Tag Archives: gardening

Raise Chickens? Here’s What To Do With ALL Those Eggs

 

chcickens

Raise Chickens? Here’s What To Do With ALL Those Eggs

If you raise chickens like I do, I know for a fact you are constantly trying to figure out “Where can I find another recipe that uses LOTS of eggs!” I am here to help! After years of raising chickens just for eggs and like most people who raise chickens, my chicken math is always way more chickens than I had originally intended to get.  This year I had planned on only adding 8 hens to my flock and “accidently” ordered 14 (there’s that chicken math!) I also ended up with 2 roosters who were suppose to be hens, but definitely are not!

roosters

First, you can go to my Pinterest site by clicking here and seeing my board that is All About Eggs. As you can see I have been busy trying to explore any and everything about eggs that I can and how best to use all the surplus I have, including gardening, recipes and feeding them back to my chickens.

Feel free to join my Facebook site also here. Homemade The Natural and Organic Way and I will occasionally post all things eggs there also so feel free to follow along. So sit back, relax and eggjoy yourself!

Egg Recipes

fresh eggs

These are some of my favorite recipes that use eggs, LOTS of eggs in some of the recipes. That’s the goal of this post. How To Use The Eggs!

Hard Boiled Eggs

Perfectly Peeled hard Boiled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Food Network Classic Deviled Eggs

The BEST EVER Deviled Eggs

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee Three Ways

Egg Salad

Deluxe Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad

Eggs For Dinner

25 Ways To Eat Eggs For Dinner

Pickled Eggs

Quick Pickled Eggs & Beets

Pickled Eggs 4 Ways

Quiche

Top 10 Quiche recipes

Pasta

Egg Pasta

Homemade Pasta

Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie            

Custard Pie

I also slice a hard boiled egg in my chicken noodle soup. Yum! try it!

Eggs In The Garden

5 Ways To Use Egg Shells In The Garden

Grow Seedlings In Eggshells

30 Things To Do With Eggshells

Crush eggshells and place around your garden plants for wonderful pest control.

Add crushed eggshells to your compost bin

Grind your eggshells into powder and sprinkle around your garden for an added calcium boost.

Feeding Chickens Eggs and Eggshells

crushed eggshells

I always share my hard boiled eggs with my chickens for added protein and calcium. I crush the entire egg, including shell, into small pieces and they go crazy over the yummy treat.

I save all my eggshells by washing them and then making sure they are thoroughly dry. I then crush them and store them in a glass jar and add in a separate container in their coop mixed with oyster shell. They will eat what they want out of the container.

Freeze Them for Later

I also freeze extra eggs for later use. I will scramble 4 or 5 eggs, add a pinch of salt, put them in a freezer bag with the date and toss them in the freezer for later use for my cakes or scrambled eggs.

Share! Share! Share!

My family, friends and neighbors rarely leave my home without taking at least a dozen eggs with them! Everyone in my dentist office asks for them. Sharing your over abundance of eggs with people is the best way to lower your extra egg supply to a manageable level, especially in the spring time. Food banks and charities will also accept eggs.

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How To Start Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden The Easy Way! And Why You Should

chamomille

our fumbling homestead

How To Start Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden The Easy Way! And Why You Should

This post may contain affiliate links. Ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. All opinions are 100% my own. Likewise, the health advice that may have been shared in this post has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. See disclosures

Have you ever wanted to start your own medicinal herb garden, but you just weren’t quite sure how to start or wondered what medicinal herbs and flowers you needed for your family? Do you have a small yard or small garden area and wondered where you would even put a medicinal garden.  Well, I have good news! It’s easy to begin and the best part is that you don’t need a huge garden area to for your medicinal plants.

Most herbs and flowers are very forgiving and very hardy. I live in Colorado where our winters can be quite brutal with below freezing temperatures, flooding rains in spring and brutally hot and dry summers. We have it all here in Southern Colorado!

I have been growing my own medicinal herbs and flowers for many years and they have all done quite well in all temperatures. As long as I have a rich, healthy soil, I have found out I can grow just about anything I plant. I plant both in my greenhouse and in my garden area. I also plant in containers.

I buy pretty much all my garden seeds at Botanical Interests. They are a brand I trust and know that their seeds never fail my expectations.

Your garden design can be simple homemade raised beds by using wood, rocks, concrete, the sky is really the limit here. Be creative and use your imagination! You can add the medicinal herbs all over your landscape as long as you can keep them manageable. For larger plants, you can space them between shade loving vegetables.

raised garden bed
Raised Garden Bed

Here are 18 DIY Raised Beds That Are Just Beautiful. Click Here to get your ideas going!

Why You Should Start A Medicinal Herb Garden

It is my own personal and humble opinion, that everyone should have their own medicinal herb garden. The herbs preserve easily and in case of an emergency, you will have them readily available. Dried herbs are perfect for emergency or survival packs for easy use. Herbs, fresh or dried, are extremely expensive if store- bought and their freshness cannot be guaranteed. How long have they sat on the shelf in the store? What fillers do they add to their commercially made product other than 100% product?

The herbs and flowers

First of all, figure out what you want your medicinal herbs and flowers for. Do you want to make salves and lotions for wound care, burns or minor cuts and dry skin? Or do you want to make your own all natural, organic beauty products with your freshly picked herbs and flowers? Do you want to make soothing, delicious teas? As for me, I do all of the above with my medicinal herbs and have them creatively spread throughout my entire garden area.

If you are just beginning a medicinal herb garden, it is best to start small and easy and then work your way up to more complicated plantings as you gain your new found knowledge of each plant, how big they will grow, and what is the best medicinal use for them.

Take Calendula for instance. This is a fast growing, very hardy, annual flower that you can use for salve making for wound healing. You can make a wonderful beauty lotion for your face or you can make a cream for your baby. And yes, you can eat it! Calendula is popular in most baby lotions because of it’s mild and gentle moisturizing effect. It grows in small spaces and is not finicky about the soil it grows in.

Below is a list of the easiest and fastest growing medicinal herbs and medicinal flowers. They are hardy and will grow in almost any condition. If you are a first time grower of these herbs, and a first time user of making your own medicinal medicine and beauty products then you should start with these:

Medicinal Herbs

Peppermint– Needs to be in a container! It spreads very quickly and will overtake your garden if not contained. For hundreds of years peppermint has been used to treat stomach upset, nausea, indigestion and bloating. It is wonderful to use in soaps and beauty products for it’s scent. You can use a starter plant or direct sow the seeds. It is tolerant of most soil conditions, even poor soil conditions.

lemon balm– perfect for container planting. Grows rapidly. Smells heavenly! Lemon balm is always used as an insect repellent and works well in sprays. This is my favorite herbal tea and tincture. It can been started by seed or by starter plant. It is wonderful for easing an upset tummy.

Lemon balm
Lemon Balm

sage– needs to be trimmed to be kept in a small space. Will grow very large if not carefully watched. It can be placed in a container. Sage has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It is very popular to use as a gargle for sore throats and for sore gums. And delicious to cook with! It is great to help with dandruff. Just steep several large leaves in hot water for approximately 15-30 minutes. Let sit until cool and add small amounts to your regular shampoo with each use.

sage
Sage

 

Rosemary – can grow very large if not trimmed regularly. I plant mine in a large container and bring it indoors in winter and have fresh Rosemary all year long for my medicinal creations and beauty products (great hair rinse!) and for cooking. Beautiful rosemary is said to sharpen memory and stimulate brain function. It is also known for supporting the circulatory and nervous systems. It is antibacterial and antiviral and is perfect for adding to your homemade cleaning products or making a nice herbal tea for a natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory.

rosemary
rosemary bush

thyme– perfect for container planting. It spreads quickly if not contained. Thyme has been used for centuries to help with colds, flu and respiratory issues. It is wonderful as a tea and can be liberally spread on any dishes after cooking. It has also been used as an appetite stimulant and as an expectorant. Can easily sow with seeds or as a small starter plant. Try Lemon Thyme for a delicious herbal tea!

broad leaf thyme
thyme

Medicinal Flowers homeopathy

Calendula– also known as pot marigold, needs only a small section of space. Can interplant between vegetables. Tolerant of even poor soil conditions. Easy to direct sow seeds or can use a starter plant. makes wonderful salves. Can be taken internally by adding petals to salads or making a tea. Easy to dry in a dehydrator and store for future use. Has anti-inflammatory benefits. Here is a great and very easy to do recipe for calendula salve: How to Make Calendula Salve  from A Delightful Home website.

calendula
Calendula

Echinacea– Needs only a small space. Can interplant between vegetables. Drought tolerant and will grow well in most soil types. Echinacea will usually grow it’s flowers in the second year of growth, but you can use the entire plant, especially the roots for your medicinal remedies. Roots, leaves and flowers can all be put into a tincture for year round cold and flu fighting capabilities. How To Make a Tincture

Lavender– Will grow fairly large if not trimmed. I put my lavender bushes in the corners of my garden and just let them go right up the fence. They take very little space in my garden and they do not interfere with any other plants. Lavender has so many wonderful benefits that this is a must have plant for your garden. It is very easy to start by either direct sow of seeds or by using a starter plant.

Lavender uses: add flowers and leaves to your tea. Steep in hot water for several minutes and ..YUM! Add crushed dried lavender flowers to your homemade soap for a wonderful fresh smell in the morning. Lavender essential oil is also a disinfectant to add to your homemade cleaning needs. Read my Blog post Essential Oils and Herbs: The Best Homemade Recipes! to find wonderful herbal creations that I make myself and from many other creative bloggers who share their own herbal products. And my post Best Herbal Teas To Make At Home.

German Chamomile – small and delicate these flowers can be placed in a small space and do very well. If you want to gather and preserve chamomile easily, it is best to keep them bunched together in a small space. If you spread them throughout your garden, it will be more difficulty gathering the very small delicate flowers. Chamomile tea is famous for a before bedtime relaxant to help give a sound sleep. It delicate flowers are wonderful and very fragrant added to soaps and salves to help moisturize and sooth skin. Caution: German chamomile is also a blood thinner and should not be taken with certain medications. Consult your doctor if pregnant before taking

Yarrow- yarrow will grow very fast and will be quite happy anywhere in your garden area. You can reserve a small corner of your garden for a few plants and spread them around your entire garden between your vegetables. For best medicinal benefit, make sure to get wild White yarrow. The yellow and red do not have the same health benefits as the white yarrow. Here in Colorado wild white yarrow grows wild everywhere. Yarrow is a very powerful herb that is known to stop minor bleeding  when crushed and applied to a wound. It has diuretic properties and is a vasodilator. Prefers well drained soil and sunlight but is not finicky.

 

yarrow
wild white yarrow

Did you know that you can grow your own organic ginger and turmeric in a container in a sunny corner of your home. Neither of these medicinal roots grow fast. In fact they are very slow growing, both taking approximately nine months to produce more roots, but I mention them, since they are so very easy to grow and you can just stick them in a corner out of the way. Once ready, just wipe away some of the compost and pull off a small plug of ginger or turmeric to use in your culinary creations or as a wonderful medicinal tea. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and the medical research of turmeric is proving to be a medicinal herb gardeners dream!

ginger
Ginger

Try this Yummy Creamy Turmeric tea here. This recipe also has ginger root in it for extra immune boosting benefits.




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Organic Gardening Colorado Style! Cold Weather Crops

Organic Gardening Colorado Style! Cold Weather Crops

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases/sign-ups made via the referral links in this post. Read More

 

Organic gardening in Colorado can be quite challenging sometimes. Searching for cold weather crops to add to my garden is somewhat of a hobby for me ( or obsession). I start my search in January or February and usually continue up until spring time. I scour every organic NON GMO heirloom seed catalog I can get my hands on, make my selection carefully and hope that the harsh Colorado winters and spring will let my precious seed give life to what will become a wonderfully cooked meal for my family and some yummy snacks for my chickens. I am a firm believer in having a greenhouse and using row covers. The two are almost a must have in some parts of Colorado. I also use a 4 tier inside greenhouse that I have set up in a sunny window area.

Southern Colorado, where I live, is considered to be a high mountain desert area. We are lucky to have mostly nice sunny days, but also known for our extreme weather patterns in spring (floods, snow) and ice and snow storms in winter.

Let’s Talk Seeds:

Organic, heirloom, non gmo, hybrid..Decisions, decisions, decision! In my garden, I use organic, heirlooms seeds so I am able to save the seeds year after year. A few of my favorite and trusted organic seed suppliers are Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at rareseeds.com, Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, and Botanical Interests. I tend to go to Botanical Interests most often since they are a Colorado based company and I have never been disappointed in their seeds. It is very important you choose the correct seeds for your organic garden. You want seed suppliers  you can trust that do not use any pesticides on their crops. Before selecting any seeds please thoroughly read the “About Us” page on their websites. Once you find the perfect seed supplies, stick with them! My favorite is Botanical Interests. If you click the banner below, it will take you directly to their website.

Hybrid seed is a seed that has two or more different parents resulting in an offspring that is new variety of that plant. These seeds are not sterile but when you plant seed you have saved from a hybrid plant you will get many different varieties of that plant the next year. .

Heirloom seeds are open pollinated which means the seed you save will produce plants that look exactly like the parents (as long as you don’t have any cross pollination which will produce a hybrid seed). heirlooms also have to have a history to them to be considered heirlooms and not just open pollinated. generally heirlooms are seeds that have been lovingly passed down from generation to generation for hundreds or years

I am extremely luckly to live only a few miles from a trusted organic grower at Desert Canyon Farm. I visit their farm every spring when they open to purchase my medicinal herbs and young garden plants to add to my garden. I have never been disappointed with my purchases. They are all Colorado grown and I know I am getting true organic, heirloom plants. See my Amazon favorites to order the owner of Desert Canyon Farm’s book Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung. It is a must have for Colorado gardeners! If at all possible, buy your organic, heirlooms seeds and plants locally, that way you know they are already adapted to your climate and location.

compost

Let’s Talk Compost:

The most important component of your garden soil is the organic matter you add such as leaves, grass clippings, cover crops, coffee grounds, tables scraps such as fruits and vegetables and eggs shells and worm castings. I will be writing a  post related to garden compost on my next blog so stayed tuned! So I will keep this area of the blog fairly short and quick. The most important thing to remember is that you do not want to add any organic matter that may have been sprayed with pesticides. The best part is that most herbs are pretty forgiving regarding the quality of the soil, but you want the best nutrients for your plant to survive, thrive and be healthy.

Starting your own compost pile is pretty easy. Here is a link for Composting 101 that is easy to follow and goes into some very specific details to get you on your way. I have been creating my own compost for the past several years and my garden has never been healthier or happier!

seeds

Cold Weather Crops:

I usually start my  cool weather crops indoors about March and April. I have never used a grow light for my seed starts. I just place the starters near a large sunny window area and make sure they are positioned to get enough sunshine. I reuse milk jugs, small plant pots that I have had for years, egg cartons and pretty much whatever I have lying around to put my seeds in to begin my indoor seed starting.

Below are cold weather crops that I have had very good luck with year after year in Colorado. I will only list early starting seeds and plants below. I do add a light layer of mulch around the young plants for added protection from the weather extremes we have here in Colorado once I transplant them outdoors..

Cabbage& Broccoli – I start the seeds indoors in early March and then transfer them to my greenhouse at the end of April. In early May I will add the young plants to the garden bed. My favorite heirloom cabbage are the Copenhagen heirloom, but pretty much any heirloom cabbage will grow well in cold weather climates. De Cicco Broccoli is a fast growing heirloom variety that has done well in my gardens. Since I am the only one who eats cabbage in my home, I will store the cabbage mostly for my chickens to use through the winter months.

Root CropsCarrots, Radishes, and Beets. I have always had great success with these plants for my Colorado garden. I will direct sow my carrot, radish and beet seeds in early May, unless we are having a particularly nasty beginning of spring, then I will wait until mid to late May. I have noticed that the carrots I have planted over the years have grown twice as fast and twice as large if I plant them in raised beds instead of directly in the ground. I always plant extra carrots to use for canning to store and eat through the winter. Carrots also store very well in damp sand once pulled.

Spinach, Kale & Swiss Chard: I direct sow these seeds in my garden in late April or early May and have always had great success with them no matter what the temperature is. The Rainbow Swiss Chard or  called Five Color Silverbeet is excellent for short season gardening. Bloomsdale Longstanding Heirloom spinach has always been a NO fail in my garden and is a good bolt resistant variety. I have grown kale of every variety and all seem to thrive in my Colorado garden, even through frost and heavy snow. An extra plot always goes in for the chickens to snack on.

Peas: This is my favorite garden food. My husband makes fun of me, because I will eat the peas right out of the garden as soon as they grow large enough and I usually do not share with anyone! I direct sow pea seeds as early as mid or even early March..snow or freeze doesn’t seem to matter with peas in my garden…they ALWAYS grow! You should plant your peas as early as able to give them a good start and try to plant them in an area where they can get some shade during the day. Once the weather gets hot, it seems, my peas anyway, slow down in production.  I have always had great success and wonderful flavor with the Oregon Sugar Pod Heirloom pea.

Lettuce:

I direct sow all my lettuce seeds at the beginning or middle of May. I plant one plot for me and my husband and one entire plot just for my chickens! There is a huge variety of lettuce types for you to choose from and I found that most all grow well as a cool crop in my Colorado garden. If planted to early I find that they freeze fairly quickly unless you use row covers. Once the heat of summer hits lettuce tends to bolt and turn bitter quickly. I have never had any luck growing iceberg lettuce though, so I stick to the loose leaf lettuce and grow a lot of my favorite butter crunch.

 

Herbs:
High altitude gardeners should focus on the following herbs, especially if you live in an extreme and fluctuating climate. Most herbs are very hardy but the following have a proven record and success rate for high altitude gardens.

Chives – can be direct sowed early in higher altitudes. Grows in clumps, so it will not spread to other areas of your garden.

Cilantro– I have cilantro all over my garden. Just a slight breeze will scatter the seeds everywhere! I don’t mind since I love cilantro, but you may want to find a way to contain it if you have a small garden area. Very hardy in high altitude climates. Direct sow in April or early May.

Sage – another hardy herb and also used in medicinal remedies for colds and flu. My sage plant tripled in size in one growing season, so if you have a smaller garden, you may want to put it in a container or keep it well trimmed during the summer months. Perfect for dehydrating and storing. I have had difficulty starting Sage from seed in my Colorado garden, so I buy the young plants from a local organic grower.

Fennel – Grows very tall and the smell is wonderful. One of my favorite cold hardy herbs to grow. I planted a plant and have not tried direct sowing seeds with fennel yet. I dry the leaves and use in tea and collect the seeds to add to bread. Fennel is one of the first plants that come back to life in my garden in early spring and has survived several heavy snow storms without any damage. This is a very hardy and forgiving plant and seems to tolerate any soil type. Keep in mind that it does grow to be quite large.

Mint– PUT IN CONTAINER! Mint spreads everywhere and if you aren’t careful it will completely  take over your garden. I direct sow seeds in  containers and just place the containers around my garden. I keep the plants trimmed throughout the summer. My favorite mint is spearmint. I use both fresh and dried for my teas. There are many varieties and flavors in the mint family for you to choose from.

Rosemary- I decided to try a small potted rosemary plant in a corner of my garden just to see how it did since I have heard rosemary can be quite temperament in cooler areas. It grew to triple in size in one season and survived every season since! I have even transplanted it twice and it just kept on growing!

Now you know that you can garden in a high altitude sometimes extreme climate and have great success. there are many Internet sites that offer education on cold weather crops and I encourage you to do your research. When I first started my Colorado garden many years ago, I did so by trial and error. I learned to slow down, take my time getting just the right seeds and plants for my high altitude climate, build a rich compost pile and then start playing in the dirt!

Below is a seed starting guide for zone 5b. I feel it is also useful for zone 4 & 5, which I am in.

seed starting guide

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

 

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