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MiMi’s Flower

cynoglossum amabile shidonna raven garden and cook

MiMi’s flower has come a long way since they were just a couple of seeds. Her flowers’ have begun to finally blossom into beautiful clusters of deep lavender. They began as a few seeds in a growing kit. MiMi and Mom have since gotten their own growing kit with 2 different flowers. MiMi’s gift blossomed into a wonderful exploration between MiMi and Mom into starting their own kitchen garden. And the Cynoglossum Amabiles are a wonderful addition to our front porch. What easy and simple ways can you start your own garden along with MiMi, Mom and many others. Since the beginning of the pandemic many people have begun their own gardens for various reasons. Do you think starting a garden as a response to the pandemic is a good idea? Why? Share your thoughts below by posting a comment. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing!

Cynoglossum Amabile – MiMi’s Flower
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

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MiMi’s Flower

MiMi’s Cynoglossum Amabile (Chinese Forget Me Not) flowers have finally bloomed. These short and thick sprouts are sure to grow into a beautiful addition around the house. For only a dollar this is a great way to introduce your children to gardening. The growing medium discourages over watering because it is a little lose, runny and slow to absorb. Similar growing mediums are available for growing other seeds / plants. These blocks are sold individually from kits and come in blocks of different sizes. They also come in packs with a tray. These packs also have growing medium sold in different sizes.

Kits are great because they take some of the guess work out of beginning to grow plants that many newbies face. The Soil Blocks and Growing Mediums offer the gardener a way to save in many forms. If you would like to learn more about Soil Blocks read our article titled “Soil Blocks” dated May 4, 2020. So far, we favor well drained clay pots. Many kits will not come with a clay pot but you can find one at your local garden center for a little more than $1 depending on the size you want. Metal pots can be lined and if you are remaining true to the Organic Journey you probably do not want to use plastic pots.

Among the Cynoglossum Amabile flowers we also found our Korean Radishes sprouting all over the place now that, fingers crossed, our vole problem is under control and we do not have underground munching going on. Our Pumpkin, Sugar Baby Watermelon and Beans (Green, Pinto & Lentil) are all doing very well. The plants have been getting plenty of water from Mother Nature over the last several days and are slotted to get a lot more over the next several days. We love and we think the plants do too. As soon as the rain lets up and we get a few sunny and calm days, we will set some plants out for transplanting and hopefully get the rest of the plants out into the garden. We halted transplanting until we could figure out our pest problem and then came the rain. So, hopefully we will get back on track in about a week.

We have a few squash and melon lovers out there, we are sure they are happy to see them sprouting and doing well. What pest problems have you encountered? How can you use these Organic Pest Remedies around the house as well as in the garden? What do you think the benefits would be? Do you think it would help save money and improve your health? Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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MiMi’s Flowers

Matthew 18:3-4 and said, “Truly , I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”.

It has been a beautiful day in the garden today. The rain is falling perfectly for the plants and the birds are out sining their songs. As I stand in the mini greenhouse sowing the seeds that were recently attacked by what we believe was a vole, I could not help thinking this must be similar to what a rain forest sounds like. Starting this garden has made us more aware of our environment even in our urban and residential areas. Barbra and many others have been inspired to begin their own gardens. We will keep you updated on the inspiration that is sprouting up.

When we get our children involved in productive things and things that involve the environment as well as the cycle of life, my hope is that wonderful things ensue. So, I want to thank MiMi & Mom for the inspiration. This bible verse immediately came to mind. It is a wonderful thing to get children involved and a wonderful thing when they remind us of those things that are of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Since MiMi & Mom gave me a growing kit, they have went out and got their own really cool growing kit. This growing kit has metal pots. An important thing to remember when using metal pots is to line them so the roots of the plants do not get scorched by the pots and the sun when the metal heats up. We got on the topic of lining and paper. Because of the issues we had with mold, I recommended wax or parchment paper as a lining. They will be keeping an eye on things and letting us know how this works out. As always we will keep you updated on what we learn.

MiMi & Mom’s kit includes Lavender and Chamomile. Because they are both edible flowers, this kit is a very interesting combination. Lavender can be used for almost anything: cooking, sachets, balm, oils and decoration. Lavender can grow into a fairly tall and beautiful plant. Some people use them almost like shrubs. Chamomile is often used in teas but can also be used for decoration. Both make beautiful teas. Lavender can be placed on chicken breasts and baked as well.

During harvest season we look forward to seeing how MiMi & Mom use these beautiful flowers. MiMi & Mom are like me. They love a good deal and found this gorgeous kit at 5 below, which is a store where everything is $5 or lower. If my knowledge serves me correctly. What are some of your favorite flowers? Are they edible? How can you inspire someone else? Thank you for sharing with us MiMi & Mom. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Crowded

MiMi’s Flower started it all. MiMi & Mom brought us a Cynoglossum Amabile (Chiense Forget-Me-Not) Flower Growing Kit. We spotted the same brand in the gardening section of our local dollar store. When we saw the Growing Kit we were pretty excited. So we got the Echinacea Purpurea Flower Growing Kit also. Echinacea Purpurea is known for its ability to boost and build up the immune system, which is a perfect way to stay healthy in this Corona climate. You guessed it. It is an edible flower and can also be put on salads. When we bought Echinacea Purpurea home we decided to do an experiment on crowding. Just a note, the Echinacea Purpurea seeds from this Growing Kit are 100% Natural and come from Czech Republic. MiMi’s Flower (Cynoglossum Amabile) is also a 100% Natural Seed coming from the Netherlands.

We sowed all of MiMi’s Flowers in the one pot provided in the Growing Kit. While the Echinacea Purpurea we sowed in 2 pots (because we had already moisten our growing medium and had enough for 2 pots); we also sowed it in a Soil Block and directly in the ground. We sowed 3 – 4 seeds in each location and saved the remaining seeds. As all flowers grow we can observer how these plants handle crowding (since the packet did not provide spacing instructions) and how they react to the different sowing environments (pot, Soil Block and directly into the ground).

You will also find videos in this article showing how the growing medium in the kit absorbs water as well as how the Soil Blocks absorb water from the bottom up going from a dry medium disc into moistened growing medium. What did you learn from the videos? Would you like to see more videos? We have a You Tube channel now. Be sure to check it out and see what is new. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Soil Blocks
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
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Roots

When transplanting a plant, one of the first things we do is give its roots a lot of water. And when we water our plants daily, we water the roots not the leaves. If you water the leaves, you can encourage disease. So, this is the one time you can aim low and its ok. The first thing we want our plants to do is grow a healthy and well developed root system. This is typically underground so we tend to forget it. But, it is very important to the plant. The roots go out and seek the nutrients the plant needs to survive and thrive. We want to encourage a well developed and deep root system with access to all the nutrients it needs to cause our plants to thrive. So when applying fertilizer or just watering your plants, always aim for the roots of the plant. This practice will encourage and promote good plant health.

Regardless if you are growing a simple indoor herb or an outdoor onion nourishing the roots is key. Thank you for taking this journey with us. What have you learned so far along the way? What has been most helpful to you? How are your plants responding? Send us a picture and leave a comment so we can share your success and trail and error with everyone. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Great Pumpkin

Many of you know that Pumpkin suffered the first fatality in our garden from an unknown pest. We spotted a white and black cat in the garden today. While some of us do not believe cats are the pests we need to worry about, we still have not truly identified the culprit. The garden has attracted many birds and possibly the birds are attracting the cats. It is not the first nor last cat we will see around here – pre garden. Both the Pumpkins big and beautiful leaves were missing leaving only a stalk, which never produced more leaves once the only two it had were gone. As you might expect Pumpkin was our largest sprout and one of the first plants to go out into the garden from the mini greenhouse. It was an interesting plant we truly enjoyed watch growing so when it suffered its attack, we were all pretty disappointed.

Like most gardeners we were far from giving up. We sowed another few seeds from our arsenal and hopes of getting it out in time for fall and we are thus far on schedule. The good news is Pumpkin is beginning to show signs of sprouting as you can see. We expect to see two bold and beautiful (soap opera reference :)) green leaves soon. When Pumpkin finally sprouts and makes its return we will transplant her out into the garden and be sure to give you an update. Pumpkin’s anticipated return it here!

Does starting a garden seem overwhelming? How can you get started? How can you start a small garden and grow? How can you learn from set backs like pests and disease? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Mighty Mulch

As we shared with some of you already, we are hoping to make some additions to the garden that we think will prove helpful. One of those additions is Mulch. Besides being really attractive Mulch, has many benefits for a garden particularly the Mulch we selected. It also left us with a couple quest

ions as we take this Organic Journey. Let’s look at the benefits first:

  • Mulch increases moisture. Moisture promotes plant growth.
  • Dark soil (or medium, in this case Mulch) increases the benefits of the sun. As an artist I know color theory. Black (in this case our Mulch is Black) absorbs all colors while lighter colors reflect certain colors and this is how the eye reads color. So black is the inclusion of all the colors that the sun rays have to offer reflecting no light. As we know light promotes plant growth.
  • Mulch also starves weeds of sunlight discouraging their growth
Darker & Richer Sun Loving Mulch
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

We understood color theory, so that had us pretty excited about what this mulch could do. So we took a trip to the local garden store and found Mulch by the bag. You can also get Mulch in bulk. But, this typically needs to be delivered or picked up and is not bagged. Because of the size of our garden and the fact that we are going to lay our Mulch down in stages and allow some of our seedlings to sprout into plants before laying the Mulch to make sure their growth is not hindered, we decided to get our Mulch by the bag. We picked up a bag of Mulch for $4 a bag, which covered one row. We are very excited about getting the weeds under control and look forward to the day when they do not appear at all. The Mulch should help us with this. Anytime you can save time in the garden and spend it doing other things in the garden, it is a good thing. We are hoping the Mulch is a game changer for us like the Soil Blocks were and that it saves us the time it takes to constantly weed.

As usual, we will be watching closely to see how our plants respond to the addition of the Mulch to the garden. Laying the Mulch down in stages will give us a great opportunity to compare how the plants with and without the Mulch are doing. We hope the benefits of the Mulch pay off big for the garden. We are all looking forward to a bountiful Harvest this season, so we are doing all that we can to promote such ends.

As we stated before, we had some questions about the Mulch and Mulch in general as gardeners and consumers. The Mulch & Soil Council has a certification and label for Mulches. However, they are very vague about pesticides and other content in their certifications. Since this is an Organic Journey this raised questions for us. Why so vague if (and it is) Mulch is used in gardening. Their standard may not be high enough for the Organic Gardener and other options maybe more suitable. We plan on asking them about their certifications and raising our concerns as Organic Growers. We looked carefully at the package ingredients, which were forest matter and colorant. While the ingredients did not seem alarming, we know that you can not always judge a book by its cover. Stay tuned for an update on this certification and label.

Mulch & Soil Council Label
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What did you learn about Mulch that you did not know? What do you think of the current labels and certifications that are on foods? We will be talking more about what it means to be certified organic and the organic labels you see in your local grocery store. How can we make food production more transparent to the consumer? How would you shop differently if you knew more about your foods? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Near Fatality – The Follow Up

As you might remember, when Roma & San Marzano were transplanted, Roma Tomato was transplanted next to San Marzano. Roma tomato had an ant infestation at the bottom of her pot. This infestation could have happened in the mini greenhouse or outside during acclimation. Either way, Roma was in trouble and we could not tell from top side. We discovered the infestation when we went to remove Roma from her pot and place her in the ground. Roma was uprooted from her new home in the ground and left inches from her mound with no source of nutrition. We are sad to say that Roma did not make it and had to be resown right into the ground. Because it is now April and we have likely seen the last frost for the year, it should now be safe to sow right into the ground and transplanting is not as necessary. Though we do have another Roma plant that came to us as a plant and not a seed. She is growing taller everyday and doing very well.

San Marzano Tomato
San Marzano Hierloom Tomato – Organic Seed
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

San Marzan was also tugged from her mound and had to be nursed back into her mound and into good health. We are happy to report that she seems to be recovering nicely and taking to her new home (pictured above). Her stalk is strong and her leaves are high.

As we stated, our goal is to get them into plantlings and outside into the garden fast. As April was the popular month for our Zone (Norfolk, Virginia) for planting. Some seeds should be sown in May (check your seed packages). But, for the most part our seeds should have all gone out in April. So we are filling in our rows as quickly as we can. Speaking of which, you can see pictured in our featured image, green bean and habenaro pepper lined up to be the next transplants that go into the garden. It seems like one after the other these days. They are both acclimating well and looking good for transplanting.

We know a couple of people as stated in a previous article who like it hot. So, this is for you. Stay tuned for updates and harvest season for habenaro. We have a couple questions with answers coming up soon and an update on the Soil Blocks. What did you learned from this experience? What questions do you have? What subjects would you like to see for our next article? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Transplanting Progress

Our goal over the next several weeks is to get all the plants from inside the mini greenhouse and outside into the garden. Things are progressing well. But, there is still much left to be done. We will be planting a few of the same types of plants. We have been anticipating the harvest and looking forward to a bountiful one. We will also be resowing some plants that did not either sprout or did not grow into successful pants or transplants.

As with any garden there is much work to be done; many observations to make and much progress ahead. Today we put out 4 (pinto bean, navy bean, parsley and sage) more transplants (pictured in the article) and observed some successful transplant progress. We also observed some recent and first transplants that are doing pretty well ( 2 tomato plants and 2 kale varieties that we put out. We are actually having kale tonight. But, that is store bought. Wait to you start your own garden as everyone says. You will not regret it and you will notice the difference.

Early Girl Tomato came to us fresh from the store as a plant and she is one of the plants we transplanted right away with out acclimating her. Because she went into shock, we spent many weeks nursing her into good health and protecting her from pests while she recovered from shock. So, we are pleasantly surprised to see her doing so well and growing tall. Her stalk is growing thick, tall and strong. As goes nature from time to time tomato leaves will grow yellow and then brownish. It is recommended that you clip these leaves to maintain the health of the plant and prevent disease. We have not yet seen any flowers. Tomatoes are perfect plants and will pollinate themselves. So, we are expecting to see some flowers before we see any fruit. The birds and butterflies love the garden and come to visit quit often. We will talk more about the birds and bees in another article.

Roma Tomato, very good for sauces because of the few seeds, has truly and literally blossomed. She too came to us straight from the store and went straight into the ground. We prune her and keep her in good health. Her stalk is growing strong, thick and tall. She is healthy and holding her leaves high. And as you can see, she really has blossomed two beautiful yellow flowers. So, we are expecting fruit to start budding any time soon. So we can patiently watch it ripen on the vine. I think this is going to be Charles’ top pick as I know he is into homemade pasta. She has come a long way. We are so pleased at her progress. The neighbors come by often to see the new garden in the yard. They have commented more than once how beautiful the yard is. We are hoping to make a couple of more inviting additions to the yard that will keep the yard a warm and welcoming place.

We planted two varieties of kale, which we love around here. Dark leafy greens are always high on the recommended good for you list. We like them because they are high in iron. Initially, I was very concerned about kale because no matter how much dirt I piled around it, they were just leggy and wanted to flop over and lie close to the ground. I noticed today that they seem to be holding their stance and growing their leaves big now that they are out of the pot. They are bright green and growing crinkles around the edges of their leaves like most typical kale. While you can cook kale, we have lots of salads in store for this duo. We are eager to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Waiting to enjoy seems to be the hardest part. At least my father and I both share that sentiment.

In keeping with our mission to get all plants out to the garden over the next several weeks, we brought out pinto and navy bean, which look very similar to green bean. Unlike lentil bean, which looks tall and stalking bearing several small leaves and a few branches. At least for now. They are not nearly as tall. Nonetheless, they went through the transplanting acclimation period very well and are standing tall as well as looking good. We gave them a healthy amount of water and will be watching how they take to their new home in the garden.


Sage and Parsley went out today also. Sage is looking a little saggy. But, it seems to be holding kind of low. Or either it was reaching for sunlight in the greenhouse. We are hoping that once she catches to her new home that she will spread out and full up. Parsley is one of those plants who did very well. We had one in a clay pot and one in a cardboard like pot and the one in the clay pot did very well in our mini greenhouse aka garage (which seemed to be very mold loving. if we decide to make cheese we should be good.). We are sure that the mold had something to do with that. Overall we were very pleased at how the clay pots were able to shrug off disease. We were able to get the smaller clay pots at a local dollar store. So, they were a good investment. We will wash them out and use them again.

When washing pots it is important to note that you should remove all past substance to prevent disease from spreading. However, if you use a detergent, sit your pot out in the sun for a few weeks and allow the chemicals to leave the pot. You might also try a water and bleach solution or an organic cleanser. What observations have you made? Have you begun your kitchen herbs or garden yet? What is holding you back? Have questions? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.