Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gardens, Herbs, and Kitchen Tables

Today is a random collection of things that make me happy (and not-so-happy in the case of the last part).
I'm just so in love with how things have turned out, I had to put up another picture. The blue bowl on the ground is full of beer. We've had a slug problem, and they will be lured into the beer and drown.

Look at those gorgeous snap peas!

And a close up of the beauties...My peas will be harvested tonight for Sunday dinner!

My first ever tomato! (a roma paste tomato)

We realized that we don't really eat lettuce, so we ripped out all but four plants and put in extra squash instead. Why have it take up space when we don't want it?

My potential hibiscus are about to bloom. We'll soon find out if that is indeed what they are!

*B* made a gorgeous planter with a form of sedum (sedum hispanicum) we picked up at the local home and garden center.

I also tried my hand at freezing and drying herbs last night.

I picked some basil evenly from all plants.

I rolled one big leaf or two little leaves together from stem to tip.

I cut the basil rolls into strips (I believe it's called chiffonade).

I put the basil into ice cube trays, and filled them with water.

They freeze up quite nicely. When totally frozen, pop them out and put them into a labeled freezer bag. They're really good in drinks, or they can be defrosted for recipes.

I cut five sprigs of basil off of my plant and rinsed and spun them dry.

I put them on a paper towel to get rid of the rest of the water.

I pruned some leaves off the end (used later) and tied twine around the end. I found it best to make a slipknot, throw it over the sprigs, then tie multiple knots in it. I had more control over the stems that way.

Here are other herbs I harvested from bottom left, clockwise: parsley, cilantro flowers, mint, thyme, and the rest of the rosemary.

The thyme I froze flat and threw into a Ziploc. Each of the others went into their own cube, covered in water, and treated like the basil.

Yesterday, I also used my genius to re-purpose a too-small hamster wheel. Because we keep our hamsters in aquariums rather than steel sided cages, the water bottles are hard to accommodate. We bought a glass water bottle. I hooked the frame from our old wheel onto the top of the cage, and hung the water bottle from that.
Doesn't this look nifty??

My not-so-happy section: My grandmother bought us an oak kitchen table a few months ago. It is gorgeous. I've been trying to find a tablecloth for it, but have not yet had any luck. A couple of days ago, I noticed some water on it. I wiped it off and this happened:

Where I wiped took all the finish off. So here is my question for all of you knowledgeable people - how does one fix this problem and how can I care for the table in the future?


  1. Wow. Your garden looks great. And great job storing the herbs. I need to look into different methods. My herbs probably need harvesting, but I would like to dry them all rather than freeze.

    Here from Oregon Cottage Garden Party.

  2. I've never thought of freezing my herbs that way - I will have to try it!

    Your garden looks wonderful (jealous here!) - thanks for sharing!

  3. YOur garden looks great! Your herb idea in the ice cubes is great...thanks so much for sharing that. Sorry about your table, wish I had a good idea to help you. Paula from Idaho

  4. Love all the gardening tips so much that I because your newest follower becasue I want to learn more. Beer for grubs and ice cubes of herbs.... great stuff. Anxious to ready more.

  5. We've used Howard's Restore a Finish on all of our oak for years with great success! So much so that I now own several colors for use in our shop when finishes needs a little help. Try that on your table and you'll be pleased I am sure.

    Great herb tips-my hubbie sent me the link to your blog because we are growing herbs this year.

  6. I'm glad to help you all out with the herbs. Thank you for the compliments - I'm very proud of my garden. Sue: I'll definitely have to try Howard's. Thanks!

  7. Lovely pictures and thanks for the step-by-step to preserving herbs! I love that. Thanks for linking to the Tuesday Garden Party!