Saturday, December 26, 2009

frugal seed starting pots

Since it is nearing the time to be getting our spring seeds planted in some areas of the country and I have seeds on the brain, I thought I would post up a couple of old but frugal seed starter pots.

We all know about using, egg cartons or egg shells even. We know about using any small container that we can poke holes in but will hold soil. We know about taking soda containers and making ghetto, baby GH's. The problem with each and every one of those methods other than the egg shell is that you must remove the plants from the container when transplanting. With both of these methods you can plant the seed pot and all and the cost is a fraction of what you would pay for a plantable container from a store.

newspaper seed pots
This is one of the first frugal things I ever learned how to do and make. These are really good seed pots to make although you may find you need to use a staple or a piece of tape to keep them together. If you find yourself needing to do this just pull the piece of tape off the bottom when you go to transplant to the garden. There is a method of origami that holds better than these do but it is more complicated and time consuming. You can also buy a doodad to roll your pots around, I find a soup sized can works best.

This is another good project to get the kiddos involved in as it is simple enough that they can make them, plant them and watch their project grow.

This ladies hands are prettier than mine are and she has funky green nail polish on so for the instructions follow this link ... seed-pots/

toilet paper roll seed pots
I started doing this with toilet paper rolls when we had about 13 people staying here on the land. That is an enormous amount of toilet paper rolls to simply throw away even if they are just biodegradable paper. Seemed like a waste of something perfectly good to simply throw it away, burn it or compost it so i began to look around and see what I could use them for.

I now save most all of our toilet paper rolls and make biodegradable, earth friendly, free seed pots. Of course with just two of us it is not nearly the amount of empty rolls as we once had..

These work pretty well as pots. They are big enough that a plant can go from seed to transplant stage in one container. The only downfall to them is you must be careful on over watering because they begin to fall apart and then you have a big mess.When you go to plant them in the ground just open the bottom of the paper tube and place the entire pot in the hole.

These are a very simple easy to make project and great to have the kiddos help with.

Here is a site with some pretty easy to follow instructions and pictures ... d-starter/

Friday, December 25, 2009

heirloom seed

One of the keys to becoming sustainable is by saving your seed from year to year. In order to save seed one must use heirlooms seeds. Now i will be the first one to tell you that trading with ppl is the best way to obtain seeds,its cheap and fun but sometimes we must purchase them.

Not all companies are created the same. Some do not do any testing on the seed while others do. I personally try and use companies that do test the seed for adulterations (gmo tainting amongst other things) . That however is ultimately up to you the buyer to check each company out.

Here are a few companies that i like to purchase from .

the best herb seed store i have ever seen

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

A couple of us net folks have recently gotten our heads together and have created a new forum . It is our forum as a group of like minded individuals, a forum based on self reliance and doing what we can for ourselves while reducing our impact on the earth. It is a forum where it doesnt matter if you live in a city apt or run a 1000 acres . It is a place to share and become a community of sorts We hope to make a place where we can share information, resources and tools for surviving and thriving through what may very well be very trying times in the near future.Our goal is to welcome all to a network of information and support for our ideas, goals, success, failures, happiness and even sometimes sorrows. We would also like to be able to offer an exchange system of goods and services among our members. We would truly love for you to join us there. Have a Very Merry Christmas Yall!

come visit us at homestead -hearth


Most of the time when we think of oregano we think of it as a cooking spice rather than a medicinal herb. In fact in the US oregano in cooking didn't catch on until after WW2, until this point its use here was strictly medicinal.

Oregano is an aromatic, herbaceous perennial with erect, hairy, square stems. Leaves are opposite, oval, toothed or toothless, pointed and up to 2 inches long. They feature ¼-inch long, tubular, two-lipped, whitish to pinkish flowers typically seen from late July until September. Oregano reaches a height of 12-24 inches, and a width of 10-20 inches.

Oregano is not recommended for children, pregnant women and lactating women. Those who have other health conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease should not take oregano without medical supervision

The amount of essential oil present in the oregano plant varies depending upon the species and growing conditions. Dried leaves of oregano are commonly used for the therapeutic purposes as well as for the culinary purpose. Nutritionally oregano also contains iron, vitamins, calcium, magnesium, copper, niacin and thiamine. As a medicinal, oregano contains antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-parasitic compounds.

Parts used are the leaves.
The volatile oil carvacrol present in oregano inhibits the growth of bacteria and other parasitic microorganisms. Some studies have found it to be more effective in killing Giardia than prescription drugs.

Oregano is used for external and internal fungal infections and yeast infections.

Oregano is used for the treatment of flatulence, bloating and other indigestion problems.
serves in improving digestion.

effective in overcoming menstrual symptoms and promoting menstruation.

Some people use oregano as a natural remedy to treat cold and flu symptoms.(as a tea or using oil on the soles of the feet)

Herbal tea prepared with oregano helps in alleviation of headache, urinary problems, lung disorders, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and jaundice.

Oregano boiled in plain water can be used as a mouthwash. Gargling with this water can help to prevent tooth infection and sore throat.

Oregano oil applied directly to the infected tooth helps in combating toothache.

Ground oregano leaves as a poultice soothe arthritis pain, insect bites and other skin problems.

Its bitter taste and strong aroma help in controlling head lice(use in an oil)

For your pets oil of oregano can be used for a natural remedy for ear mites


yarrow also know as Milfoil, Old Man's Pepper, Soldier's Woundwort, Knight's Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter's Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed

Yarrow is one of the most useful herbs to have in a home garden or yard. It does have a tendency to spread like wild fire and can become a nuisance so remember this if you plant it somewhere. It is however quite a pretty plant to have around and it is not picky about where or how it grows. I routinely dig up clumps and fling them on banks and bare spots and a new patch grows.Yarrow will also grow in most any climate and any soil condition so it makes a good plant for those with brown thumbs.

Yarrow grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough, the leaves alternate, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch broad, larger and rosette at the base, clasping the stem, the segments very finely cut, fern-like, dark-green, giving the leaves a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of flat-topped panicles consisting of numerous small, white flower heads. Each tiny flower resembles a daisy. The whole plant is more or less hairy, with white, silky hairs.The white yarrow is considered to be the best for medicinal purposes.

In china yarrow is used as a divination tool however there are many more conventional uses which make yarrow one of my top choices to have on the homestead . antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, stimulant, and tonics, vasodilator and vulnerary. Yarrow is used against colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages, and to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood. Medicinal tea is a good remedy for severe colds and flu, for stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps, abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation.

Do not use yarrow during pregnancy, for undiagnosed bleeding, or for more than two weeks

Use flowers, leaves and stems.
A piece of the plant held against a wound will staunch bleeding.
An infusion can help to break a fever.
A tea made from yarrow with peppermint and elderflower can be used to fight colds and flu.
Yarrow can be of benefit in mild cystitis.
Promotes digestion.
Improves circulation by acting as a vasodilator.
Lowers blood pressure.
Dry herb edible as a spice or flavoring, strong sage flavor.
Can be used in dry floral arrangements and as a scent in potpourri
An aromatic tea: To 1 tsp. dried herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep for 10 min. sweeten to taste.

Monday, December 21, 2009

monday's mountain musings

Havent posted in a couple few days as I have been battling a tooth that really wants to get infected. After three days it is beginning to feel much better and I think I shall live.

Manthing got the second bunny hut completed a couple days ago but them damned bunnies are still on the loose. They saw the cages being built , knew who they were for and tunneled deeper . Gottta luvvum, til I eattum..

Been making lots of lovely meals on the wood stove this week. Have made naan, rolls and a loaf of sour dough bread and all have turned out quite nice.

Had a few more flakes of snow the other day and a couple of pretty cold nights but everything is still trucking along in all the gardens. In the loft, my potatoes finally started growing after like two months and giving them up as lost cause.

I must also add that my time writing here has also slowed down the last few days due to a project for the holidays. A gift of sorts. Unfortunately, it is not finished yet so it may be a few more days before it can be unveiled and I return to proper posting..