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Dog Days of Summer on the Herban Micro-Farm

butterfly on bee balm flower
"Make your piece of this Earth into a garden. It matters." -- Richo Cech

We’re in the Dog Days…. Lots of heat and sun and practically no rain. The rain barrels are dry, so I’m dependent on my drip hose and city water (Yuck! Coincidentally, water-use restrictions have gone into effect in Northampton today.).

The plants are thriving as I’m drooping! Anise hyssop, basil, bee balm, calendula, catnip, cilantro, dill, echinacea, holy basil (aka tulsi), mints, motherwort, mugwort, st. johnswort, wormwood, and yarrow are filling the garden and my shelves as I dry, tincture, and oil-infuse them.

echinacea

Our veggie garden is starting to really crank now too. The kale, chard, and sorrel are still coming, and I’ve been picking green and wax beans by the pound!

“Ronde de Nice” and “Golden” zucchini (pictured below) are keeping me in squash, and the cherry tomatoes are slowly working up from a handful-harvest to a bowlful.

tonight's harvest

Always testing the boundaries of our sun-challenged little garden, this year’s “impossible-to-grow-here” veggies are mini-butternuts and yellow “Moon & Stars” watermelons. The vines are huge, defying my expectation that they wouldn’t amount to much. Crawling up along the fence and stretching through the garden, they’re covered in bee-filled flowers and little green fruits!

Next up is the construction of a new Winter vegetable bed, à la Eliot Coleman. It needs to be where a perennial herb bed is now, so I’ve got some digging to do!

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Catch Me, I’m Swooning!

grandmother's rose

Never one to swoon over roses before, I’ve suddenly become a devotee. It could be my age, I will admit. Roses are said to have a special pull for (ahem) “mature” women, and I’m now 43.

But I lean towards the idea that it’s more to do with familiarity. Getting to know the antique Roses I brought into the garden a few years back has been such a joy!

 

Roses have been used throughout history not only for perfumes and cosmetics, but also for food and medicine. Though indispensable in my bodycare, somehow I haven’t gotten around to actually incorporating them into my diet, with the exception of vitamin C-filled Rose Hip tea.

So I’m on a mission to change that! And I’m hoping to start with this recipe for a traditional Kurdish dessert, Yellow Rose Petals with Almonds.

 

In the meantime, I’ll continue slathering my outside with skin-loving Roses! A key ingredient in my popular Eye Creme, I added Rose to a sugar scrub recipe I’d been playing with and was knocked off my feet! The aroma is heaven and the scrub is gentle enough to use on my face, as well as being great for hands, feet, elbows… Anywhere that needs a little polishing.

rose sugar

Introducing Rose Sugar: Hand-blended with pink Rose petals (cultivated without chemicals) and other flowers, plus unrefined brown Demerara sugar (made by evaporating the juice from the first pressing of sugar cane). Now available in my Poppy Swap store!