Hugelkultur

No that’s not a typo…..its German….for hill garden, kinda.

I learn something new absolutely every time I’m in the garden.  Through observation of the plants, germination, soil, or weather conditions; no two days, months, or years seem the same.  Things are always changing and evolving.  Today I was volunteering again in my local community garden (Grow to Share) and one of my garden friends was teaching me about Hugelkultur.  I’ve used the square foot garden planting, intensive planting, lasagna gardening, row crops, raised beds, and more but never heard of Hugelkultur.

Hugelkultur utilizes downed trees covered with grass, soil, and a few other amendments.  It can eliminates the need for watering and fertilization.

Curious to learn more….

Its more than just a raised bed garden, it’s a bed loaded with organic material which supplies all the air and nutrients in the soil to grow bigger more nutrient dense plants.  This method is so effective at containing the moisture and nutrients it can even be used in desert climates.  I’m more of a lazy gardener and love the idea of “Build it and Forget It” till it’s time for harvest.  This was not realistic in the past, with the maintenance needs of a typical garden.  But now, having a garden gets easier.

The concept of Hugelkultur is to use downed trees, rotting wood, twigs, branches covered with soil and compost.  Of course there a variations but you get the idea.  The beds are typically 4-5 feet wide.  The key to eliminate watering is in the height of the bed, it needs to be near 6-7 feet tall the first year.  As decomposition happens the bed does shrink over time.  A Hugelkultur bed can be built as low as 2 feet high, but remember it will only maintain the necessary moisture for about three weeks.

I don’t want you to get discouraged by the size or height.  If you have the space and curiosity start with a bed that’s 2-3 feet high and consider increasing the height each year with downed trees and yard scraps till you reach the desired height.

If I’ve peaked your curiosity check out the web links for garden photos and more information.  And don’t miss the videos. You’ll want to get started right away when you see how easy it is.

 Photos and Videos showing the creation of urban and large scale beds

 Variations for garden mulch and ideas on how to support the height of the bed and incorporating the straw bale and lasagna gardening methods.

The Art and Science of Making a Hugelkultur Bed

ON With the SHOW


 

Posted in Gardening Posts | Comments Off on Hugelkultur

Healthier House Cleaning

What a fabulous weekend, the weather was perfect for the 9th Annual Holistic Health and Herbal Festival in Minnesota.  I was honored to be a presenter of two fun, hands on topics, Healthier House Cleaning and Medicine Cabinet Makeover with Essential Oils.  We whipped up dry laundry soap, dishwasher soap, with a couple herb and essential oil vinegar based spray’s for the kitchen and bathroom.  Participants received many recipes and checked out my ready made samples of liquid laundry soap (see recipe below), dish soap, Herbal 409, and more.

I had so much fun putting everything together I wanted to share it with those of you who want to try making your own products at home.  Here is a copy of my Healthier House Cleaning PDF of everything we covered: chemicals to avoid, supplies and ingredients you will need for your own cleaning creations and recipes….many recipes.

Thieves Line by Young Living

Thieves Line by Young Living

Liquid Laundry Soap                                                

4 c. Boiling water
1 bar Fels naptha, grated
2 c. Borax
2 c. Washing soda
6 Quarts water
1/2 c Thieves Household Cleaner
50 to 75 drops of Lemon essential oil

Add 6 quarts of water in big bucket set aside.  Add 4 cups of water to a pot on the stove melt the Fels naptha soap, add borax and washing soda and stir till dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in the Thieves household cleaner and essential oil drops. Once everything is combined add to the big bucket of water and stir.  Let sit overnight and it will continue to thicken.

Posted in Essential Oil Article, Health Article, Herb Article, Recipes | Comments Off on Healthier House Cleaning

Sunscreen Lotion

DIY-sunscreen-LotionWe have all heard how to much ultraviolet (UV) radiation i.e. sun exposure can damage the skin, frequent burns can increase the risk of skin cancer, cause premature aging, wrinkles, and more. But a lack of sun exposure can cause a vitamin D deficiency. So how do we maximize our time in the sun to get the health benefits while minimizing the negatives of over-exposure?

The Bottom Line for me….How do I get to stay in the garden longer?

There are two primary sun rays Ultraviolet A (UVA) which can cause premature aging, sunspots, wrinkle and believed to increase our risk of skin cancer. These we want to screen or block. The Ultraviolet B (UVB) stimulates the Vitamin D production on our skin. Getting the optimum vitamin D from sun exposure is different for each person based on skin color and condition. The rule is DON’T get burned….when your skin begins to turn pink you’ve had enough for the day.

This is just to enlighten there is no need to fear the sun. The sun is crucial to life on the planet for plants, animals, and our survival.

Many commercially available sunscreens/sunblock’s screen out the UVB which are beneficial to us and don’t screen out the UVA the one’s we want to avoid. I don’t have the perfect answer but I will share some of the tips I use. I stopped liquid and spray-on sunscreens several years ago simply because I am not a chemist and could never figure out the controversy about the safety of the ingredients. I started looking for alternative ways to protect myself.

Many plants with a constant exposure to sun have evolved to produce pigments, phytochemicals, and nutrients which protect them from sun damage which may also help us. Fatty oils and Essential oils from plants can provide us with a natural SPF. The natural SPF from plants range from 4-50 SPF depending on the plants.

Sunscreen Recipe Ingredients
Fatty Oils with SPF include: wheat germ, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, jojoba, almond oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, sea buckthorn oil, hemp seed oil, and coconut oil. These range from SPF 4-30 depending on which resources I reference and what other ingredients in the blend.

Essential Oils: Raspberry Seed oil SPF of 25-50, Carrot seed oil SPF factor is 35-40, peppermint oil SPF 7, tulsi holy basil oil SPF 7, lavender oil SPF 6-30, eucalyptus oil SPF 3, tea tree oil SPF 2, sandalwood oil SPF 30 (avoid all citrus oils on area’s exposed to the sun – they are phototoxic and can cause skin discoloration or an essential oil burn).

Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera are commonly used throughout the Caribbean directly on the skin for sun protection, if fact when on vacation in St. Maarten I watched the locals walk up and down the beach offering to apply the aloe gel on tourists and use it on themselves for sun protection. SPF for Aloe and Coconut Oil is said to range from 8-15 SPF. Many folks add zinc oxide to their formulas to increase the SPF.
I do not use zinc oxide in my recipe, but this is an option to check out if you want to increase the SPF protection. I would suggest you read about nano-particles in titanium and zinc oxide as well as micronized zinc oxide.

Other vitamin and minerals nutrients can also protect us in a different way…from the inside out; they include Lutein, chlorophyll, zeathanthin, astathanthin, vitamin C, and vitamin E all offer some degree of UVA and UVB protection. I try to increase my consumption of foods that contain these nutrients and/or supplement with them. You know the ones, the fruits, vegetables, and Omega 3 rich fish.

I want you to take away the “idea” of making your own sunscreen don’t get hung up on the specific ingredients, you can see by the list of fatty and essential oils there are many to choose from so use what you have on hand and start to experiment to find the texture, scent, and SPF that works best for you. And remember, use common scents sun protection; a big brimmed hat, SPF clothing or swimwear, reapply often (every hour or two), and if you can stay in the shade during peak sun. These are just a few of the habits I use to avoid getting burned.

DIY Sunscreen Lotion
By Lisa Mosbey

Ingredients
3 oz. coconut oil
2 oz. calendula infused olive oil (substitute with plain olive oil)
2 oz. jojoba oil
1 oz. shea butter
½ oz. beeswax (optional to add up to 1 tbsp. for a firmer consistency)
4oz. distilled water
2 tbsp. aloe vera gel
1 tsp. Young Living Sulfurzyme™
10 drops Young Living Purification™ essential oil
5 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil
5 drops Young Living Frankincense essential oil
5 drops Young Living Carrot seed essential oil
Sunscreen-Lotion-blending
Using a double boiler, turn on, add coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax to the top of your double boiler. Remove the oil-beeswax from heat when melted and well combined add them to the distilled water while blending with a hand mixer this with blend into a smooth, thick cream. Add aloe vera, Sulfurzyme, and essential oils to the cream and blend just till mixed. Pour into storage container and it’s ready to use.
I found this recipe to be a bit oily so I did add a tablespoon of beeswax to firm it up.

 

RESOURCES

PUBMED.GOV http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19034609
• J Nat Med. 2009 Apr;63(2):195-9. doi: 10.1007/s11418-008-0299-z. Epub 2008 Nov 27. In vitro evaluation of UV opacity potential of Aloe vera L. gel from different germplasms. Accessed July 29, 2014

PUBMED.GOV http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263051/
• Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jul-Dec; 5(10): 164–173. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.91114 PMCID: PMC3263051 Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation Accessed July 29, 2014

PUBMED.GOV http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/\
• Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan-Feb; 2(1): 22–25. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.60586 PMCID: PMC3140123 In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics Chanchal Deep Kaur and Swarnlata Saraf Accessed July 29, 2014

MERCOLA.COM Accessed July 29, 2014
• How Supermodel Gisele Bundchen “Infuriated Caner Experts”. ehttp://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/22/new-study-shows-many-sunscreens-are-accelerating-not-preventing-cancer.aspx
• Four out of Five Sunscreens maybe hazardous to your health http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/07/10/four-out-of-five-sunscreens-may-be-hazardous-to-your-health.aspx

HYBRID RASTA MAMA Accessed July 29, 2014
• Natrual Oils as Sun Protection http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/06/natural-oils-as-sun-protection.html

HAPPYZINE.COM Accessed July 29, 2014
• The Good News about Natures SPF Protection http://happyzine.co.nz/2012/01/18/the-good-news-about-natures-spf-protection-by-joel-le-blanc/

Posted in Essential Oil Article, Herb Article, Recipes | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Sunscreen Lotion

Skin Caring Tea

Herbal remedies are best when a part of our everyday diet.  We can use delicious, nutritious teas to improve the condition of our skin just by replacing our sugary, caffeinated drinks with a beneficial blend of herbal tea.  I use dried herbs to mix up a jar so it’s ready to use when I’m ready to sit and enjoy a warm cup of tea.  This tea can also be steeped and served chill as a refreshing summer iced tea.

Skin Caring Tea Blend

Skin Caring Tea Blend

Ingredients

    • 4 tbsp. calendula

It’s particularly good for sensitive skin and can be used to reduce the appearance of acne scars, you can also put a few drops in your bath water to soothe psoriasis.

  •  4 tbsp. chickweed

Cools skin, relieves inflammation and helps treat acne breakouts.

  •   4 tbsp. chamomile flowers

Well known for its relaxing effects, soothes, calms and heals skin.

  •   4 tbsp. elder flowers

Known to lighten skin over time and achieve a more even skin tone.  Also known to soften skin and improve the appearance of wrinkles and relieve breakouts.

  •   2 tbsp. rose petal

Cooling and astringent to calm inflamed areas and tighten pores and skin.

  •   2 tbsp. peppermint

Peppermint purifies and stimulates the mind, can increase mental alertness while aiding in digestion.

  •   2 tsp. lavender

It is more commonly known for its relaxing effects but works on bruises, cuts, and skin irritation,” Dr. Oz says that the scent of lavender can reduce the levels of stress hormones in your blood.

  •   2 tsp. licorice

A skin lightener and toner while providing moist, soothing effect.

Preparation

Mix all the herbs together in a glass mason jar.  Shake or roll around to mix well.  To prepare the tea add 1-2 tsp. of mixture to tea ball or cup and steep in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.  I add creamed honey, stevia, or maple syrup to sweeten.

For a stronger more medicinal drink.  Add 1 ounce of mixture to a glass mason jar, fill the jar with boiling water, cover, and let steep for 4 hours up to overnight.  Sweeten and sip the tea throughout the day.  You can consume it over ice or gently re-warm, do not microwave or reheat at high temperatures (over 100 degrees) as this will break down the essential oils and medicinal components of the tea.  Water your plants with any unused portion after 24 hours.

Caution: peppermint and licorice are not recommended for people with hypertension.  You may choose to leave out the licorice or use deglycerized licorice (DGL) and try a spearmint or lemon balm instead of peppermint.

Remember my blog posts are for educational purposes and not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure.  Only you know your health so seek proper medical attention from a licensed professional when necessary.

RESOURCES to Find more information on the herbs listed here and there uses:

  1. American Botanical Society  Herbal monographs for individual plants http://abc.herbalgram.org/site/PageServer
  2. Annie’s Remedies information on various herbal remedies for the body including skin http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy.php
  3. Pubmed.gov For scientific information on the uses and benefits of the various herbs
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=herbal+remedies
  5. Henriette’s Herbal Homepage Recipes, research, and herbal usage
  6. http://www.henriettes-herb.com/search/node/skin
  7. A Modern Herbal by M. Grieve Plant science and usage for herbs, article on skin health
  8. http://www.botanical.com/cgi-sys/entropysearch.cgi?query=skin&user=botanid5&basehref=http%3A%2F%2Fbotanical.com&template=default

 

Posted in Health Article, Herb Article, Recipes | 2 Comments

Mix-it-up-Mosquito Spray or Oil

During the summer months I get the questions weekly: what can we use for mosquito repellent and mosquito bites.  Young Living Lavender essential oil and Purification essential oil blend are my favorite bite remedies.  I recycled a small glass roller-ball container putting in 3-5 drops purification or lavender and filling it up with olive, almond, or grapeseed oil. If I do get a bite I just roll-on my remedy.  Purfication is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and so is the lavender plus it soothes the itchy skin.

Lisa & Lane Boys Geocache

Geocaching with the Lane Brothers in the buggy-woods prepared with our DIY mosquito repellent


 
Spray Blend 1
20 drops Purification essential oil Blend
10 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavendula augustifolia)
10 drops Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)
½ tsp. Vegetable Glycerin
3 oz. Witch Hazel or Vodka
4 oz. Distilled Water
Use an 8 oz. Spray bottle to mix all the ingredients together. Apply often.
 
Spray Blend 2
15 drops Purification essential oil Blend
15 drops Thieves essential oil Blend
4 oz. Witch Hazel or Vodka
8oz. Distilled Water
Use a 12 oz. Spray bottle to mix all the ingredients together. Apply often.
 
Spray Blend 3
15 drops Citronella essential oil (Cymbobogon nardus)
12 drops lavender essential oil (Lavendula augustifolia)
15 drops lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
15 drops tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternaifolia)
14 oz.  Witch Hazel or Vodka
Use a 16 oz. Spray bottle to mix all the ingredients together. Apply often.
 
Oil Blend 1
1oz.  Castor oil
3 drops Citronella essential oil
3 drops Lavender essential oil
Mix together and apply to ankles, neck, wrists or other exposed skin.

I recycle my used eye drop bottles. I can slip this into a pocket, backpack, or purse so I’m never without my mosquito repellant and ready for outdoor dining or an impromptu walk in the woods.
 
Oil Blend 2
1oz.  Castor oil
5 drops Catnip essential oil
Mix together and apply to ankles, neck, wrists or other exposed skin.

I recycle my used eye drop bottles. I can slip this into a pocket, backpack, or purse so I’m never without my mosquito repellant and ready for outdoor dining or an impromptu walk in the woods.
The mixture I use most often is my Bug-Away-Spray.  The base is a Catnip (Nepeta cataria) Tincture in vodka which studies have shown to be effective for repelling certain species of mosquitoes.  I would also use or add Catnip essential oil to my Bug-Away-Spray or any of the above recipes.  A 2011 study found Catnip (Cateria nepetita) Essential Oil to be an effective repellent of mosquitoes do to the compounds nepatalactone isomers, caryophyllene and others.

Lastly I use vinegar-catnip tea with essential oils about ½ cup added to the wash during the summer months.  I make the vinegar tea by heating a gallon of vinegar in a stainless or glass pot on the stove at low heat; add catnip leaves and stems chopped up.  Let this steep like a tea, covered overnight.  In the morning strain out the plant material and add 5 drops of one of the following oils:  citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, peppermint, rosemary or tea tree.  Put back into vinegar jug to later use.  Vinegar is a fabric softener and now has the added benefit of helping repel insects.  If you need a quicker fix….just add 5 drops of Young Living Purification Blend to the laundry soap (liquid or powder) before adding it to the wash.

I also use 1-2 drops of any insect repelling oils on that “lone-extra-sock” or a wet wash cloth and throw it in the dryer with the clothes.  Washing and drying the clothes with essential oils and vinegar is just one more layer of protection against these tiny, viscous, hungry invaders.

To purchase Young Living Essential Oils go to my Young Living Website www.YoungLiving.org/lisamosbey.

 

RESOURCES:
Repellency of Hydrogentated Catmint Oil. Journal of Medical Entomology 45(6);1080-1086. 2008, Accessed June 22, 2014; Entomological Society of America. http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1603/0022-2585%282008%2945%5B1080:ROHCOF%5D2.0.CO%3B2

Is the Extract from the plant catmint repellent to Mosquitoes in Australia?. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 23(3):351-354. 2007; Accessed June 22, 2014; Entomological Society of America.  http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2987/8756-971X%282007%2923%5B351:ITEFTP%5D2.0.CO%3B2

Adult repellency and larvicidal activity of five plant essential oils against mosquitoes.  US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.  Accessed June 22, 2014; Pubmed.gov; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17067055

Repellent activity of catmint, Nepeta cataria, and iridoid nepetalactone isomers against Afro-tropical mosquitoes, ixodid ticks and red poultry mites. USNational Library of Medicine national Institutes of Health.  Accessed June 22, 2014; Pubmed.gov http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21056438

Posted in Essential Oil Article, Herb Article, Products, Recipes | 1 Comment

My Visit to 10th Street Farm and Market

3 high tunnels 10th st-13When I saw the invitation in the Whole Earth Co-Op newsletter to go visit the family farms from which they buy produce, meat, dairy, and more…I was curious and signed up for the first one 10th St Farm & Market in Afton, MN.

My grandma was a farm girl so I did visit the farm on summer break, it was acres of produce and pasture land.  I was treated to rides on the tractor and learned to milk a cow.  But this visit to the 10th Street Farm and Market in Afton Minnesota was much different.

As we pulled into the entrance not far from the convenience of the highway we saw 2 plots with perfectly lined rows of various vegetables.  Further down the drive, past the log farm home we get our first view of the purple flowering chive plants in the herb garden.  Beyond the herb garden we see 3 High Tunnels and a heated greenhouse.  The owners Hallie and Lisa came out to great us.

They have a great story; they purchased this property just 3 years ago and have created a bountiful oasis.  Doing all the planning, farming, construction, and maintenance with only a little help from their husbands, I was blown-over-impressed.

Using only a 1/3 acre the 10th Street Farm and Market was designed based on the principles of the Elliot Coleman Four Season Farm.  10th Street is a sustainable, organic 44 weeks of harvest, currently offering 20 CSA shares 3 times a year Spring, Summer, and Fall.  In addition to offering produce at their farm stand on Thursday and Friday’s during the harvest season.

The High Tunnels weigh approximately 6,500 lbs., are anchored to the ground and are movable.  The tunnels are designed with a double layer of plastic separated by an air pocket with automated ventilation system (soon to be solar powered) there is no need for heating or cooling. The tunnel maintains a balmy 55 degrees all winter – just enough to melt the snow off the roof so you can shovel yourself out. It gets toasty during the summers and the tomatoes love it.  Each tunnel is on a track that slides over three 30′ wide by 50′ long beds, has both overhead sprinklers and a tape drip system.

This system is so incredibly efficient the ladies are able to jump start each season by a month, they start planting “in the ground” in late February and extend the harvest until the end of December. 44 varieties, 11-12000 transplants started in the greenhouse, and food for roughly 100 families on 1/3 of an acre each year…WOW! You can learn more about Elliot Coleman’s Four Season Farming on-line in his book Winter Harvest Handbook, or come visit the 10th Street Farm and Market for the Twin Cities Local Farm Tour on July 19th.

To my readers I’ll say check out where your food is coming from, go meet your local farmers, or visit your towns Co-op for more information on local food.  Congratulations to Hallie and Lisa, your living your philosophy “Local Food for Local People”.  I’ll see you at your farm stand.

 

 

 

Posted in Gardening Posts | 3 Comments

Hardening-Off Seedlings

I briefly touch on Hardening-Off Seedlings in the Seed Starting post but wanted to share more.

Below is a quick reference guide to use to help you know when the weather is right to harden-off those plants. Monitor the average frost dates in your area and referring to the quick reference guide for when and what plants to start.

Remember: stop fertilizing the seedlings 4-6 days before the hardening off begins.
Pick a cloudy day. Dig a hole that’s a little bigger than the root ball. Tickle the roots gently to separate them before planting in the hole, cover with soil and pat down, water transplants thoroughly.

If using fertilizer….I suggest giving the transplanted seedlings about a week to settle into their new spot in the garden before adding fertilizer. I do add compost or other organic amendments into the soil at the time of transplanting. Continue to monitor soil moisture and the insensitivity of the sun several times a day until the plants are well established. Some may need a little extra attention with a sunshade and a second watering.

Growing where I’m planted…Lisa


Source: Fix.com

Posted in Gardening Posts | Comments Off on Hardening-Off Seedlings

Seed Starting Time

When I lived in Nevada I started seeds under my grow lights 8-10 months of the year. Now, here in the mid-west It’s just now seed starting time and I’m so excited the snow is melting, summer is on its way. Seed starting is best 6-8 weeks before you are going to transplant seedlings in the garden, depending on the type of seed. You need to take into consideration how long the seed needs to germinate, grow up a bit, and allow a week or two for hardening off before moving the seedlings to the garden or outdoor containers.

How I start my seeds

Seed Starting Soil

Seed Starting Soil

  1. I start with a moist seed starting soil or potting soil. I like to put the new soil into a bucket and squeeze to make sure it feels like a damp sponge. If it’s dry I add warm water and stir it well to make sure my soil is evenly moist.
  2. Then I fill my cardboard egg cartons or starting pots with the moist soil. Adding 2-3 seeds per spot. (When using fresh seeds 1-2 seeds per spot, add 1 seed for each year old the seeds are. My seeds are 1 and 2 years old so I am putting 3 or 4 seeds in each spot. No more than 6 seeds per spot. I do this to insure I have a germinated seed in each spot.)
  3. The seeds must stay moist to germinate. I recycle clear plastic grocery bags, plastic wrap, or press-n-seal bags to cover the egg trays this allows me to keep the soil moist without watching it every day.
  4. Plastic Bag Green House

    Plastic Bag Green House

  5. Heat will speed up germination. In the past I would use a grow light and set my trays on top of it till the seeds germinate then move the trays under the light about 3-4 inches from the light. Or set the trays on warming mats to slightly heat the soil and stimulate germination. This year I’m using a west facing sunny window. Keeping it simple.
  6. Once the seeds germinate, remove the plastic cover. The seedlings need the air to move around them to create a strong stem and the sun allows them to photosynthesize and grow into healthy plants.
  7. When using seed starting soil (is sterile) it’s important to feed the seedlings about a week after they germinate. Give the plastic greenhouse a little vent (slit or open) and apply a diluted 1:10 water:fertilizer. Continue applying very diluted fertilizer every week.
  8. I use egg cartons or disposable plastic to go food containers to start my plants, once the plants germinate I will transplant my starts into small 3 inches pots. If more than one seed germinates in each cell, you can carefully separate the plants and put each in its own pot, snip the weakest one(s) at the soil line, or transplant them all together.
  9. When the weather is warm enough and it’s time to transplant outside. Don’t forget to harden-off the seedlings! I know I’m not the only one who gets excited to get into the garden and think I can skip this step but don’t. It makes all the difference in how successfully plants survive once transplanted into the garden or outdoor containers.

Hardening-off is done by placing the seedlings outside in the shade for 2 days for 2-3 hours and bringing them in at night. The next 2 days moving them outside into a partly shade/sun area for 2-3 hours and bringing them in at night. The next 2 days leaving them out 4-6 hours. The last 2 days gradually getting them into full sun. As they are moved into the sun watch them closely and be sure the soil is moist. If you see the seedlings struggle i.e. wilting, drooping, shriveling move them back to the shade. When the seedlings can stay outside all day without wilting or drooping it’s time to transplant. This is not an exact schedule, depending on how strong your seedlings are it may take longer. Just be sure the seedlings are ready, there is no rush and the stronger the seedlings the more productive they will be over there lifetime.

I like to keep track of my successes and failures. Then I can pull my worksheet out year after year to reference when to get started. Most herbs can be direct seeded in the garden after the last frost. I grow most of my herbs in pots and enjoy getting them started indoors 6-10 weeks before I plan to move them outside. Plus seeds are so much cheaper than seedlings and I don’t feel as bad if my plants don’t make it.

Herb Transplant Harden-Off Date Start Seed Seed Start Date Notes
Basil 1 week after frost 6 weeks before
Calendula 2 weeks after frost 6-8 weeks before
Chives 1 week after frost 8 weeks before
Dill 1 week after frost 6 weeks before
Lemon balm 3 weeks before frost 8 weeks before
Oregano 2 weeks after frost 6-10 weeks before
Parsley 3 weeks before frost 9-10 weeks before
Sage 1 week before frost 8 weeks before
Thyme 2 weeks before frost 8-10 weeks before

This is so much fun to do with kids and seniors so even if you don’t have a garden I hope to encourage you to start a container garden this year. My focus is primarily on growing herbs and lettuces all in containers. I get such joy walking out my kitchen door and picking fresh herbs to use in preparing meals. Fresh herbs offer the added nutritional benefits and a wonderfully fresh taste to the spring and summer menu.

See You in the Garden….Lisa

Posted in Health Article | Comments Off on Seed Starting Time

Pine Tree Tea

Throughout the holidays I enjoy diffusing Pine essential oil in my home, it’s reminiscent to my younger years when we had the fragrance of the fresh pine wreaths and trees.  I’m so excited the snow is melting and it’s time to get back on the hiking trails, stuffing my pockets with the fabulous fragrant pine needles.   Early American settlers use Pine Needle Tea to combat the chills and ailments of winter.  They also made use of other parts of the pine tree including needles, pitch, bark, twigs, nuts and the essential oils.

 

 

I’m use the White Pine Needle for my tea.  High in the antioxidant Vitamin C;  some say as much as 5 times the amount found in lemons or approximately 400 mg per cup.  High in fat soluble antioxidant Vitamin A.  Pine bark contains complex bioflavonoids known as proanthocyanidins. The nuts contain Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and are a good source of B-complex (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B-6 and folates).  The minerals in the nuts are manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, and calcium.

Pine has many properties including being: antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, insecticidal, analgesic, diuretic, aromatic, and anti-inflammatory.

Pine remedies include teas, tinctures, hydrosols, poultices, or essential oils and are used for the following conditions:

  • Immune Booster
  • Vision, Skin and Hair regeneration
  • Red blood cell production
  • Respiratory Issues: colds and congestion
  • Bronchitis with thick mucus and expectoration
  • Throat pain or infection
  • Chronic gout pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sprains and muscle strains
  • Skin conditions: acne, athlete’s foot, boils,
    eczema, psoriasis, scabies, sores, fleas
  • Heart conditions
  • Varicose veins
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Kidney ailments, Urinary tract infections
  • Strengthen nerves of eye
  • Relief of eye ailments
  • Gangrene
  • Smooth muscles lining blood vessels
  • Slows aging and cellular deterioration
  • Boost metabolic activity

 

TEA PREPARATION:  You can make this as a tea, infusion, or a decoction.  The tea is mild and because it’s not brewed as long may not contain all the constituents as a decoction.  Before you harvest the plant material be certain of plant identification, the White Pine (Pinus strobus) Hint….Needles are 3-5 inches long and are in groups of 5. (Scots Pine, Pinus sylvestris is another wonderful choice for Pine Needle Tea).

    • Pick a handful of fresh pine needles remove the brown ends and cut the green needles in small pieces.
    • Using a tablespoon or more in teapot or cup and pour boiling water over, place cover on top.
    • Allow too steep for approximately 10-12 minutes, the bold green needles will float on the water.  I let mine steep till the needles become dull and sink to the bottom. Then strain.
    • Adding a touch of honey adds more nutrient benefits and a sweet flavor.
    • Sip-away!

 

AVOID: There are 3 Pines considered poisonous or toxic and are unsafe to consume:  Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Norfolk Island Pine (Araucana heterophhylla), Yew (Taxus)

CAUTION: pregnant women should NOT use pine needle tea. May cause hypertension in children and elderly.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  It is not meant to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Seek medical attention, evaluation, and advice when appropriate.  This information is provide for information and educational purposes.    Empower yourself and take charge of your health through education.

RESOURCES:
Essential Oil Desk Reference. Pine Essential Oil p.2.76. Life Science Publishing; 5th edition (2012).  ISBN-10: 0615440194.
Pubmed.gov National Library of Medicine. Accessed March 26, 2014 Search provided over 30 publications on Pine Tea and more than 80 for Pine essential oil. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=pine+tea
National Center for Biotechnology Information.  Accessed March 26, 2014 Search provided articles and scientific papers. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gquery/?term=pine
Greenchedy. Accessed March 26, 2014 http://www.greenchedy.com/herbal-teas/health-benefits-pine-needle-tea/

Posted in Essential Oil Article, Health Article, Herb Article, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Pine Tree Tea

Using Himalayan Salt Lamps, Blocks & Inhalers…Part 3 of 3

Recently a local Salt room opened up not far from me.  Several people have called to ask about my experiences with “Salt”.  I’ve used using Himalayan salt lamps, blocks & inhalers for years; the wonderful pink Himalayan salt to cook, as a mineral nutrition supplement, to help open up my respiratory system, and to clean the air in my home.  I will refer you to the previous post in this series for the benefits of cooking and mineral nutrients The Benefits of Himalayan Salt vs Common Table Salt by Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM and Sole Water: minerals for health.

      • Salt mines are very dry and have a negative ion environment. This negative ion environment is formed over a period of 250 million years under intense tectonic pressure and nature (rainstorms, waterfalls, lightning, sunlight, ocean waves, and wind).  Negative ions helps neutralize and balance the positive ions.

salt lamp

      • Salt lamps attract humidity causing the crystals to become moist, creating a buildup of ions and removing moisture from the air.  The lamp binds excessive positive ions with the negative ions which helps to neutralize the “electro-smog” in the air and reduces allergens and irritants in the air we breathe.  Computers, TV, game consoles etc. lead to an excess of positively charge ions which can cause increased anxiety, nervousness, lack of concentration, and affect our sleep. I  keep a large lamp in my office and one in my living room where we keep a TV.  Available on Amazon, home and health food stores. Indus Classic Set of 2 Himalayan Salt Lamp, 4-6 lbs. each

 

      • Use a Himalayan salt block on sore muscles to draw out the pain and inflammation.  By placing the salt block on my neck I get relief from salt blockheadaches.  I have also used salt blocks on sore muscles.
      • Or Cook on it…from apples to flank steak or salmon.  Salt blocks have been used by many cultures to prepare and serve food.  The minerals in the salt block are absorbed into the food offering added nutrition while seasoning the food.

 

      •  As a foot bath, pamper weary feet by adding 1/2 cup of Himalayan salt to a basin of warm water. Relax and soak feet for 20 minutes. If you like, rub away any calluses using a pumice stone. Dry feet, then add two drops of peppermint essential oil to your favorite natural moisturizer, like shea or coconut butter, and rub in thoroughly to lock in the moisture. If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, check with your doctor before using salts or essential oils.

 

      • Himalayan Salt Pipe Inhaler by Squip or SpiritualQuest.  The device is based on salt cave therapy also known as Speleo/Halo Therapy, designed to replicate the healing of salt caves. When the air that passes through the salsalt inhaler by squibt pipe it comes into contact with the super fine salt crystals, they are absorbed quickly into the respiratory system, giving the person almost immediate relief from most breathing disorders.  I use and am happy with the Squip brand. Available on Amazon and health food stores. Squip-Himalayan Salt Air Inhaler, 7.75 Ounce

 

      • Exfoliate dead skin – In the shower or bath, mix a handful of fine Himalayan salt with a tablespoon of bath or olive oil and rub all over your wet skin to exfoliate and soften. Rinse thoroughly.

 

Resources:

Global Healing Center. Accessed March 12, 2014. The Benefits of Himalayan Salt Author: Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM (May 2009 last revised Sept 2010) http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/
Saltnews.com, Accessed April 2011 Benefits of Himalayan Salt, Published on May 15, 2009 , Last Updated on April 2, 2011.  http://www.saltnews.com/heating-using-cleaning-storing-your-himalayan-salt-block/
Mercola.com, Accessed Aug 5, 2013 Discover this Soothing, Decorative Way to Help Reduce Indoor Air Pllutants and “Electro-Smog” in Areas of Your Home. http://products.mercola.com/himalayan-salt/himalayan-salt-lamps.htm
Our Earth Our Cure by Raymond Dextreit. Publisher: Citadel Pr (October 1993)
Sea salt’s Hidden Powers by Dr. Jacques de Langre, Ph.D12th Edition 1992
Curezone.com, Accessed March 10, 2014. Salts that Heal and Salts that Kill www.curezone.com/foods/saltcure.asp
The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs, Publisher: www.snowballpublishing.com (June 19, 2013)
Water & Salt, The Essence of Life by Dr. Barbara Hendel, MD and Biophysicist, Peter Ferreira  Publisher: Natural Resources (January 1, 2003)

Posted in Health Article, Nutrition Article, Products | Comments Off on Using Himalayan Salt Lamps, Blocks & Inhalers…Part 3 of 3