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Friday, October 14, 2022

Calendula Harvesting - What to do with it ?



Calendula is a gorgeous little flower.   It is great as a companion plant in the vegetable garden as it helps with pests.  I planted some in the garden in a few spots.  One planting has become completely overgrown with weeds yet they still continue to flower.  I am getting a small handful of blooms every day. 


When I harvest I break the blooms off at the base of the flower and set them aside until I have enough for a tray in the dehydrator.



I place a silicon mat underneath as the petals tend to fall through my racks.   I usually have 3 or 4 different things in the dehydrator at one time to conserve energy.   After just a couple of hours they are nice and dry.



And ready to be processed.



I simply pop them all in a jar with a lid



Then I added 250ml of Avocado Oil (You can use almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil or any other type of carrier oil)


I then pop the lid on and will leave it for 6 or so weeks.  This will allow all of the wonderful properties and essential oils to blend with the carrier oil.  I am still harvesting flowers So I will continue to add them once they are dried.

I am planning to make a salve !  Have you used Calendula Salve ?

Calendula officinalis is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and astringent. All of these things combined make it an herbal heal-all. It is most commonly used on minor cuts, scrapes, and burns as well as rashes and bug bites. Calendula is very gentle on the skin and may help to ease dryness, cracks, and itching. It is often used in herbal salves, creams, lotions, and soaps for this reason.

I am looking forward to giving it a try.  I will share my efforts with you once it’s done. 



Part of Harvesting and Preserving for future use is ensuring that you have enough plants to harvest from.  The best and cheapest way to have lots of plants is to grow from seeds.

It has become a little bit of an addiction.  

It is a really relaxing end enjoyable past time.  Not too hard on the body and something I can even do in the kitchen. 



I spent some time this week doing some direct sewing into the garden.  I planted Carrots, Blue Lake Beans, Yellow Butter Beans, Corn, Sweet Peas, Sunflowers and JalapeƱo’s.



It amazes me just how easy it really is to grow plants from seed. One cucumber seed costs around 10c .  This little baby is an apple cucumber.  I planted just one seed in a little punnet with some seed raising mix and watched it come to life.  It is now planted in the garden.  I wonder how much I will harvest from my 10c seed ?

In the next blog post I will share with you some photographs from the little hot house that has seeds and seedlings at lots of different stages.  It’s only a few weeks before planting can begin in earnest around here once the last frost date passes.  Then things will be a little frantic for a few weeks.

Until then.

Hugs,

Fee x 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Lavender Harvesting

 


I have a very old lavender bush in my garden.  I am ashamed to say that it survives with not much care at all from me.  It desperately needs a good prune.  But it still provides the goods every single year.  


The bees visit it for many weeks and it brings me much joy to see them enjoying the blooms.  During that time I carefully cut some to preserve whilst ensuring that there are plenty left for the bees to enjoy.


Isn’t it just the prettiest shade of purple ?  


I leave it sitting on the kitchen bench for a little while so I can enjoy it’s beauty but then I hang it to dry to enjoy in many ways including fragrant sachets, room spray and even for decorating gifts.  When This latest batch becomes dry I will show you how I prepare it for later use.


To dry the blooms I simply tie it up in small bunches with jute string and then hang upside down in the dark garden shed.  It’s important not to expose it to too much light as the blooms will fade and the essential oils won’t be as concentrated.


This year I have left some of the old blooms on to dry out so that I can try to gather some seeds.  I figure that this mother plant is so hardy and can tolerate neglect that I may be able to replicate it.  I have taken cuttings in the past but they were a huge fail.  So fingers crossed the seeds give me some more plants.



Obviously sewing seeds work as this little volunteer appeared this year self sown from the mother plant.  It is growing between the path and the garden edge so it may not survive if I try to move it but it worked so hard to grow that I am just going to leave it where it is. 


My little wander around the garden each day never ceases to amaze me.  There is always a new bloom to make me smile.  This is a Sparaxis.  Isn’t it pretty ?





There are some beautiful poppies blooming at the moment in lots of different colours.


Thank you for all of your lovely comments.  It feels like I am wearing an old comfortable pair of jeans. The ones that fit you just right.  And it feels good.

Love and Hugs,

Fee xx 



Tuesday, October 11, 2022

It’s been a minute …….

 
It’s been such a long time since I blogged.  So much has happened in that time.  I’ve certainly had some personal challenges and some major changes to the way we do life but one thing that has become abundantly clear is that you need to do what makes you happy.  However small or insignificant it may be.  We are each in charge of our own happiness and even in hard times it can be the little things that can lift you up.

I’ve always been a homemaker, gardener, cook and crafter.  I still am but these days it comes with determination and in much smaller windows of time.  After chatting with a dear friend a few weeks ago she reminded me of why I first started blogging.  To have a record of my life for my children and grandchildren and to inspire me to keep going.  So here I am …….  



Gardening has always been a great love of mine but everything else always got in the way.  When my world came crashing down with some medical issues towards the end of 2021 my doctor advised me to try to do something that would motivate me to keep my body moving for as long as possible ((We know what’s coming).  Mentally and Emotionally it was a really tough time with a lot to digest and even more to come to terms with.  That’s when I fell back in love with my garden.  It has literally been my saving grace.  


We have a gardener come along to help me on a regular basis.  He does all the heavy work and I get to do the fun stuff like planting, sowing seeds, propagating and planning.  Every single day I make myself walk around the garden even if it’s just a quick look and on the good days I can dip my hands in the soil and enjoy the fresh air.   It has been so good for me.

I love to preserve food and the long term goal is to grow as much as possible of what we currently buy at the supermarket.  


The dehydrator is a godsend and makes storing vegetables, fruits and herbs a dream.  I have a sweet little display of all of the pretty jars in the kitchen.  


And use something in one of those jars everyday.  The lemon and orange powder are personal favourites of mine along with the capsicum which smells like pepperoni pizza every time you open the jar ! 



So to keep me motivated to blog I have decided to do 365 days of Harvesting and Preserving from the garden. It’s something I do anyway so no extra work involved but I will get to take some pretty photographs along the way to share here on the blog.  I may only blog weekly but hopefully more often and I am looking forward to learning from each other along the way.

Until next time,

Hugs,  Fee xx