The October-November issue of Organic Gardening magazine features tips for home and garden, including these from its editors:
Gardeners love plants, no news in that. Often this enthusiasm results in beds and borders planted all over a property, with no rhyme or reason. A landscape filled with planting areas that don’t relate to each other doesn’t look good or feel right. What’s needed are transitions. When the transitions between garden areas are good, a landscape flows.
- Make a statement – announce the new space by creating an entry. Add recognizable features at human scale, such as doors, arbors and benches.
- Set the path – incorporating a wood-chip path leading through a wood shifts visitors between garden areas and creates movement and flow
- Draw the eye- focal points draw us to different areas in a garden. Repeating the same material (like terra-cotta pots) not only pulls a person through the various spaces but also ties different spaces together)
- Change the levels- elevation changes mark moment form one area to another. A sunken area or room can help define a space or emphasize its importance.
- Infuse color and texture – bright colors and interesting textures attract attention, so to move people through the space, use these elements to create a destination
- Vary materials – a change of materials underfoot marks divisions between spaces. When a hard stone surface changes to a loose gravel, it signals that it is a different area.
- Create rhythm and movement – whether forming long arbor tunnels or lining the sides of the walkway in a stream of hostas, all the same variety, they rhythm will create a sense of movement through the space.
- Don’t neglect the hallways – some garden areas, such as the side area of a house going from front to back yards, serve the same function as hallways in a home. They’re not spaces for lingering, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be attractive transitional spaces
- Effectively use walls: hedges and walls divide spaces, serving as pronounced transitions from one area to another. Use them effectively and quickly change from one garden style to another
- Embrace the seasons: use difference elements throughout the season to create focal points or mark an entry.
“4 Easy Ways to Preserve Herbs”
Keep garden-fresh herbs handy all fall and winter, and leave the store-bought dried herbs on the shelf. Whether freezing into ice cubes or preserving fresh herbs in oil or butter, Organic Gardening magazine’s tips will help you add flavor to favorite recipes and save a buck or two all winter long.
- Freeze your Herbs: Freezing herbs is easy, even if you have a small freezer. Freeze herbs by snipping leaves into small bits, packing the bits into an empty ice-cube tray, filling about ¾ full with water, and freezing; one measured tablespoon of herbs per cube is a good amount. The next day, top off with water and freeze again (this covers the floating bits with ice to prevent freezer burn). Pop the finished cubes into a sealed container in the freezer. Drop frozen cubes into soups, stews, and such, for fresh-cut flavor.
- Create Herbal Butters: Another great method for preserving herbs is to make them into flavored butter and freeze that. Mince 1 part herbs (one type, or a blend) and mash into 2 parts softened organic butter, shape into a log, and freeze. Cut off slices of herb-flavored butter as needed to melt over vegetables, meat, or fish, or to sauté in recipes for the taste of summer all winter long. My favorite flavored butter is made with minced garlic and parsley, which makes awesome garlic bread!
- Prepare Herb-Flavored Vinegar: To make flavored vinegar, you will need bottles and cork stoppers to fit them (vinegar eats metal lids, even coated ones), enough good commercial vinegar to fill them, and fresh or dried herbs and spices. I like to use white-wine vinegar for delicate flavors like lemon balm, and organic apple-cider vinegar for more robust flavors like rosemary. Wash and pat dry any fresh herbs—tarragon is a classic vinegar flavoring—and slide the whole leaves into the bottles, using a chopstick or wooden skewer as needed. Peeled garlic cloves and any kind of small peppers (slit down the side) are also nice choices for making flavored vinegar. Use about ½ cup of herbs per 2 cups of vinegar, or more if you want a very concentrated flavor. Fill the bottles with room-temperature vinegar and cork. Store in a cool, dark place. The flavor will continue to strengthen for 4 to 6 weeks. Use herb-flavored vinegars in salad dressings and marinades, splashed over veggies, or anywhere a recipe calls for vinegar or lemon juice.
- Crafting Herb-Flavored Oils: You can also use your glass jars and corks for flavored oils. But placing herbs, garlic, peppers, fruit, and such, that contain even a trace of moisture into any oil is asking for trouble: The oil seals out the air and makes the perfect environment for botulism bacteria to thrive in the plant material. To be safe, you must store herb-flavored oils in the refrigerator and use them within a few weeks.
Learn more about Organic Gardening magazine at http://organicgardening.com/
Posted by Kathy Van Mullekom; email@example.com