughly distributed in the salt. If you don’t like the mess of the dried herbs you can skip them or make a tub tea-bag by putting the herbs into a cheesecloth and tying off the top.

It’s best to store your bath salts in a glass, air-tight jar. At bath time, add ½-1 cup of the salts while filling your tub. Give the water a swish, lower yourself in and exalt.

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tulips and sunSpring anticipation is such a delicious agony.  Daydreams about warmer temperatures and the sun feeding the garden, the occasional hint of spring flowers have you marking the days off on the calendar.  Your heart is beating out a chant: “How soon can I start? How soon can I dig in? How soon can I start?”  Big events like the Northwest Flower & Garden Show have you making lists and it’s so hard to wait.  I have to tell you, The Plant Farm isn’t going to make it any easier on you.  We have way too many excellent new plants and products this year.

Dark Night RoseNew for 2013!

Dark Night Rose – New for 2013!

In the coming weeks, we’ll take a more in-depth look at colorful new annuals, exciting new container and basket combinations, and share garden ideas from local gardening masters and our own staff experts. Stories like The Berries & the Bees and Herbs: Beyond Spice will delight you and give you food for thought; pun intended. This coming week, we’ll focus our spotlight on the gorgeous new roses we’ve added to The Plant Farm’s Rose List. I can’t wait to tell you about the new roses!

Plant Bare Root and Save!

Plant Bare Root and Save!

Oh, and if you’re a savvy shopper, you will want to know that in about two weeks we’ll bring in a huge selection of Bare Root ornamental trees and shrubs. We offer them bare root for a couple of weeks and then they go to our production crew to be potted up. Buying bare root is an excellent way to save money and it’s much easier to get the plant in the ground.

Ryan Sanders, TPF's Landscape Design Expert

Ryan Sanders, TPF’s Landscape Design Expert

You may have to wait for spring to arrive, but right now, you can do more than daydream at The Plant Farm.  You can come check out the plants arriving every day, sit down with our Landscape Design expert, Ryan Sanders, or hire the Pruning Services crew to get your trees and shrubs into tip top shape.

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seed-startingIt’s time to banish the winter blues, so who out there is hoping Mr. Groundhog won’t see his shadow so that spring will come early? I know at The Plant Farm we sure are! Daily shipments of inspiring new plants and tools arrive at our receiving dock. Seeing the new product come in has us excited to plan our gardens and get some seeds sprouting!

TPF's Edibles Expert Kip Litehiser

TPF’s Edibles Expert Kip Litehiser

This year, we wish you abundance and a thriving new garden. To that end, I had a chat with our edibles expert, Kip Litehiser, about what factors are necessary for a successful garden and how he prepares for a new garden season.

Right about now, Kip is planning what he’ll grow this year and he’s purchasing his seeds so he can get his seedlings going. Kip likes to break his seed starting into two phases; early starts, which he does indoors, and later in the spring, seeds that will be sown directly into the ground.

Plant lettuce early and you'll harvest more often.

Plant lettuce early and you’ll harvest more often.

“February is the time for early starts like your tough-to-grow-in-the-ground plants; parsley and hearty herbs, artichokes and onions,” he says. It’s also a good time to start plants you’ll want to harvest early and often, like lettuce and beans.

Soil temperature is a key component in raising crops and our Pacific Northwest climate can be challenging in that regard. “Warm soil is key. It’s almost more important than sunshine. Sunshine is obviously important, but you can have sunshine and still have cold ground soil,” Kip says. That’s why Kip prefers to use

The soil in raised beds warms more quickly.

The soil in raised beds warms more quickly.

raised beds for his garden. The soil is up off the ground and takes on the sun’s warmth more quickly.

Plants that need a longer growing season than our Pacific Northwest climate affords need to be started indoors. This allows the plants to become more established and hardy. They will be stronger when they are transplanted into the garden soil in mid-to-late March. The Plant Farm has your back on this one. We’re once again offering a Seed Starting Success Kit designed to make starting your garden from seeds easy and efficient. Like last year, the kit includes an excellent seed starting soil and Dr. Earth Starter, an organic fertilizer. This year we’ve added a couple of cool
The secret to success is our Seed Starting Success Kit

The secret to success is our Seed Starting Success Kit

new tools: A Lusterleaf Rapidclip Seed Sower, for more accurate seed dispersal, and a Planters Pride Self Watering Grow System with Coir pots. Coir is a biodegradable, coconut husk fiber that allows you to transplant your seed start into the ground, pot and all, protecting the root system when transplanting.We know how intimidating or frustrating starting seeds can be. For personal attention to your questions and concerns, come into The Plant Farm and look up our Edibles expert, Kip. He’ll be thrilled to share his knowledge so you’ll have a successful seed starting process this year.

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February is the month we anticipate the joy of spring gardening as well the month we celebrate love, and many would say the two go hand in hand.  We certainly think so!  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and The Plant Farm is the ideal place to find a living and growing expression of your love for your sweetie.  Whether your Valentine is playful or passionate or platonic we have hundreds of gift ideas.  Here are five great gift ideas that will help your sweetheart play in the garden this Valentine’s Day…

1.  Seed Packets It’s easy to understand why gardeners are passionate about seeds when you stop to consider that from each tiny seed abundant life is possible.  Seed packets make ideal Valentine gifts.  They slip easily into a Valentine’s Day card or make a unique and beautiful Valentine’s Day card in themselves.  Many, like the Botanical Interest line of seeds, have elegant, hand-drawn packets with an old world charm and the symbolism of giving someone the seeds of love to sow is romantic.   We have many seed lines to choose from such as Renee Seeds, Cornucopia, Ed Hume and Burpee.  We’re proud that our seed varieties are hand selected for our Pacific Northwest climate, giving your gardener the best possible success with starting seeds.

2. Primroses If February is the month to anticipate spring, then the primrose is the flower that kindles that joy in our hearts.   Primroses are dazzling, early blooming flowers that playfully shout out in vivid yellows, reds, pinks and blues.  Not only do they bring color to your space but also they are so delightfully fragrant!  Right now, we have a primrose special, 15 for $15, so you can make a big brilliant presentation to your sweetheart without making a big dent in your wallet.

Rose 'Valentine's Day'

3. Roses Roses are the flower of love and they are the romantic gesture.  Cut roses fade and die, but a rose bush will allow your love to bloom repeatedly.  Whether they love roses that climb, floribundas, hybrid teas, grandifloras or miniatures, we have over 200 different roses from which to choose.  Click here to see our 2012 Rose List.  This month we’re featuring the climbing rose named Valentine’s Day, which has a beautiful bright red color, double clusters of flowers and a romantic light fragrance.

Rosemary

4. Herb Container Is your beloved gardener passionate about bringing their backyard bounty to the table?  An herb container will be a gift of warmth, fragrance and an enhancement to their homegrown meals.  Even better, it can be filled with herbs hand-selected by you from our fresh new crops of chives, rosemary, sage and more.  The container will be a aromatic indoor reminder of your love until it’s ready to take up residence outdoors this spring.

5. Gift Certificates We’ve all been there: You’re looking for the perfect gift for the gardener you love… but you’re not sure which flower or tool they need or want. We have the perfect solution – a Plant Farm gift certificate. Let your gardener choose their perfect item. Slip a gift certificate into their card and give them the gift that will bring their passion home.

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