SUMMER SEED SALE & Getting ready for Fall Planting Posted on 29 Jun 02:53 , 0 comments
Recipe from Michelle @ Heirloom-Farm_Country_Table
My garden is overflowing with basil right now! One great way to preserve basil for year round use is by making basil vinegar.
Herb vinegars are super easy to make and can be used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and nearly anywhere you would use plain vinegar. You can use this method with any fresh herbs to make a variety of vinegars. Have fun and mix & match. They look and smell so good!
Send us a photo when you're done, we would love to see what you made!
Thank you for your interest in Mary's Heirloom Seeds!
As we mentioned in our BIG REVEAL VIDEO, Mary's Heirloom Seeds is On The Move this month.
Below are the details to receive free seeds as well as shipping updates.
We are "on the move" and growing!
Orders placed on or after June 15th will ship on or after June 21st.
As a Thank You, we're giving you a FREE seed combo pack: Mary's Fall 4-Pack
with orders of $20 or more between June 15th and June 21st.
That's a $10 combo pack FREE with qualifying orders!
**You do not need to add this to your cart. We will automatically include the seeds with qualifying orders when they ship after June 21st*
Limit 1 per customer
Okra is the seed pod of the Abelmoschus esculentus plant. It's filled with tiny white seeds and is sometimes called lady's fingers due to its long, slender, tubelike shape.
Okra is a fruit, though it is eaten as a vegetable. Okra can be cooked whole or sliced and can be prepared in a number of unique ways including frying, grilling, sautéeing, pan-roasting and even pickled.
Growing Okra from Seed
Prior to planting, soak the okra seeds in water for 12 to 18 hours to soften its hard seed coat. Soaking aids moisture absorption and germination.
Sow Okra seeds in warm soil approx 1/2 to 1 inch deep in coconut coir, seed starting medium or directly in the garden. If planting directly in the garden, space seeds 6-12 inches apart.
Okra seeds can germinate in as few as 2 days and as many as 12 days. Soil should be warm and moist but not soggy.
Plant okra in full sun and water regularly, especially during flowering and pod development.
This heat loving crop is ready to harvest in as few as 60 days. Use scissors to harvest Okra pods from the stem. Pulling them off may damage the plant.
Start harvesting a few days after the okra blooms fade. At that point the seed pods should be soft and two to three inches long. Harvest daily or every other day to avoid woody/tough pods.
Harvesting Okra Seeds
Okra seeds are very easy to harvest. Very important: harvest seeds from your healthiest plant and make sure the pod is overripe.
Store harvested seeds in envelopes or jars. Label your storage containers with the variety of seeds and date harvested.
Roasted Okra is probably one of the easiest recipes. Roast them whole or slice.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Arrange the okra slices in one layer on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. *Add additional spices to your liking* Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
A common question I see asked in gardening groups is "what herbs can I plant to deter Mosquitoes?" We'll have a complete list very soon but for now we're going to talk about Lemon Balm.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb in the mint family and is grown for it's culinary and medicinal properties. It is considered a calming herb.
The lemon scent in Lemon Balm can deter a few different pests including gnats and mosquitos. As a companion plant, Lemon Balm grows well around Melons, Tomatoes, summer & winter squash, onions, fennel, basil, rosemary and sage.
Growing Lemon Balm from Seed
Sow seeds outdoors when soil is warm and temperature does not drop below 65°F. Can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before planting out. Prefers rich well-drained soil.
For shorter growing seasons, seeds can be starting indoors 2 months before your last frost date but will need a light.
Sow Lemon Balm seeds on the surface of your seed starting medium and gently scratch them into the soil. OR, broadcast the seeds over the soil and lightly cover with soil. Lemon Balm needs light to germinate.
Lemon Balm seeds should germinate in 5 to 10 days under optimal conditions, preferably when soil is 65 to 70 degrees F.
It is recommended to plant lemon balm in full sun but it will tolerate shade.
If planting indoors or in containers: Once seedlings have their second set of true leaves, you can thin them to one or two per pot or repot individual seedlings into larger containers. After all danger of frost has passed, seedlings should be set in the garden 12 to 18 inches apart.
Harvesting and Using Lemon Balm
There are so many useful herbs to grow in the garden. If you've grown Lemon Balm and now you're wondering what to do with it, we can help!
To harvest, cut each stem just above a pair of leaves using a very sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. You can cut the plant down to within six to eight inches of the soil.
Once you have harvested from your Lemon Balm, you can dry the leaves on the stems or removed the leaves to dry. TIP: stripping the leaves from the stems makes drying a little easier. Place your Lemon Balm Leaves on a screen or drying rack in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Store your fully dried leaves in an airtight jar or container.
Using fresh leaves for tea: chop leaves (2 tablespoons) and boil water. Mix the leaves and water in a mug and allow to stand 10 minutes to steep.
For tinctures and salves, use Lemon Balm fresh or dried depending on the recipe.
Stevia, Stevia rebaudiana, also called sweet leaf, flowering plant in the aster family (Asteraceae), grown for its sweet-tasting leaves. Stevia is native to Paraguay and Brazil, where people have used leaves from the stevia bush to sweeten food for hundreds of years.
If you've seen the "zero calorie sweeteners" in the grocery store then you have probably already heard of Stevia. Spoiler alert: homegrown Stevia is much different than store bought. Most stevia products you’ll find in the grocery store are heavily refined powders.
Stevia can be grown as a houseplant as well as a garden plant, which means you can plant seeds anytime for houseplant use.
Growing Stevia from Seed
Before planting your stevia seeds or transplanting, choose the right spot for your Stevia plant. Stevia does not like to be disturbed once planted.
Stevia can be challenging to grow from seed. Stevia Seeds are tiny and germination can be inconsistent but usually take 10-21 days under optimal conditions.
Sow stevia seeds ¼ inches deep in coconut coir or seed starting medium.
Stevia likes to stay evenly moist, not too dry and not too wet. Make sure the soil drainage is excellent. Stevia likes full sun and does not require fertilizer if planted in fertile soil. If you are unsure, a single watering of diluted liquid fertilizer after transplanting should be enough.
During the first 2 months of the growing season, pinch the tips of the plant every 3 weeks. This will result in a bushier, better-branched plant. If possible, pinch in the early morning.
Harvesting and Preserving Stevia
It is best to harvest Stevia before the plant starts to flower. This can be around 40 days after transplanting. Harvest in the morning, when the plant's sugar content is highest. Hang branches in a cool, dry spot with plenty of ventilation and away from direct sunlight.
Make sure your stevia is completely dry before storing. You can grind or blend the dried leaves to make your own powder or just use them whole.
A general rule of thumb is that 2 tablespoons of stevia powder equals 1 cup of sugar.
For tea: add 1 fresh leaf can be added to sweetener your herbal tea
Stevia Syrup Recipe:
2 cups of warm water
half a cup of dried stevia leaves
Put the mixture in a glass jar and let it steep for 24 hours. Strain the leaves from the mixture.
Cook the strained mixture on low heat, reducing it to a concentrated syrup. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a common perennial herb plant. Native to the United States, and thriving in USDA zones 3-9. Catnip is pollinator friendly and said to repel deer.
Catnip grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet and has featherlike, light green foliage and small clusters of lavender flowers that grow on spikes.
A member of the mint family, catnip is also used in food and herbal remedies. For example, tea made from the leaves and flowers of Nepeta cataria is said to relieve coughs. The oil extracted from catnip plants is even used in natural mosquito repellents. And of course, our cats LOVE Catnip!
If you don't want this perennial plant to spread in your garden, it is best to plant in containers. Catnip can easily re-seed and take over a small garden plot.
Growing Catnip from Seed
For catnip, seed sowing should occur after the seeds about been placed in a freezer overnight. After this period, allow the seeds to soak in water for a period of 24 hours. This will allow for easier and more uniform germination rates.
Once the stratification process is complete, sow in seed starting trays approx 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. Keep soil warm and moist. Seeds should germinate in 5 to 10 days.
When your plants are ready to be transplanted into the garden, it is best to harden them off for a few days prior to transplanting.
Catnip plants do best in full sun to partial shade and are drought tolerant. Catnip can be watered regularly but does not do well in soggy soil. It's a pretty low maintenance plant and does not need to plant food/fertilizer.
Are you harvesting for your feisty feline? The best time for picking catnip leaves is when the plants are flowering, around mid-summer. This is when the compounds that cats love most are at peak levels in the leaves. Catnip leaves should be dry when you harvest so you minimize the risks of the harvest getting moldy.
Harvest stems instead of individual leaves. Catnip will continue to produce throughout the season. Once you have harvested from your catnip plant, you can dry catnip leaves on the stems or removed the leaves to dry. Place your Catnip Leaves on a screen or drying rack in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Store your fully dried leaves in an airtight jar or container.
For tea, mix 2 teaspoons of dried catnip leaves or flowers with 1 cup of boiling water. You can make your own teabags or use a tea ball strainer. "Brew" for several minutes. Optional: Add lemon juice and honey then stir and enjoy.
Broadleaf Sage, Salvia officinalis, Adds flavor to many meats, stuffing, vinegars and more! Also Called Culinary Sage, Broadleaf Sage produces aromatic, green foliage that is used in for it's culinary and medicinal properties
Depending on your zone and growing methods, Broadleaf Sage is a perennial and can be divided every 3 years. Sage thrives in hot weather.
Sage seeds can take 3 weeks (or more) to germinate even under optimal conditions. Patience is a must! Plant seeds shallow (approx 1/8 inch deep) and keep soil warm and moist.
Sage prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Avoid overhead watering once seedlings emerge. sage can be grown in ground or in containers.
Companion plants for Sage include Tomatoes, Thyme, Brassicas, carrots and strawberries.
Prune the heavier, woody stems every spring. For optimal growth/production, remove flowers as they appear.
Sage’s flavor is best when fresh, but it can be stored frozen or dried. Simply snip or pinch off leaves to harvest. Sage leaves can be harvested and used fresh, stored in the freezer or dried for future use.
Some cooks blend the leaves with oil, pack the ground mixture into ice cube trays to freeze, and then transfer the cubes to a container.
Marjoram is an easy herb to grow and grows well in containers as long as the containers are at least 6 inches wide and have a drainage hole at the bottom. Marjoram can be used in many different culinary dishes such as salads and mixed in with vegetables. This versatile herb combines well with garlic, onions, thyme, basil, and bay leaves.
Sweet Marjoram seeds are tiny!
Plant seeds shallow (about 1/8 inch). Keep soil moist but not soggy. Germination can take 14 to 21 days under optimal conditions.
Sow seeds outside after your last frost date. To get a head start, plant indoors under lights 8 to 10 weeks before your last frost date.
Whether you direct sow or transplant, Sweet Marjoram enjoys fertile, well drained soil and direct sunlight.
Harvesting Sweet Marjoram
Harvest marjoram when ball-like tips appear at the ends of the stems. When the plant starts to bloom, cut plants back close to the ground to stimulate a new flush of growth
Leaves can be easily air-dried for later use, but this herb is at its most delicious when freshly harvested.
Are you ready to expand your herb garden?
Caraway Seeds are a popular "spice" added to soups, stews, roasted potatoes and even cheese dips. Besides the seeds, caraway leaves are sometimes used as an herb, both fresh and dried, adding them to salads, soups and stews much like parsley. Caraway roots can be eaten similar to parsnips.
From Mary's Heirloom Seeds:
Caraway grows best in full sun, in a well-drained soil which is high in organic matter with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Seed can be sown in spring or early autumn. Caraway should always be direct seeded as seedlings do not transplant well.
Carum carvi (Apiaceae —carrot family)
Caraway is a biennial herd that grows well in Zones 3 to 11. Caraway can tolerate both hot and cold weather and usually produces seeds in it's second year. Caraway flowers in spring and early summer of the second year on 2-foot stems.
Growing Caraway from seed
Caraway can be planted in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
Caraway seeds germinate in 5 to 14 days under optimal conditions. Sow caraway outdoors in spring or autumn. For an early start, sow caraway in spring as early as the soil can be worked, about the date of the average last frost.
Sow seeds 1/4 deep and keep soil moist.
Caraway does not transplant well so it is best to sow outdoors if possible.
Companion planting with Caraway
Once in bloom, the plants will attract many species of predatory insects to control pest species. Plant near any crop that suffers from caterpillars (such as Brassicas) or aphids (such as peas).