Thyme to Move

Thyme to Move

Mushroom in Nanaimo, BC

This post is for my wonderful followers.

It’s official….this blog has moved to a new site. And I need your feedback!

I’ve searched for ways to move you over automatically in an effort to make this a seamless transition, but the recommended method is to simply invite you to pop over and visit my

new super awesome site

and follow me over there.

The link below will take you to my home page……which I’m pretty darned proud of.

http://www.sowanddipity.com

I know I’ll lose a few folks along the way ( pout )….but the new site is worth it.

I just released my first official blog post over there too:

http://www.sowanddipity.com/burlap-chair/

I hope you come for a visit and see what I’ve been kicking around in the dirt for the last couple of months. I’d love to hear what you think…..do you like it? Looking forward to your comments but until then:

Hoe while it is spring, and enjoy the best anticipations. It is not much matter if things do not turn out well. ~Charles Dudley Warner

Keep your fingers in the dirt….

Here we go….

Here we go….
Here we go….

Moving Time!

Wow! Have I got a lot of exciting things going on right now!

As the lead decorator at Western Canada’s biggest Christmas store, I have a mammoth task of turning a 28,000 sq ft Garden Center into a Winter Wonderland ( I have the coolest job….EVER! ) I sleep, eat and dream glitter! A job this big takes months to do, that’s why I start in July. Actually….come to think of it, I’m already planning for next year!

My husband is also in a major transition mode right now as we prepare to move the location of our a sporting goods store here in beautiful Langley BC…. Levy’s Source for Sports

This too is a big event as a lot of hard work and planning goes into relocating a retail store but the new location is perfect for our customers. It’s along convenient driving routes, close to major stores like Wal-Mart and Costco, tons of parking and our new building is shared with a roller hockey rink and an ice hockey goalie training facility. How does it get any better than that!

On the home front I have a garden to harvest, freeze, dry and can. I’ll be getting started on that this weekend. And in the evenings before I pass out from fatigue….I spend time with my blog. Other people grab a book and read….I grab my lap top and write.

So that brings me to the final transformation that I find myself in at this point in my life. As I wrote about in a previous post ….and Sow it is. I expressed my desire to change the name of this blog to what it was always meant to be, and with that new identity had to come a bigger and better blog.

After many months and evenings of plugging away at it, my new site is ready to go. If you land here…you will be re-directed to my new location. I’m excited about the reveal…it’s a beautiful site featuring all my own images from my garden and it truly represents who Sow and Dipity really is!

So here’s my disclaimer: I apologize if there is any wonky interruptions during your visit to my site. I’m a gardenista not a techie junkie….mind you, after creating my now third website, I think I can add that to my resume as well too!

Thank you for all your support, shares, likes, and kind comments. When I get feed back from people who found inspiration through my creations or understanding from my garden advice, it feels like I’m helping…and that feels good.

Hope you love the new site as much as I do. The launch will be official this week….so here we go!

Pretty Lil’ jars

Pretty Lil’ jars
Pretty Lil’ jars

Raffia Bow, burlap and buttons

Here’s my Pretty Lil’ jars that I did up several months ago. I’ve been meaning to share but garden topics were first priority so I’m bringing them out now.

I LOVE jars.

Big ones, little ones…round or square. Mason Jars have been used for everything under the sun…they’re very in vogue right now.

But what about all the other cool looking jars? Don’t they deserve a little recognition too?

Glass Bottles and Jars

When I look at a tall olive jar, I see a bud vase. A small hot mustard jar? Simple, perfect for holding freshly snipped herbs in a little water while I prepare the rest of the meal.

Olive and Mustard Jars

Oh and then there’s the real funky jars. Like the octagonal roasted red pepper packed in oil jar.

Or the squat mason jar for refrigerator pickles.

Pin Cushion and Button Jars

It’s basically a small fetish for me….my bottles and jars. They accumulate up on my bookshelves, under the sink, in cupboard drawers and when I need a ‘something something’ for that thingy thing….I peruse through my collection and find the perfect one.

Edible Counter top Herb Bar

I have a confession.

I don’t just buy Olive Garden Dressing for the yummy ( okay, kick ass! ) dressing on the inside. I go out of my way to buy this amazing salad elixir from their restaurant locations because the jar is just so darned cute!

Olive Garden Bottle

I recently had some fun with these bottles and glittered them up for a garden junk art project. They became heads for Dragon Flies made out of old discarded garden hose….check it out here.

Sparkle Jars

This post in particular is how I decorate them if they need a little jazzing up. I love my natural fibers and recycled buttons, so that’s my usual go to. Here’s what I did…

Burlap and Button Jars

I’ve seen jars out there with burlap or jute. Mine use both….plus buttons! Don’t those recycled buttons look so cute? I have a thing for raffia to and use it when a natural bow is required.

Jute Twine

Jute Twine for the stem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wrapped the jute twine and used a little hot glue to secure it. I did the same with the burlap and buttons.

 

So that’s a wrap ( tee hee hee ) on my Pretty Lil’ jars obsession. Next time you are about to throw that jar in the recycling….pause…there might be a perfectly good (re) purposing for it!

Craft, Create and Conserve.

Summer Garden Tips

Summer Garden Tips
Summer Garden Tips

You want to make some honey? All right. Here’s the recipe.

Pour the juice from a thousand flowers

Through the sweet tooth of a bee.

                                                ~ X. F. Kennedy

Zucchini Flower

 Here is my summer garden tips to help you get more out of your garden. Doesn’t It always feel like forever between planting your garden in spring and being able to start enjoying it come summer? Before you know it,  your eating salad at every meal in an effort to use up the lettuce before it bolts and your co-workers are stuffing zucchini’s in their purses because someone planted too much.

 It’s important to check in on the health of your plants in the high of summer. Adjusting feeding routines and watering schedules are necessary to get the biggest yields out of your garden.

Last week I noticed as I wandered by my potted garden area where zucchini’s and cucumbers grow against a hot wall, that their leaves appeared yellow…..never mind the white powdery mildew ( the latest challenge ). I’ve been feeding these pot’s with an organic fertilizer on a regular basis so why are they looking like they are suffering from a lack of nitrogen?

Zucchini row

Yellow zucchini leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did a Google search and discovered that organic fertilizers like the powdered form I’ve been using, sometimes require further breaking down before the nutrients become available to the plant. This ties up the available nitrogen as it get’s locked into the Nitrogen Cycle, which the diagram below briefly explains but it is quite a bit more complex than that. If your interested in learning more about Mother Natures amazing recycling system, check out Wikipedia’s explanation here.

All this time I’m thinking I’m doing the right organic thing and my poor zukes and cukes are just pooped! So, I decided to give it a quick remedy and make some tea….compost tea.

Compost

Compost Tea

Tea Strainer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This method doesn’t get any simpler than just adding water. My compost heap is just about ready to start getting turned back over but at the bottom of the ready bin there’s good healthy compost ready to go. I’ll save this in a black bottomless barrel until fall when I spread it on the upper beds but in the meantime, I’m going to leach some nutrient goodness.

Shovel the compost into a bucket about 2/3 full…add water and let sit for several days. I used a piece of chicken mesh to strain the water through but an old window screen would work too. Besides, most of the big matter sinks to the bottom so it’s easy to pour off the liquid. I’m not going to lie, this compost tea can get a little funky smelling….which is good, because it’s acting like a liquid manure. If it’s a bit staunchly, then your right on track.

I applied the tea to the vegi’s and poured the left over muck onto the compost heap. Then I refilled the buckets and started again.

Chamomile Flowers

This is the time to save seeds or start drying your herbs before they bolt ( or go to seed )  and since we are on the topic of tea, let’s discuss collecting Chamomile flowers. The easiest way is by hand, sometimes you can drag your fingers along the stems, pinch the flowers and pluck off several at a time. But the thicker stems may require you pinch it off with your thumb nail. I dry these flower heads spread out of cookie sheets on newsprint or on parchment in a low oven.

Chamomile

Plucking Flowers

Drying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once they are thoroughly dry then store them in an air tight container. I like to mix my Chamomile with broken bits of cinnamon bark, dried ginger, and mint for a fresh tasty tea.

Storing Tea

 Be sure to wire bundles of herbs together and place these in rooms throughout the house….their fragrances are just as therapeutic as their physical properties. I have a lot of Chamomile this year so I created a beautiful wreath to dry it with some Lavender and Helichrysum. Check out my tutorial here.

Lavender, Helichrysum and Chamomile

Herbs will dry perfectly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In most cases you’ll want to collect from flower heads that have already gone to seed. But this requires a little patience as the plant usually has heavily declined and begins to look unsightly before the seeds are ready.

Dianthus Flowers

Isn’t this Dianthus row lovely! This is also known as Sweet William and is considered a biennial as it re-seeds itself and flowers in its second year. When I harvest these I’m sure to shake out the remains back into the bed after I take my share.

Seed Head

Tapping out seeds

Removing debris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I actually work at this over a couple of weeks until they are all trimmed back because these flowers don’t all bloom at the same time ( which is good for a longer show ) so they all mature a few days to weeks apart. Basically I look for the driest heads where the pods are opened and I can see the black seeds just waiting to get knocked out. I tap these heads into the bucket and throw the stems onto the tarp that will go to the compost heap.

Drying Seeds

Storing Seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important to let these seeds get really dry before you put it into an air tight container and freeze them. You can lay them out on newsprint or dry them in a paper bag for a couple of weeks. I like to put the seeds in a glass jar with a rubber seal that’ll give me an air tight lock. Be sure to date and label your seeds. These seeds will be used in an upcoming post for making gifts for Christmas…..stay tuned :)

 

Lettuce Row

Weeding is a constant chore but don’t forget to stay on it as you harvest out your summer vegetable bed, I plan to grow a green manure crop this year once those vegi’s are done. My lettuce is still going strong due to a late sowing after a battle with slugs this past spring.  As I pull, I can sow another row at this time for a fall harvest. Same goes with carrots, swiss chard, kale, and other fall growing crops.

I hope my summer garden tips help you harvest more from your garden than just vegi’s and vase stuffers. With a little effort, you can harvest potpourri, tea and even gifts from the garden.

Happy Gardening!

You may also like:

Herb Wreath Tutorial

Soup Can Caddy

Garden Junk Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip Junkie handmade projects