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Why it is worth going the extra mile to get heirloom seeds for your garden

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Sowing heritage seeds can result in better flavour, a true connection with nature and hope for the future, expert Ellen Ecker Ogden explains. Hannah Stephenson reports.

By Hannah Stephenson
Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 4:45 pm
Source: Yorkshire Post
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Markus Spiske

When we can buy so many vegetable and flower seeds designed to give us great harvests, why would we want to search harder, and possibly spend more, for heirloom varieties?

Conservation of edibles that may have been grown by your grandparents, feeling more connected to nature and being aware that the seed you are sowing hasn’t been tampered with, is all part of it, says garden lecturer Ellen Ecker Ogden, author of The New Heirloom Garden, a guide to having a beautiful and self-sufficient garden, in which she shares the secrets of heritage vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

“Many of the best tasting fruits and vegetables are heirloom varieties because often the breeding companies have been breeding for a bigger, better, taller, stronger, disease-resistant plant, and have not been paying attention to what cooks really want in terms of flavour,” says Ecker Ogden, who is a keen cook herself.

As the need for responsible, ethical growing continues to nip at the consciences of gardeners, some are moving towards a more organic approach by selecting seeds that haven’t been genetically modified to make the harvest more uniform and disease-resistant.

F1 hybrid seeds, the ones so many of us buy, are produced through the manual cross-pollination of two related parent plants that offer particular growing traits. For instance, one parent may taste great while the other might produce large fruits and from that, breeders can produce a seed which, when grown, will possess both traits. However, in future years, saved seeds from hybrid plants may produce different results in either taste or appearance, so it may not be worth saving the seed.

“It may be inconsistent,” says Ecker Ogden. “It may not germinate at all and it can cross pollinate so easily.”

Heirloom seeds are open pollinated, meaning they’ve been pollinated naturally by insects, birds and the wind. They cross pollinate randomly, so you may have a different result in subsequent years, but you are letting nature take its course. Also, they may develop a natural tolerance for regional conditions, she notes.

The work that goes into hybridisation to cross-match beneficial traits of two parent plants is time-consuming and costly. So unless the heritage seed is extremely rare, you shouldn’t be paying more for it, notes Ecker Ogden. And you can cut your seed bill year on year by saving seeds from your heritage plants, she observes.Ecker Ogden says they generally taste better.

“Carrots, for example, used to be sweeter than they are now. Today, they are bred to have really strong tops so they can be mechanically harvested, and a lot of the flavour from the roots has been taken away in order to increase the productivity,” says Ecker Ogden. “Tomatoes are the biggest example. Most people who grow tomatoes in my region will grow some heirlooms which aren’t necessarily as disease-resistant as some of the hybrids, but better flavour comes from ‘Brandywine’, ‘Big Rainbow’ and ‘Green Zebra’.”

Keeping history alive is all part of it as we grow vegetables enjoyed by previous generations, Ecker Ogden adds.

“A lot of these heirloom seeds have been handed down and they get stories around them and you can research the heritage. It creates a curiosity of wanting to know the story behind the seed, creating a sense of longevity,” she says.

“It’s about the cycle of life. When you have a seed you’ve put in the ground, seen it grow and then save the seed for the following year, you are creating that connection with your garden that takes it to a higher level.”

What will you be planting this season? Why are heirloom seeds so important? What would you like to know about the types of seeds available?

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!

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Looking toward spring: how to start seeds

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
  • BY Alena Steen
  • Feb 12, 2021 Updated Feb 12, 2021
  •  Source: Coastal View

Starting seeds directly in garden soil is the simplest way to get a spring garden started. Make sure to label what and where you’ve planted to avoid surprises.

  • Joel Patterson

These large purple and black podded scarlet runner beans are delicious both fresh and dry, and one of the most beautiful seeds around. Beans are very easy to start from seed once the weather warms: Wait until mid to late May to plant out on the coast. Beans are also very easy to save for seed for next year’s crop. Simply allow beans to dry in their pods in the fall until they rattle, then remove the beans and store in a sealed glass jar or paper bag for next spring.

  • Alena Steen

Seeds come in all shapes, sizes and colors, from the tiniest specks of white sand which are chamomile and lettuce seeds to thick and robust pumpkin seeds and corn kernels. All seeds, no matter how tiny, contain a combination of genetic material from two parent plants. For as long as plants and humans have co-existed, humans have worked with the variability and diversity of plants’ genetic inheritances to create different varieties (or cultivars) of a plant, such as a more vibrant or fragrant flower, tastier pepper or cold-tolerant tomato.

Seeds contain genetic memory in the form of a plant embryo encased in a tough seed coat. Many seed coats are designed to facilitate one of several methods of mechanical dispersal away from the parent plant to reduce competition and increase the plant’s range. Depending on their structure, seeds can be wind-borne, snagged and carried along in an animal’s fur coat, dispersed and buried by foraging birds, awakened by wildfire or carried along in river or ocean currents to distant shores. Many of our tastiest fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, tomatoes, melons, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants evolved to tempt passing birds and mammals to eat their sweet fruit and deposit seeds in the ground as scat. 

Starting plants from seed is the simplest way to garden. You don’t need any special equipment other than a packet of seeds and some loose dirt rich in organic material. My method for direct seeding is to loosen compacted soil with a spading fork or shovel before layering about an inch and a half of homemade compost on top of the soil. I plant directly into the compost, which creates a weed-free seed bed full of fertility where seeds are quick to germinate. 

If you are planting a larger area, it’s easiest to dig a shallow furrow to plants seeds and then gently cover them with soil to the appropriate depth. In a smaller space, you can also simply tuck each individual seed into the soil. The general rule of thumb is to plant seeds twice as deep as they are large, though seed packets typically have a more precise suggestion. There are also several types of seed which should not be buried, since they rely on direct sunlight for germination. This is true mostly of certain types of cut flowers, and those directions should be clear on the seed packet.

Once you’ve dug your furrows or tucked seeds into the ground, it’s important to press the ground firmly to slightly compact the surface. Firm seed to soil contact is an important trigger for germination. As you wait for seeds to germinate, ensure the soil remains moist so that a thick crust does not form to inhibit germination. I gently water the soil surface every two to three days depending on temperature and cloud coverage. 

Once seeds have germinated (most veggies should take no more than a week, while certain cut flowers may take up to three weeks), it’s important to reduce watering to prevent soil-borne diseases and moisture-loving insect pests. Veggies and herbs that do well sown directly into garden soil this time of year include kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula, cilantro, dill, parsley, radishes, carrots, beets and turnips.

Many of our annual native flowers, as well as several cut flowers, germinate easily when broadcast on bare dirt just before rain for an effortless pollinator garden come spring. Flowers such as California poppy, phacelia, ornamental breadseed poppies, Queen Anne’s lace, love-in-a-mist and larkspur are all tough plants which grow quickly in cooler temperatures with some rainfall or supplemental hand watering. 

Another option is to start seeds indoors. This is a good choice if you have a lot of bird or insect pressure in your garden or are eager to increase the speed of veggie production, since seedlings often grow faster in a more controlled climate. The same techniques of seed depth, soil compaction and moisture retention apply. Make sure to choose a high-quality potting soil with enough fertility to ensure your seedlings a healthy life. My top choice is E.B. Stone Recipe 420 potting soil, which is certified organic and readily available at garden stores.

Some of my favorite sources for vegetable seeds with excellent germination rates and detailed growing instructions are Johnny’s Seeds, Siskiyou Seeds, Uprising Organics, Wild Garden Seeds and Plant Good Seed (based in Ojai). These are small to medium-scale growers saving and selecting seed on their farms and working toward a more diverse, sustainable and food-secure future. If you are curious to learn more about spring garden tasks such as building soil, preparing seeds beds and planting seeds or transplants, be sure to tune into the Garden’s upcoming Spring Gardening 101 Zoom class on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m.

Alena Steen is coordinator of the Carpinteria Garden Park, an organic community garden located at 4855 5th St., developed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Community members rent a plot to grow their own fresh produce. For more information, visit

How will you start your seeds: in or outdoors? Last year the majority of our seeds began indoors. Select your space whether in or outdoors carefully. Where will your space be that you begin planting your seeds? Why did you choose that space?

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Posted under Home Gardening by Nan Fischer on 
Source: Natures Path

Why do we garden in soil, yet when we wash it off our hands or out of our clothes, it is annoying dirt? How can one item have two definitions, one positive and one negative? Soil provides food, trees, shrubs, and flowers, but dirt is a nuisance remove. Yet they are the same thing!

The Soil Science Society of America defines dirt as ‘displaced soil’, which covers the scenario above, when you clean up after working in the garden. On a larger scale, think of how much soil gets displaced from a landslide and suddenly becomes dirt!


Soil is alive with living organisms such as worms, fungi, insects, bacteria, and organic matter. It supports life with its naturally occurring nutrients and minerals, making it a perfect planting medium. It is a complete and self-sustaining ecosystem.

Sand, silt, clay, and organic matter make up soil. The different sized particles create texture and structure, which aid in aeration and drainage. Soil color shows its mineral content. Different soil types are described by their properties.

When this magnificent living thing called soil leaves the garden on your hands or clothes, it gets displaced and is now defined as dirt.

Source: Natures Path
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook


Dirt is made up of sand, silt, and clay, and it may be rocky. It has none of the minerals, nutrients, or living organisms found in soil. It is not an organized ecosystem. There is no topsoil or humus, no worms or fungi. Lacking texture and structure, dirt does not compact when wet, unlike a handful of soil. The result is run-off and erosion. An old dirt road comes to mind with this definition.

Dirt is dead and does not support life. You cannot plant a productive garden in dirt.


All soil began as dirt. Natural soil formation takes thousands or millions of years, as rocks erode into sand and organic matter decays and accumulates. To archaeologists, the resulting layers of soil represent time, each telling how and when it was created. To them, dirt has no history.

Think of that landslide again. Ancient layers of healthy soil wash away to a new location with no topsoil, no layers, no organization, and no history. Now it’s a pile of dirt, and the process of soil building must begin again.

There are five factors that affect soil formation:

  • Climate
  • Organisms
  • Relief (landscape)
  • Parent material
  • Time

These factors are known to soil scientists as CLORPT, which work together to create the earth’s crust.

There’s no need to wait a million years to transform dirt to soil in your yard, though. Soil is made by mixing dirt with the living organisms that make soil soil.

Source: Natures Path
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Build a compost pile, and add it to your dirt. Organic matter such as leaves, kitchen scraps, and grass clippings attract the beneficial organisms necessary to break it down into beautiful and productive soil. Worms, fungi, microbes, and bacteria are the natural result of good composting practices. Through this video, Dr Elaine Ingham, a renowned soil biologist, speaks in detail about soil microbiology and the importance of compost.

You don’t have to be a soil scientist to see that the difference between soil and dirt is compost. Healthy living soil is all you need to have a beautiful yard and abundant vegetable garden, so there is no need for synthetic, toxic pesticides and fertilizers.

Next time you go inside to clean up after gardening, maybe leave some soil in the garden to cut down on dirt in the house!


What will you be growing this year? Consider this as you amend or develop your soil. Where will your garden be located? 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!

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Know Your Garden Soil: How to Make the Most of Your Soil Type

Source: Earth Easy

If you’re planning to get serious about gardening it’s crucial you get to know your soil type. No matter how much work you do in your yard and garden, all that careful sowing, weeding and tending could be in vain if the quality of your soil is not up to scratch.

The soil provides your plants with the vital nutrients, water and air that they require for healthy growth and development. But each plot of ground has its own blend of minerals, organic and inorganic matter which largely determines what crops, shrubs or trees can be grown successfully.

Ideal soil conditions for specific crops can be created in contained plots such as raised beds or planters, but for larger gardens and landscapes it helps to understand the characteristics of the soil you have to work with.

The Six Types of Soil

There are six main soil groups: clay, sandy, silty, peaty, chalky and loamy. They each have different properties and it is important to know these to make the best choices and get the most from your garden.

1. Clay Soil

Clay soil
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Clay soil feels lumpy and is sticky when wet and rock hard when dry. Clay soil is poor at draining and has few air spaces. The soil will warm up slowly in spring and it is heavy to cultivate. If the drainage for the soil is enhanced, then plants will develop and grow well as clay soil can be rich in nutrients.

Great for: Perennials and shrubs such as Helen’s Flower, Aster, Bergamot, Flowering quince. Early vegetable crops and soft berry crops can be difficult to grow in clay soil because of its cool, compact nature. Summer crop vegetables, however, can be high yielding vigorous plants. Fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs thrive on clay soils.

2. Sandy Soil

Sandy soil
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Sandy soil feels gritty. It drains easily, dries out fast and is easy to cultivate. Sandy soil warms up fast in spring and tends to hold fewer nutrients as these are often washed away during wetter spells. Sandy soil requires organic amendments such as glacial rock dustgreensandkelp meal, or other organic fertilizer blends. It also benefits from mulching to help retain moisture.

Great for: Shrubs and bulbs such as Tulips, Tree mallow, Sun roses, Hibiscus. Vegetable root crops like carrots, parsnips and potatoes favour sandy soils. Lettuce, strawberries, peppers, corn, squash, zucchini, collard greens and tomatoes are grown commercially in sandy soils.

3. Silty Soil

Silty soil
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Silty soil feels soft and soapy, it holds moisture, is usually very rich in nutrients. The soil is easily cultivated and can be compacted with little effort. This is a great soil for your garden if drainage is provided and managed. Mixing in composted organic matter is usually needed to improve drainage and structure while adding nutrients.

Great for: Shrubs, climbers, grasses and perennials such as Mahonia, New Zealand flax. Moisture-loving trees such as Willow, Birch, Dogwood and Cypress do well in silty soils. Most vegetable and fruit crops thrive in silty soils which have adequate adequate drainage.

4. Peaty Soil

Peaty soil
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Peaty soil is a darker soil and feels damp and spongy due to its higher levels of peat. It is an acidic soil which slows down decomposition and leads to the soil having fewer nutrients. The soil heats up quickly during spring and can retain a lot of water which usually requires drainage. Drainage channels may need to be dug for soils with high peat content. Peat soil is great for growth when blended with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity. You can also use soil amendments such as glacial rock dust to raise pH in acidic soils.

Great for: Shrubs such as Heather, Lantern Trees, Witch Hazel, Camellia, Rhododendron. Vegetable crops such as Brassicas, legumes, root crops and salad crops do well in well-drained peaty soils.

5. Chalky Soil

Chalky soil
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Chalky soil is larger grained and generally stonier compared to other soils. It is free draining and usually overlays chalk or limestone bedrock. The soil is alkaline in nature which sometimes leads to stunted growth and yellowish leaves – this can be resolved by using appropriate fertilizers and balancing the pH. Adding humus is recommended to improve water retention and workability.

Great for: Trees, bulbs and shrubs such as Lilac, Weigela, Madonna lilies, Pinks, Mock Oranges. Vegetables such as spinach, beets, sweet corn, and cabbage do well in chalky soils.

6. Loamy Soil

Loamy soil
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Loamy soil, a relatively even mix of sand, silt and clay, feels fine-textured and slightly damp. It has ideal characteristics for gardening, lawns and shrubs. Loamy soil has great structure, adequate drainage, is moisture retaining, full of nutrients, easily cultivated and it warms up quickly in spring, but doesn’t dry out quickly in summer. Loamy soils require replenishing with organic matter regularly, and tend to be acidic.

Great for: Climbers. bamboos, perennials, shrubs and tubers such as Wisteria, Dog’s-tooth violets, Black Bamboo, Rubus, Delphinium. Most vegetable crops and berry crops will do well since loamy soil can be the most productive of soil types. However, loamy soil requires careful management to prevent depletion and drying out. Rotating crops, planting green manure crops, using mulches and adding compost and organic nutrients is essential to retain soil vitality.

Simple Tests to Help Determine Your Soil Type

The water test

Pour water onto your soil. If it drains quickly it is likely to be a sandy or gravelly soil, on clay soils the water will take longer to sink in.

Squeeze test

Grab a handful of soil and softly compress it in your fist.

  • If the soil is sticky and slick to the touch and remains intact and in the same shape when you let go it will be clay soil.
  • If the soil feels spongy it’s peaty soil; sandy soil will feel gritty and crumble apart.
  • Loamy and silty soils will feel smooth textured and hold their shape for a short period of time.

Settle test

Add a handful of soil to a transparent container, add water, shake well and then leave to settle for 12 hours.

  • Clay & silty soils will leave cloudy water with a layer of particles at the bottom.
  • Sandy soils will leave the water mostly clear and most of the particles will fall, forming a layer on the base of the container.
  • Peaty soils will see many particles floating on the surface; the water will be slightly cloudy with a thin layer at the bottom.
  • Soils that are chalky will leave a layer of whitish, grit-like fragments on the bottom of the container and the water will be a shade of pale grey.
  • If the water is quite clear with layered particles on the bottom of the container with the finest particle at the top – this soil is likely to be a loamy one.

Acid test

The standard pH for soils usually ranges between 4.0 and 8.5. Plants favor soil which has a pH between 6.5 and 7 because this is the level where nutrients and minerals naturally thrive. You can buy a pH test kit here, or from a local garden center. As a general rule, in areas with soft water you will have acid soil and hard water areas will tend to have alkaline soil.

Soil test kit

Use a soil test kit to assess primary nutrients (N-P-K) as well as pH levels. By testing your soil, you determine its exact condition so you can fertilize more effectively and economically. Soil should be tested periodically throughout the growing season.

How to make the most of your soil, whatever the type

Plants generally prefer neutral soil but it’s worth bearing in mind that some favor slightly acid or alkaline soils. Regardless of the pH of your soil it is possible to adjust the level slightly to make it more hospitable to the type of plants you want to grow. Remember this is only temporary, so it’s advised to make the most from the soil type you have.

Adding ground lime to your soil will make it more alkaline and aluminium sulfate or sulfur will help to make your soil more acidic.

If your soil is low in nutrients (like sandy soil), try supply it with organic matter such as compost and manure to enrich the soil and improve its texture. Use organic mulches such as straw, dried grass clippings and deciduous leaves. These mulches break down and incorporate into the soil, building a new supply of organic nutrients while improving the soil structure.

Clay soil is often not aerated enough and is deficient in good structure which makes it more difficult for successful growing. To get the most out of clay soil it’s best to add large quantities of well-rotted organic matter in the fall and peat a few weeks before planting. Greensand can also be used to loosen heavy clay soils or bind sandy soils.

It is often difficult to cultivate in chalky soil due to its alkaline nature. To help rectify this add bulky organic matter which breaks down over time, adding nutrients and minerals to the soil.

Make sure your soil is healthy.

It’s a good idea to regard your soil as living as your plants – it too needs food and water. Make sure it contains the three main nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) which are vital to growing plants effectively. Organic matter and fertilizers are rich in these.

After a crop is harvested the soil needs to be renewed before planting a successive crop. Many gardeners plant ‘green manure’ crops such as legumes, buckwheat, vetch and clover which fix nitrogen into the soil while building texture, improving aeration and drainage and adding organic matter. These cover crops are tilled in before they go to seed, and break down quickly so a new harvestable crop can be planted without much delay.

Crop rotation, green manures and cover crops, the use of mulch and the periodic addition of organic materials like compost and fertilizer are standard ways of restoring soil health after crop harvests. Rock phosphate, or rock dust, is also a valued amendment to restore phosphorus levels needed for vigorous plant growth.

If you can, introduce and encourage living organisms to your soil. The fungus Mycorrhize will aid your plants in the absorption of water and nutrients and worms will help speed up the composting process and help spread fertilizer through the soil.

When you first start out this can all seem very complicated but by identifying your soil type it will make the growing and maintaining of a healthy garden a lot easier. Remember, it’s well worth the trouble as your soil type is never going to change!

Garden beds
Source: Earth Easy
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

About the Author

Ruth Barton
This article has been written by Ruth Barton on behalf of William Morfoot, soil and land drainage experts with over fifty years’ experience in creating and maintaining healthy soils.

What type of soil do you have? How has this article helped you determine your soil type and how to amend it? What will you grow this year and how does your soil influence that?

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!

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How To Care for a Spider Plant Like a Pro

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Spider Plant

These easy-care plants are just what your home needs right now
Source: Country Living

Arricca Elin Sansone
Country Living

JAN 10, 2021
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Lucian Alexe

The spider plant has been popular for decades as a low-maintenance houseplant with plenty of personality. With its strappy arching leaves, it looks equally pretty on a tabletop or in a hanging basket where its draping form is highlighted. They’re forgiving houseplants that can live for many years with the right conditions, and they also generate cute baby plants, called plantlets, that dangle from long stems. “It’s an endearing plant, it’s easy to find, and it’s inexpensive, so it’s a great addition to any home,” says Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, author of Houseplant Party and “There are many different varieties available as well.”

Here’s everything you need to know to care for the spider plant.

How much light does my spider plant need?

Spider plants do best in medium to bright light. They’ll take low light but won’t look great because they tend to get leggy and floppy in time, says Steinkopf. They’re happiest in east-or west-facing windows, and they’ll do fine in south-facing windows. But don’t put them in direct sunlight, which will cause burns. If your house is too dark, get an inexpensive LED grow light to give them what they need.

How often should I water my spider plant?

Spider plants like steady moisture. That doesn’t mean you should drench your plant, but spider plants do like soil that’s evenly moist. If your home is super-dry, especially in winter, place your plant on a tray filled with pebbles. Keep water in the tray to boost the humidity level around the plants. Misting isn’t necessary, but go ahead and do it if it makes you feel better! You also can get a small humidifier to run or group several other plants together, which will increase overall humidity in the area.

Should I fertilize my spider plant?

As long as your plant is getting adequate light, it’s making its own food. But it doesn’t hurt to feed it occasionally, if you like. Remember that like outdoor plants, your plant isn’t growing much in winter, so feed it only from spring to fall. Choose any general all-purpose houseplant fertilizer, and apply it at ¼ to ½ strength the package directions.

Why does my spider plant have brown tips on the leaves?

Don’t worry! It’s very common with spider plants and doesn’t mean you’re a bad plant parent. There are many different reasons these occur, such as inconsistent watering or minerals in your tap water, which can build up in the soil. Trim off the brown bits into a pointed shape, then try watering with distilled water, filtered water, or rain water from now on, suggests Steinkopf. It also may help to flush the pot occasionally by watering until it runs out the drain holes.

You can make new spider plants from the “babies.”

When you see little root nubs on the babies, trim the plantlet off and place in another pot of soil. Use a bent paper clip to keep it in contact with the soil, water as usual, and that’s it! Or you can set a smaller pot next to the big plant, and place the plantlet in the soil of the smaller pot while still attached to the mother plant. That way, it’s getting nutrients until it’s rooted, when you can cut the stem from the original plant. It’s also fine to leave the babies in place if you like the looks of them.

Which plants are your favorite indoor / houseplants? Why? Which plants are you growing in your home this fall and winter? Are they herbs or fruit bearing?

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!

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Marigold & Parsley

Parsley and Marigold Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

When we brought our African Marigold flower and Parsley Plant in for the winter we were not sure how quickly and successfully they would transition from being outside to being inside. We are happy to report that parsley seems to be doing very well. We will be clipping her soon and adding her to a dish.

Marigold on the other hand grew very tall and bent way over as she reached for the sun. The single stalk that carries her bountiful blossom weighed down heavy as we tried to straighten her stem out by rotating her pot. When we rotated her pot she bent back to reach for the sun, as plants do, and bent her stalk. She is still repairing under a straw cut down the center and placed around her stem as a brace. We will let you know how she recovers.

What plants have you brought in for the winter? How are they doing? Where are you located? What is the climate like where you are?

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!

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Taping And Splice Grafting Broken Plants: How To Reattach Broken Stems Grafting

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Source: Garden Know How

There are few things more crushing than discovering your prize vine or tree has broken a stem or branch. The instant reaction is to try some sort of plant surgery to reattach the limb, but can you reattach a severed plant stem? Fixing injured plants is possible as long as you borrow some rules from the process of grafting. This procedure is used to meld one type of plant to another, generally onto rootstocks. You can learn how to reattach broken stems on most types of plants. Can You Reattach a Severed Plant Stem? Once a stem or branch has broken off of the main plant, the vascular system that feeds and waters that limb is cut off. This would mean the material would die in most cases. However, if you catch it quickly, you can sometimes splice it back onto the plant and save the piece. Splice grafting broken plants is a method that will attach the main body back onto the broken stem, allowing the exchange of important moisture and nutrients to sustain the damaged stem. A simple fix can allow you to repair broken climbing plants, bushes or even tree limbs. How to Reattach Broken Stems Fixing injured plants with stems that have not been completely severed is easiest. They still have some connective tissue to feed the tips of the damaged piece, which will help encourage healing and health.

The process starts with a stiff support of some kind and plant tape. You are basically making a splint to hold the broken material solidly upright and then some sort of tape to bind it tightly to the healthy material. Depending on the size of the broken piece, a dowel, pencil, or stake can be used as the stiffening object. Plant tape or even old pieces of nylon are ideal for binding the stem. Anything that expands can be used to reconnect the broken piece to the parent plant.

Source: Garden Know How
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Splice Grafting Broken Plants
Choose a splint suitable for the size of the stem or limb. Popsicle sticks or pencils are great for smaller material. Larger tree branches require thicker wood or other hard structures to support the damaged part. Hold the broken edges together and place the stake or splint along the edge. Wrap closely with a stretchy binding such as nylons, plant tape or even electrical tape. The binding needs to have some give so the stem can grow. Brace the stem if it is dangling so there is not additional pressure on it as it heals. This is especially important when you repair broken climbing plants. What Happens Next? Fixing injured plants with a splice graft is no guarantee it will survive the treatment. Watch your plant carefully and give it excellent care. In other words, baby it. Some softer stemmed plants will not heal and the material may mold, or bacteria or fungus might have been introduced into the plant. Thick woody stems such as tree branches may have exposed cambium which doesn’t seal and will interrupt the flow of nutrients and moisture to the damage limb, slowly killing it. You can repair broken climbing plants like clematis, jasmine and indeterminate tomato plants. There are no promises, but you really have nothing to lose. Try splice grafting broken plants and see if you can save damaged material and the beauty of your plant.

How has this article helped you? Did your plant repair? Why? Why not?

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Growing in Autumn

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Echinacea

Its amazing how much people know about this site without ever, as stated, coming to the site. Nonetheless, one of the plants we sent out continues to do well even in the impending autumn and winter. The owner will soon be in the process of bringing her plant indoors. Echinacea requires much patience as it is reported to take up to 2 years to bloom. The medicinal properties of this tall plant are several. Keep growing!

What plants are you bringing indoors? How is it going? Have you made any adjustments?

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Medicinal Properties of Echinacea

echinacea plant shidonna raven garden and cook

Source: Healthline

With the oncoming winter and the lingering pandemic, taking advantage of the medicinal properties of echinacea is beneficial. Be careful to read the below medicinal benefits of echinacea. Use the below lose leaf tea to enjoy the medicinal benefits of echinacea. Stay healthy!

Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea is an extremely popular remedy that’s said to prevent and shorten the common cold.

Evidence has shown that echinacea may help boost the immune system, which could help the body fight off viruses or infections (33Trusted Source).

Many studies have found that echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold, lessen the severity of its symptoms or even prevent it (33Trusted Source).

However, results are conflicting, and most studies have not been well designed. This makes it difficult to tell if positive results are due to echinacea or random chance.

Therefore, it’s not possible to say definitively that taking echinacea will help with the common cold.

At the very least, this warm herbal drink may help soothe your sore throat or clear up your stuffy nose if you do feel a cold coming on (34Trusted Source).

SUMMARY: Echinacea tea is commonly used to prevent or shorten the duration of the common cold. While several studies have found it to be effective for this use, the evidence on the matter is conflicting.

What medicinal benefits are beneficial to you? How well do you think echinacea will help with preventing and curing a cold? How useful is echinacea during the autumn and winter months and during a pandemic?

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Help out in Hawaii and get a free hotel stay

Pumpkin Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Those wishing to engage in a spot of “voluntourism,”  may be interested in an initiative being offered in Hawaii. The “Malama Hawaii” scheme encourages visitors to leave Hawaii better than when they arrived, and in some cases they will receive a free extra night from participating hotels for volunteering.

In an effort to inspire mindful travel, industry partners and volunteer organizations across the state have come together for the project, which comes as Hawaiian tourism recovers from being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Malama” means to “care for,” and Hawaii is asking travelers to be respectful of its beauty and leave with a better understanding of what it means to care for the earth and each other.

Volunteer projects range from reforestation and tree planting to self-directed beach clean-ups, ocean reef preservation and creating quilts for Hawaiian elders. All projects are carried out by following best public health practices. One project is being organized by Alaska Airlines, which is asking people to join in with its initiative of planting one tree for every flight it makes to the Hawaiian islands through the end of the year, in partnership with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

Hawaii is now open to tourists but entry requirements vary by island

“As we welcome visitors back to Hawaii, we want to support awareness of mindful travel to the islands – both in the air and on the ground,” says Daniel Chun, Alaska’s director of sales, community and public relations for Hawaii. “We’re excited to support Malama Hawaii, as it provides a way for our guests to partner with local residents and organizations to help strengthen the communities they visit.

Sustainable travel goals for 2020

Make meaningful travel goals for 2020 – from escaping the crowds to travelling by train.Sustainable travel goals for 2020

Airline, hotel and volunteer organizations that are offering voluntourism opportunities and special offers around Malama Hawaii are listed on Go Hawaii’s website and can be viewed here.

When was the last time you traveled? Where in Hawaii will you go? Will you plant a tree? If yes, send us a picture.

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.