How to Grow and Use Violet Flowers

How to Grow and Use Violet Flowers

Violet species are numerous and their flowers are blue-violet, yellow, or white. Violets have five petals and the lowest petal typically is heavily veined and leads back into a spur. The leaves are almost always heart shaped. The plants are small, growing close to the ground. Most violets are perennials.  

Both young violet leaves and the flowers are edible. They can be eaten raw as a trailside snack or mixed with other greens. Violets are not a strong medicine alone, but they do help enhance the medicinal properties of other plants. Violet leaves are high in vitamin C.  

DIY Crafts: Christmas Wreaths

DIY Crafts: Christmas Wreaths

Here's a quick and easy photo tutorial of how to make a wreath out of items you find in your garden or on a walk in nature.  This wreath is made with Doug fir and rosemary branches plus a few extra cones.

  1. Gather supplies: wreath frame, plant material, strong scissors or pruner, thin wire
  2. Make bundles of branches, about 6" long
  3. Secure the bundles at the base with wire...

What Your Herb Spiral Could Look Like Next Year

What Your Herb Spiral Could Look Like Next Year

Last spring I built an herb spiral in my backyard.  It was added as an extension to my medicinal garden.  I wrote a blog post about it with instructions for building your own herb spiral, plus photos of my process.

A few days ago, I had a great question about sheet mulching in regards to my herb spiral.  Check out Alison's question and my response in my original Herb Spiral blog post: http://www.dailyharvestdesigns.com/blog/2015/3/26/herb-spirals.  She also asked how my herb spiral is doing one year later. 

Here are some photos of my herb spiral today.  Enjoy!

How to Choose the Best Garden Seeds

How to Choose the Best Garden Seeds

Understanding the difference between open pollinated, heirloom, hybrid, and genetically modified seeds is crucial to selecting the right seeds for your garden, whether you're planning to save your own seeds or just simply eat your garden's bounty.

Saving open pollinated seeds is the oldest way of seed saving.  Open pollinated seeds are seeds that have been saved from a crop of open pollinated plants.  This is done by keeping one variety of plants far enough away from another variety so that cross pollination does not occur.  With open pollination, as long as pollen is not shared between different varieties, the seeds will be true to the parent plants and will hold their quality over time.

How to Design the Landscape of Your Dreams

How to Design the Landscape of Your Dreams

Designing your landscape isn't rocket science, but there is a method to the madness.  "What's the problem with planting without a plan?"  There are many things that could go wrong, such as overlooking the mature size of plants which often leads to overcrowding, plants too close to structures, and large plants smothering smaller plants. 

With a plan, you can maximize your space by pairing complimentary things in the landscape, like your lounging space under a future shade tree.  One other huge benefit to a landscape plan is creating a space that is easy to maintain.  That alone is enough reason for most people to take the time for a landscape plan.

When designing your landscape, here are 5 steps to follow:

How to Garden Now So You're Prepared Later

How to Garden Now So You're Prepared Later

Have you thought about what you'd do if you didn't have access to food from your local grocery store, the farmer's market, or your weekly CSA share?  Do you know how to grow any food yourself? 

Keeping a supply of water and non-perishable food on hand is recommended for emergency preparedness, but having fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, etc. available in your own garden can help keep you fed now and in a time of need. 

Daily Harvest Designs weaves food, medicine, shelter, water storage, and more into beautiful and functional landscapes.  This makes it easy to incorporate food into your landscape while maintaining a beautiful and functional yard.

3 Professional Landscape Design Tricks for a Spectacular Garden

3 Professional Landscape Design Tricks for a Spectacular Garden

Do you want your garden to look beautiful year-round but don't know where to start?  Creating a beautiful landscape is easy to do once you know a few tricks. 

Here are three landscape design tips for creating a beautiful space that draws you out of your house and into your garden.  With a little planning and some digging, you will be drinking your morning coffee outside in a beautiful setting in no time!

What's the Most Common Landscape Design Mistake?

What's the Most Common Landscape Design Mistake?

Picture this scenario:  You want to plant a few shrubs along the front of your house so you go out to your local nursery and buy some cute little shrubs.  You are so excited about your landscape project that you get started right when you get home.  You space the shrubs evenly from each other and about a foot or two from your house, plant them exactly as the nursery owner told you, water them, and sit back to enjoy your new shrub border.  Perfect!

A couple years later, you notice that your shrubs are not cute little mounds anymore, they are starting to fill in and are rubbing against your freshly painted house and are growing together.  Has this happened to you?

What went wrong with your landscape project?

Hyssop and Hyssop: Which One Should You Grow in Your Garden?

Hyssop and Hyssop: Which One Should You Grow in Your Garden?

A few years ago I traded a friend something (probably homemade jam) for some plant starts.  He gave me three echinacea and three hyssop plants; none of them had labels.  I've enjoyed these plants over the years but hadn't used any of them medicinally until last week. 

Fortunately, two weeks ago, I had one of those ah-ha moments when I was with a couple herbalist friends (my herbalism teachers, to be exact).  This ah-ha moment also clarified another small garden mystery involving another plant given to me by a friend.  This plant was also unmarked, but I had a clue as to what it was.

Why You Should Love Lemon Balm and How to Use it

Why You Should Love Lemon Balm and How to Use it

Lemon balm volunteers all over my yard and I love it!  It fills in the empty spaces and I let it grow, as long as I don’t want to plant anything else in that space.  Lemon balm does great in the shade or part sun and is often tucked near a larger plant, like under my apricot tree, or in the corner next to my back fence. 

Medicinally, it's great as tea or tincture.  Use it for calming, colds, during menstruation, and for the gallbladder, liver, gastrointestinal area, and for your heart.  I like to drink the tea simply because it's tasty!

How to Build an Herb Spiral in Your Landscape

How to Build an Herb Spiral in Your Landscape

When I took my permaculture design course in 2010, there were a few permaculture design elements that seemed easy to incorporated into most gardens.  Herb spirals are one of them. 

Our backyard is designed with a lot of big looping curves, creating wonderful nooks and crannies for seating areas, play areas, veggie gardens, and the perfect spot for an herb spiral.

What is an herb spiral?  Herb spirals maximize garden space by coiling up a linear garden space into a mounded spiral.  Built with some elevation, herb spirals offer various micro-climates.  Each side of the spiral receives a different amount of sunlight and the soil moisture fluctuates as it moves down and around the spiral. 

 

Raspberry Leaf Tea - Harvesting, Drying, and Brewing

Raspberry Leaf Tea - Harvesting, Drying, and Brewing

My favorite part of the morning is brewing myself a cup of tea.  Raspberry leaf tea is part of my rotation of morning teas.  Sometimes I drink raspberry leaf tea alone, other mornings I mix it with nettles, red clover, or passionflower.

Raspberry leaf tea is easy to harvest, dry, and brew.  The leaves are best harvested in the spring before the flowers emerge.  Choose young leaves that are still bright green.  I like to harvest a basketful every couple of days in the spring while I'm playing in the backyard with my daughter.  I dry them the same day I harvest and slowly add to my jar of dried raspberry leaves.

3 Fantastic and Useful Shrubs for Your Home Landscape

3 Fantastic and Useful Shrubs for Your Home Landscape

As a landscape designer with a passion for "harvestable" landscapes, my designs tend to focus on edible and medicinal plants.  Many of our native plants are edible and/or medicinal so I like to work these into my designs too.  Surrounded by some of my favorite native and edible plants last weekend at a state park, I took some photos and was inspired to write this post.

The following three shrubs are easy to spot in our forests.  They are all evergreen and have edible berries.  Can you guess which shrubs I'm thinking of?  Read on to find out!

Where is the Best Place to Grow Your Veggies?

Where is the Best Place to Grow Your Veggies?

...Where will you grow your vegetables?

A client recently looked at me a little sideways when I said she could plant her veggies either in raised beds or directly in the ground.  "You can plant them directly in the ground?  But what does it look like?" she asked

I've never thought twice about my decision to plant directly in the ground, for two reasons.  First, in-ground beds are endlessly flexible and could be changed every season if I wanted; and second, it's less expensive to just plant directly in the ground.  Here are some pros and cons to raised beds and in-ground beds.

Photo Inspiration From Gardeners in West Africa

Photo Inspiration From Gardeners in West Africa

...A Photo Blog Post

One of my favorite thing to do in Mali was visit gardens.  In the vast sea of sand and mud-brick homes, the colors of the vegetable gardens seemed more vibrant than usual.  Here is a series of farm and garden photos from my nearly two years in Mali, West Africa (2007-2009).  Enjoy!

Growing Medicinals: My (Current) Five Favorite Plants to Grow

Growing Medicinals: My (Current) Five Favorite Plants to Grow

My garden focus seems to shift every year or so.  One year I'm totally into veggies, the next it's berries and fruit trees, and then I switch to focusing on my medicinal garden.  At the moment, I'm really into my medicinal garden. 

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is one of my favorite plants to grow.  Why?  Calendula flowers are like little pops of sunshine!

How to Use Elderberry for Food and Medicine

How to Use Elderberry for Food and Medicine

As I was canning 18 jars of elderberry blackberry jelly last weekend, I started thinking about all the different ways to use elderberries.  The ideas kept flowing as I stirred in the honey and pectin and filled each jar.

Blue elderberries are an excellent garden plant.  Their large shrubby form makes a great backdrop to any garden, the white flowers and dark berries are both beautiful to look at, and the birds enjoy the fruit.  Each self-fertile plant may produce around 40-50 pounds of fruit!

5 Things To Do in Your Garden in Fall

5 Things To Do in Your Garden in Fall

Turning back the clocks this morning was yet another reminder of the change of season and change of pace.  Fall is in full swing and winter is just around the corner.  Time to snuggle up and settle in until spring.  But before that, I must ask: have you gotten your garden ready for the winter?

This week I've turned my attention to the garden, in the few dry days we've had.  There are a several things I like to do in the fall.

From Parking Strip to Planting Strip

From Parking Strip to Planting Strip

5 things to know before planting between the sidewalk and the street

Have you ever wondered what to do with the strip of earth between the sidewalk and the street?  It's often called the parking strip, but I prefer to call it the planting strip!  This space can easily be turned into a beautiful garden that welcomes you home...