Gardener’s Giveaway: Aquarian Bath

We are super excited to announce another spring giveaway, perfect for all our gardening friends and followers!!!

Aquarian Bath is another backyard Florida gardener, and an excellent soap maker, who has graciously offered to give away some amazing handmade items on our blog!!!

One lucky winner will receive these beautiful items:

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Aquarian Bath‘s gardener’s soap is made with fine pumice, ground rosemary and poppy seeds. Use it after gardening to gently remove dirt. This soap is scented with an herbaceous blend of Lemongrass, Rosemary and Lavender.  This soap just received a new look; each bar is hand stamped with Aquarian Bath’s 3D printed ‘gardener’s soap’ stamp.

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This flaxseed neck pillow would make a great gift for a gardener with its whimsical garden themed print. Aquarian Bath makes these pillows unscented or scented with 100% Organic herbs. Pillows can be used hot out of a microwave or cold out of the freezer, which is a really great option for a Florida gardener. Aquarian Bath pillows make great cold packs for injury as well.  These herbal pillows are packaged in Biodegradable Cellophane bags with microwave instructions.

Excited?! You should be, I have personally used Aquarian Bath products and they are amazing!!!

Just click on the link below to ENTER TO WIN!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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One of Aquarian Bath’s beautiful garden beds!

Shop Aquarian Bath or visit her booth at the 18th Annual Seaside Herb Society Faire in Ormond Beach March 22nd.

This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and over. Good Luck!!!

Black Elderberry Magic

As we gear up for the winter holiday season, we should also be preparing for the cold and flu season.  I’m not writing to you about any Black Friday deals this week, I’m talking about Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), one of the most underestimated berries out there!!!

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Black elderberry has been used in medicine for hundreds of years, and many published studies are demonstrating it may effectively treat the flu, alleviate allergies, and boost overall respiratory healthy (among other things). A quick Google search and you will find lots of information!  Two years ago we decided to grow our own elderberry (Sambucus nigra subspecies Canadensis). The flowers smell lovely and we use them in our summertime teas!

Here are some ways you can incorporate this amazing herb into your diet! Since I started my elderberry hunt, I have come across the following:

Fresh elderberries (summer time)

Elderberry juice

Elderberry teas

Elderberry liquid extract

Elderberry gummy vitamins

Black Elderberry extract spray

Elderberry syrup

Elderberry jam

I have also found elderberry wine, although I have not tried it yet. 😉   Elderberry is being incorporated into more and more products each year. Check with your local specialty food or whole foods store to find all of the products listed above.  Or grow your own! It is very easy to grow in Florida, although it can get up to 13 ft in height so make sure you have the space.  Here is an article on growing Elderberry in Florida.

I would like to note here, I am not advocating any company or product, just the berry itself.  Personally we use an alcohol-free extract spray and my little gardeners really like Dino Elderberry Yummy Gummy vitamins. Our western culture needs to re-discover this native plant! It has so many uses, and is a wonderful attraction for birds, butterflies, and pollinators in any garden!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!

~Bee

Yard Beans & Sunshine

This month has been great for gardening! Our favorite part… we’ve been eating yard beans outside in the sunshine.

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Yard long beans, also called asparagus beans or chinese snake beans, are a vigorous climbing annual that begins to produce long pods, ranging from 14 to 30 inches, 60 days after sowing.  These delicious beans are full of vitamin A, vitamin C and folates!  My little gardeners enjoyed them last year at a community garden and asked me to get some seeds for our garden this season.
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If the animals will leave them alone we might also have strawberries soon.
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The peppers are coming along nicely this season.

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The beach sunflowers, or dune sunflowers, are adding a nice color to our beds.

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For the first time I am attempting to save some parsley seeds.

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The basil has been delicious this month!

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I am excited to see the first of our purslane blooms. I have missed them. may8

This is my avocado tree. We started it from a seed in 2011 (see it potted here)!may9

In the garden, we are also starting sweet potatoes and sunflowers for the summer months ahead.  We hope you all have found time to play in the dirt as well!!

Thanks for stopping by, Bee

Spring Break 2012

All my Amaryllis lilies are blooming in the garden right now. Every year, during the week of my daughter’s birthday they show us their beautiful red color. 

  

Other blooms in the garden:

  

I am happy to report, our salvaged pineapple is doing great!  What I mean by salvaged is, the unwanted pineapple tops from the dissolving Daytona Beach community garden, that have been recovering in my backyard. 🙂

Lots of sweet pea and radish sprouts are popping up all through the garden!

 New tomato sprouts as well:

Our avocado tree is recovering nicely from a fungus.

We saw this idea on Pinterest, and decided to start our own teepee from the summer. Our’s will be made out of sweet potatoes vines instead of green beans.

Caterpillars and grasshoppers have been easy to find in our backyard. Here one of them seems to have eaten my entire spearmint plant…

Funny, it didn’t eat the pineapple mint plant right next to it though!

We have lots of gardening plans in April. Seems we may have spent more of March on the boat than in the garden.  The weather has been so nice (and no bugs)!

 

Garden is Green


My garden is green again!  Spring is here, a little early, but it is here!

Our celery is doing lovely! As my five year old says, “Mom it is starting to look like the celery in the grocery store!”  This is my first attempt at growing celery and so far as good. Maybe another month and we will be able to harvest.


Sweet peas have sprouted in the garden. The little gardeners really enjoyed picking and shelling them last year!


Our fennel is doing great! It was brought over from the closing community garden.


Lots of green tomatoes!


Our pentas were never killed from the winter cold, so they seem to be full of extra blooms and much larger than normal this year!

 
Our lantana was killed from the cold, and is now making a coming back. Soon the bird bath will be hard to see, as we already have new lantana blooms starting.


My favorite green in the garden is our mint. I know I’ve said this before, but I love mint, and I have missed it!  

Here’s one of my favorite refreshing drinks after working in the garden:

  • 3 green tea bags
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 large lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 2 cups cold water

Brew tea in boiling water, letting steep for about 10 mins. Pour brewed tea into a serving pitcher. Add sugar and lemon, and swirl in the mint, holding it by the stems and using it to stir and dissolve the sugar. When sugar is dissolved, drop mint into pitcher and add 2 cups cold water. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. You can strain mint out before serving, but I like to leave it in. I think I originally got this from foodnetwork.com, but it was so long ago and it is only hand written in my cookbook now. 🙂

Happy Spring Gardening!

Garden Inventory

Our weather has been in the 80s here on the East Coast of Florida, making it a little unpredictable as to when to start Spring gardening this year.  Since we are heading to the beaches and wearing tank tops, I went ahead and planted our spring seeds.  If the weather turns cold in March then I will just have to cover the crops and hope for the best.

Today, I thought it would be fun to make a list of our gardening inventory. I saw another blogger do this once, and I really enjoyed reading it, so I wanted to share!  

Our Backyard Edibles:

  • John Baer Tomatoes, a few have already arrived.
  • Carrots, long imperator
  • Onions, evergreen long white bunching

  • Green Ice lettuce, a few heads are still left from winter gardening.
  • Celery, Apio 
  • Chives
  • Sugar cane
  • Lemon grass
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley, Italian
  • Oregano, Greek
  • Comfrey
  • Vicky plant

  • Mint: spearmint, orange & pineapple. The mints are currently making their spring comeback. I have missed them.
  • Pineapples
  • Banana trees
  • Aloe Vera
  • Lavender
  • Basil

  • Seeds we are waiting to sprout: red & plum radishes, sweet peas, carrots

I could go on & on with a list of our trees, flowering plants, and native landscaping, but the sun is shining and it’s Friday so I’m going to go outside and play with my little gardeners. 😉

Have a great weekend!

October in the Garden

  

Since we last posted we have lots to report!  I’m so happy Fall gardening has finally started. I was so over the heat and bugs of the summer!  We added a tiny garden box for my littlest gardener. She is very excited for her own personal gardening space. 😉  We also had a school project that involved the classroom mascot doing a little gardening with us.

We have pulled up the sweet potatoes after having a second caterpillar attack. The vines had taken up more space that I wanted them to, so next year I will plant them in a different area. I was able to harvest a half-dozen sweet potatoes for dinner.

We had to start seeds twice this season, partly because I think I started them too early. The second round is going well! Here are pics of our Bibb lettuce, purple dragon carrots, and collard sprouts. Sprouts not shown: celery, green leaf lettuce, and orange carrots.

   

Our mystery plant turned out to be a pumpkin. Still not sure how it came to be, or what type of pumpkin it was!?!  The pumpkins were quickly attacked and eaten during our second caterpillar attack.  So I pulled up it, plus it was not planted in an area where it would have had enough room to grow. 

  

We do have Seminole pumpkins in our backyard, see below. They have recovered well from the caterpillar attacks and we are hoping for Thanksgiving pumpkins!

 

We do have TWO more mystery plants. I let the little gardeners plant wherever they pleased this season, but I didn’t take the time to label them.  The one below on the right is a seedling from some guerilla gardening seed balls, made by Wall Flower Studio.  I have a seed list of what it could be, but I still don’t have a clue at this stage. Current Guess: some kind of herb. My oldest gardener thinks she planted milkweed in the red pot below.  I do not.  Current Guess: ? It isn’t strawberries.

 

Some Gardening Troubles:

Our avocado plant is having problems.  I’m looking into brown spots and wilt. I’m thinking I should get it in a bigger pot or in the ground soon.

I have also lost some thyme that I purchased at the farmers market, and some potted parsley that got too dry! Here is a little ICU section of my garden. These are plants that I need to keep an extra eye on. 😉

Lastly, I am happy to report some garlic that has sprouted, almost forgotten from last season. It will be an additional bonus in this season’s harvest! Yum! 🙂

Happy Gardening!