Growing from the kitchen leftovers..

After watching a video on how to grow from grocery vegetables, I thought I should give it a try. Being the earth-loving person I am, I knew one could grow potatoes in the ground and apple seeds from apples πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ – I knew it was time to further my knowledge of what veggies one would grow again, within having a ‘second life.’ πŸ™‚

To my delight, I chopped up some scallions (which are just baby onions; and leave so many inches above the developing roots) and planted them into soil. By July, I should have some decent sized onions. And it’s okay to plant scallions into shallow pots like the one shown in my photos below. If you where to look out into a garden- many raised beds are just as shallow and the onions really don’t care. πŸ™‚

Video I watched can be found here “Grow from your Groceries”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-mM9e9Z9NQ

First Sunflower’s Bloom 2

As a part two of the original post entitled: “First Sunflower’s Bloom” – here is an update of my sunflower’s newly developed ‘flower-to-seed’ status. πŸ™‚
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How to harvest a Sunflower is rather simple:

1.) Once the leaves of the sunflower begin to turn brown and the petals begin to wither; it is time to harvest. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

2.) Make sure to check the face of the flower before cutting the head of the flower off. How to do this is by gently rubbing the disk-and-ray flowers. If the disk-and-ray flowers release, they will reveal the developed sunflower seeds. Do not worry if the seeds you rubbed back are still white. The seeds are still quite usable [they will turn back and white while drying]. πŸ™‚

The bloom of the sunflower is known as a composite flower, composed of up to two-thousand individual disk-and-ray flowers. Situated on a receptacle, each disk floret is a perfect flower, containing a stamen and pistil. The ray florets are sterile and do not produce seed. Pollination begins at the outer rim of the disk and moves toward the center. It takes fifteen to thirty days after pollination is completed for the inflorescence to reach maturity. My Sunflowers only took fifteen days to mature into seeds. πŸ™‚

3.) Cut off the entire flower’s head with a pair of scissors.
4.) Remove remaining petals; compost flower petals or chop petals to sow into soil.
5.) Place sunflower heads in a sterile-dry bucket without lid. Allow to air dry overtime. Keep in a cool, dry place.
Check on the sunflowers once a day to make sure moisture is not taking place. Moisture can create mold on your sunflowers.

6.) Once completely dry remove seeds [sunflower will not surrender the seeds if still moist]. Using your thumb rub the sunflower seeds over a large bowl.
7.) Toast in the oven with a pinch of salt and pepper for a tasty treat, or create into sunflower seed oil later. πŸ™‚

Do not be surprised if your sunflowers are different sizes. They are all equally good in sunflower nutrients, etc. :)

Do not be surprised if your sunflowers are different sizes. They are all equally good in sunflower nutrients, etc. πŸ™‚

Beginning to harvest the Sunflower seeds. :D

Beginning to harvest the Sunflower seeds. πŸ˜€

First Sunflower’s Bloom

The first time I have grown organic Sunflowers from seed, is this lovely season. πŸ™‚
The plan, is to harvest the Sunflowers in late August and collect the Black Sunflower seeds for a larger plot next year.

As apart of the goals for the “Butterfly Forests Homestead” in New Zealand, is to be one hundred percent self sufficient and Eco-friendlily [tiny carbon footprint; in harmony with Nature]. πŸ™‚ Purchasing a Seed Oil Extractor, we shall be able to produce organic Sunflower Seed Oil for years to come. Sunflower Seed Oil is expensive. Organic Sunflower Seed Oil is even more expensive to purchase in various health foods stores.

Also, Daniel and I can sell very reasonable priced Organic Sunflower Oil and various other Organic Seed/Nut Oils to the public, in our future CSA/Small Store. ❀ πŸ™‚

Keeping this in mind, there are many pluses of producing your own food:

1.) In-depth information of what is in my food [all ingredients].
2.) Obtaining the pleasure of independence to create my own food/condiments, without relying on a grocery store.
3.) Not having to spend an arm and a leg for clean, organic-food in order to maintain good health.
4.) Knowing where my food comes from [not left in the dark].
5.) Full firsthand knowledge of the environmental conditions in producing my foods, and the relationship of garden, earth, natural resources and nature/wildlife.
6.) Knowing anything I grow and eat will be organic and have a respective “life cycle” of safely going back into the garden as organic compost, to create a continuous loop of healthy food.
7.) Feeling awesome that I have an ever-growing list of life skills. πŸ™‚
8.) Peace of mind and security: Avoid the worries/stress of the extra cost for organic food. I also have various important costs/bills to pay for.

Cheers to the future, and a better connection to Mother Earth! πŸ˜€

The many benefits of growing your own foods.

The many benefits of growing your own foods.

Ten more beautiful Sunflowers are just about to bloom! <3 :D

Ten more beautiful Sunflowers are just about to bloom!

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Bachelor’s Button AKA: Cornflower

Bachelor's Button AKA: Cornflower

Other common names are: Bluebonnet, Bluebottle, Blue Centaury, Cyani.

Cornflower is an annual herb; the thin, stiff, branched stem grows to a height of 12-24 inches and bears narrow, lanceolate leaves, pinnate and lobed near the base and nearly filiform near the top. The large, blue flowers (white or rose-colored in some varieties) appear from June to August.

Its flowers are used to help as a diuretic, tonic, anti-inflammatory, and a stimulant.
The cornflower is used for dyspepsia and cosmetic purposes. Flowers are made into an eyewash or eye drops and made into compresses to use on the eyes. Used for nervous conditions, both calming and curative.

It is also used in some bath bath and cosmetic preparations.

St. John’s Wort

St. John's Wort

Its flowers and leaves are used to make medicine for depression and conditions that sometimes go along with depression such as anxiety, tiredness, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. There is some strong scientific evidence that it is effective for mild to moderate depression.

Other uses include heart palpitations, moodiness and other symptoms of menopause, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

St. John’s wort has been tried for exhaustion, stop-smoking help, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), migraine and other types of headaches, muscle pain, nerve pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also used for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C.

An oil can be made from St. John’s wort. Some people apply this oil to their skin to treat bruises and scrapes, inflammation and muscle pain, first degree burns, wounds, bug bites, hemorrhoids, and nerve pain. But applying St. John’s wort directly to the skin is risky. It can cause serious sensitivity to sunlight.

The active ingredients in St. John’s wort can be deactivated by light. That’s why you will find many products packaged in amber containers. The amber helps, but it doesn’t offer total protection against the adverse effects of light.

Feverfew Herb

Feverfew Herb

Feverfew is used in herbal remedies to relieve headaches and joint inflammation.

Feverfew is also used for fever, irregular menstrual periods, arthritis, a skin disorder called psoriasis, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness, and nausea and vomiting.

Some people use feverfew for difficulty getting pregnant or fathering a child (infertility). It is also used for β€œtired blood” (anemia), cancer, common cold, earache, liver disease, prevention of miscarriage, muscular tension, bone disorders, swollen feet, diarrhea, upset stomach and intestinal gas.

Feverfew is sometimes applied directly to the gums for toothaches or to the skin to kill germs.

Harvesting Red Clover

Harvesting Red Clover

The use of red clover as an herbal remedy goes back centuries, and the plant enjoys a history of both topical and internal applications. As a topical aid, red clover is often an ingredient in liniments and balms, for relieving the pain of both eczema and psoriasis, for sores, burns, and as an aid against skin cancer. The pain-relieving properties of red clover are likely due to the presence of the anti-inflammatory compounds eugenol, myricetin and salicylic acid in the flowers. Salicylic acid also demonstrates activity against eczema.

Red clover is a blood thinner. This is due to the concentration of coumarin found in the blossoms. For cases of thrombosis and other conditions in which thick blood obstructs vessels, red clover tea may be of benefit. However, for those who are taking blood-thinning medications, adding red clover to the mix can be a bad idea. Prior to surgery, drinking red clover is not recommended, as doing so may exacerbate surgical bleeding.

Harvesting Chamomile

Harvesting Chamomile

This is four days worth of harvesting German Chamomile. The gathering of plants are on their first year of growth [Start of Seedlings: Jan. 2014]. In no time, the harvesting shall be something quite numerous. πŸ˜€ More than likely in the nearby future, every day my harvesting of these small flower heads may appear overwhelming. πŸ™‚

Harvesting Chamomile is quite easy. Simply use a simple sharp pair of scissors for the job. You do not need to purchase herb scissors of any kind. πŸ™‚ In the beginning, you can place the small collection of Chamomile in a porous small bowl. Wooden is best. Make sure to shake the bowl lightly once or twice a day to help drying and to make sure the petals and main head do not rot.

A dry, shady place in your home is best while drying. Once the gathering of flowerheads have grown to the point of an inch- you will need to lay them out on a newspapered tray with holes.
I use a drying rack for clothes to place the flat trays down on. Keep away from sunlight.

Hanging them up to dry is a second option. Once the flowers are dry, snip the flower heads and save in a sealed container, such as a mason jar, free of moisture and store in a cool location.

More information on preserving German or English Chamomile can be found here:

Preserving Herbs: Drying Fresh Chamomile/Manzanilla