Category Archives: Herbs

Be a Real Cheapskate- GROW your Fertilizer Part 1

Russian Comfrey ( Symphytum uplandicum) and wild comfrey ( symphtum officinale) are partners to consider adding to your garden because when established ,after  year 1 , it provides plenty of “free” fertilizer for your plants and an energizer for your growing compost piles(bins).

Wild comfrey tends to spread so plan ahead and put it in a spot that allows for  that or control the expansion by planting in buried pots, buckets or old storage bins (make sure they have drainage) control / limit  the spread.
Comfrey has the added benefit of being a useful medicinal herb (See link below).

It is  a relatively tall plant that  likes to reach out and spread its “wings”, so set it in places where it can do so and not cast too much shade or crowd out neighbors, especially permanent plantings like trees, berries and bushes.

The average home garden will benefit from 4-6 plants . It is be propagated from cutting or established plants can be divided .  It is an attractive plant with attractive blue-purple flowers and a fuzzy green leaf.

            How to Use Comfrey in your garden:
A. Liquid Fertilizer: 1] fill bucket with leaves(not necessary to pack tight) and top completely with water and cover the bucket with lid or board and set in sun for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the liquid should be dark brown-black. IT WILL STINK, BUT THT IS OK!!
2] Combine dark liquid with clear water and ratio of 1-2 cup liquid/1 gallon water
3] add spread around plants every other week during regular watering or before a rain.
B. Transplant Kickstart: Put 3-6 leaves in bottom of pot or garden hole when transplanting fruiting plants.
C. Power Mulch : Place a layer of leaves around plants, can be covered with cut grass or leaf mold
D. Compost Activator: add and mix into compost heap/bins. include flowers and stalks


Be Cheap – Feeding, Weeding and Wrangling Insect Visitors

Now this blog is about gardening  without a crazy amount of investment in supplies, tools and equipment. This post and a few that follow will focus on inexpensive fertilizers, insect controls and weed preventers.

Many of the mixes and suggestions use inexpensive household items and provide help in the garden for 50% -20% of the standard store bought mixes and products.

The homemade mixes will include[but not be limited to] :

Other plants, vinegar, ammonia, epsom salts, insects, birds, bats, other plants,  cut grass , fallen leaves, beer, pantyhose , newspaper, grits, mouthwash, kitchen soap   and some others.

Tabbouleh-Tabouli-TAB ?? Delicious and healthy -No matter how you spell it

I love the taste of Tabbouleh / Tabouli / ??? and have tried it many ways and with varied recipes but wanted to crank up the nutritional impact by replacing the grain with less empty calories. A delicious legume would do that perfectly.

Lentils are a delicious bean that fits the basic size/bite for tabbouleh and is a nutritional powerhouse especially when sprouted. After sprouting the lentils will provide 6-10 g protein, 20+% daily Vitamin C and 12-15% iron. The beans will also provide good fat and other nutritional basics.

Lentils are of similar size and bite to most bulgur and couscous and much tastier.

Adding the parsley, onion, garlic, tomato, mint , lemon juice and sea salt will make this tabbouleh a truly health food.

Ingredients :
2 cups sprouted red lentils
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped(1 loose cup chopped)
2 medium red onions- diced(or 6 green onions or mix)
4 tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 to ¾ cup chopped mint
sea salt- to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil (optional)
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4-6 cloves garlic- chopped fine

1. SPROUTING LENTILS- soak 1-2 cups red lentils in clean water for 8-12 hours. Drain and let sprouts grow for 2-3 days(rinsing 2x day) When ¼ tails are out- put sprouts in the fridge until ready to use.
2. Combine Onions. Garlic, tomatoes, parsley, mint, cinnamon, Salt / pepper and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss and let sit for 10 minutes
3. Add lentils and toss and place in Fridge for 30 minutes or more until eating to allow flavors to blend.

A] Serve as a salad or side dish
B] Scoop into lettuce, cabbage or other “green” wrap to make a fun handheld food
C] Scoop up with a toasted pita or other chip

Baked Beans- Great Fuel

I bought some molasses the other day for something I was doing but bought a bigger bottle and always love to make slow cooked baked beans.  I don’t have a proper baked bean pot- I keep looking at thrift store- but i have a covered casserole

I used onions, cabbage 2 kinds of beans ( canned for speed) plus some seasonings.

Preheat oven to 325.

1 can  each BLACK BEANS and KIDNEY BEANS   (drained)       


-4 TBS Blackstrap Molasses 

-fresh black pepper

-garlic(minced) and garlic powder

-chili pepper flakes

2 yellow onions ,sliced in half rings

1/2 small green cabbage shredded small 

Image1.Mix the beans with molasses and seasoning ( maybe a little of the liquid drained).

2. Place a layer of onion “rings” and cabbage on bottom of dish

3. Add half of the bean mixture

4. Place another layer of onions and cabbage.

5. Add the rest of the bean mixture and top with some shredded cabbage

6. Put lid on casserole

7. place in oven for 3 hours

Serve with salad and whole grain bread or rolls. I also ate the leftoers on top of cook whole grain farro / brown rice.


2nd layer of onionImage


casserole ready for the oven-2 layers beans/onions/cabbage



Herbal Tea- Right in Your Garden

Herbal Tea- Right in Your Garden

I love growing food and flowers. The fun of watching the seeds break the soil and and reach for the sun.

I also enjoy starting the seeds and plants and having some “babies” to take to and plant in the garden. The other joy I have is the early season Farmers market and buying some 4-6 packs of seedlings for the garden.  

With all this planting and growing I often end up with too many plants- Now CAN YOU EVER HAVE TOO MANY?

But this is really helpful when planting-growing herbs- These tend be quite attractive plants and many have useful insect resistant and fighting properties, and thus useful when mixed in with veggies and fruit crops.

All of these extra herbs can be used for a variety of teas (after culinary uses have been exhausted).

My favorites have been the Mints- they grow easily and energetically and much more than I use in kitchen.


  – herb gardening Basics 

  – More How-to




How to Consume More of the Great Foods

How to Consume More of the Great Foods

There is a daily posting or publication of new diets and superfoods in the press and in the blogosphere.

There are many great things to eat some are super – OR At least HAVE BETTER press AGENTS- But if you shop only at farmers markets and the produce section of the stores you will find a lot of Superfoods. Dark greens, green herbs, starchy power foods ( potatoes, sweets, beans) and juicy fruits.  They can be  prepared in many ways cooked or stewed- raw or salad and put into juice or smoothie.

These can also be grown in the yard, garden, balcony or even in the house. This gives the added benefit of freshness as well as the wonder and pleasure of the work and effort to grow them.

Not going to get into too much detail or recipes now- that will be later.

   – similar to before- but a varied selection of Greats… 

 – More great foods but these with a different reason 



Herbs for Fun and beauty in the Garden- Health and taste at Home

Herbs for Fun and beauty in the Garden- Health and taste at Home

Love this blog post I found about storing enough parsley for the year. 

There is nothing like it fresh and green right out of the ground but fresh dried or fresh frozen is still better than anything in a jar.

Now starting several herbs for a kitchen window-winter garden.  Which pots are best? break down and support root and plant growth. 

I love growing and using mint. For food, smoothies, tea and ice cream.

More on herbs- general info-