White Harvest Seed Blog

  • Thin to Win

    It's one of those jobs in the garden that no one likes to do.  After weeks of sowing and celebrating as the garden turns green with seedlings, the idea of thinning those plants is about the furthest thing from most gardeners' minds.  And we wish it could stay there.

    While it may seem harsh to eradicate perfectly healthy starts, it's for a good reason and a good cause.  We must give our vegetables some breathing room.

    It's the same concept as weeding. If our plants have to compete with each other for their most basic needs – such as sunlight, water, nutrients, and air – they'll never reach their full potential.  (And that's if they all live to their maturity, which is unlikely in overcrowded, stunted conditions.)

    In root crops such as radishes, carrots, and beets, if you neglect to thin them while they're young, the small harvests will be one huge disappointment.  And the problems, unfortunately, don't stay hidden beneath the surface either.  The signs of a struggling plant can reach from root to crown.

    Above ground, various diseases can quickly grow out of control when the air circulation is hindered.  Plants can grow weak and faint just like people do.  We must give everything from lettuce to squash a fair shake with enough space to truly succeed.

    Yes, that may mean pulling out a few of those precious seedlings you were so proud of.  Pick the weakest looking ones of the bunch where you can.  Use scissors to snip the unlucky ones where they've  entwined or grown too close to the “keepers”.  This way, the roots of the remaining seedlings aren't damaged.

    There is a silver lining to the thinning garden rule.  None of the plants have to be tossed aside and wasted. In the example of greens, if you wait to thin once they've grown their first true leaves, you can enjoy the extra seedlings in a fresh spring salad.  Many plants can be thinned from the others and yet still be big enough to eat.

    You can also save the misfits by gently pulling them out of the soil and transplanting them elsewhere.  These might need a little extra TLC, but they should survive as long as no damage is done to their root system.

    After thinning, the garden will look better, feel better, and will definitely grow better.  It's a tricky process, but it must be done.  Remember, it's better to have a small, yet healthy harvest than no harvest at all. Don't be afraid to weed and thin – your garden's life depends on it.

  • Feeding a Vegetarian

    The idea might not overwhelm vegetarians themselves, but for me – a girl who loves her fried chicken – it was a little intimidating at first when I married a man who'd never eaten a hamburger.  What was I going to feed him?  I laugh looking back now at how obvious our solution was and how fortunate that it could be found in familiar territory.

    Our garden would serve as our main course!

    Why, those beautiful vegetable harvests deserve to be more than a side dish!

    In the 7 months that Andrew and I have been married, let's just say there have been many attempted cooking experiments.  Some turned out better than others, of course, but that's to be expected.  (Fortunately, I have one very patient husband!) Finding the meals we both can enjoy – straight from the garden no less – is something to celebrate for sure!

    In honor of those great crops that make great meals, White Harvest has created a place on Pinterest where we've collected some of our favorite garden recipes.  We invite you to check it out here: http://pinterest.com/whseedcompany/garden-recipes/ and try a few for yourself.

    We all could be more efficient gardeners if we studied our recipes a bit more.  Take note of the ingredients and seasonings when you're cooking your favorite dishes.  What things could you have grown yourself? I bet you'll be surprised how many there are.

    Take it from me.  Don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen or the garden. Familiarize yourself with new things until new favorites reveal themselves.

    A few of the recipes we found lately and loved were the Parmesan Asparagus, Farmer's Market Vegetable Sandwich, and the Black Bean Enchiladas.  All of these and more can be found on our Pinterest page above.  Hope you find something there you can't resist!  If you already have a favorite garden recipe, we'd love to hear it in the comments below and give it a try.

    Learning to feed my vegetarian has certainly proven a challenge at times, but it's given me yet another reason to keep gardening.  There are countless ways to combine our love for gardening with our cooking and the health benefits really are off the charts!

  • Soaking Seeds for Faster Germination

    Are you having problems getting those seeds to sprout?  Here's an easy way to speed the germination process along and get planting sooner!

    Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    WHY? It's simple.  Seeds need water to sprout.  When planted without being soaked first, seeds have to wait until enough water is obtained through the soil.  If soil stays dry, seeds take longer to get their "thirst" quenched, resulting in slower germination rates and impatient gardeners.  Pre-soaking tricks them into thinking they've been planted for a while and encourages them to get growing.

    WHEN? It all depends upon the variety and vegetable.  Some seeds require just a few hours to absorb their limit, while others need up to 48 hours.  On average, 12-24 hours is the most common.

    HOW? Soak seeds in warm - NOT hot - water (120 degrees or less comfortable to the touch). At least 3 inches of water. Hydrogen peroxide or kelp tea will boost germination as well.

    Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net


    Tomatoes/Peppers/Eggplants: Soak seeds 4-6 hours in warm water with hydrogen peroxide (1 oz/pt), changed twice.

    Beets: Soak seeds 6-10 hours in warm water with hydrogen peroxide.

    Cucumbers/Squash/Melons: Soak seeds 2-4 hours in warm water with hydrogen peroxide.

    Spinach: Soak seeds 2-6 hours with hydrogen peroxide.

    Okra: Soak seeds 24-48 hours in warm water with hydrogen peroxide, change twice if possible.

    WHAT'S NEXT? If done correctly, the seed should be swollen, a lighter color, and the hull should be softer.  Dab them with a paper towel and plant immediately. Your garden will thank you.

  • Problems with Cutworms?

    Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    QUESTION: How do I keep cutworms from destroying my peas?
    -A gardener from Texas

    ANSWER: Cutworms LOVE to establish devastating tunnels of civilization at the base of various plants, including peas, tomatoes, and beans.  From there, they may climb up the stems and proceed to chew away the leaves and branches or they may remain in the soil to devour the roots of our precious plants.  Either way, YOU'LL RECOGNIZE THEIR PRESENCE when your plants fade to yellow and brown before getting completely severed usually at ground level.

    Here in our gardens, we're frequently defending our tomato plants against this invader, but no matter what plants are being attacked, the remedies are the same.

    (1.) Cardboard collars, made from paper towels, toilet paper rolls, and wrapping paper, will work in surrounding the base of the plant and blocking cutworms from circling in for the kill. Be sure to make the cardboard at least 3-4 inches in height and don't forget to bury at least an inch of the collar in the soil.  CUTWORMS DO MOST OF THEIR DAMAGE FROM BENEATH THE SURFACE. We have used this method and it has brought noticeable relief, but if you get any heavy rain, the collars may not last.

    (2.) To cure this possible complaint, you could wrap the stem of your plant with plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or plastic bottles - all of which create a thick barrier in deterring these pests. NOTE: Whatever method you choose, establish your "walls" in place before the plant gets too much time to form roots.  You don't want to cause more damage than you're attempting to avoid.

    Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    (4.) Another remedy we've tried on many various plants in our garden is applying Diatomaceous Earth and Neem Oil to control bugs and diseases. In the last year or so, we've hardly noticed cutworms at all and we believe DE and Neem Oil made a huge difference!  When you spray your plants, apply at night when cutworms are most active.  This will make the most effective application.

    (5.) Other gardeners have saved their peas with other remedies and experiments.  You can puree a large onion and blend it with 1/2 cup of water and spray the plants, quickly forcing cutworms to pack up and leave.

    (6.) Fresh, crushed eggshells, wood ash, and/or coffee grounds distributed around the plants also help rid them.

    (7.) One source even claimed that putting a wooden stick, such as a match or kabob skewer, against the stem of the plant on one or two sides will block the path of cutworms. Sounds interesting enough to try, don't you think?

    (8.) Others have tried luring frogs and birds, famous for being great insect killers, to their garden. Take caution here as too many birds around your garden may open up an entirely different can of worms.

    (9.) If you delay your planting or transplanting by a few weeks, that will help.

    (10.) Also, be sure to cut back your garden every year and clean out old vines and weeds, which invite the early worms to your garden.

    Whatever you do, don't give up.  DON'T LET THOSE CUTWORMS WIN!  Let's keep the peas!

  • Starting Seeds Indoors

    Only a few short weeks to go here before the grow lights resume their place of honor and we sow our first tomato and pepper seeds of the season with great hope.  Just a few short weeks!

    If you're like us, we scribble on our calender little reminders such as, "Start Cucumber Seeds" on this day or "Transplant Eggplants" tomorrow. Otherwise, our garden would be empty. Sure, it's easy to think of sweet corn when you drive by an Amish Produce Auction selling it by the wagon load in July, but not in April. Our notes save lives - the lives of our plants!

    Here's our Recommended Planting Dates for Starting Seeds Indoors. (This list does not include the planting dates for direct sowing seeds outdoors. Look for that information in a future post.)

    • Beets                                                                     4 to 6 weeks before                                        1/2 inch
    • Broccoli                                                               4 to 6 weeks before                                        1/4 - 1/2 inch
    • Cabbage                                                              4 to 6 weeks before                                        1/2 inch
    • Cauliflower                                                        4 to 6 weeks before                                        1/4 - 1/2 inch
    • Celery                                                                  10 weeks before                                              1/4 inch
    • Chard                                                                  2 to 4 weeks before                                        1/2 inch
    • Collards                                                             4 to 6 weeks before                                        1/4 to 1/2 inch
    • Cucumbers                                                       3 weeks before                                                1 inch
    • Eggplants                                                         8 to 12 weeks before                                      1/4 inch
    • Gourds                                                             2 to 3 weeks before                                        1/2 to 1 inch
    • Kale                                                                  4 to 6 weeks before                                        1/4 to 1/2 inch
    • Lettuce                                                            2 to 6 weeks before                                        barely cover
    • Melons                                                            3 weeks before                                                1/2 to 1 inch
    • Onions                                                            10 to 12 weeks before                                     1/4 inch
    • Parsnip                                                           2 to 4 weeks before                                         1/2 inch
    • Peppers                                                          8 weeks before                                                 1/4 to 1/2 inch
    • Pumpkins                                                      2 to 3 weeks                                                     1/2 to 1 inch
    • Squash                                                           3 to 4 weeks                                                     1/2 to 1 inch
    • Tomatoes                                                      6 to 8 weeks                                                     1/4 inch
    • Watermelon                                                 4 to 6 weeks                                                     1/2 to 1 inch

    For help on how to start those seeds, check out our previous post - Start Your Seeds Right. Visit the National Gardening Association's website here to find your local planting zone and learn when to expect your last spring frost date. Depending on where you live, you may be able to start your seeds a lot sooner than we can here in the Missouri Ozarks.  If you have a greenhouse, you can definitely get a head start.  Either way, if you're one of these lucky ones, be willing to share a tomato or two!

  • The Blog is Back!

    The Blog is back!  Finally! The Blog is back! (Try saying that fast 3 times!  It ain't easy!) We've enjoyed a crazy-busy schedule this past year within the business and within the family.  But we have missed our blog and the lessons to be learned within and without here.  So with the start of a new year (and not a minute too soon! January has flown by!) we want to reintroduce the White Harvest Seed Blog and tell you how excited we are to be back!

    To see what we've been up to, you can read our Annual Letter here.

    In the coming months through our blog, stay informed with garden-wise information for every season and day in between, advice for green thumbs and beginners alike, and news from the gardening community. You'll also see what we're up to here at our seed store and on our farm. Also, subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook to be the first to receive our special announcements, coupons, and give-aways!

    Enough about us.  So tell us - how have YOU been?

  • Garden Blueprints

    Every gardener dreams of a bountiful harvest, but not every garden grows according to plan. It takes a lot of resources, time and knowledge to successfully grow your own food and sometimes these resources are hard to come by. Sowing seeds may be an early step in this very long, yet rewarding process, but it is not the first. Every gardener should start with a plan.

    Highly underestimated alongside the daily chores of the season, a garden's design is an essential ingredient to a healthy harvest. It's important to know which plants will grow well in your area, what their characteristics and requirements are, and what their benefits will be for your family. If you want your kids to eat more vegetables, a proper garden layout will promote healthier plants and children. Those who ignore this valuable step pay a price. Overly-crowded crops, stunted plants, and disappointing yields are the guaranteed results of this unfortunate oversight. Not to mention the lost opportunities for saving seed. There's no reason to garden like this. As we've come to learn – prepare first, then plant!

    Creating some garden blueprints just takes a bit of attention to detail. With designing comes decisions, so any preferences must be settled on in the beginning. A gardener hoping to preserve and save seed for his family's future must be familiar with harvesting and seed saving methods. To accomplish this goal, it must coincide with what types of seed are sown and the space allowed in the garden.  A proper layout will help you look at the big picture beforehand and keep all such factors in harmony.

    Every garden design will undoubtedly have its share of variables, though. What if your garden space becomes exhausted? If trellises are penciled in on the layout, they will fix that problem before it even arises. We love training my plants to climb up –  instead of out – saving both the garden and our backs from stress. Such vegetables including pole beans, small gourds, melons, and cucumbers will all flourish when grown this way. Trellises can be easily made from anything sturdy enough to offer support. Fence posts, cattle panels, bamboo, re-mesh wire, or even discarded volleyball nets will work for certain varieties.

    Location can be another varying factor that might try a gardener's patience.  One solution for our dilemma here with our rocky soil is container and raised bed gardening.  Whatever your difficulty may be, raised beds and containers will certainly improve matters. They are a great addition to any garden grown in a "less-than-ideal" location.  Using concrete blocks, untreated wood, decorative rock, or even old tires, anyone can build their own bed. It's easy enough for anyone to do!  Look around your farm to find old flower pots, wagons, boxes, buckets, or even an old boot and have fun sowing your seeds! Just make sure that the container has drainage holes and plenty of depth for roots to spread.

    Vegetables like radishes, beets, and carrots, thrive in these convenient beds, where the soil is loose and rich. When the dirt is too solid and compact, root crops are not allowed to grow and expand into the tasty veggies we all love. Thanks to our handmade raised beds and containers, even Southern Missourians like ourselves can enjoy such harvests. Construct these into your blueprints and they'll also improve the surroundings with unique style and color.

    As for the question of where to plant what – a common headache for gardeners – it requires organization in and out of the garden. The art of companion planting is essential to remember for truly sustainable living. Our plants can be very demanding at times. It is our job as the gardener to know each one's needs and tend to them accordingly. For example, tomatoes – a front runner in almost every garden – will thrive beside carrots and basil. Plant these three together to improve growth and flavor as well as for protection from harmful insects. This is companion planting at its best. However, if you grow corn or broccoli near tomatoes, your garden could be introduced to disease and crop failure. Learn which plants like each other and which ones don't when designing your garden or else disappointment may be inevitable.

    When putting ideas to paper, don't forget the garden's visitors – namely butterflies, bees, and other helpful insects – that are drawn to your flowers and veggies. Your garden needs them as much as it needs you. Send out an invitation by growing marigolds, nasturtiums, zinnias, and herbs. This is another form of companion planting.

    There is no question that a well-designed garden speaks for itself.  The rewards from living off your land are unmistakable.  However, don't feel bad if you're overwhelmed at the daunting task that lies before you.  That's where we come in.  We too love carrying our harvests indoors with warm reception and we're dedicated to helping other gardeners do the same.

    There are many steps to success – each significant in their own way.  Through our free Designing Gardens program, we're dedicated to showing folks how to grow more efficiently.  Just tell us a little bit about your garden, i.e. what you want to grow, specifications like your location and garden dimensions, and we will design your garden for you!

    With your package, we will include planting instructions, seed saving guidelines, suggested companion plants, and a full customized garden layout - everything you need to jump start your season!   Remember this, sowing with unanswered questions will not get a gardener anywhere, but sowing with a plan does.

  • A Thanksgiving Tradition

    The week of Thanksgiving has finally arrived. Families everywhere are cleaning their houses for company, checking Thursday's forecast for traveling, and shopping for the perfect turkey. It's the beginning of my favorite time of year. I imagine each of you are as busy this week as we are, so I will try to keep this short. I want to quickly share with you a small tradition of mine.

    While the month of November certainly does its job in reminding us to be grateful, I've learned that the “showers of blessings” in my life deserve sincere gratitude every day of the year.  It's not hard to see why we should give thanks– God's mercies are new every morning, the Scriptures say¹ – but it can be hard at times to remember. So much of our lives are lived in fast-forward that simply standing still can be downright difficult.  That is where my little tradition becomes a helpful reminder.

    I first heard the idea of a Blessings Jar a few years ago. The concept instantly intrigued me. The act of writing down things I was thankful for sounded simple enough, but I was quickly surprised at how great an affect it had on me. I started with a simple basket I found lying around and grabbed some sticky notes from my desk in the office. I'd read that some people wrote down a blessing for each day in November, but I preferred the idea of others who scribbled notes throughout the year. I've never been very consistent with the “daily entry” thing, beyond a few days in a row. Instead, I waited for the right time and the right heart to put my gratitude to paper.

    It doesn't matter what you decide to write down, even if it was important to you and nobody else. I  included a “Thank You” note for a particular summer rainstorm one day and another for my comfy bed after a long day's work.  In my blessings basket, there is a reminder of a phone conversation with a long distance friend of mine next to a note about our canned goods filling the pantry shelves.  Attending a great concert, receiving a helping hand, and finishing a wonderful book are among the moments that would be forgotten long before Thanksgiving were they never recorded.

    Savanna and her nephew, AustinIt may go without saying, but still take the time to write down the more memorable blessings as well. Reading them over will only deepen the memory and the gratitude. I, for example, had to give a note of thanks this year for my nephew's quick recovery in the hospital just recently. What a miracle that was! I also could not refrain from writing down the date that my sweetheart asked me to marry him. That is one blessing I will never forget! I hope you'll discover – as I did – how writing these joys down only blesses you more.

    Some people like to record theirs in a book or journal. I've seen others use a jar or shoebox to store their folded notes. To each their own. There's so many ways to have fun with this and inspire your whole family to share in it. Don't worry if you have to start out small either. In my experience, some days there might be multiple notes as I think back, but I know that many days I took too much for granted and forgot to write anything at all. In my house, the tradition grows a little more every year. Give yourself time to get into a routine.

    The best part comes when you finally can read back through your blessings box.  This can be done at any time.  I personally like to find a quiet corner on Thanksgiving night after all the food and festivities have been shared.  It seems like the perfect ending to the holiday.

    I really believe every family should have at least one special tradition to call their own during the holiday season. Do you have any favorite tradition? Tell us about it! The more, the merrier! What about the Blessings Box? Would you like to give that a try?

    Here's the fun part... Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and you will be automatically signed up for our Thanksgiving Day Give-Away for your very own Blessings Box pictured here. Gift will include the necessary box, pen and paper, along with 5 packets of heirloom garden seed for inspiration and 2 fertilizer samples to help those ideas grow!! The perfect gift to inspire a new tradition or give away to a friend!! Drawing will end at midnight on Thanksgiving.  Winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Friday, November 25, 2011.

    This coming Thanksgiving night I plan on looking ahead to the coming year with excitement, but I also plan on looking back on the past year with much gratitude. Want to join me?

    ¹(Lamentations 3:23)

  • Meet The Family - Cucurbitacea

    They're everywhere we look this time of year. They're sitting on the neighbor's front porch. They're entertaining kids on the farm. They're claiming the spotlight at every grocery store and market. And they're literally glowing from within – full of pride. The season for pumpkins has arrived!

    With Thanksgiving Day drawing closer, families will soon be making the trip and time to reconnect with each other. In following with this important theme, we thought it would be fun to feature the families from your garden – the botanical families – and highlight their plant members. As gardeners, its time we really got to know what's growing in our soil. Let's meet the family for this month! Are you ready?

    I'm sure you're familiar with pumpkins, but how much do you know about its family - the Cucurbitacea? This group includes over hundreds of the most unique and largest fruits on record. Species of the genus Cucurbita, which include squash, pumpkins, and gourds, were first cultivated in Mesoamerica and today are commonly grown throughout many parts of the world. While in the early 1800s, the Haitian people considered gourds their currency, today the family at large is mainly grown for its fruit and edible seeds. They are also used for decoration, crafts, musical instruments, pipes, and canteens.

    While gourd is the common name for the entire Cucurbita family, most people differentiate the other members like melons, cucumbers, and squash by name. Squash, for example, is then further divided into two separate groups. What's the difference between summer and winter squash? Well, summer squash is typically harvested before the fruit is fully mature, while the seeds and skins are still tender. These varieties are usually eaten immediately and require little cooking. The most familiar members of this group include zucchini, crookneck, vegetable marrow, and patty pan squash. They do not store as well as winter squash, but they are hard to beat in your favorite recipes.

    On the other hand, winter squash, like the hubbard, butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash, and pumpkin, are harvested once they fully mature on the plant. These beautiful fall classics have tougher rinds as well and can be reliably stored over the winter in most cases.

    There are, in fact, many edible parts to the plant. There is the obvious fruit harvest, but there are also the nutritious seeds, which can be eaten fresh either roasted or salted, ground into meal or flour, or even pressed into oil. For greens, many eat the shoots and leaves of the plant. Native Americans even added the blossoms to their cooking.

    The plants in this family are quick growing and most contain pollen-bearing male blossoms and seed-bearing female blossoms. The pollen itself is too sticky to be carried by the wind, so insects are the primary pollinator, especially bees and beetles.

    All in all, the members of the Cucurbita family complete many multi-purposes and have been for quite some time. They were grown in the original Three Sisters Garden in the early 17th Century and remain a popular favorite among worldwide gardeners today. Due to their incompatibility with the frost and cold soil, they are grown primarily in the warmer climates and months of the year.

    With over 800 species within the family, they easily make their presence known.  With their various shades of blue, orange, green, red, yellow, or even white, it's no surprise that the Cucurbitaceae continue to capture our attention. Next season, don't forget to leave room in your garden for these classics!

  • Gardening Crafts

    What can I say? I love doing crafts. Every fall, my aspirations sky rocket and I add more ideas to my list. There is the unfinished throw I continue to knit more on each winter, countless pictures needing to be scrapbooked, flowers to be pressed, a quilt to make, and Christmas gifts to think of. While the others in my family laugh at my over-enthusiasm, I'm too stubborn to quit.

    My favorite part about crafts is that I can include my love for gardening with it. I've discovered that growing a garden can spark a lot of creativity. The countless opportunities are really quite inspiring. In hopes that I'm not the only one who enjoys making things homemade, I thought I'd share some of my projects with you.

    Anyone who enjoys gardening and/or crafts is probably familiar with birdhouse gourds. They're as easy to grow as they are easy to make. Plus, the birds love them! However, this year I tried something different.

    Having grown more peppers this year than ever before, we quickly found ourselves overloaded with all sorts of sweet and hot varieties. Our family prefers sweet peppers so it was no surprise that those disappeared rather quickly. The prolific hot peppers, on the other hand, were quickly growing to waste. After photographing each plant, I decided to do a little experiment with the extra veggies. I would take the Candlelight and Cayenne Long Thin hot peppers and string them like popcorn.

    I started by picking bright red peppers on a regular basis and storing them in the refrigerator until I had a large amount. Then I sat down, threaded my needle, and got to work. Since both these varieties are fairly small and slender, they were easy to string. I made each string a different length, but their spicy red statement was the same. Then I hung the pepper strings to dry in my bedroom for a few weeks. It's interesting to see the fresh peppers wrinkle up and turn a dark red. After that, they're ready to use. How? Well, I can testify to them fitting perfectly in any kitchen, adding just the right amount of “spice”. I've also hung them on the wall and across tables. Or if you're looking for a real unique look, replace the popcorn strings on your Christmas tree this year with pepper strings! I'm certainly going to try it!

    Just be careful when playing with these hot peppers. Too many times after I've strung Cayenne peppers together I have forgot to wash my hands before touching my eyes, causing them to water and even burn. That's definitely not what you need when working on a project! Wash hands immediately after you're finished.

    Another very simple craft is the familiar art of drying flowers. Nearly every month of the year there is some flower, leaf, or even weed that is worthy to be pressed. I usually practice the basic method of pressing cut flowers within the pages of a dusty book. I leave them there for a few weeks until they are completely dry and then I paste them onto blank greeting cards to send to friends.

    Other people cut bouquets of flowers in bunches and hang them upside down in a dark, warm room to dry. Last fall I purchased some dried flowers from Rosewood Farms and made flower wreaths for Christmas gifts. That was one of the funnest projects I've tried. You take simple vines, which you can either grow yourself or purchase at Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart, and turn it into this bright, beautiful creation. Almost any kind of flower will work. Lavender, of course, is one of my favorites.

    I'll share one other easy project that you can try with the kids. Every year I reserve at least a few raised beds to grow my herbs. While each of them offer their individual benefits, many of them are good companion plants as well. Borage is one of them. It's highly grown for medicinal purposes, but I also planted it to improve my tomatoes, spinach, beans, and strawberries.

    The plant itself is quite beautiful with blue, white and pink star-shaped flowers. This is where the fun begins. Since the flowers are edible, I cut a handful of them and brought them inside. They're too small for a vase, so I filled an ice tray with water and then dropped the tiny flowers individually on top. With the borage blooms afloat, I carefully returned the ice tray to the freezer for a few hours. When I returned to check on it later, my little experiment had turned out quite pretty. The star-shape flowers were embedded in the frozen ice. They made a perfect addition to the refreshments at my nephew's baby shower.  *Note: If you try this project, just be sure to use edible flowers.

    I hope by reading this simple blog that you were inspired to try one of these projects or maybe even invent one of your own. Fall is never complete without a craft or two. Keep your eyes open to the possibilities, grab a friend, and be creative! I think I'll go pick up my knitting needles.

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