Another use for Plastic Cups

Peaches and Cream Hobby Farm is always trying to find simpler and less expensive ways to gardening. You want to get the most Bang for your buck right? I’m sure you have seen these cups in the stores, in different sizes, colors, and packaging. The cups, that were used in the picture above, were purchased at a dollar store. Two packages of the plastic cups were used for 100 Strawberry plants, for only two dollars! That’s what I call a Savings!

Here is a simple way of potting the young plants in the cups.

Directions:

  • Cut the bottom edges or poke holes in the bottom of the cup for drainage
  • Add soil 1/4 of the cup (you can use potting soil but the cheapest way is to buy a large bag of Top Soil .. its cheap and goes a long way.. no need to be adding this or that to the soil here)
  • Add your plant
  • Fill the cup 3/4 way with soil
  • Put the cups in a bowl or tray to collect the water that drains from the cups
  • Moisten the soil in the cups with water
  • Lastly put the bowl or tray of cups in a sunny location
  • Water your plants every other day

Note: When transplanting the plants, simply cut down the side of the cup.. peel the plastic away.. the plant and soil should all be intact.  Whalla!

 

Money saved is money in your pocket.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

This is the time of year for baby bunnies

Peaches and Cream Hobby Farm

This is the time of year for baby bunnies; you may find a nest right in your own backyard or front-yard in my case. Due to the natural habitat of rabbits being depleted, it is not uncommon for the mother rabbit to make a nest under the sod/grass in your lawn. If you happen to see a bunny or signs of its presence than you are more than likely to have a nest close by. If a nest is in your yard, you will see a dead patch of grass..(when the mother lifts the sod, the grass dies) the mother rabbit will make a burrow (basin shaped), and will use a variety of materials that she will find in her environment to line the nest. After having her litter, she will cover the nest and baby bunnies with the sod. Mother rabbits are very clever at reapplying the sod  to the natural contours of…

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Dandelion

Scientific Name: Taraxacum

Biological Class: Genus

Edible part of plant: All (includes blossoms, stems, leaves, and roots)

***NOTE: When foraging these plants, make sure you are NOT picking where weed killer was applied.

The most misunderstood “weed”, the Dandelion, is essential for the pollination process in the environment and is necessary for your garden. It is also full of nutrients and medicinal properties when consumed raw or cooked. Many people have used herbicides/pesticides on their lawn and have had it eradicated from their yard. They are missing out on the benefits of this “weed”.

The reason why the Dandelion is essential for the pollination process in the environment is because, it’s primarily  the first source of pollen/nectar for the bees in the spring. Bees have another purpose besides making honey, and that is pollinating plants in order to produce fruits and vegetables in your gardens. Bees are attracted to these little flowers in your yard, when they find these flowers in the Spring, they will continue to return to collect the nectar because they have established their  “route” sort to speak. When your fruit and vegetables start to flower, the bees that were collecting the nectar from the dandelions, will find the flowered vegetable/fruit plants along their route and will pollinate. Pollination is necessary for the production of fruits and vegetables, without pollinators, you will have an unsuccessful crop.

The other benefit of the Dandelion is that its full on nutrients and has medicinal properties. The nutrients include essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B6, and Magnesium. The plant can be eaten raw or cooked.  It can be prepared the same as any leafy green vegetable; like spinach or loose leaf lettuce, and consumed raw in a salad. It is quite tasty sautéed in oil with dash of salt and pepper added to the dish. The plant can also be seeped in a tea; it adds a unique herbal flavor to your drink. Tea is a tasty, and time-saving way, to consume the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

One of the health benefits that is not widely known about the Dandelion is that its useful in treating eczema, acne and other skin conditions. The dandelion sap, also known as “Dandelion milk”, is found inside the stem.  Apply the milky white sap directly to the skin blemish. The sap is known to also ease any itchiness that is experienced from the skin condition. There are no side effects of using this plant except; although rare, an individual could possibly develop an allergic reaction. It’s always a good idea, that if you’re trying something new, to try a small amount first.

There are a multitude of health benefits of using Dandelion. It has been used in both Eastern and Western homeopathic medicine. It is a plant product that is known to aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, and cause detoxification. More research/studies need to be conducted due to the inconclusive results; however the nutrients and antioxidant elements that are found in this plant are valuable reasons to consume this plant. Due to the benefits the Dandelion have: for human health, maintaining a healthy environment, and indirectly responsible for a bountiful garden, isn’t worth keeping the dandelions in your yard?

 

A weed is nothing more than an unloved flower.

Violets

Scientific name: Viola reichenbachiana;

Bilogical class: Genus

Edible part of the plant: Blossoms and leaves

***NOTE: The roots are NOT edible, consuming the ROOTs can cause nausea/vomiting. (Ironically, consuming the flowers and leaves has the opposite affect)

Beautiful bluish/purple and white with purple inlet violets, as seen in picture above, have many purposes. Besides being decorative in bouquets, it also is edible and has medicinal properties. This little flower is full of nutrients, it contains high levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. The flowers and leaves are edible, and can be eaten raw. They add to the presentation of a dish when used as a garnish. Some people have been creative, and have added violets to salads, or have decorated cakes with these spring blossoms. Violets can be seeped in a tea, which  gives a sweet herbal taste.

There are several medicinal purposes, it can be made into a salve to treat eczema, the tea can soothe stomach upset/nausea,  but most importantly it can help with preventing cancer. Antioxidants, which are found in violets, destroy free radicals in the body, and prevents cancer cells from forming. These little flowers are full of nutrients.

These little gems are bountiful in New England, found in the woods, pastures, beside a country road, and even in your backyard (if your lucky). If you’re interested in foraging, you will find them in full bloom in May, and yes, that means this is the time to get picking.

Happy Foraging!

 

This is the time of year for baby bunnies

This is the time of year for baby bunnies; you may find a nest right in your own backyard or front-yard in my case. Due to the natural habitat of rabbits being depleted, it is not uncommon for the mother rabbit to make a nest under the sod/grass in your lawn. If you happen to see a bunny or signs of its presence than you are more than likely to have a nest close by. If a nest is in your yard, you will see a dead patch of grass..(when the mother lifts the sod, the grass dies) the mother rabbit will make a burrow (basin shaped), and will use a variety of materials that she will find in her environment to line the nest. After having her litter, she will cover the nest and baby bunnies with the sod. Mother rabbits are very clever at reapplying the sod  to the natural contours of the ground; it is very difficult for predators to detect a nest.

I have a New England Cottontail, that visits my yard frequently. At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was Peter or Penelope who was stopping by; I would see the bunny near the chicken coop grazing on clover, and I thought if there was a nest it would probably be around that area. My family took extra precautions and some areas were completely avoided while mowing the lawn and weed whacking as to not disturb a rabbit’s nest in the backyard. I never thought that a nest would be in the front-yard, especially with all the traffic/activity of us going in and out of the front door, and my cat, Bear,  lounging daily underneath the shrubs in front of the house.  I am just baffled that the mother rabbit would choose that location for her nest.

The best thing anyone can do when they find a nest is to not touch the baby rabbits. You do not want the mother rabbit to reject her litter because of human contact. It is also important to know that the mother only feeds her offspring twice a day. She will intentionally stay away, to prevent predators from discovering the nest. Even though it appears that the mother has abandoned the little ones, usually it is not the case.

The population of New England Cottontail has dwindled, due to their habitat being destroyed. It was once very uncommon to see a rabbits nest in a yard. They normally would  build nests and raise off-spring in brush, but due to their environment being destroyed and developed they have adapted to building nests in open spaces. The conversationalists have recognized the depleting numbers of this species and have several programs to restore their population: http://www.newenglandcottontail.org/conservation/

We can do our part by keeping the nests that we discover as safe as possible, while leaving the nest in its natural surroundings.  It only takes approx. three weeks for the little ones to leave the nest. If we can keep the nest safe for that short period of time then we are helping with the New England Cotton tail long term survival.

 

 

 

Marigolds, the Gardener’s Friend

February is the month to start planting some seeds indoors. It’s always a good idea to start a batch of Marigolds along with your early planting of  vegetable seeds.These small flowers are a natural bug repellent, and will aid in preventing the intrusion of insects that will attack your vegetable garden.

If you start the seeds early, you’ll get more bang for your buck. The cost of starting your own seed packet versus buying a flat of plants ,you end up saving several dollars. The reason you need to start the flower seeds early, because it’s the blossoms that are the bug repellent. You will want the flowers in full bloom, when you plant them with the young vegetable plants.Marigolds are a hardy annual plant; they don’t require any maintenance once their planted in the ground. These flowers thrive in full sun, and will tolerate the hot summer heat.

Marigolds will repell tomato horn worms, squash beetles, and a variety of other garden insects. It’s beneficial to plant the Marigolds between the tomato and squash plants for this reason. This will help maintain your organic garden without the use of chemical pesticides.

Have you been bothered by black gnats or mosquitos, when you were in your garden weeding, harvesting, or doing other garden work? Marigolds will repell those bugs too. Remove a couple blossoms from the plant, and smear it on your skin. It will leave  yellow streaks, but it will wash off easily. Reapply the Marigold blossoms as necessary. It’s safe for both adults and children, it’s an all natural, non toxic alternative to the harsh bug sprays.

Marigolds have multi benefits to the garden and the gardener. Besides repelling the insects, its cost effective by saving the gardener money, no need to buy pesticides or harsh bug sprays. Starting the seeds early, there is also no need to purchase the plants, that too is a saving for you. Happy Gardening!