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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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Sowing, Growing & Harvesting Carrots

Sowing, Growing & Harvesting Carrots
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The great news is if you know one root plant you pretty much know them all. Similar types of plants share similar growing and harvesting needs. Similar to radishes these roots will come close or above the soil when they are ready. As Chef Ponder would say, do you know the true color of carrots? The true color of carrot is purple. Do you know how we got the orange carrot? They added beta carotene to the carrot creating the color orange. How did this video help you? What did you learn about food and food production?

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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Watermelon, Greenhouses & Indoor Gardening

Sugarbaby Watermelon Shidonna Raven

When we decided to start our garden, as you know, it began humbly with a mere 2 packs of seeds destined for the kitchen window. It quickly grew into over 30 seeds. We planted each one. Some where successful and others were not. But, as Eliot Coleman will tell you, even the experienced farmer learns through trail and error. When we started we began in our mini greenhouse, which is really our garage with 3 windows. We were so excited to get started that we begun at the end of the winter season, which was at the very very beginning of the growing season for many of our seeds in our zone (Virginia, USA). When you began before the last frost has past, you must start inside with the seeds that can be transplanted. Then once the frost has past and its growing season has begun one can transplant them outside. So, because we began early we started in our mini greenhouse and got a jump on the season. Greenhouses can be used year around for various reasons. However, they are key when you want to grow outside of a seeds growing season by either starting early or extending the season.

Pumpkin Flower in Bloom
Pumpkin Flower in Bloom

The watermelon you see (1st image) in our outside garden started as a seedling in our mini greenhouse. The mini greenhouse presented several challenges to us with its high moisture and low light. We discovered there were many other factors that were hindering the success of some of our seedlings. When we had questions and were left scratching our head when our seedlings ran into trouble, we turned to Richard Bray’s book “Greenhouse Gardening” for answers to our questions. Understanding greenhouse gardening is understanding how to garden indoors whether one has a kitchen herb plant or a simple house plant. He helped me to understand factors such as heat, ventilation, watering and sunlight. This book was a tremendous resource that helped us grow our watermelon successfully. We had to sow her several times. At first she did not sprout successfully. But, once we understood greenhouse gardening more, we were able to grow her successfully into a plantling. Now she is in the garden outside thriving. We located “Greenhouse Gardening” for an absolute steal. We love deals around here. Click the link below to get yours. We can not wait to see her fruit. I know someone who is a huge watermelon fan! So we are happy to report that she is doing well and in the same row as pumpkin. Stay tuned to see her progress.

What information do you find helpful? How did “Greenhouse Gardening” by Richard Bray help you? Email us photos to share with the community. Which one do you prefer: pumpkin or watermelon? We have big fans of both. As usually, we are all waiting to taste!

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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Soil Blocks

We heard about Soil Blocks from another talented farmer and gardener. We were not sure what to think. But from all that we heard, we were excited to give them a try. Soil Blocks come in different shapes and sizes. Which one you use (size) is dependent largely on the size of your seed and plant. While they also can be used for seedlings that grow in size. Just like when you put a seed that is grown into a plant into a larger pot so that it can grow bigger. It is the same concept. There are Soil Blocks and Soil Pellets, which is largely dependent on the shape. Soil Blocks can either be made or purchased. We ventured out in this Corona climate and found Soil Pellets, which we have found to be quit nice.

The seeds are placed in the center of the flat discs. The discs are placed in a tray. We have been moving from plastic trays to clay trays to be more true to our organic pursuits. Clay, we have found, is excellent in disease prevention as well as drainage, especially when there is a hole at the bottom of the pot for drainage. Once your seeds are in place you water the discs, follow the directions on your package, from the bottom (because they are sitting in some type of tray). In the case of our pellets you must be careful to water from the bottom so the seeds do not fall out from the disc. The disc grows about an inch to an inch and a half in height becoming cylinders. The soil medium grows around the hole where your seeds are and effectively buries them in the soil for you.

Our instructions advised us to water the Soil Blocks whenever the soil medium is a light brown. We are still trying to figure out a good labeling system. For now we just used a little paper. We liked the Soil Blocks for several reasons:

  • Saves Money – Because you are using less soil and no pots. You save a tremendous amount of money. We got 36 pellets for around $4.
  • Saves Space – Because you are not using pots and the space the Soil Blocks takes up are considerably less. You save on space and then can spread natural resources such as water, sunlight and soil much better.
  • Saves Stress – Because you do not have to remove transplants from pots, you save on stress plants experience when you transplant them. The entire Soil Block is placed right in the soil. If you have inside contained plants, when moving from say a larger pot from a smaller pot because your plant is growing, the transplant process is a lot easier and also reduces plant stress.
  • Save Time – Because your Soil Blocks do not have to be watered everyday, you save a tremendous amount of time. When it rains outside and your Soil Block are moist inside, you have a day off from watering.

We have not yet transplanted our Soil Blocks. Nor have our seeds grown into plants yet. Check back. We will keep you posted. A few have sprouted. We expect the transplant process to go very well. Another note, the plant roots will be poised to settle in their new homes / the surrounding soil as long as they do not sit to long in the Soil Blocks. Unlike plants in pots whose roots can begin to circle the pot as they grow in search of new soil and resources.

We are all about sustainability so when we saw these clay trays we knew that we could re purpose them when all the plants are in the ground and out of the mini greenhouse. In our garden we have a few melons and squashes. It is recommended that some of them will need to be raised off the ground to prevent rot and other unseen issues. So when we are done with the clay trays in the greenhouse, we will use them to lift our melons off the ground. Wood would probably be easier and more cost effective. However, wood is susceptible to mold and may not resolve the issue we are trying to address.

The Soil Blocks have been a game changer for us. Thus far, we highly recommend them. How can Soil Blocks help you get your own garden started? Try them out and let us know what you think. 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 Pellets (Soil Blocks)
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
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Harvesting Herbs

We had a few questions about harvesting herbs. And we are here and happy to answer. First and foremost we have a love for herbs because they are a great way to start gardening. You can keep them in containers on your window seal if you like. Or you can place larger pots on your front or back patio. It is how we begun our organic garden. Although we went from 2 seeds to over 30 seeds in the same day, it is a great way to get started and introduce yourself to organic gardening. We highly recommend it. So, go ahead and get started. Remember, to send us your pictures and leave comments all about your journey in organic gardening. We invite you to join us on ours.

Dill before harvesting
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Question: When you harvest your herbs will they grow back?

Answer: The quick answer is yes.

As long as your herb is in its season it will continue to grow back for some time. Some herbs will come back year after year but lose their flavor after a few years, like oregano.


1.You can see the dill before harvest. 2. You can see the dill pre cooked. 3. You can see the dill after we cooked it up with salmon. 4. You can see how the dill is slowly growing back in its small container. This is after about 5 days after the initial harvest. Dill was the first plant that we harvested in our organic garden. We also used a little thread from our sewing room and a popsicle stick (from the local general store) to stake the herb as dill has a tendency to get a little leggy and want to flop over. We did this to encourage growth and to prevent the stems from breaking and becoming damaged, hindering growth. Remember to keep the herb and not the popsicle stick towards the light.

Thank you for your questions. We truly enjoy making this journey with you and hope that you will soon visit one of your local garden stores or nurseries and began your organic journey with us. What questions do you have? What are your observations. We invite you to leave your comments with us. We love pictures. Be sure to contact us and e mail them right over.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.