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Chives - Allium Schoenoprasum
Known as common garden chives, Allium schoenoprasum, can be grown indoors and out. Chives are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. They are grown for the flavour of their leaves, which is reminiscent of onion, although much milder. Both the stems and light purple flowers are used in cooking and the snipped leaves are an addition to many dishes. Chives lose their flavour with long cooking so it is best to add them to dishes at the last minute. For chopping stems, a pair of scissors is the best tool.
Chives can be frozen or dried. They are less flavourful when dried rather that frozen, so they are best used when fresh and snipped, or snipped and frozen. In both cases sort them carefully, removing any yellowing leaves and shoots, and keep only the plump green ones. It is possible to place chives in non-iodized salt, keep them there for several weeks, remove the leaves, and then bottle the 'chive salt' for use in flavouring.
Chives are a perennial in the garden and grow approximately 12 inches (30 cm) tall. They are extremely easy to grow, are drought tolerant, rarely suffer from disease or pest problems, and don't require fertilizer. Cultivation requirements for growing chives: full sun, will tolerate light shade; grow best in well-drained, organic, fertile soil; keep soil moist ? use mulch, and water during periods of drought. Chives tend to get overcrowded so dig and divide every three to four years.
Chives are easily grown from seed or can be brought indoors at the end of the growing season. If you are bringing chives indoors, divide a clump, and pot up in good houseplant soil. Leave your chive plant outdoors for a month or so after the first frost to provide a short period of dormancy. Bring them indoors and provide the requirements needed for them to start growing again. To harvest, snip leaves 2 inches (5cm) from the base of the plant. Cut flower stalks off at the soil line once they have finished blooming. This prevents the plant form forming seed and keeps it more productive.
Chives require at least five to eight hours of sunlight a day. Grow them on a southern or eastern exposure to the light. If you are growing them on a windowsill, turn regularly to ensure every side receives light. If you are unable to provide this amount of light, they also grow well under fluorescent lights. Hang lights 6 inches above the plants and leave lights on for 14 hours per day.
In the garden, plant chives with carrots. They are good companion plantings for tomatoes and fruit trees. Chives or garlic planted between rows of peas or lettuce control pashas and are reported to control the incidence of aphids when planted between roses. In the kitchen, use chives in omelets, scrambled eggs, casseroles, rice, dips, gravies, butter, meat, and seafood. Chives can be added to soft cheese, salads, sandwiches, sour cream, vinegar, and bake potatoes. Chive blossoms can be used for garnishing and are particularly attractive in salads. Chive stems can be used for tying up little bundles of vegetables for appetizers.
Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace ? Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul and the booklet Non-toxic Alternatives For Everyday Cleaning And Gardening Products. She owns the website Gwen's Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the books and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca
Gwen Nyhus Stewart © 2004 ? 2005. All rights reserved.
The Protea Family (Proteaceae)
The protea family (Proteaceae) includes a wide range of ground covers, trees and shrubs that often make superb garden plants. While some of the species are frost-tender, they are in all other respects remarkably resilient plants that often thrive in situations where others would rapidly succumb. Poor soils and hot dry positions that scarcely seem capable of supporting life are often ideal for Proteaceae. If any plants could be said to thrive on neglect the proteas can.
Patio Accessories ? Complete The Great Outdoors
Patio accessories can range from small to large and of all types of materials and styles depending on your garden décor. Outdoor entertaining on the patio or backyard has skyrocketed in the last few years as people are treating their patios as outdoor rooms. Homeowners want to extend their homes, and adding accessories on the patio is one way to turn the indoors out. A patio accessory can be just about anything. Some ideas to enhance your garden and add decorative touches are: wind chimes, decorative flags, weathervanes, bird baths, houses, feeders, garden stakes, planters and more. These are only a few of the thousands of things you can choose to add some decoration to your patio. You could also splurge on thick plump pillows on a wrought iron love seat. What about decorative rag rugs with ticking stripes for patio seat cushions? Fabrics along with your accessories make for a wonderful splash of color. I choose to keep to the same color palette that I have in my house. It only makes decorating sense to me to just keep the palettes going outside. I don't like the look of having one distinct color inside and then a completely different color outside. Flow is the rule indoors, why not outdoors too? Keep the color flow going with your furniture, and then add a pop of an unusual color with your accessories. If you aren't sure about the lime green or the hot pink, just add a little of it until you see if you want more.
Selecting Outdoor Benches
Outdoor benches are an excellent way to enhance a garden, create additional seating in a backyard or add a resting spot for a business. With outdoor benches, you will discover a huge selection of materials such as stone, wood, concrete, brick, etc. Keep in mind that one type of material is not necessarily better than another with a few exceptions. As an example, if you choose something like granite, marble, stone, or concrete, the seats will be hard so if you are looking to provide a comfortable resting area, cushions would be required. In addition, some types of wood do better than others. Teak, redwood, beech, birch, cherry, ash, maple, oak, mahogany, poplar, walnut, pecan, and cedar are excellent choices for outdoors.
How to Grow Hydrangeas
Whether you call them Hydrangea Macrophylla, House Hydrangea, French Hydrangea,, or Mopheads, growing Hydrangeas in the home garden can be an enjoyable experience. They are lovely, whether used as single plants or in mass, such as in a hedge, or border.
Dog Days of Summer
Here are a few tips to keep your garden and a few specific problems from getting away from you during the month of August gardening. Your lawn, again usually three things or any combination of them may be the culprit(s) for making your lawn or patches of your lawn turn brown.
Teak Outdoor Furniture - Where Function Meets Beauty
The wonderful thing about choosing teak outdoor furniture is that you have such diversity. From chairs to benches to tables and more, teak is the perfect wood for outside entertaining.
Home for a Gnome?
Kitsch is defined by several dictionaries as relating to poor quality or gaudy art objects that appeal to "low-brow" taste. But in the garden, kitsch categorizes folksy or commercial art that's viewed condescendingly by some, and with irony by others. It's this irony (this stuff is so bad it's good) that has made items such as pink flamingos and garden gnomes more widely popular in recent years.
Imagine a beautiful pattern of paving stones as the central focus of your new patio. Stone circle kits are one of the most popular new products offered by suppliers of flagstones and pavers for patios. Stone pavers, such as sandstone paving slabs offer a wide range of beautiful styles and colors and can be the basis of an inviting and classic patio that is one of the most-used areas of your home.
Light Up the Night! Quick Facts about Outdoor Lighting
When the days start to get shorter, the darkness may drive us inside from our porches, patios or decks. Don't despair ? outdoor lighting can lengthen the day and dramatically extend the potential of our outdoor living spaces.
The Zoo-Doo Man - Or How to Make the Best Compost in the World!
Is your garden soil great? Does it produce an abundant crop for you without any great effort on your part? We were once told "By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread . . ", and with several thousand years' rain, snow, wind, and crops removing the minerals from the land, we very rarely see fertile ground anymore.
How to Attract Butterfly Activity...
The flittering of the butterfly through your garden is no accident if you planned your garden carefully. The adult butterfly flitters from flower to flower - sipping nectar from many flowers in your gardens, while other adult butterflies search for areas to lay their larvae. It is good to take note that the butterfly garden is going to differ from other areas of your garden. Your natural instincts will be to kill off pests, larvae and creatures in the garden, but in the butterfly garden your best results are noticed when you use organic gardening: Which means no chemicals at all.
Ecological Landscape Design and Organic Lawn Care
There is a growing recognition, that the expanding suburban landscape is having a negative environmental impact. Suburban development often includes vast energy dependant monocultures (perfect, grass lawns). They consume a significant amount of natural resources, (water to keep them green and gasoline to keep them trimmed), and they reduce the amount of habitat available for native wildlife. Over use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides can leach into water supplies and be harmful to children and pets. Trends toward ecological landscaping and organic lawn care are lessening the detrimental effects of these designs. Many landscape designers are recommending native plant species, and even golf course managers are moving toward organic methods.
How to Install a Liner Pond
Liner ponds are ideal for the experienced water gardener because they allow for very forgiving installations, which consequently promotes greater creativity. However, for the very same reasons, liner ponds also take require some pre-planning. Before you commence a liner pond project, you should purchase a pond liner that is of the appropriate size for your pond dimensions. To determine the appropriate liner size, it is recommended that you use a pond liner calculator (I.e. like the one on GardenSM.com's website). To follow are instructions and tips on how you can install your very own liner pond.
External vs. Submersible Pumps. Which One Should You Use?
For many people, it's never been a question of whether to use a submersible pump vs. an external pump because most people have smaller ponds and are used to just using a submersible pump. They're easy to install, and are pretty reliable - so why even consider an external pump?
Gardening with Bamboo
Myths and facts A misconception about bamboo is that they spread like wildfire. This is not entirely true as only a some species of bamboo will be invasive. Spreading, however, can easily be controlled if it becomes a problem. Many people also think that bamboos will die when the temperature falls below freezing. This myth is also false.
y, Fun Garden Plants
I have a love for funky, fun and unique garden plants. Here's one to try. It's called Sea Holly, and it's actually in the thistle family.
Basil: The King of Herbs
One of the most popular herbs is Ocimum basilicum commonly called sweet basil. Often called the 'king of herbs,' basil can be grown indoors or out. Sweet basil has inch-long, oval-pointed, dark green leaves and a clove-pepperish odour and taste. Sweet basil makes a handsome, bushy small plant, growing to a foot or more indoors. A purple-leafed variety, 'Dark Opal' is decorative, makes a lovely houseplant, and is equally useful in cookery. Do not let basil bloom, or it will go to seed. Instead, pinch out the plant tops and they will grow into compact little bushes.
Wild Flower Garden - Recreate the Splendor of Nature in Your Own Backyard
A few years ago I made the decision to create a wild flower garden within my existing garden. I had been working to develop a more earth friendly approach to my garden, trying different options for fertilizing and pest and weed control. The next logical step for me was to establish a wild flower or natural style garden.
5 Simple Steps to Care For Your Push Reel Mower
Though most Push Reel Mowers made today are durable, they do require some basic care and simple maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly. Taking the following steps will ensure you have years of use on your push reel mower. Wipe the blades clean after each use. This helps prevent moisture from the grass from staying on the blades and causing (over time) rust, or dulling the blades. You can use a cloth, brush, or small towel. Periodically oil the moving parts. Do this before your first cutting of the season, then periodically throughout the season if it looks as though the mower needs it. This helps the moving parts to continue to work smoothly. Clean the yard of debris before each use. This helps the blades maintain their sharpness by not having to "chew" on small sticks. Check for, and tighten any loose parts. Do this at the beginning and end of the mowing season. This helps ensure you don't lose any loose parts in the lawn while cutting. This is a rare occurrence but an inspection of the mower is simple, fast, and could be worth it in the long run. Watch what you're doing! Don't bang the mower into fence posts, rocks, or other immovable objects while cutting since this may damage the mower and/or the blades. It's better to either move the object, or, use an edger after you've finished mowing. If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will ensure a long and productive life for your push reel mower.
Growing Tomatoes Organically
Tomato Seeds Vs. Tomato Seedlings?
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