Tag Archives: environment

Herbs add flavor to any food dish

Reworked, updated first posted 2015.

Herbs Make Common Foods Taste Special

Most herbs will do well in containers, window boxes and planted directly in your garden soil.
If herbs are conventionally located to you and your kitchen you are more willing and more likely to use them when cooking and serving meals.

Sage is a herb that does well if properly cared for. It requires a lot of pinching and cutting to keep it from becoming woody. As a rule, sage will need to be replanted about every 3 years since it will become woody with few leaves no matter what, so keeping it in a pot makes this change that much easier. Sage dries very well and if you pinch the leaves throughout the growing season, put a rubber band on them and keep them dry and in a dark place after drying. You will have wonderful sage all winter to give your family and guest a special treat.

Rosemary is always a kitchen favorite. It dries perfectly, holds its strong taste all winter, comes indoors and keeps growing in a sunny window and is rarely bothered by insects.
Use rosemary for many herb standards or topiaries. The woody stem is perfect for crafting. The stem also seconds as skewers so each harvest yields two separate herb crops. 1)leaves and 2)stems.
Keep the stems in a freezer bag and use them for grilling skewers. Rosemary doesn’t like to sit in water it likes to dry out between watering’s. Being in its own container makes the herb grow that much hardier, since it can receive special care.

Basil is one of the most rewarding herbs to grow in a container. It really lends itself well to the other popular container plants like the tomato. Basil likes to have plenty of water to keep its fleshy stems and tender leaves plump, but is susceptible to mildew. In a container, you must be sure the plant gets plenty of airflow.

Thyme is an undervalued herb. Many times it gets planted and never used. Thyme deserves a higher standing on our list of culinary herbs!
It will thrive in a container environment, needing only minimal watering. Some varieties grow into small shrub like plants that enhance an entrance to your home. It’s tiny purple flowers are lovely. Being such a low maintenance herb, thyme will fit in your container garden.

Mint is notorious for getting away from gardeners. You plant one and soon twenty will follow. Planting a bottomless pot into your garden is one way of controlling mint, but keeping it out of the garden completely, by using a separate container, is a better idea. Mint is also so tasty, it will be used more often if it is handy.

Chives Leaves/Flowers Use in fresh or frozen soups, salads, salad dressings, eggs, dips, vegetables, chicken, soft cheese spreads, butters, white sauces, and fish.

English Thyme Use leaves flowers with fresh or dried wild game, beef, soft cheeses, fish, chowders, pâté, vegetables, and tomato sauce.

Tarragon French or Spanish Use leaves fresh or dried with chicken, fish, eggs, tomato juice, butters especially nice on steak, vinegars, salads, mustards, sauces hollandaise, béarnaise and tartar, soups, chicken, fish, mushroom and tomato and marinades for fish, lamb or pork.

Greek Oregano Use leaves fresh or dried
in white and tomato sauces, stews, soups, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables, butters, and vinegars.

Rosemary Use leaves fresh or dried
with beef, lamb, fish, poultry, stuffings, soups, stews, fruit cups, soups chicken, pea, and spinach, vegetables, and marinades.

Sage Use leaves flowers fresh or dried
with stuffings for fish, poultry, and meat, pâté, eggs, poultry, pork, beef, lamb, pasta, cheeses cheddar, cream, and cottage, sauces brown and meat, soups cream and chowder, beef stews, and vegetables.

Hint of the Day: Use fresh herbs blended with ‘real’ butter or sour cream for that special taste. Herb’s go well with fresh baked potato’s, snack dips and fresh garden salads.

Flowering Bulb Planting for Spring Flowers

Way back in 2011 I posted a short post with a suggested bulb Planting Chart.

I hope you find this chart useful when planting spring flowering bulbs.

Hardy, Tasty – Fall and Winter Soups and Stews

Cooler and colder weather will soon be upon us all in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to think about homemade Soups, Stews and Sauces.

Onion, leeks, celery, carrots, bell pepper and garlic is the flavor base for a wide variety of Western dishes: stocks, soups, stews and sauces.
Most often leeks(white and tender green tops) are used to replace onions when making your flavor base mix. If you use both onion and leeks use 1 part onion and 1 part leek and leek green tops. Note: select only very tender leek greens to use in you flavor base mix.

A good starting mix of Onion/leek, celery, carrots, bell pepper(any color) and 1 to 6 garlic cloves. My recommended ratio is 2:1:1:1.
2:1:1:1 = 2 parts onion or leeks, 1 part celery, 1 part carrots, 1 part bell pepper and garlic to taste. Garlic cloves become milder in flavor when heated(cooked) in this starter flavor base mix.

Medium dice (1/4 to 3/8 inch size) vegetables (do not dice garlic cloves). Salt and white pepper to taste.

In a fry pan cook, diced vegetables and whole garlic, with butter, olive oil, or other fat, for a long time on a very low heat without browning your flavor base vegetables. Flavor base is not sautéed or otherwise hard cooked, the intention is to sweeten the vegetables rather than caramelize them.
Garlic clove(s) can be removed at this point if your not a big fan of sweet tasty garlic paste.

Use this flavor base mix and your favorite soup, stew or pasta sauce recipe for a meal your family is sure to enjoy.

If this flavor base mix is to be served with a pasta dish, add 2 tables tomato paste, 1 table spoon dry basil stir until well mixed continue cooking flavor base mix. Once flavor base vegetables become soft and tender add tomato sauce continue to cook flavor base pasta sauce until it is thick remove from heat add pasta and mix well. Taste, adjust salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a grated cheese that you like and serve while pasta and flavor base mix are still warm.

Rain is (almost) always a good thing

Murphy(Murphy’s law) is working overtime.
Spent much of Monday mowing and weed whacking getting ready for the cooler/colder autumn weather.
Murphy had other ideas. Night time temperatures are falling near 50F(10C) degrees. Last night and this morning I have had more than 3 inches (77mm)(7.6cm) of rain. My weather forecaster said it will warm into the high 80’sF(31C) by the weekend.

That tells me I will ‘get’ to mow and and run the string trimmed removing weeds at least one more time before my first frost.

The rain is not good for unharvested cotton and soybean crops, but we have had very little strong winds and that is a good thing for cotton and soybean farmers.

However the good side of this rain is my pond is full, wheat farmers will be in good shape to drill-in winter wheat the 3rd or 4 week of September.
In the long run in the semi-desert southwest Oklahoma rain is always a good thing.

Frost on the pumpkin

Autumn/fall gardening task will soon come to an end as old man winter nears.

Winter squash and pumpkins should be harvested before night time temperatures fall below 32F(0C) degrees. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale will tolerate frost and may even benefit being exposed to a few frosty nights.

It’s time buy, trade and dig bulbs to be planted for spring garden flowers. This includes planting garlic in your vegetable garden.

Flower beds need to be cleaned, soil dug to a depth of 6 to 8 inches in preparation to plant your bulbs. Bulbs planted in the autumn will spend the cool fall and cold winter months developing a good healthy root system that will support plant growth and allow your bulbs to produce many large flowers next spring.

It is not to late to mail order flowering bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths are some of the most common and popular spring flowering bulbs.
Many lily varieties should be planted in the autumn as well.
However no matter what flowering bulb you favor now is the time to prepare for planting.

Autumn is in the air

Oklahoma summer has been kind to us this year. To date we have seen only 6 days that topped out at 100+F (38C) degrees.
Rain fall has been near normal average, but has fallen before trees became dry stressed. Tree watering has not been necessary during 2020’s summer months.

Hummingbird migration has begun. On the morning of August 30 the hummingbirds arrived earlier than usual at my feeders. After feeding they winged their way high in the sky ridding a stiff north wind that will carry them far south on their first leg of their Fall migration to South Texas, some will travel deep into central Mexico where they will feed and wait to return to North America to spend the summer feeding and raising the next generation of hummingbirds.

The shorting daylight length has triggered Cottonwood trees in my area to begin leaf color changes from dark green to light yellow and a few leafs are falling.

Autumnal equinox also called the September equinox or Fall equinox arrives September 22. Fall/Autumn begins in the Northern Hemisphere and spring begins in the Southern Hemisphere.

The word “equinox” comes from Latin aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, “night.” On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length.
After the autumnal equinox, the Sun begins to rise later and nightfall comes sooner. This will end with the December 21, solstice, when days start to grow longer and nights are shorter.

Autumn/Fall foliage color change isn’t due to weather conditions. Leaves change color because of the amount of daylight and photosynthesis.

Q: Is the September Equinox Really the First Day of Fall/Autumn?

A: Based on the astronomical definition of seasons, yes, the autumnal equinox does mark the first day of Fall/Autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere). However, according to the meteorological definition of seasons, which is based on temperature cycles and the Gregorian calendar, the first day of fall is September 1.

Plants and trees are slowing down, as sunlight decreases, getting ready for the colder season ahead. In the garden, asters and chrysanthemums are blooming. Fall harvesting of winter squash and pumpkins is fast approaching. Keep a close eye on Fall and winter crops and harvest them at their peak quality.

Blood thinners may increase coronavirus survival by 50%

Blood thinners may increase coronavirus survival by 50%, decrease intubations 30%

Patients on a therapeutic dose of anticoagulants, or blood thinners, which was defined as a full dose, by the study’s authors, and those on a prophylactic, or lower, doses of the blood-thinning medication had a reduced risk of death by 50% in patients infected with novel coronavirus and decreased need for intubations by 30%, according to the observational study by a team of Mount Sinai researchers in New York that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study was developed after it was discovered that many patients infected with coronavirus developed blood clots, according to the researchers. The research team investigated the survival and death rates for patients placed on therapeutic and prophylactic doses of blood thinners, including oral antithrombotics, subcutaneous heparin and intravenous heparin compared to those not taking anticoagulant medications.

Pass It On….

Saturday Evening Post cartoon that is to good not to pass on.

I sometimes feel the same way about my Zucchini crop.

China plant seeds mystery solved? – It’s all a SCAM

Police think packages sent to US homes could be tied to scam reviews.

Mysterious, unsolicited packages of seeds being sent from China to homes across America.
Prompting agriculture departments in at least 31 states to issue warnings against planting the seeds may be tied to a fake product review scam, police and officials are saying.

The packages, based on photographs and statements from officials, appear to have been shipped by China’s state owned postal company and contain Chinese lettering on the exterior, advertising products ranging from jewelry to toys.

Here’s how the scam works: a seller trying to boost the ratings of their own merchandise sets up a fake email account to create an Amazon profile, then purchases the items with a gift card and ships them to the address of a random person.

James Thomson, a former business consultant for Amazon said “Once the package is delivered, the owner of the Amazon account is then listed as a “verified buyer” of the product and can write a positive review of it that gets higher placement on product pages because of their status.

Unsolicited seed package warning

This is the third or fourth blog post I have seen in the past 2 or 3 weeks about garderners receiving ‘unsolicited’ seed packages that seem to be coming from China.

Mysterious packages of seeds sent from China are appearing in people’s mailboxes unsolicited.
The packages are coming in all different shapes and sizes and are sometimes delivered under the guise of jewelry.

Washington, Louisiana, Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma and Colorado Department of Agriculture is warning residents not to plant, throw away, or open the seeds.
Cheryl Smith, a specialist for the Colorda department, said “allowing the seeds to grow could be harmful to local ecosystems. They could be an invasive species here in the United States.
If they were to grow and survive, then they could also attract pests that we are not familiar with and don’t have already. Which could then attack other agriculture crops that we do have.”

Even worse the seeds could produce plants, folage, seeds and fruits that are poisonous to children, pets, livestock and poultry if eaten.

If you receive a Unsolicited seed package.

Do keep all packaging and mail/shipping labels. These can assist investigators to trace the source of Unsolicited seed packages.

Do call your county or state department of agriclture and request they pick-up the unsolicited seed package(s).

Do Not open unsolicited seed packages.

Do Not plant unsolicited seed.

Do Not dispose of unsolicited seed package(s) in trash bins.

Do Not flush unsolicited seed in your toilet.

Do Not throw unsolicited seed packages in your compost pile.

Agriculture departments in other states including Washington, Louisiana and Kansas have reported similar events.