How to Grow Green Beans

As the weather gets warmer, I am sure many of you are excitedly thinking about planting your garden.

I know I am!

Wax beans and purple runner beans
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Green beans are one of my favourite things to grow; not only are they so easy to grow, but they also produce like crazy all summer long!

With green beans, there is no need to start them indoors. You can just plop those seeds right in the ground.

There are so many varieties to choose from, whether you are looking for a determinate, bush style plant or an indeterminate vining plant.

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There are also some amazing color options to choose from! I love having a mix of yellow wax beans, purple runner beans, and of course good ol’ green beans. You can even find some interesting looking speckled varieties.

I find my yellow wax beans, a bush variety, tend to produce earlier in the season than my runner beans. My runner beans absolutely take off about half way into summer and are heavy producers the rest of the season.

I love the fact that the wax beans and purple runner beans are so tender and have smooth skins; the scarlet runner beans have little hairs on the skin which collect dandelion seeds or whatever else is blowing around in the wind.

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Planting

Once you are beyond the risk of frost, you can start planting!

The night before you plan to plant your seeds, soak them in lukewarm water overnight. This will give them a head start on germination and you will see green shoots pushing through the soil more quickly.

Bean plant

Make sure the soil is moist, but not wet. You do not want to rot your seeds!

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Purple runner beanstalk

Green beans are amazing companion plants as they add nitrogen to the soil. You can plant them with heavy feeders such as eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. Pumpkins, squash, and corn also benefit from companion planting with green beans (check out the “3 sisters” for more info on that).

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Care & Maintenance

Bush beans can support themselves and will not need any extra help.

Runner beans, however, need a trellis to support their every-growing vines. You can take advantage of vertical growing space to maximize your harvest per square foot. Get creative! The foliage is lush and green and looks amazing to use on archways or as part of your landscaping.

Be very careful when watering!!! One of the easiest mistakes to make when growing beans is improper watering. Their leaves are prone to leaf rot if they are touched when wet.

I make sure to water at the base of the plant without getting the leaves wet. If it has just rained, I wait to harvest beans until the leaves have dried.

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Harvesting

This is the fun part!

You can start harvesting the beans at any size, really, but if you wait until they are store-sized you will get more bang for your buck.

The yellow wax beans have a green twinge to the young beans and turn a bright yellow when they are ready to be harvested.

Maturing wax beans
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The purple runner beans have a green twinge as well, turning a deep purple when they are ready. Oh! And did I mention that they turn from purple to green when they are cooked? Super fun!

Mature purple runner beans

When my garden is in full swing, I can harvest a heaping basket every-other-day. It is such a satisfying feeling to cook meals from garden to table. And to have enough to either preserve or share with others.

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If you do not keep on top of harvesting almost daily, you will have some beans get too ripe and they will be tough and stringy. I choose to leave a number of beans on the plant to mature for seeds.

Seeds maturing to store for winter

That reminds me, another reason I love green beans is for how easy it is to save seeds for the next year! After the ripe beans have fully dried on the stalk, it is a fun and easy process of shelling the seeds.

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Dry bean pods, ready to be shelled

Make sure the seeds are fully dry and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark room for the winter.

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Wax bean seeds

I have been saving bean seeds for about 5 years or so and have very good germination results, so that saves a few bucks on re-buying seeds every spring.

Purple runner bean seeds
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Once the growing season is finished, I leave the beanstalks over winter. I find it much easier to pull them out in the Spring after they have fully dried out.

And of course, the last step is adding all the dead stalks to my composting to use in the garden later.

An average harvest

Do you have any extra tips on growing green beans? Drop a comment below!

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Jalapeño Sourdough Waffles

I prefer savoury over sweet, almost every time. Jalapeño waffles seemed like an interesting idea to test out, so I gave it a shot!

It gives an interesting twist to breakfast, changing up the boring routine of the same 3 breakfast options every morning.

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I added 1 cup sourdough starter, about a quarter cup cheddar cheese, a quarter cup of diced jalapeños, one egg, salt, and enough flour to bring it to the right “pancake batter” consistency.

To add a bit of protein, I scrambled up some eggs, added a side of bacon, and garnished with green onions, parsley, and freshly ground pepper.

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To see how to grow your own endless supply of green onions, click here.

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Jalapeño Sourdough Waffles

1 cup sourdough starter

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup diced jalapeños

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Flour – add just enough for a “pancake batter” consistency

Mix well, add to preheated waffle maker, cook and enjoy!

What do you do to switch it up for breakfast? Comment below!

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How to Regrow Green Onions from Kitchen Scraps

Green onions are about one of the easiest kitchen scraps to regrow.

And they grow fast, which is fun to watch!

I love garnishing food with green onions, so why not grow them myself rather than continually buying them from the store?

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Leave about 1/2 an inch to an inch at the bottom of the store-bought green onion.

Starting size

Place it in water, just covering the roots. You don’t want too much water or the stem will get slimy and smelly.

1 week after starting
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You will see the center start to grow within about a day. Within a week, you should have a good bit of green stalk starting to form.

You can pot your green onion in soil once the roots are well established.

3-4 weeks after starting

Within a few weeks, your green onion should be almost full size.

Stages of growth

Harvest, leaving at least one leaf on the plant to keep it producing.

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One question I had when I first started using this method was, “Will the bulbs get large like regular onions?”

Well, the answer to that question is “no.”

They definitely get larger than they come from the store, however do not get any bigger than a golf ball.

Mystery solved!

Have you tried this before? Comment below with your experience!

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Homemade Jambalaya

I typically do not order anything at a restaurant that I make at home.

Partially as a treat to myself to have something different when we go out and partially because I feel like my home cooked meals are just as good but for less cost.

Well, Jambalaya is one of those meals I have rarely made at home. Until now.

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We all know that restaruants are closed to sit-down meals during this pandemic, plus I live an hour out of town and don’t feel like doing that kind of drive for take-out!

So, of course, I decided to whip up a batch of my own. With no recipe to follow. And it turned out great!

Sure, I could have looked up a recipe on Pinterest, but I am notorious for changing almost any recipe I find anyway, so I chose to just make my own.

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Sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 chopped onion, 1 chopped celery stalk, and about 6-8 cherry tomatoes in 1 tablespoon butter until slightly soft.

Add 1/4 yellow pepper and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

When all vegetables are slightly soft, add 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup water, a splash of lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon creole seasoning. (I did not add salt as the creole seasoning contains salt)

Add 1/4 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon thyme for that extra bit of flavour.

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Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 10-12 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Meanwhile, cook 1 strip of bacon until crispy. You can add chicken, sausage, and shrimp as meat options as desired.

When rice is fully cooked, dish into a deep bowl and top with crumbled bacon and desired meats.

Garnish with green onions and parsley (cilantro is yummy, too, but I didn’t have any on hand).

(CLICK HERE FOR HOW TO GROW AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF GREEN ONIONS FOR FREE!)

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Jambalaya Recipe

Makes 1 serving

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

6-8 cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 yellow pepper, chopped

1/4 red pepper flakes

1/2 cup jasmine rice

1 cup water

Splash of lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon creole seasoning

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 slice bacon, crumbled

Optional meats: chicken, sausage, shrimp.

Garnishes: green onions, parsley, cilantro.

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Directions

Sauté onion, garlic, and celery in butter until soft.

Add pepper, tomato, and red pepper flakes.

Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add rice, water, lemon juice, creole seasoning, oregano, and thyme.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until rice is tender.

Plate and add bacon, shrimp, and other meats desired.

Garnish with green onions, parsley, and cilantro.

Enjoy!

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Enjoy!

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Ellie’s Famous Guacamole

Love a bit of tasty guacamole as a side for your meal – or a stand-alone snack with corn chips? Okay, you still may want some chunky salsa or fire roasted salsa for those chips, too.

This is by far my favourite guacamole recipe yet.

Fresh, homemade guacamole is definitely the way to complete Taco Tuesday!

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Recipe

1 large ripe avocado

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 lemon, juiced

1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

A dash of Frank’s Red Hotsauce

Salt & pepper to taste

Garnish with chopped tomato, red onion and jalapeño.

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Mash the avocado and add all ingredients.

Optional garnishes – chopped red onion, jalapeño, and tomatoes.

The sour cream gives a rich, creamy texture and the jalapeños and cayenne add a bit of bite.

If you enjoy spicy foods, add more heat as desired with more cayenne and jalapeño.

Enjoy!

This guacamole goes well with fried tacos, chicken fajitas or nachos.

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Easy Homemade Marmalade

With everything going on in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had a lot more time on my hands at home to try out new things that interest me.

Having extra oranges on hand that may or may not get eaten before they got hard, the idea of trying to make my own marmalade so they didn’t go to waste came to mind. Also, a bit of extra vitamin C in my diet wouldn’t hurt, right?

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I personally do not like overly sweet food, so I adjusted the recipe I found to have less sugar than called for by about half.

First, I washed my oranges and lemon, cut the ends off, then cut them into quarters and then into thin strips. Next time I would try cutting them into thin rounds first and then into quarters to see which method is easiest to get the thinnest strips.

Make sure there are no seeds before adding the orange and lemon to the pot. (I saved the cut off the ends of the oranges to make a vinegar cleaner later).

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Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.

I let the batch set overnight as this gives the orange’s natural pectin time to set. Some recipes called for pectin, which I did not have on hand, so I chose this method rather than wait until the next time I made it to the grocery store (which wouldn’t be for a while given the government’s strong recommendation to stay home unless absolutely necessary).

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The next day, I brought the batch back up to a boil, then turned it down to a simmer for 2 hours.

The next step was to bring it to a gentle boil for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid burning. The recipe said to use a candy thermometer and bring the temperature to 220 Degrees F – I actually whipped out my candy thermometer, despite my temptation to “wing it!”

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That being said… My batch only made it to about 210 Degrees before it started looking gelled enough, so I took a spoonful of the marmalade out and put it in the fridge for a minute to test how it set up. 

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It was the consistency I wanted, so I took my marmalade off the heat and put it into 3 clean, sanitized pint jars and sealed.

Of course my spoonful to test it was tasty, but I still HAD to try the marmalade with fresh, homemade sourdough bread for my final rating – and let me tell you, this will not be the last time I make this recipe!

It makes for a great breakfast when slathered on top of sourdough English muffins.

I had a friend joke that they call marmalade “old people jam” and it made me laugh; Pinterest already thinks I am an older lady, so why not just embrace it? Haha

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Recipe

4 Medium Oranges, sliced thinly

1 Lemon, sliced thinly

6 Cups Water

4 Cups Sugar (if you like it sweeter you can add another 4 cups of sugar)

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Directions

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat, cover, and leave overnight.

Bring to a boil the next day, reduce heat to a simmer for 2 hours.

Bring to a gentle boil for 20 – 30 minutes. Target heat using your candy thermometer is 220 Degrees F. Test thickness by taking a spoonful and placing in the fridge for a minute; if it is watery, continue to cook. If it gels well, your batch is done.

Fill clean, sanitized jars and seal with hot water bath. 

Makes about 3 pints.

Enjoy!

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Have you made marmalade? Do you plan to give it a try? I would love to hear from you below!

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How to make a solar chandelier

Step-by-step instructions on how to make your own solar chandelier.

I am a huge fan of repurposing items for the “waste not, want not” concept. And when it comes to my greenhouse, I love fun projects that give it a unique look.

We had a chandelier that needed a lot of TLC if we were ever to get it to work again… and I just didn’t have a place planned for it in the house. I had seen the idea of turning old light fixtures into solar lights, so I decided to give it a try for myself!

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First things first, we had to remove the old light bulb bases that were stuck in the fixture. Then we removed all of the old wiring.

Next, with dollar solar lights, we siliconed the lights in place. Because the silicone does not set up right away, we left the chandelier hanging off the stairs for a day.

All that was left after that was to put the light up and wait for sunset to see if our project worked!

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That evening, as the daylight began to fade, the lights started glowing softly at first and then getting brighter as night crept in. It was an experiment that turned out perfectly!

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During the late summer, my scarlet pole beans get so tall they end up using the chandelier as though it were their trellis, reaching ever higher for the sunshine.

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Have you done a cool DIY garden project? Drop a comment below!

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Top 10 Herbs to Grow in your Kitchen Garden

One of my favourite parts of summer is the ability to run out to my kitchen garden, aka my greenhouse, and pick fresh herbs to add to dinner as I am cooking.

There is just something so satisfying about growing my own food – and you absolutely can’t beat the freshness of garden-to-table meals!

Oh, and did I mention that herbs are also incredibly healthy for you?

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The health benefits range from lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, enhancing memory, calming the stomach, and even boosting one’s mood!

If you live in a small space, you can still easily grow herbs in a window with small pots.

I am a big believer in cooking meals that are packed with flavour, color, and nutrients; herbs (and spices) are the key to transforming a bland recipe into a gourmet delicacy.

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What is the difference between an herb and a spice?

Many people have to clue what the difference is!

So I’ll tell you.

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Herbs are the leaf, whereas a spice comes from the seed of a plant.

Take cilantro versus coriander for example; they both come from the same plant, however cilantro is the name for the leaf and coriander is the name of the seed.

Often the seed and the leaf can have different flavours and are used in different recipes.

Now you know!

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I have a few must-have herbs that I use in soooo many recipes.

These are my top picks!

Basil

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Basil is by far my favourite herb to add to salads.

(Check out my blog on how to grow basil)

It is so flavourful and turns a run-of-the-mill recipe into a gourmet meal with that added garnish.

Once you have a healthy plant started, it is easy to propagate more plants while you are pruning your current plant back.

Pruning is very important to keep your basil plant producing rather than bolting and going to seed.

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By the end of the season, I typically end up with so many leaves that I am almost forced to make pesto to use up all my basil.

It is an annual, so I make sure to allow one or two plants go to seed at the end of the season so I can save the seeds for planting the following spring.

Basil is an anti-inflammatory and is believed to help with digestion, fight depression, and reduce the risk of diabetes.

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Dill

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Dill is a classic because of its diversity.

You can add it to soups, creamy chicken dishes, or – my personal favourite – to garlic mashed potatoes!

And of course you can’t for get it being a perfect addition to potato salad for those summer BBQ’s.

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Another reason Dill is a popular choice for a kitchen garden is the fact that their seeds are used for many pickling recipes – yes, the seeds are what give dill pickles their flavour, NOT the leaves as many would expect.

And did I mention that their seeds are easy to save for planting the next year?

I can never plant too much dill; each year I plant a little more and each year we use all of it!

Dill is high in calcium, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

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Cilantro

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Easy to grow is an understatement for Cilantro!

The last couple years I literally just thew a bunch of seeds in a raised bed and didn’t even cover them with soil!

I always end up with baskets heaping full several times throughout the summer and have to dry a lot of it to avoid wasting the excess leaves.

And speaking of easy? The seeds are a breeze to pick and store over the winter, with amazing germination in the Spring.

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Cilantro brings such a distinctive taste to many cultural dishes from various countries; I use it in the sauce for my fish tacos, the marinade for carne asada, and as a garnish for my fried tacos.

Some people love it, while others hate it. There does not seem to be an “in between” on this one.

(Obviously I am on the “love it” side of the fence!)

Cilantro is believed to promote healthy skin and hair, as well as reduce the risk of cardiac disease, diabetes, and obesity.

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Thyme

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Thyme can be used in cooking or even for landscaping and is a hardy plant that is tough to kill. Plus the bees love the flowers!

The fact that it is hardy to our zone (zone 4) is a big benefit; I love perennials because they cut down on the work and cost each spring during planting.

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I like using thyme in soups and stews – and sometimes even in my scrambled eggs for breakfast.

A couple fresh sprigs of thyme also add a nice flavour profile to premium roast beef.

Thyme is believed to help boost the immune system and is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron.

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Oregano

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Oregano is what makes or breaks a good pasta sauce!

Whether you are making spaghetti, lasagna or even pizza sauce, oregano is a key ingredient.

(Oregano can become bitter if overcooked, so add it toward the end of a recipe for optimal flavour)

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I also use it in my jambalaya recipe and even my herbed pizza dough recipe!

Oregano is a prolific plant that produces well all summer long.

Pruning on a regular basis will help keep it from bolting and forces heavier production.

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It is rated to zone 5, so I typically pot my oregano in the fall and keep it in the house until it is warm enough to plant back outside in the spring.

The health benefits of oregano are as incredible as the taste it adds to food!

Not only is it loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it also packs a punch with vitamin K, vitamin E, manganese, iron, and calcium.

Talk about a SUPER HERB!

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Rosemary

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Mmm! The scent of rubbing this plant alone is so calming! Its pungent fragrance is so soothing and relaxing.

Rosemary is a bit pickier about its watering than some other herbs; it likes well-drained soil, fairly dry conditions – and will not be happy if you accidentally overwater it!

I use it primarily in rosemary rice to add a unique flavour as well as *obviously* in focaccia bread (yum!). It goes well in soups and stews as well.

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Unlike thyme, rosemary is rated for zone 7 (at the coldest) and will not make it through our brutal winters.

I overwinter my rosemary the same way I do with my oregano – by potting it in the fall and bringing it into the house for the winter.

Rosemary is high in both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories; it is believed to improve the immune system, blood circulation, and even help with brain function!

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Chives

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The mild, onion flavour makes for a wonderful garnish on many dishes and the bright green pop of color adds a fancy presentation.

I usually will add either chives or green onions to my loaded hasselback potatoes or loaded stuffed potatoes.

They are easy to grow from seed or from a clump divided from a mature plant.

Growing from seed, they take a couple years to become fully grown and ready for harvesting – but once they are mature they are prolific producers!

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Their beautiful purple flowers are edible and can be added to salads for a bit of extra color.

Rated for up to zone 3, they are a great perennial to add to an herb garden.

For a slightly different flavour, try planting garlic chives.

Chives are high in vitamin K, which helps with bone strength and blood clotting.

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Lavender

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Most people are familiar with the fragrance of lavender and the calming properties they possess, but may not realize it is also used for many dessert recipes.

The leaves and flowers can be harvested for teas, infused oil, and the ever-popular essential oil.

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Bees absolutely love their soft plumes of flowers.

Unfortunately for me, they are only rated to zone 5 – almost hardy enough for our zone, but not quite tough enough.

Lavender has anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to be a mood-booster by relieving anxiety and promoting calmness.

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Parsley

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I hated the huge bunch of parsley served on the side of burgers and fries as a kid, not realizing that parsley is usually just meant as a garnish and not meant to be eaten by itself! (I was raised with the mentality not to waste food, but that big mouthful of parsley is where I drew the line!)

When I use parsley as a garnish, I chop it into small pieces and sprinkle a sparse amount on the dish so the taste is not overpowering; when used correctly, parsley compliments the other flavours in a dish rather than dominating the flavour profile.

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Parsley is know as a biennial, which means it grows the first year and goes to seed the second year.

I like “self-seeding” plants because they are essentially perennials in the concept that I do not have to keep replanting them each year.

As with dark green, leafy vegetables, parsley is loaded with nutrients.

It is also high in antioxidants and is believed to have cancer-fighting properties.

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Mint

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The mint family has a number of varieties to choose from; traditional mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, etc.

Rated for zone 3, they are incredibly hardy plants and difficult to kill.

If left to their own devices, they will quickly take over the area where they were planted and can become a weed if you’re not careful!

They can be added to cold drinks like a rhubarb simple syrup seltzer, used in teas or added as a garnish on desserts.

Mint has anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to help with digestive functions.

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Keeping herbs fresh

Ideally, herbs are best picked just before you plan to use them; they will have the freshest taste, best texture, and highest nutrient content.

If garden-to-table isn’t an option for you, store the herbs in the fridge.

Most herbs like to be placed in a jar with a little water at the bottom, just covering the bottom of the stems – make sure the leaves are not in the water or they can make it murky after being in the water for a while.

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Honorable Mentions

A few other herbs to consider are marjoram, winter savoury, tarragon, sage, and stevia.

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Want to know how to prepare herbs for long-time storage? SUBSCRIBE to see that blog post when it comes out!

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How to Force Hyacinth Bulbs in the Middle of Winter

Learn how to force Hyacinth bulbs in the middle of winter!

What better way to add tranquility to your space than these elegant Hyacinth flowers in the dead of winter?

Today, as I am writing this, we are the coldest place on earth at a harsh -40° C (-50° C with the windchill!) – therefore fresh flowers are a welcome reprieve from the cold and dark.

The gentle fragrance of the Hyacinths fills the room and adds the perfect pastel colours to my kitchen, dining room, and bedroom. I love flowers, and live flowers rather than cut flowers seem so much sweeter!

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So how do you go about forcing these bulbs to flower in the middle of winter?

It will take planning, preparation, and a LOT of patience, but if you are willing to put in the work for the payoff in the end – you’ve come to the right place!

Obviously, the first step is to buy the bulbs; finding high quality bulbs will help give you the best results. You want bulbs that are a bit larger than a golf ball and are nice and firm.

Next, the bulbs need to be chilled in a dry, dark place. If you have a cold pantry, this works well; if not, you can chill them in your refrigerator in one of the drawers (just makes sure you do not have fruit near them as the gasses the fruit puts off are not good for the forcing process).

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Most resources I have seen recommend chilling the bulbs for 12-15 weeks, although I only chilled mine for 10-12 weeks.

Chilled bulbs, ready to start forcing

Once they had been chilled, I started the bulbs in batches every 3-4 weeks so I would have new blossoms forming as the previous ones were drying up. You will know they are ready to start as they will have 1-2 inches of green growth started by this time.

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The very first sign of a blossom forming

I put a layer of decorative stones in a vase, then added the bulbs, then added just enough water to touch the root of the bulb. Too much water touching the bulb will cause it to rot.

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WARNING! The Hyacinth bulbs cause skin irritation, so you should either wear gloves or wash your hands immediately after working with them (do NOT touch your face like I did… I had to find out the hard way that they cause an itchy reaction).

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Blossoms starting to emerge and turn color

Next, I added a few drops of bleach to help kill bacteria that can cause slime and a foul smell – you don’t want pretty smelling flowers in stinky water, right? Adding a little bit of rubbing alcohol at this point also helps keep the flower stems from getting tall and spindly.

Hyacinth blossoms almost at full bloom

Keep your bulbs in a cool, dark room for another 2 weeks. Once you bring them out into the warm part of the house, they will start growing over the next 3-4 weeks. Be sure to add water as needed to keep the water level right at the roots.

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Once they start blooming, you can expect them to last about 3-4 weeks. The blossoms start out as a green cluster of nubs being pushed up through the center of the leaves, slowly turning color and opening as they mature.

The fragrance is amazing! Once they turn color, they start wafting a beautiful scent around them. I added a vase of these glorious flowers to my nightstand and have been so content falling asleep to their soft aroma.

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Forced Hyacinth Blossoms
Hyacinth flowers in full bloom

The next stage is taking care of the bulbs after the flowers have dried up. I trimmed the dead flowers off; right now, my first set of forced bulbs still have beautiful green leaves – even without the flowers they add a refreshing color to the house.

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Now, I will wait for the leaves to die back and turn brown on their own. They still need some water, but cutting back on the amount they are given is supposed to help the bulbs know they need to store the energy required for the next season.

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The House from 1915

World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote…..

The year 1915 – 

World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote. The first coast-to-coast long distance phone call in the US, with Alexander Graham Bell. John McCrae writes Flanders Fields. The Rocky Mountain National Park is established. Pluto is photographed for the first time. The Vancouver Millionaires win the Stanley Cup. Babe Ruth’s first career home run. Einstein’s theory of general relativity is formulated. The 1 millionth Ford car is manufactured. Frank Sinatra is born.

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1915 has so many world changing events happening, and yet a family in rural Saskatchewan are in the midst of building their home. Little do they know the years it will age and weather, the many lives lived in it and the history made. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell! I can only imagine the hard work that building a house in 1915 would be; none of our modern tools like air nailers, table saws, and shop lights.

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Old Farm SiteFast forward almost 100 years – Jake and I had been married just over a year and had been looking at buying our first house. We are both hard working, industrious, and like to think big. None of the houses we looked at in North Battleford were quite what we were looking for, so we kept looking and this once in a lifetime opportunity practically fell into our lap months later – with one day to decide if we would take it!

Now, we had seen this house many a time before as we had farmed land around it. It was abandoned, so we had ventured a peak around and knew what the place looked like.  But the farm land was being sold and as a last minute discovery on our part, the buyers and sellers were both willing to exclude the farm yard and a few acres from their deal to be sold separately, however their papers would be signed in 1 day!

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DSC_0665

Obviously, you can guess what we decided, but it was a lot of discussion and hoping we were making the right call. This place was OLD and had not been well cared for in the last 11-12 years (from the timeline the neighbours have given us). It needed a lot of work. A LOT!

The Ugly – So what shape was it in? The one day we had to make our decision, we decided to take a walk around the acreage and revisit the house, sometime early May with snow still on the ground. I remember all the broken glass on the floors from vandals breaking out the windows. I remember the rain blowing in through where the glass should have been and the floor soaking wet. I remember the pigeons living inside frantically trying to escape the intruders through those empty windows. This poor, old house needed someone who was willing to fix everything!

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And we took it  –  to be continued…
If you have enjoyed the beginning saga of our adventures with the Old House on the Prairie, please subscribe to my blog for the next update on our story!

(Please note: historic information taken from wikipedia and dates for the house are from the best information we have gathered from neighbours and the library)
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