Monday, June 29, 2009

Independence Days Week #8

Here is my Independence Days Update for the week.

Plant something:
- monarda, sweet woodruff

Harvest something:
- nettle seed
- violet leaves
- yarrow
- mallow
- catnip
- motherwort
- plantain
- lamb's quarters
- basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, dill
- 10 oz spinach
- 3 oz peas
- two heads of lettuce

Preserve something:
- started yarrow, violet leaf, catnip, motherwort and plantain tinctures
- drying nettle seed, mallow, violets and motherwort
- making basilcello
- froze spinach

Reduce waste:
- made beans in sun oven while at work
- saved popsicle sticks used as tasters for honey at the farmer's market, was about to throw them out and realised I could keep them for labeling plants
- set up soaker hose watering system in the garden (saves water)
- used dried nettle leaf for hair rinse
- the usual biking to most places, especially to work, the garden and market

Preparation and storage:
- left two or three radish and spinach plants to go to seed so I can try and save some seed, mulched the rest of the now empty bed with comfrey, to prepare for a fall crop

Build community food systems:
- went to farmer's markets on Thursday and Sunday

Eat the food:

- establishing tasty habit of bringing a simple oil and vinegar dressing to garden to make and eat a freshly picked salad under the cherry tree
- using fresh culinary herbs in everything
- used young peas as snow peas in a stir fry


Jenn said...

It's always so inspiring to see how much you're getting accomplished. I'm not at home right now, but they make me want to be so I can do more towards Independence Days too.

Amber said...

Thanks Jenn. I'm very fortunate to be able to do this and have so much fun at it!

It must be hard to be away from home when you've got homesteading fever, but I imagine there must be lots of things you can do and plan for.

I didn't have the garden plot last year or even imagine that I would have one this year, but already I was reading gardening books and daydreaming for the day when I did.

The great thing about reading, learning and daydreaming is that you can do it pretty much anywhere!

Take care,

Anonymous said...

You have been busy :-).

I love how unique and interesting your 'harvested' list is. Violet leaves? Thats one i havn't tried.


Artizan said...

Good idea bringing salad dressing to the garden. I read about a lady who plants her tomatoes and basil together so she can snack in the garden. Mmmmm!

Amber said...

Hi Tricia! Violets grow all over the place around here and people pull them like weeds out of their garden or throw them mercilessly under the mower. ;)

I'm enjoying getting to know such an abundant plant.

The flowers are edible (pansies included). If you have the time and patience to pick enough you can candy them, make vinegar or syrup.

The flower vinegar is a wonderful culinary addition and the syrup is good for coughs and sore throats.

Violets leaves are said to be high in Vitamin C and A. Young leaves are tasty in salad. They also contain mucilage (the same slimy, gooey stuff in aloe vera) which is very cool and soothing to the skin (sun burns) and other irritated and inflamed tissue (think IBS, mouth sores).

I have also read that violet leaf infusions are beneficial for breast health and can help with pre-menstrual breast discomfort.

If that's the case, I'll do a very bouncy happy dance for violets! :)

Artizan, it doesn't get much fresher than pulling your food out of the ground and eating it right away!

I like to bring a thermos of hot water with me too and fill it up with fresh herbs to make tea, as soon as I get to the garden.

Lemon balm and mint is really nice!