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MiMi’s Response

Cynoglossum amabile shidonna raven garden and cook

We are surrounded by nature and God’s wonders constantly. But, when one slows down or stops to take a closer look, things begin to look a little different. One can see how the small and simple things are connected to the big and profound things. Indeed when you observe nature and all its wonders the discoveries are endless. Scientist have only begun to scratch the surface in some areas. So, when MiMi saw her Cynoglossum Amabile blossom, she had a sense of awww that I have heard many adults echo as the garden grew one sprout at a time. It is easy to stand in aww of God when you see how a little water, soil, seed and sunlight can transform a tiny seed into trees and if we are lucky a delicious watermelon.

How have you observed the wonder of God? Many people have simply said “wow” in response to the progress of the garden. What were your “wow” moments? MiMi and Mom decided to start growing their own edible flowers and purchased a growing kit. How can you start your own “wow” moments? Share your comments 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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Look at the Time you Saved me

Oscillating Sprinkler

Eliot Coleman and many other farmers have automated systems that afford them the freedom to do many other things in their farms and gardens. As we go along we have tried to come up with things that will also save us time amongst other savings. The Soil Block is one thing that saved us time, space, money and resources. The savings from the Soil Blocks seemed endless. One thing that is found on farms and in some gardens as well as greenhouses is some type of water system. It may be a multi source system. It could be from over head. It could be a ground level. It could come from underneath the plant.

Needless to say there are several ways to water your plants. For our size garden an oscillating sprinkler that covers 3,000 square feet seemed plenty. Things are never nearly as much as they might sound when you are thinking in the grand scheme of things. For a mere $8 we plan on saving a lot of time. During those hot summer days when the sky does not open up to offer some relief through rain, we will be pulling the sprinkler out.

It is a great way to get other things done. You can put it on for a pre determined amount of time at night when the sun is less likely to evaporate the much needed water. Or you can set it out during the early morning while you work in the garden. Whichever you choose, it will be a worthy investment and time saver. We could not be more thrilled. It will also help those who are not used to watering plants, when you are away and someone else has to do it.

What are some ways you save time in your garden whether outdoors or indoors? What automated systems are available to you? Don’t know. Tell us what you will be watering and where and we will get back to you with an answer. 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.

Oscillating Sprinkler

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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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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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Cynoglossum Amabile

Cyboglossum Amabile or Chinese Forget Me Not, or as we like to refer to it: MiMi’s Flower is the newest seed in our garden. As always we are happy to be on this journey with you and want to thank MiMi and everyone who has been involved in the garden for the many forms of their contributions. So we got the Cyboglossum Amabile and read the instructions. Pictured above is all that the kit says you need to begin. It is pretty much all we begin with. While you can start this plant indoors, we decided to start this plant outside on the lawn table so that it could get all the sun it needs. The package says to save some seeds for later but we sowed all of them. This could lead to crowding. But, in some ways we are new to this just as you are. So, we decided to experiment a little and see what we get by sowing all the seeds. We pray that these seeds are successful. If so, we will transplant them to our garden and cut some for inside the house.

You can obtain one of these kits from almost any store with a garden section. They cost around $11. Some are a little less. Some are a little more depending on the seed, pot and growing medium. They are not that dissimilar than our Soil Block. The Soil Blocks are just growing medium. The kits also come with a pot and seeds. When sowing with Soil Block you use no pot. You can get about 36 much smaller pellets of growing medium or Soil Blocks for $4. The directions on the growing kit are clear and fairly straight forward. They are easy to follow and a great way to get started sowing and gardening in or outdoors. As we stated, we sowed these outdoors and think they will be a beautiful addition in the garden and around the house.

The instructions had us place the growing medium in a bowl, which was very soft and runny until it absorbed the water. We then placed two thirds of the medium in the pot; placed the seeds on the medium and then covered them with the remaining third of growing medium. We then topped it off with a little water. MiMi and Mom also gave us a cute metal pot, which we placed the seedling in since the medium is a little runny when wet. Metal pots need a lining because they heat up in the sun so quickly and can scorch the plants. The pot provided in the kit was perfect as a lining and had some space at the bottom for catching the soil but allowing for drainage. The space measures about 3/4 of an inch. The pot provided in the kit is well drained with several holes in the bottom of the pot. So, we think it should all work out perfectly.

Like we do with all our seedlings, we will be watching the progress and praying for a successful full fledged plant. Stay tuned for updates and for news about what is budding in the garden. How can a growing kit help you get started growing your own plant? How can children learn about gardens and farming? Growing a plant is a wonderful lesson in the cycle of life. How can you get your children involved in growing their own plants and starting their own gardens? 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. Thank you for stopping by.

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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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