Basil and containers go together Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow for culinary creations and you can easily grow basil in containers. After all, who can resist a batch of fresh pesto made from basil growing in your own yard! As soon as the weather turns I begin growing basil in […]
Summer is here, and that brings one unfortunate type of creature: bugs.
Mosquitoes and fleas, and other bugs and insects, can become a real annoyance and ruin anyone’s outdoor fun. But there is an all-natural way to fight back against these pests: with herbs!
The five herbs below, and their essential oils, can help repel those annoying bugs throughout summer.
1. Basil. Basil is not only a delicious herb but is also great for repelling bugs. Flies and mosquitoes hate basil. Use it to repel bugs by planting it, making a spray with it, or rubbing the leaves directly on yourself.
When plating the basil, put it near areas where you most want to keep those pesky insects away from you. A simple spray could be made by steeping the leaves in water for a couple of hours. Then, take just the basil-water and mix it with a small amount of apple cider vinegar and spray it on yourself.
2. Mint. Its intoxicating and overwhelming smell is what keeps mosquitoes away. Mint can be made into a spray by mixing its essential oil (a few drops of peppermint oil) with vinegar or water. The plant itself also can be utilized as a repellent by rubbing the leaves on your skin directly, or by placing the plant wherever you hang out most often.
3. Lavender. One of the best-smelling and beautiful plants is lavender, and it has one of the most beneficial attributes to be used in the summer months. Lavender is perfect at repelling moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes! This is the one herb that can do it all. Yet it is beneficial to not only you but also your garden. Hang it in your house and even by the doorways to keep the flies away. It can also be made into a spray like the other herbs.
4. Lemon thyme. When using this herb it is important to bruise the leaves before rubbing it on the skin. The only way the aroma is released is by smashing it or bruising it to release the oils. Then it can be applied to the skin. Among bugs and insects, lemon thyme is best used to repel mosquitoes.
5. Lemon balm. Lemon balm is an amazing plant that not only repels “bad” bugs but also attracts good ones. It repels annoying insects like mosquitoes, gnats or flies and attracts insects like butterflies and bees. This allows for your garden to be cared for by the beneficial bugs and protected from the pesky bugs. This herb can be crushed and applied to the skin or put on a patio or deck, or even planted in the garden, so as to protect you when you work.
In nature, there is a balance of good and bad. Nature gives us those annoying bugs, but nature also provides us plants to repel them when needed. Now that you have discovered what herbs to use, you can keep those exasperating insects away and actually enjoy your evenings outside, bug-free.
What herbs would you add to this list? Share them in the section below:
Spring is a perfect time to start some herb seeds indoors. Planting culinary herb seeds not only saves you money, but it also provides you with the ability to make delicious meals. Most culinary herbs also have potent medicinal qualities as an additional reward.
How to Grow Herbs from Seed
By planting seeds you may be able to grow plants that aren’t readily available in your local garden center. If you do not have room for a garden, herbs make wonderful potted plants. Most herbs thrive in average soil. If you are planting them indoors, use special soil mixes which are designed for starting seeds. You may sow your seeds in individual pots or you may choose to cluster sow them.
Herb seeds are extremely tiny. Take care when sowing them; mix the seeds with a bit of dry sand or use seed-starting tools which are designed for planting tiny seeds. Some seeds are available with special coatings that make them easier to handle.
If you are planting outdoors, check the seed packets or with your county extension agent regarding proper planting times. Prepare your garden beds carefully by removing weeds, loosening the soil and tilling it ahead of time so that it isn’t overly wet.
If you plant your seeds in trays or in individual pots, water them from the bottom. Keep seedlings, indoors or out, moist but not overly wet.
Tender herbs may be started indoors and moved outside when the weather warms up. Introduce them to their outdoor environment gradually. Protect them from hot sun and wind when you first expose them to the outdoors.
Not sure which herbs to grow? Here’s some terrific culinary herbs with medicinal properties which are ideally grown from seeds:
1. Basil. This is a great herb to grow from seed. If you are like me, you will want lots of it. There are a wide array of basil types to grow. Small leafed, large leafed, lemon, purple, holy and cinnamon are just a few of the fantastic varieties of basil. If you live in a cool or cold climate, start your basil in pots. Basil is a tender plant which cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Only move it outdoors when there is no chance of frost. Basil grows in average soil and should be planted in full sun. In addition to livening up mealtime, basil is said to relieve respiratory, digestive and emotional imbalances.
2. Sage. I grow sage from seed because there are several varieties and some of them are very attractive. Nibbling on one sage leaf daily can relieve hot flashes. Sage soothes sore throats and is a wonderful seasoning for poultry and savory dishes. You can make an antibacterial wash from sage which may be used for first aid. Like basil, sage thrives in average soil. It can tolerate poor soil as well. Grow sage in a sunny location.
3. Dill. It isn’t just for making pickles; dill is a beautiful garden plant. If you have children, be sure to provide them with some dill seeds to plant. Dill is extremely easy to grow. It makes a lovely tea for relieving belly aches. The plants produce attractive foliage and flowers. If you plan to do some pickling, grow the taller varieties, as they produce the most numerous and largest seed heads. Otherwise, plant the shorter varieties as they are more attractive and provide you with plenty of dill weed foliage. Dill thrives in poor or average soil in the sunshine. For a non-stop supply of dill, don’t plant all of your seeds at once. Sow seeds every few weeks all spring and summer long.
4. Tarragon. This one can be difficult to grow, particularly in hot climates. Try Mexican mint tarragon instead. You may know this plant as Texas tarragon. It has lovely yellow-orange flowers. Mexican mint tarragon grows in sunny locations in average soil. The anise flavored leaves are soothing to upset stomachs.
5. Mustard. Mustard is very easy to grow. White mustard is what most commercial mustard products are made from, but if you prefer a spicier, more pungent variety, grow brown mustard. In addition to flavoring pickles and savory dishes, making your own mustard is very simple. Mustard isn’t fussy about soil. It may be used medicinally as a warming herb to relieve respiratory congestion or blended into topical remedies.
There are hundreds of herbs which you can grow easily and economically from seeds. If you don’t need a whole packet of seeds, get together with friends and have a seed exchange. You will all have a vast array of herbs at your fingertips, which you can use for cooking and healing.
Which herbs would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:
To continue with the ABC’s of Essential Oils. This week is letter B. Basil, Bergamot, and Black Pepper
Valued for its restorative effects, Basil is also commonly used for its calming properties.
Acts as a cooling agent for the skin
Cold pressed from the rind of the bergamot fruit, Bergamot is unique among citrus oils.
Calming and soothing aroma
Promotes clear skin
Frequently used in massage therapy for its calming benefits
Stimulating and flavorful, Black Pepper enhances any dish—and your health.*
Provides powerful antioxidants*
Supports healthy circulation*
Enhances food flavor
Thank you for using affiliate links and such.
It doesn’t cost you extra to use them, so thank you.
Sometimes I get free stuff to review.
I promise you I will always be honest with my opinion
of any product regardless of if I were paid in addition
to receiving the free product. You can trust me.
Do you need Essential Oils of your own?
You can send me an e-mail and I will personally assist
you in choosing the best oils to fit your needs.
Please use discretion if using oils.
I am not a doctor and can not diagnose or treat what ails ya.
I can just give my advice. Essential Oils have yet to be
approved by the FDA.
Essential Oil Newsletter
Basil photo cred
Pan breads are quick and easy to make, adding a great element to your camping menus. The are delicious, punching above their weight in terms of flavour. They are also both filling and calorific, providing not just…
This year, I have two basil plants growing at home and two growing at the community garden plots. All the plants are doing extremely well which means I have a monster load of the fresh, green stuff.
I could keep dehydrating it and even freeze it, although, nothing beats enjoying it fresh from the garden.
Last night, I used my food processor to turn the basil harvest into pesto sauce. I served it over spaghetti because that’s one way to guarantee my picky kids will eat it. But you can also use pesto sauce to dress up grilled fish and chicken. Or, make a pesto sauce pizza!
How to Make Basil Pesto Sauce
- 3 cups basil leaves (lightly packed in the measuring cup)
- ¼ cup pine nuts (or any other nut~like walnuts or almonds.)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese or grated pecorino cheese
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼-½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Start with half of the basil in a food processor. Add the nuts, cheese, garlic, and salt.
- Blend until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
- Add the rest of the basil. Blend until mixture turns to a paste.
- While the processor is running, pour in the olive oil until desired thickness.
- Taste the pesto sauce. If needed, add more salt, garlic, nuts or cheese to your preference.
- If you plan on freezing the pesto, do not add the cheese when making. Put pesto into an air-tight container. Then, drizzle a little oil on the the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Before use, thaw the pesto and stir in cheese.
If you still have basil leftover (I do!), no worries.
Here are 5 more delicious things you can do with basil:
1. Basil Sea Salt is a fun way to dress up a fresh tomatoes and mozzerella appetizer. Gourmet finishing salts also make a great holiday gift so be sure to package some up for your friends!
2. A Herbed Basil Butter is wonderful on sweet corn or a baked potato.
3. Spread this Garlic Basil Butter onto baguette slices or the tops of warm rolls for homemade garlic bread.
4. Drizzle Basil Infused Olive Oil on a arugula and avocado salad. Yum!
5. Add it to marinade or use this Basil Herb Vinegar with olive oil for a salad dressing.
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What is your favorite thing to make with your basil harvest?
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The post Basil Pesto Sauce + 5 More Things to Do with Basil appeared first on Earth and Honey.
Many of you know I like to knit, and some of my friends look at me knitting and scratch their heads. Apparently, I’m not ‘what folks think of when they think of knitting’.
Or so I’ve been told.
Good! Just goes to prove you shouldn’t judge by first impressions.
Anyway, since I know a few of my readers are also knitters, I thought I’d share a bit of my knitting passion.
I finally finished my Anatomy Socks. (See left, above) Plain tube socks that I knit while watching television or surfing the web, Mindless, easy knitting.
I’m also pleased to have finished the Dark Cable Socks
It was a new pattern for me, and really very easy. The socks even turned out to be the size ordered! Yay! Mens size 11.
I’m getting ready to cast on another pair of socks, this time in special sock yarn we picked up years ago, tucked away and promptly forgot about.
(More on that later)
I’ve been asked why I make so many socks, and my first answer is, why not? But once we get past the knee-jerk response, here’s the best answer in the words of the Yarn Harlot herself;
“Hand knit socks are 100% better than store bought.They feel so fabulous on your feet that there’s almost nobody who doesn’t want to only wear hand-knit socks from the first time he or she slips them on.”
Time to go smoosh some yarn. Next post, another very good reason to knit socks, the life and times of Buttercrunch lettuce and the secret life of basil.
I’ve written before on how relieved I am that spring is finally here, as evidenced by the warmer temperatures, more birds and the moose coming out of the bush.
Speaking of moose, a friend of mine (Sara Mealey) got some great photos of that same moose I shared with you the other day.
Apparently the moose likes paparazzi. Or should that be people-razzi?
I tell you, spring couldn’t get here fast enough for me.
Okay, I should amend that…
I want spring, but I really don’t want it to arrive with a body slam that will flood my little town. I mean, let’s be reasonable, very few of us are ready to be cut off from our main city an hour away.
I know we aren’t.
We’ve started our plants with lettuce and spinach first. I’m very pleased with how they’re thriving in their little south-facing window.
On the left is Buttercrunch lettuce and on the right, though looking less vigorous, is spinach.
It’s not a huge start, but it is a start. This morning I started some more lettuce and spinach, because, hey, we’ll want more. I also started some basil.
So why do all this when I can get it in town?
- Because veggies aren’t cheap, and neither is the gas required to get them
- Because nothing beats the taste of homegrown veggies and spices
- Because it satisfies my green thumb and there is an undercurrent of hope in growing things yourself