I grew up on a working dairy farm. We had around 100 Jersey cows to milk, feed, and care for. Also in the mix were chickens, goats, pigs, horses, dogs, cats, bees, geese, and even a few ducks. To feed the animals, we raised corn, wheat, silage and timothy/clover for hay.
Our garden was big enough to feed our family of four throughout the year. Mom taught us that gardens are best when shared, she was always giving different herbs or excesses to the neighbors, and they were always sending different items to us. We would have fresh vegetables during the spring and summer, and canned or dried during the winters. We used honey on our biscuits and ALWAYS had a pot of vegetable soup on the stove. Mom raised two big boys that were never hungry. Lunches where a big affair, it was the main meal of the day, the break between milking and chores. This was the time to rest up before starting the next phase of the day. Lunches could have family or friends, sometimes neighbors or field hands. The meals consisted of whatever was "in season" at the time.
The garden was a family endeavor. We never used chemicals, and it was fertilized with manure and steady crop rotation. Pests where controlled with particular care in companion plantings. Our garden was a mixture between vegetables, herbs and flowers, (and weeds that Mom always said where good weeds) a veritable jungle to the inexperienced eye.
Mom was the primary knowledge base for what was planted, when it was planted, and why it was planted here or there. She was always reading, asking questions, and experimenting with different ideas. Mom did not have a "green thumb", what she had is common sense. She understood how to take advantage of the benefits of the different plants next to each other - companion gardening. That "jungle" that you may have seen NEVER let us be hungry in all the years on the farm.
The garden was also our doctor; if any of us had the cold or flu... the remedy was readily available. Bee stings, bruises from cows kicking, headaches, stomach aches, nails through the foot, anything - the cure was always just past the arbor.
As an adult I still use herbs and vegetables for the health of my family. And I am always amazed at the people I talk to who don't raise a garden because of their lack of confidence. This series of books "You CAN Grow It !!" is designed to answer your questions. It doesn't take a "Green Thumb", only common sense and the will to try. The "You CAN Grow It !!" series includes different vegetables and herbs that most novice or experienced growers will find helpful.
Read it and enjoy!
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B is for Bell Pepper
Most of us are looking to plant a few pepper plants in our gardens for home use, whether in the ground or in containers. The bell pepper is an American fruit that is most commonly used as vegetable or condiment; however, it also has medicinal properties.
T is for Thyme
There are about 350 different species of thyme, a scent and flavor that is familiar to most of us.Thyme is an aromatic perennial plant or small shrub that may grow to about 15 to 18 inches tall.
D is for Dill
Dill can refer to the plant itself, its leaves or its seeds, both of which are used in cooking. Who isn’t familiar with a dill pickle?Dill seeds can be chewed to freshen your breath and its antimicrobial properties work against infections inside the mouth. It is also a good source of calcium and can help strengthen your teeth and bones. Dill helps to increase...
C is for Chives
Chives have long been considered a delicate herb that gives just a hint of the flavor found in its Big Brother – onion. It’s a staple in any gourmet kitchen because of this. But did you know that chives can do so much more besides taste good? This tiny green plant can ease stomach distress, protect against heart disease and stroke and maybe even help your body fight off the bacteria that can...
I harvested a colander of fresh Moringa leaves and had a nice salad of garden greens for dinner. The fresh leaves taste slightly horseradishy, a nice little zip after years of very bland foods. After only a couple days of having Moringa leaves in a salad, I noticed the pain was easing in my stomach, and that I felt “calmer”, and had just a little more energy
R is for Rosemary
Traditionally, rosemary is added to any dish containing lamb or kid (goat). That makes perfect sense when you consider that, in days gone by, lamb and kid contained more fat than some other meats, which can cause indigestion. Rosemary is used to help the digestion of fatty foods, thus, the use of rosemary in those meats.
T is for Tomato
(5.00 from 1 review)
Tomatoes are consumed in many ways. Of course, we eat them raw, we slice them and dice them and turn them into salads and sandwiches. We even make drinks out of them. For poison ivy blisters, cut a tomato in half, lightly rub the cut surface over the poison ivy spots. It burns like fire but the poison ivy dries up quickly. This also worked for chigger bites after we were out playing in the fields.
C is for Carrot
The carrot is what we call a root vegetable because we are eating the root of the plant rather than leaves or fruit. Everyone is familiar with the bright orange carrots found in the supermarket and even on the seed racks and in backyard gardens.
C is for Coriander - Cilantro
The plant is coriander; the leaves are cilantro. Although they grow from the same root, the parts are NOT interchangeable in recipes.
Cilantro is the flavor that makes salsa stand out.Coriander seeds are the next-most frequently used part of the plant. Rub a few around in the palm of your hand and sniff. You are immediately reminded of dessert...
C is for Chervil
Chervil is generally best used fresh but it does have its uses when dried. For instance, dried Chervil is one of the ingredients in the French Herbes de Provence, an indispensable ingredient in so many French dishes.
P is for Parsley
The most popular of garden herbs in the United States, parsley is used extensively for flavoring soups, stews, salads, sauces, and as a garnish. Few people realize that this species, cultivated for over 2000 years, has long been the subject of superstitions and myths
How to Grow Amaryllis
Your holiday amaryllis need not be pitched when the blooms fade. Here, we tell you how to keep it growing from year to year and even increase your collection
S is for Sage
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Sage is a lovely plant. No two ways about it, sage is simply pretty. And yet is another ancient herb, prized for its flavor, aroma, and medicinal properties.
B is for Basil
Everything you wanted to know about herbs Basil - what the heck is it?, history, medicinal properties, how to grow outdoors and indoors -
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