Gardening in the Blind


Growing Up – Cat grass
January 29, 2010, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Indoor Gardening, Seedlings, Uncategorized

Cat Grass

To continue with my little seedlings, I really need to showcase my cat grass.  This is exciting to show as it is the fastest growing seeds I have seen yet.  I could not forget the cat visits I have downstairs and I thought I would find something that would allow them to be happy and ready to leave the rest of the stuff alone!

This photo was taken one week from planting them.  It is overdue for a grazing from the cats.  Hopefully tonight!

Interesting, when you purchase cat grass seeds you are usually getting oat or wheat grass the same we eat in our cereal.



Growing up – Cayenne Peppers
January 28, 2010, 4:45 am
Filed under: Indoor Gardening, Seedlings

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Peppers take a bit to germinate.  Or at least mine does.  I planted on January 10th.  This picture taken January 24th.  The still have a long ways to grow!

Besides the word pepper did you know that the common bell pepper and the cayenne pepper have much in common?  They are from the same family of plants.

Cayenne peppers are considered hot with a Scoville Unit of 30,000-50,000.  It is most commonly grown to be used as a powder although I love to use it as a whole dried pepper in my cooking.  You just need to learn the limits when cooking with it as it can quickly over power your other flavors.



Growing up – Arugula
January 26, 2010, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Indoor Gardening, Seedlings
Arugula Seedlings now

Arugula Seedlings now

 

My seedlings are growing fast.  Well most of them anyway.  On January16th I blogged about my seedlings I planted on January 10th.  Well, I thought I would give you an update.  My arugula is growing fast!  I now have more then I could ever imagine growing downstairs.  I can’t wait for them to grow another month so I can eat them!  I diffidently see transplanting in my near future! 

Did you know what arugula, radish and watercress have in common?  I do, they are all related.  If you eat the leaves of any of them, you will find a similar hot pepper taste.  It is also a great source of vitamins A, C, calcium and magnesium.  But just remember, the older the leaf, the stronger the taste!



Can we help the Honey bee?
January 21, 2010, 5:18 am
Filed under: bees

happy bee

Imagine, you get dressed to go check on your beehive.  All prepared for the loud buzzing noise when you grab the smoker and reach the hive, but something is wrong, it is silent.  Opening the hive all adult bees are gone except the queen.  They had vanished.  There were no sign of dead bees, no sign of any active bees.  The only thing left is their newly hatched brood abandoned.  This is CCD.  In years to come scientist will continue to study this disorder to find an answer.  They are concentrating on three potential culprits: pathogens, environmental chemicals and nutritional Stressors. 

On any given day, the bees come into contact with a varied of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.  Although it is not believed to be the main cause, it is largely believed to contribute to the problem.  A pesticide called neoicotinoids, which are known to be toxic to honey bees.  This pesticide is still available for everyday use.  Research is expanding into other common ingredients as well.  I suspect this is something we will be hearing a lot of over the coming years.  

Moving on to 18 pathogens have been found that are specific to CCD.  Scientists are working to try to see if it may be one of these specific pathogens that are causing or playing a major role within CCD.  It amazes me that software for assisting scientists have developed into such needed tools.  Penn State Agriculture among others are leading the studies. 

Global warming and changing in habitat have left the honey bees not eating as well as they once did.  The suburban landscape focusing on te removal of weeds as well as fence rows and other areas that once offered divers and continual pollen sources have almost eliminated natural food for bees.  This results in the beekeeper having to produce and feed artificial feed for the bees.  People need to be reminded that a beautiful green lawn is like the desert to a honey bee.  Not much to offer.  This is also effecting many other pollinators as well.  We have seen a decline in population of butterflies, bumblebees, moths among others.  

So given all of this, I am going to stay true to my beliefs.  I am planting a “bee garden” in front of my house to give the bees pollen, I am planting lots of plants/herbs/flowers that bees could enjoy.  I am staying true to my approach to gardening by not using chemicals and I am also helping my neighbors do the same.  And lastly I am hoping that scientists will stay investigating and not give up until a cause and solution have been found. 

  
 

 



Comet Replacer
January 18, 2010, 5:44 am
Filed under: cleaning, Cooking/Canning/Drying, Green, Herbs

The perfect scrubber

I am trying to replace all store purchased cleaners with my own.  It is a very slow process.  This has found me frustrated and exhilarated all at the same time.  So, after many renditions of scrubber, I have finally found one that I like, and it is easy!  Having all the herbs that I do, I have decided that I need to make sure that they work for me.  Given this, I have chosen to put Rosemary, Thyme and Sage into my scrub.  This is what I have done: 

Placing equal parts dried rosemary and sage leaves, and 1/2 part thyme in my mortar, I grind until fully ground.  Next I add 1-1/2 parts baking soda and mix well.  I top with some unground rosemary for more scrubbing abilities.  My choice of rosemary, sage and thyme is an easy choice.  Rosemary is a natural antibacterial herb.  Sage is antibacterial and antifungal.  Which leaves thyme.  Thyme is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.  So, I have triple antibacterial, double antifungal and a dash of antiviral.  All important elements when dealing with dishes.  I place in a jam jar with a cover and use when needed.  Perfection at its best!



Planting time!
January 16, 2010, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Herbs, Indoor Gardening, Seedlings, Uncategorized

Arugula seedlings

I am viewing this as my great experiment into expanded gardening.  I can’t take it any longer.  I must have some fresh, home-grown produce.  So, I took matters into my own hands on the evening of January 10th.  I planted some Cayenne Peppers, Thai and Genovese Basil and arugula.  Nothing that can’t produce being inside.  I am justifying this by telling myself that since I am growing in a different place in the house this year (the basement) I need to experiment before I plant all that I am going to grow for next year.  It sounds good and I am learning a bit by doing this.

I went downstairs to see how things were doing.  The arugula had grown, the basil had surface germination which means little seedlings will pop up within the next couple of days, but nothing on the peppers.  It was then that I realized, it was a little cool downstairs.  I decided to help them out by starting my heating pad for the little seedlings.  Hopefully next weekend I will be able to report that they are growing steadily.  After looking them the two trays so lonely on the shelf that I needed to do something about it.  I planted a little more to place on the heating pad.  Catnip and Cat grass to keep my cats happy went in pots on one tray.  The last tray (my heating pad fits 4) has one more pot full of arugula and one pot full of cilantro for when I get insects downstairs that might decide to munch.  As I am sure you have concluded by now, I am craving Arugula.  Fresh, hot, peppery arugula.  Not the store-bought that doesn’t have any taste at all…

The Cayenne peppers are for fun.  I think it will be cool to see them develop and be able to cook with the fresh peppers.  It hopefully will work.