Category Archives: Garden

Eat Your Seedlings!

Is that a vicious title or what?  Actually, I’ve decided eating seedlings is the kindest thing to do.

The hardest part of gardening, in my opinion, has to be thinning seedlings.  You spend a week or more, wishing, hoping and praying that your seeds germinate and grow.  Then they do!  Then you have to wipe out a sizable portion of them because there are always too many or none at all, nothing in between. They need to be spaced properly or they won’t grow but MY GOD, I don’t want to decide which ones have to go.  I want to nurture them but in order to do that I have to ruthlessly pick which ones get to live.  Yeesh!

The other thing that bothered me is that it seemed so wasteful to just toss them.  So, I decided to eat them!  Now, I prefer to think of them as sprouts, instead of my victims and they are delicious!

So, how is your garden growing this year?

Many blessings,

Cynthia

Planting Seeds of Hope and Happiness

I was at Home Depot last week trying bring a project that was banging around my head to fruition when I spied the organic seed section…  Uh-oh.  It’s amazing how quickly seed packets can stack up in your cart.

Now, I have tried to grow plants from seed several times before. I haven’t tried indoor seeds in many years.  I tend to be more successful when I direct sow outdoors in the Spring but that means I never get to grow certain plants like tomatoes from seed.  So, with a heart full of optimism, here we go again…

Baby Tomato Plants

Baby Basil

Do you grow your own plants from seed?  I would love to hear from you.

Many Blessings,

Cynthia

Naturally Beneficial: Behold The Mighty Dandelion!

Today, winter turns into spring but it’s snowing… So, it seems like a good time for you and me to discuss dandelions. That’s right, dandelions. Before you decide to kill them again this year, I implore you, let them live. Let them live!

I don’t know who convinced the American public- at-large that we all need lawns that look like pristine, lush, green carpets – probably some brilliant but evil marketing genius at a chemical company – but that person should have been sho- ahem, given a stern talking-to!

Anyway, however it happened, it’s a damn shame because the dandelion, and other so-called weeds with wonderful health-benefitting properties, went from friend to foe in the space of a generation, when all they ever wanted to do was heal us and the rest of the planet. That’s right! Those lovely, little yellow flowers are really nature’s medicine. Dandelions are meant to nourish us and many other species.

The bees, for example, rely on dandelions for food in the spring before many other flowers are blooming and again in the autumn, after less hearty blossoms have long been spent. Much has been made recently about the declining bee populations and the dire consequences that stem from their loss. You can help the little buggers out by leaving the dandelions alone! I mentioned in an earlier post that you may have noticed your dog or cat eating dandelions. They do this because instinctively they know that dandelions will clean them out and improve their health. Dandelions are a mild diuretic and they are high in vitamins and minerals. *

Guess what? Dandelions will help get you healthy and clean you out too! I can hear you now. “Oh Cynthia! You’re being weird again! There is no way I am picking dandelions from my yard and eating them!” Well, you don’t have to eat them straight from the yard. Bring them in the house and wash them first for Goodness’ Sake!

Early spring dandelion leaves are quite tender and delicious in a raw salad. I have also put them in smoothies. A lovely herbal tea can be made from fresh or dried dandelion leaves. Wildman Steve Brill has several interesting cooked dandelion root recipes on his website. You can even make the flowers into wine! (I gotta try that… one of these days!)

Have I convinced you not to poison or rip out and discard this misunderstood herb yet? Are you impressed by all the health-improving benefits offered by the mighty dandelion? If you still feel weird about picking these beautifully abundant plants, you can always go to Fairway and pay several dollars for a bunch instead of allowing them to grow in your own backyard!

What’s your take on dandelions? Friend or foe? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

*A somewhat decent but by no means complete list of dandelion’s beneficial properties:

  1. Food for animals and insects
  2. Diuretic
  3. Eases indigestion

Good source of:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Biotin
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous
  • Inositol
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D

Love and Blessings to All,

 

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

Ah Spring…I Can Dream About You… If I Can’t Behold You Tonight

One more article, newscast, blog post or Facebook comment complaining about snow or record cold and you’ll barf, right?  So, I will spare you.  (You’re welcome!)  Let us focus on what we do want, Spring!

Why do I want Spring?  Well, aside from the warmer weather, of course, FLOWERS!  I’m jonesing to get my hands in the dirt, man! So, in the meantime,  I dream and plan…a little, but mostly dream.  One choice I have made this year is to direct sow seeds for most of my flowers.  I am also using heirloom seeds.  (Ooooh, two decisions, …hmmm, maybe I am a planner?)

Direct sowing requires faith.  It’s so much easier to go to the nursery  and pluck the healthiest looking plants already in bloom.  So, why bother growing from seed?  You have  to wait weeks for anything to happen.  Then when the seedlings come up; It can be hard to tell at first if it is your flower or a weed.

Direct sowing does have a number of advantages.  Variety is a big one.  You can order way more varieties of a flower if you go for seeds , rather than live plants.  The company I ordered from had 22 different morning glories alone.  Wouldn’t it be cool to have flowers in your garden that are different than same ones you see at every other house on  the block?  Another plus is you know where, how and what your plants were grown in.  You can avoid gmos, pesticides and other chemicals if you wish. Direct sowing is also kinder to the earth because there are no plastic cel paks or pots.  One paper envelope of seeds has the potential to provide 50-250 plants. And this also means it’s A LOT cheaper!

Most importantly, you get to see your little seed turn into a beautiful flower.  It’s a very satisfying reminder in a world of instant gratification that life can be astonishingly beautiful when you put time, nurturing and love into it.

Here’s what I am planting this year.  I picked them all because they are known to do well when sown directly into the ground in Spring.  (No messing with starting seeds indoors for this gal!)

  1. Love-In-A-Mist
  2. Sweet Pea Flora Norton
  3. Sweet Peas Old Spice
  4. Sweet Pea Painted Lady
  5. Morning Glory Sunrise Serenade
  6. Morning Glory Rose Feather
  7. Morning Glory Heavenly Blue
  8. Moon Flower
  9. Zinnia Royal Purple
  10. Bonbon Zinnia
  11. Zinnia Miss Willmont
  12. Pansy Orange Sun
  13. Pansy Swiss Giants
  14. Pansy Historic Florist Mix
  15. Nasturtium Dwarf Jewel Mix
  16. English Daisy Rose Ball
  17. Marigold Petite Mix
  18. Marigold Brigade Mix
  19. Poppy Purple Peony
  20. Poppy Ballerina Double Mix
  21. Cosmos Sensation Mix
  22. Calendula Orange King
  23. Bachelor’s Button Frosted Queen Mix
  24. Bachelor’s Button Blue Boy
  25. Zinnia Button Box
  26. And Several different Hollyhocks (I ordered them separately.  They haven’t arrived yet.)

Have you ever direct sown seeds?  I would love to hear from you.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

 

 

Gardening: Say Hello to my Leafy Friends

I am never quite sure where I come down on past lives but I think one of mine must have been as a hedge witch.  I love, love, love gardening and I am crazy about herbs.  I can spend hours outside amongst the plants.

Gardening may not be the sexiest or most glamorous pastime for most folks but I find myself more and more drawn to it every year.  I always liked it but I was more inclined to keep this passion to myself when I was younger.  When I was in my early 20s, life was about work then getting ready to go out and going out to clubs and bars; then starting it all over again.  Part of me always yearned to be closer to nature.  As much as I like music, I am much more comfortable at the beach, in a forest or a garden than in a club or bar.  I think the right phrase actually is “at home.”

I have no wish to unravel all the mystery of why I feel this way.  I think there is something very mystical about nature and how humans interact with it. It is something that needs to be felt more than studied.  I will say this though; walking in nature or gardening always makes me feel better.  Kasey Koe, from Healthy To the Core With Kasey Coe, shared a great post on Facebook the other day: “Gardening is cheaper than therapy… and you get tomatoes.”

It’s so true!  Any of you wonderful readers who have been with me from the beginning of my blog, know that the last 11 weeks have been challenging for me since I fell.  Recently, on top of dealing with the injuries from the fall, I broke out in hives from head to toe for 5 days in a row.  Then two days after that finally subsided, I got a stomach virus… bringing my weight, that was already down after my jaw was wired shut, to 110 pounds.  At 5’ 6”, that’s getting into weak and sickly-looking territory.  Also, my treatment hit an annoying snag which made me temporarily lose sight of the light at the end of tunnel.

The first thing I wanted to do after the nausea passed was pot up my new herbs, tomato and strawberry plants.  Like I said, I can’t explain it but something magical happens when I put my trowel into that beautiful soil and begin creating a new home for one of my plants in a real clay pot.  I feel bonded to the little guys, as I gently pull them from their temporary plastic containers (so bad for the environment, the plants and humans,) loosen their little roots a bit and then place them in their permanent pot.  I can’t really speak for anyone but myself but I believe the further we get from nature, often the worse we feel.  Gardening is a wonderful touch point to instantly reconnect with Mama Earth. … And as mentioned in Kasey Coe’s post, you get tomatoes … and herbs… and strawberries… and (fill in what you like to have) too!

Say "hello" to my leafy friends!

Say “hello” to my leafy friends!

What nurtures you?  How do you like to reconnect with Nature?  Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section or drop me a line.  I would love to hear from you.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  My handle is @cynthialenz.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/naturallyhealthyhappy