In My Garden

A new herb I added a few years ago and (sorry for such a bad pic) I have been very pleased with how it has grown.I intend on adding several more plants this year.I have been a long time fan of lavender for its aromatherapy purposes, which made me grow it in the first place.I had taken several classes in aromatherapy years ago and knew the benefits.
Lavender is a great stress reliever and is also great for headaches just to name a couple of popular benefits..Its fragrance is very soothing and it even lends a nice flavor in baked goods and beverages.Yes, I did say beverages and make a lavender infused lemonade in the summer that is very refreshing.There are different varieties of lavender available at most stores or farmers markets.Lavender is very easy to dry after harvesting and I normally gather it in the morning, rinse then lay out flat to dry or hang in bundles.I do this at the time it has flowered because thats the part that is the most fragrant.If you bundle it and tie the ends together in a paper bag and hang it upside down, the once it dries you can shake the bag around and the dried flowers come off easily.I store the flowers in a mason jar for later use.Back when I was still in the day spa business I made many natural products myself that my clients loved.Scrubs happened to be one of them.Lavender Lemon Sugar Scrub can be made with lavender from your own garden.I recently made several batches to give away as thank you gifts for a baby shower I co- hosted. 

Jodies Kitchen Lavender and Lemon Sugar Scrub
1 bunch of dried lavender crushed
1 cup white table sugar
zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
 In a bowl mix Lavender, sugar and zest all together.Then add juice and olive oil.Stir until all ingredients have combined well.You may then place into storage jars of your choice.
When ready to use.Make sure all ingredients are still mixed well (you may have to stir).Put a good amount about a tablespoon in your hands, rub vigorously all over the tops of hands and between fingers making sure to also scrub around cuticles.You should scrub a couple minutes for the best exfoliation.Rinse under warm water enough to remove any traces of stickiness from the sugar.You should be left with smooth vibrant skin.
This also works well on rough dry feet but please be cautious of using oil in the tub or shower so you dont slip.The method is the same.
NOTE: I made a much larger amount to fill baby food jars as shower gifts.If you make the amount of the recipe you will have enough to use for yourself at home.This recipe doubles and triples well.


I have grown squash in my garden many times.This year however, I decided to use the blossoms in a couple of recipes.When you have squash and want to use the blossoms make sure to use the male flower.The female is what will produce your squash.It would not hurt to use either, but the female is what will turn into the squash you may want to use later.This actually turned out to be a pumpkin blossom.I had no idea since this was a volunteer in my compost.It honestly taste just like a squash blossom and I could not have told the difference.You can use these blossoms as an addition to a garden salad as is, or you may stuff and fry them with a variety of ingredients.
 Need to spot the difference between the male and female? Click here.

Jodies Rosemary

Rosemary is so fragrant, I use it in all types of recipes. This is one of my favorite herbs in my Garden.Where I live in North Carolina it is very hearty and I can harvest it any time of the year.I also use it in my Chicken coops to help keep it fresh and it's a natural repellent to keep flies away, I also dry it to put in their feed.

At Thanksgiving rosemary is the star of the show along with my bird.I start by making a brine which includes Fresh Rosemary.

Rosemary is a very strong herb and if used to heavily will over power what ever you are making, but used correctly in the right amounts it adds a great flavor to many recipes.

Rosemary is also great when garnishing your platters take my Roasted Chicken for instance it made the perfect bed for my perfect bird & my seared rosemary pork chops.
If you harvest the rosemary from your garden you can dry it by rinsing and letting dry out on the counter top covered with paper towel for about a week.Then place in a air tight container for dried rosemary during the year.I like to use mason jars for this.To see how I make infused oils Click here.

I love chives, another favorite in my herb garden . They come back beautifully year after year, and dont take much attention.They flourish the best in the spring. This pic was taken early on and was still young, but you can see a small bud for the beautiful purple edible flower that is to come.

Now, I use Chives in so many different recipes.I add them to my herb bread, meats, soups, I add them with pasta dishes and seafood. 
It really is a all around great herb...In my opinion not as strong as a regular onion or garlic, but a very mild cross between the two flavors.
As I said, in my area its peak is in the Spring and when the Purple flower has bloomed all the way, it can be used just as the green part.I'm not a professional Gardener so I don't know the proper terms for each part of this herb.The flower itself to me taste about the same, texture of course is different, but normally I would tear it apart and sprinkle it over my salad, potato, soup, or what ever I may be having.

I think Chive looses some of its flavor when cooked..So I normally add it at the very end of cooking or just as a garnish.There are some recipes I use that have the chive cooked right in as an accompaniment to other flavors.
Chives are a bit harder to dry because of all the moister content, so with these I normally harvest and add to a little olive oil and freeze.You may then use them in soups for later use.


I love my Taters! We grow our own every year.This year we decided to try the Yukon Gold variety since it is one of my favorites.
Now if you dig your potatoes up early you will get the small ones, which I love to use in my green beans, and I also just fry up the little marble sized ones that we find as well.When you hear people speak of new potatoes it is the first younger potatoes that are harvested.
I like to use the big ones like in the pic below to make stuffed breakfast taters.When they are young and fresh out of the garden the potato skins are very tender.You need only to rinse them under water...Scrubbing too hard will tear off the skins on new potatoes.After harvesting, keep them dry and cool in a good ventilated dark area unwashed and your potatoes will keep longer.

Such a great herb to use but unfortunately in my area, I only have it during the earl spring and during summer.I normally purchase it early spring from the store and keep it inside by the window.I then transplant it outside to grow for the spring and summer.The basil will not take cold winters like we have here, and although a lot of people in my area just bring it in to continue growing during the winter, I have never had any luck with that.Eventually I always loose it.But I encourage you to give it a try for yourself.If you have ever had to purchase basil for a single recipe in the grocery store then you have paid the price you could have bought the whole plant for.I can even get organic basil plants cheaper than what I can purchase a small amount for.It is more cost effective to just purchase the whole plant when it comes to basil.
Basil is very fragrant and is terrific used fresh to flavor many dishes.Tear it into pieces and sprinkle on pizza, on top of sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella, a dash of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.Add it to a garden salad.You can make your own pesto, use it to flavor meats and vegetables.Grow basil in a pot along with a tomato plant on your deck if you dont have room for a garden.

I love fresh garden tomatoes.I plant them every year.The taste is just not the same as what you get from the store.Lets face it there is also something about going out to the vine and picking your own.I don't use pesticides on my tomatoes by choice.Sometimes they dont look store perfect because of this but the benefits for us is worth it. I did start some in egg shells this year, as I had seen it all over the net.I already knew that the calcium in the shell would be good for them because my Dad had been adding it for years already.I also like to plant a variety trying new ones each year, and then of course sticking to some of my families favorites.
If you don't have a garden or room for a garden a simple pot (large) on a deck with plenty of sunlight will do just as well.I started these seedlings indoors when the weather was still cold.By the time the threat of frost was gone I was ready to transplant them outside in the garden.

Here is my beautiful Cherokee Purple Tomato Plant all grown up.This happens to be one of the same you seen as a seedling in the above picture.This was planted in a large pot and is kept on my front deck where it gets plenty of sun.You will notice on the soil there is crumbled egg shell,which is the only thing I put on these.Now, I do have chickens who will plop up on the side and eat some of the shell at times so I have to keep adding them often.At the time this pic was taken I had no tomatoes yet, but its loaded now, and I will soon have lots of tomatoes from this one plant.


A new variety I chose this year.Its called "Mountain Gold".
 I did not start this one from seed but picked up the plant from my local farmers market.It was very easy to grow, they originated in the U.S.A. and is a Hybrid.They don't split as bad as some of the other varieties and the inside is just as pretty and gold as the outside.It is a mild sweet tomato that I like to slice up and put on a sandwich, make a fresh salsa with, or simply a little salt and pepper to eat along side my meal.It is low in acidity so it makes for a great tomato.

My Pink Brandy Wine Tomato.
Another heirloom variety low in acid and sweet to taste.
You can save the seeds from year to year with these which I do with all my heirlooms.I have several of these still coming in and love the taste, another great tomato to use fresh.This one is going on a mater sandwich.Do you know what a Heirloom tomato is?

If not here is a good link with a good simple explanation for you: Click here.

A few handy recipes for your harvest!

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