What to forage in spring

As spring breaks through the cold we all start to get anxious for warm weather activities! One of my favorite things to do is to forage for wild herbs. These are the basis of many of the salves and teas I make during the year. In the first few weeks of spring I often forage baskets and baskets of herbs to dry!

pictures of wild herbs to harvest in spring

There are lots of wild herbs (or weeds) that you can forage for in your yard or local park in summer, but only a few that are ready to be collected this early in the year. Dandelions and plantain are two that start the earliest. Wild violet is not far behind, but only has a window of a few weeks before the flowers are gone.

I'm in Pennsylvania, so our foraging is dependent on the cold weather breaking. Plants that are just getting started up here, like chickweed are already way out of control in southern states! Many plants prefer spring to fall in the south and die out over summer.

Either way, now is the perfect time to start foraging!

Seed Sharing Envelope DIY

Today I am sharing a printable seed packet template I made. I created it with different types of plants in mind and it's super easy to print, cut out and fill these mini seed envelopes. It's a great way to label your own seeds or share your seeds with other gardeners. That was a big part of the huge success in backyard gardening last year...seed sharing!

Homemade seed envelopes with seeds in them for sharing.

Last year a weird thing happened in the garden industry. They ran out of seeds! Almost 30 years gardening and I've never seen this happen! When the lockdowns started people started worrying about the food supply and since spring was right around the corner, they decided to plant their own gardens. 

Smart move. Not only was it  a home based activity when we were being asked to stay home, but it was an outdoor activity. Sunshine and fresh air is good for everyone! Did you know that 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D? Since our skin absorbs vitamin D from sunlight, spending some time in the sun is a good idea. Just use sunscreen, nobody wants skin damage or sunburn!

Sorry...went off topic!

This sudden interest in gardening overwhelmed the seed companies and many of them stopped taking orders because they couldn't keep up. Gardeners who saved their seeds from last years garden, were way ahead of the game. Many of them shared seeds with fellow gardeners and newbie growers.

Essential Oils That Can Reduce Stress

If there is one thing we're all dealing with lately...it's stress! Over the past year or so I've turned to more natural methods of dealing with that stress. One of my favorite natural remedies is essential oils and since aromatherapy is know to impact mood, there are many essential oils that are great for dealing with stress. 

Candles and woman getting a face massage to reduce stress

Smell is intensely linked to both memory and emotion, perhaps more than any other sense. The perfume industry is practically based on this fact...not to mention the whole scented candle and air freshener industry! 

For instance, the majority of people have a positive reaction to the smell of vanilla and associate it with pleasant childhood memories. If you ask them, they can't exactly put a name to what they're feeling, but it's definitely a positive feeling.

How to grow marigolds from seed

Marigolds are a garden staple, known for their bright flowers and pest repelling qualities. They make excellent companion plants for tomatoes and are available in every garden nursery. It's easy to grow marigolds from seed and they often come back every year, since they're pretty good at self seeding!

Marigolds growing from seed

I have been growing marigolds for many years. They are one of the flowers I wrote about in 8 flowers the you need in your garden. Many gardeners grow them for their color. They bright orange and yellow blooms attract lots of pollinators like butterflies. Since your vegetables need pollinators, it's a good idea to welcome them to the garden!

Many gardeners plant marigolds near tomatoes to repel nematodes and other pests on the nearby plants. Marigolds themselves get very few pests except for the occasional mite or aphid. It's believed that the pungent scent of the marigolds discourages many pests from visiting the garden. 

They're said to deter both rabbits and deer, though unfortunately, they do nothing for chipmunks and other rodents. Marigolds can grow thick enough to create a garden barrier, so if you need to keep rabbits out, plant them near any gaps in your fence line.

Marigold is the common name for over 50 species of flowering plants in the Tagetes family. They were native to the Americas, but have been naturalized throughout the world. Various species are grown for their medicinal properties, culinary use, decoration and even pest repellant in the garden.

Seed packet & charm craft

This is one of the most challenging holidays that I have ever worked through. I literally have driven myself crazy coming up with gift ideas that don't use a ton of stuff you need to run out and buy! Last week I wrote about homemade gifts and many of them use ingredients you probably have on hand already. This week I'm going to try to do the same thing, but this one is a little homemade garden gift!

Homemade seed packets with butterfly and bee charms, craft

What I came up with for today is a simple seed packet DIY. This will make a cute gift for a gardener friend. All you'll need is a printer and you can make this using seeds you collected from your own flowering plants this year, or you can pick some seeds up at the local feed store.

I came up with 2 different seed packet designs. One features bees and the other butterflies, because pollinators are so important to our food supply! I will also include a quick bracelet tutorial using charms I ordered at Michaels crafts. They offer curbside pick up, so I didn't even leave my car to get them!