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Using Tea Infusers

Using Tea Infusers
Source: The Tea House
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What is your favorite type of tea? What is your favorite type of tea infuser? Why?

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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Luscious Lavender

Lavender Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

This lavender plant grew from a single shoot into the luscious plant you see today. It only takes a few seeds to produce such a plant. The seeds go a long way: multiplying into several shoots. As the season changes from summer to fall, there are things to consider when preparing our plants for the change of the season. For the upcoming winter season Terrableu suggests the following for potted lavender plants such as these:

When bring it inside for the winter, it will need to be acclimatized to its new location, to do this:

Move plant to a covered porch (receives less sunlight) to get it use to less sun for a few hours each day for a week or so, increase time toward end. Leave potted plant in this spot without moving for another week.

Move the plant inside house for a couple hours each day for a week, gradually increasing time inside.

Keep in a good spot that receives lots of sunlight and has good air circulation

Water less often than in the summer. Allow top inch of soil to be dry before watering again.

Lavender Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What outdoor potted plants do you have? What climate or gardening zone do you live in? What will you do with your plants for the winter? 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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Preparing Lavender for her new home

It is always a joy to see plants grow from seeds into plantlings. This particular lavender is now a plantling and ready for her new home, so we got her all prepared for the trip. For this lavender plant we did the following:

  • Picked up a clay pot that she would have plenty of room to grow in. she can stay in this pot, but if one puts her in the ground she will probably grow bigger. We chose a glazed clay pot with a bottom drain hole. The clay is a natural material. The glaze will keep moisture in and reduce the amount of water needed to water lavender. The drain hole at the bottom will keep one from over watering any plant.
  • Filled the pot with organic soil especially since she is edible
  • Transplanted her from her old pot to her new pot
  • Gave her a healthy dose of water, although she likes little water, so she could settle into her new home and recover from all the disruption of being transplanted
Parsley Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Pick up your own parsley plant today.

The final plant is what she should look like, although she is just getting started. Are you ready to transplant your own plant? What questions do you have? Post them below. What will you grow in your own urban, or otherwise, garden? 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 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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Growing Lavender

Growing Lavender
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Recently we sent to a new home (what we believe to be) lavender. It could be in a very young stage or just a different variety but our lavender looks nothing like this. We could have mixed up our labels as well. For the most part we have done a pretty good job and know what everything is, so this is an unfolding mystery. The plant acts just like lavender in that it thrives on fairly dry soil with little water. It is always interesting to see how plants grow, but this shall be extra interesting. Thank you for taking this journey with us. There is always next year and we have plenty of lavender seeds. We pray she does very well in her new home. So far, we have only good reports.

Richard Bray’s Medicinal Mushrooms: A Practical Guide to Healing Mushrooms is a must have for your ‘medicine cabinet’ and library. It is a resource to the healing powers of mushrooms and which mushroom to eat for a particular medicinal benefit. We recommend getting up before it goes up. It was just published August 2020.

What plants would you like to see us grow next year? We already have a request in for strawberries. Which plants would you like to grow on your own? Which plants help with your particular health concerns? 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 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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For the Love of Lavender

Lavender Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

We started most of our seedling early in the season inside our mini greenhouse, which is actually a garage with several windows. Lavender was one of the plants we started in our mini greenhouse. We started our seedlings in February just before the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic. Since the pandemic many people have begun their own gardens for a host of reasons. Since our growing season for the seeds we planted did not began until March we planted inside in February and then transplanted them into the outside garden when the season began. There are several benefits to growing in greenhouses. Many gardeners and farmers use greenhouses or some type of greenhouse system to lengthen the growing season. Indeed I have seen some gardeners and farmers growing in snow season. Our homes are a sort of greenhouse for the plants we keep indoors. The plants needs are not the same when they are inside or in some type of greenhouse structure. Richard Bray gives an excellent brake down of the greenhouse in their many forms in “Greenhouse Gardening” . What was most helpful about “Greenhouse Gardening” was understanding how to create an environment in which plants can grow indoors. Bray reminds us that plants have different needs than we do when indoors and that their needs change when they are indoors as oppose to outdoors. Read our review of “Greenhouse Gardening” to learn more. “Greenhouse Gardening” can be found here.

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greenhouse shidonna raven garden and cook
Mini Greenhouse
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Lavender was one of those plants we struggled with until we had a better understanding of how to care for our plants inside our mini greenhouse. She grew from a simple shoot into a shoot with several leaves. We re-potted her and brought her outdoors once the growing season began here in Norfolk, VA, USA. We were not certain if she would make it. But, these plants will surprise you. Just when you think they will not make it they come back in big and powerful ways. As you can see lavender has gown into a host of shoots with leaves and what we believe will grow into stems of lavender blossoms. We know a few people who like lavender so we kept sowing her until she grew into the large plant picture above. For gardeners and farmers alike the growing process can be one of trail and error even for the masters. Many have great difficulty growing lavender, so we were pleasantly surprise to see her flourishing. One thing to remember about lavender is to keep her well drained and sparsely watered. She does not like much water and her seeds must be properly prepared.

Did you know that besides smelling amazing lavender is an edible flower? Which edible flowers do you like? Many of us enjoy these flowers for their medicinal purposes (such as echinacea). Which edible flowers are your favorite? How do you eat them? We also know several tea drinkers. Share your comments with the community 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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Professor Plant

Benefits of House Plant

Learning something is perhaps one of the most humbling things you can do. Learning from a child can also be humbling. However, if you allow the learning experience to happen to you and you embrace it, you will learn something new. Depending on what you learn, learning can be profound. I learn something new every day in the garden. One of the things that struck me is how caring for and observing the plants has improved how I care for myself health wise. These little plants and seedling have taught me a lot. God is awesome in that his lessons, principles, parables and teachings are often transferable to other areas of our lives. Observing nature is no different. Having and caring for plants is observing nature.

I did expect to eat the plants and receive health benefits from that process. However, the other thing I noticed is that I have begun to recover from illness sooner than I had previously. I had a sneeze and mucus associated with the sneeze that just would not go away. In this current Corona client, as we know, being healthy is the new normal. One thing we have learned from Corona statistics is that those who already had underlining health concerned were hit the hardest. This showed up in nursing homes amongst the elderly and in African American communities.

I never took any medications to improve my sneeze. However, what I did do was take some natural (food) remedies know to boost the immune system, such as vitamin C, honey and ginger. I drank apple juice fortified with vitamin C and made a honey, ginger and turmeric tea. All of which I am sure contributed to my improved health. I also found that for some reason I was always cleaning my eyes. And suddenly the skin around my eyes was less agitated and moist. I stopped rubbing my eyes and the skin around my eyes became more soft and supple like the rest of my skin and the soreness in my throat begin to alleviate.

That I did not expect. What I did expect was to learn more about gardening and becoming a better gardener. What you can read in our May 31, 2020 article “Infectious Disease” is how we have been identifying plant disease and addressing it quickly. We do not have all the answers yet but we will keep close observation and let you know what we learn. What we do learn from WebMD is that house plants have the following benefits:

  • Allergy Relief
  • Lifts your Mood
  • Adds Moisture to the Air
  • Purifies the Air
  • Improves Digestion (Mint and other foods as well as herbs)
  • Relaxing (such as the Lavender & Chamomile MiMi and Mom have)
  • Good for First Aid (Aloe)
  • Produces Oxygen through photosynthesis
  • Relieves Stress
  • Faster Healing
  • Better Mental & Emotional Health

Click WebMD to read this article and learn more about the benefits of house plants. For those who choose to keep their gardens indoors or to have kitchen gardens, having your plants around maybe more beneficial than you knew. Do you have any house plants? Why do you have them? What do you like about having them around? What observations have you made? 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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MiMi’s Inspiration

African Marigold

MiMi and mom gifted us a Cynoglossum Amabile (Chines Forget Me Not) growing kit. Soon after I picked up another kit of Echinacea from the same location. They like a good deal just like we do so it was perfect and the Echinacea has begun to sprout from the kit I got. I did use a different pot then what was provided by the kit. On May 26, 2020 we posted the article “Crowded”  including a video showing how to use growing kits (specifically how to activate the growing medium). Click the article name “Crowded” to view the article. 

After which, MiMi and Mom got a kit for themselves and decided to grow Lavender & Chamomile. Two of our favorite flowers. Both can be used to make teas and both look very beautiful. Lavender is one of those amazing flowers that can be used for almost anything such as making oil scents, perfumes and you can cook with it. So, we though that was pretty cool and hope MiMi is having an awesome learning experience like us. So, we felt inspired to check out this store too since they (MiMi & Mom) are so good at finding deals. And we did. They had a variety of several kits there.

We did not pick up a kit. However, we did pick up some unexpected good advice. We were telling the staff all about the problem that we were having with ants and how we were really looking for an Organic Remedy to the issue. And it just so happen that a few of his family members were really into gardening also. He told me that ants hate Marigold and a few other plants and herbs. We were considering putting up a boarder around the garden. After doing a little research on the matter we discovered that he was 100% correct about the Marigold and ants. Needless to say we got several packs of Marigold Mission Giant Yellow (there are several varieties of marigold) to plant around the boarder of the garden. We also got one full fledge plant: an African Marigold. Some of its flowers are still blooming. Other flowers on the plant have already bloomed as you can see. Naturally the plants are more. So, we got a plant (it looks like four plants in one pot) to get us started and several seeds to keep us going. The seeds will take a week or two to sprout and over 2 months to bloom. We will soon separate the plants out into separate pots to spread the ‘remedy’ around.

As with all our ant Organic Remedies we are being persistent and trying to give them time to work. Because we have serval remedies at work if one does not work than we hope the other will. In the interest of time we are trying multiple avenues. So far the ants seems to be checking the Marigold out and she is standing firm. We will be making observations regarding all our remedies. We are learning too MiMi. Stay tuned to see how things go. 

Where are some interesting places you have found help or information? Have you ever considered using a plant as a pesticide? What other Organic Remedies do you know of that you can share with the community? Did you know ants also hate coffee grounds? Did you know that coffee grounds are good for compost and as a fertilizer? Read more about coffee grounds in our May 24, 2020 article “Compost & Coffee Grounds”. As always you are the best part of what we do. stay healthy.

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.