With change comes the freedom of travel! I’ll post updates as we go on the permaculture, gardening, and sustainability aspects of our trip. For our tourism and community visits, you can follow us at traveling tUUsome.
As life changes so often for all, so goes it for me. Now is a time that I find myself moving on from my little budding forest garden and back into my gypsy life on the road and traveling around our beautiful country.
A determined gardener, I have always, and will yet again, travel with a mini-garden, pets, and an eye for learning and expanding my knowledge of gardening and permaculture.
Launch date is August 19th! Hope you’ll come along for the ride!
This past week I quickly became known at the ‘native plants/perennials’ girl. Although my property had 10 daylily, 4 daffodil, and 2 iris beds before I arrived, I’m keeping not only the perennial tradition, but adding edibles and identifying the existing edibles and medicinals among the many native species on the acreage.
But, with spring ending and summer not here yet, most of my bulbs were not blooming for our annual garden tour. My specialty? The beautiful woods around me!
That said, there are a few pretties planted, veggies, fruit bearers, and natives. Enjoy my bounty!
It is so important to know what is already growing nearby!
I’ve been busy combing my woods lately and I’ve found many new edibles and herbals/medicinals. These are all early spring/spring bloomers.
Bloodroot/Bloodwort — (Caution: Bloodroot must be used with extreme caution and under professional care!) Medicinal uses: mainly for bronchial problems and severe throat infections, pharma uses mixed with other compounds to treat heart problems, treating migraines, and in dental uses. The paste is used externally for skin diseases/cancer, warts, tumors and ringworms. The root has many uses as a dye and anesthetic/expectorant.
Trillium — The young unfolding leaves are edible raw or cooked as a pot herb. The root has many medicinal uses as an antiseptic, diuretic, and ophthalmic and can be boiled, grated, and/or made into a poultice for external use on the eyes to reduce swelling or to reduce joint aches and inflammation.
Columbine — A flower that is both beautiful and edible. The flowers are high in nectar and therefore can have a hint of sweetness. The roots are used to stop diarrhea and the flowers and seeds are used for the liver, jaundice, and kidney stones. Leaves are used for aches and mouth/throat sores as lotions.
Eastern Redbud Tree — Another pretty flower that is also edible raw or pickled while also rich in vitamin C; buds can be used as a caper. The inner bark can be made into a tea creating strong astringent. Redbuds are also used to treat fevers, diarrhea, dysentery, whooping cough and congestion.
Please remember to use home remedies with caution, and to always ensue proper identification. The information here in no way substitutes professional advice for ailments and/or use of the plants listed!
… find me busy at work in my gardens and woods. Putting up fences, building new planting mounds, and transplanting volunteers that need divided or are just growing in the wrong places!
These are three plants needing division because they are crowding themselves. (The hostas in the middle were divided last year but need moved out from the house also.)
The ornamental grasses are best burned down in the spring but this large one is right next to an evergreen pine so I have to use pruners on it.
Fencing is going up around the back patio for the safety of two groups of animals. I have many stray dogs on my property and they are not all friendly to my dogs. I’m also brooding chicks and they will be free ranged. Since I’m not sure how my dogs will behave with them, the fence works two-fold. (One dog is a little terrier that gets too excited and the other is a Labrador puppy mix that doesn’t know her own strength yet.) The fence is lined on the inside with rabbit fencing.
I also have some front porch pretties and a new container kitchen garden that I bring into my sunroom in the winter.
And one last little transplant that I love! I had many volunteer Tulip Trees (Poplars) in my flower/veggie gardens last year. In the one year they grew beautifully and now I’m sharing them with friends and moving them to an open field to create some shade areas.
Hope your spring is looking as bountiful!
rain barrels are filling
UPDATE! These rain barrels were a wonderful addition last year! We had good rainfall and both remained nearly full the entire summer. I did not use the garden hose, NOT ONE TIME, for watering! When winter came, I had to open the valves so that the water would pass through and not freeze the faucets on them. Need to figure out a way to ‘bypass the bypass’ so that the water will drain back down the original path and away from the house.
Thunderstorms coming in tonight to both test and help fill our new rain barrels!
Got two 50-gallon rain barrels installed on the downspouts. Not anywhere near the amount I’ll want or need but it is a start.
Hoping to eventually get a large cistern for this end of the house where the basement walk-out area is and then placing the smaller ones on the other end by our driveway.
And while it will take over 300 fillings of each to start saving dollars out of my pocket due to sunk costs on the barrel and downspout redirect, the savings to Mother Earth are enormous.
Every time a barrel fills, that’s 50 gallons less of pumped and chemical filled water being delivered to my door. Also, by getting the pre-made enclosed barrels, we won’t be adding to the summer mosquito problems.
Note to self: Re-level them after a few rains (very clay soil) and then plant some perennials around the bases to help seat them in and to beautify!
flowers, forest garden, gardening, Good Earth Master Gardeners, Indiana, Miss Dusty's Impartation, permaculture, Purdue Master Gardener, Salem Homeschool Academy, spring, summer, teaching, vegetables, Washington County
I’ll be teaching a 9-week gardening course in the Spring! Info for the course is from my teaching blog, Miss Dusty’s Impartation …
Gardening Course (ALL proceeds to charity!)
NEW!!! With permission from the Purdue Extension Office, I will be teaching this course with all proceeds going to charity! Fees for the course will be split 50/50 between Salem Homeschool Academy and Good Earth Master Gardeners (a Purdue University Master Gardener Program) of Washington County, Indiana. So come out and support great local charities while improving on your own green thumb!
Offering Spring 2015! Explore the basics of gardening and horticulture with a focus on Indiana climates. Learn plant basics, soils, plant identification, fertilization and composting, propagation, diseases, pests, and how to create gardens, and even forest gardens, while promoting sustainability and permanence. Students will be able to participate in hands-on learning labs culminating with an end-of-course field trip.
As I return to the world-wide web and all of its wonders, I’m also returning to my land and gathering seeds from the finest of the plants–ones that I will want to plant more of in the coming seasons.
How does one know which seeds are ready and how to store them? These are questions that can be answered in general, but also with a unique answer for each plant type. Confusing? Well, yes and no.
The best answer is that Mother Nature lets you know when things are ready! Plants and/or their seeds either dry up, drop from the plant, are blown in the wind, or as hikers and pet owners both know, are carried inside on humans and furry pets alike.
- My Black-Eyed Susans have big dried seed-cones that I’m able to clip whole and store.
- My Eastern Redbuds have bean pods that have dried and browned and are just starting to fall. (These have gorgeous flowers in the Spring.)
- And, although the Pin Oaks’ acorns are still green, they are falling to the ground, thus telling me that they are ready to be gathered as they will dry and brown within the week. (Our squirrels bury their seeds rather than store them, losing most, so I’ll save these to give to them in winter!)
- Without seeds, I still have baby Tulip Trees that have volunteered themselves in my flower beds. I let them have their way in the flower beds this past summer and now, with just one growing season, they are 2-3 feet tall and ready to transplant once their leaves drop.
- And don’t forget Hostas and spring/early summer bulb plants. With fall comes the perfect time to move, divide and conquer many of these so that they will be in place and ready to grow as soon as nature commands in the Spring.
As for storage, everything has its own rules but nearly all require time to dry (lowering moisture) and storage in a cool, dry, dark place until ready for planting. And while some say that the seeds must be in breathable containers (such as paper), others swear by their old habits of using sealed glass jars such as canning jars, or old mayo or pickle jars, or plastic zipper bags.
I say to each his own. If you’re worried about a particular seed, research it to find out if it has any special needs. For example, my PawPaws have seeds, but they have extremely particular growing needs that are difficult to reproduce. But regardless, don’t fret, take on the challenge to keep your favorites and enjoy the process as it plays out.
To see some of the plants listed above, visit my plant inventory page.
You can also visit Seed Savers Exchange for more information on the process and to gain access (via membership) to a seed exchange service.
It happened to me. Yes, even me. I went out last week and planted a blackberry bare-root in the yard and was just about to go out and add a blueberry to the that ‘perfect’ location when … when … I found the evidence. The squirrels had been busy (thankfully) and had exposed a large stash of Black Walnuts meaning there had to be a tree nearby. So, even though leaves are bare, I set out and found the culprit.
No, I won’t cut it down. It’s useless, that is unless I plan on waiting about 20 years for the roots to compost fully. I just have to rearrange. The blackberry will be moved and I will seek out a new home for the blueberry bush.
Unfortunately, that’s a tall task. The tree is huge and it’s roots are far spread and I have a very limited open area nestled in thick woods. I do have two tillable acres on the front of the property but the field can’t be seen in summer when the trees are full and I’ve no plan on providing the neighbors with a plentiful bounty.
Natural and manmade fences and an open view to the front acreage is planned but that’s down the road and not today. Instead, I search and in the next week or so I replant. Or do I dream of a beautiful Black Walnut hutch in my future?
Visit the Wisconsin Horticulture Extension website for a chart of plants that are both sensitive and not sensitive to juglone, the toxic substance produced heavily by Black Walnut trees. And remember that even sensitive plants can often be grown in the vicinity of Black Walnut if they are grown in raised beds, keeping their roots above ground level.