Author Archives: paoniahome

Edible Lavender

lavender1

Do you have some dried lavender sitting around from the summer you would like to use in a culinary recipe?  Or possibly you are planning to harvest the  lavender you planted in your garden.  The following information is adapted from the Botanical Interests Blog

Although I think of  lavender being used only  in lotion, oils or candles with its relaxing aroma, apparently you can easily substitute lavender for other herbs, especially rosemary, when flavoring sweet or savory dishes.

The following recipes use  common kitchen staples—sugar, butter, and syrup—that shows how versatile lavender is in the kitchen.  For example: lavender sugar is delicious in  shortbread cookies for a floral surprise.

Lavender butter could be used with roasted chicken for a pleasant, earthy flavor.

Lastly, lavender syrup can be used in lemonade during hot summer days or possibly even cocktails for a flowery taste of summer.

What delicious lavender recipes have you adapted to culinary uses?

Lavender Sugar

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of dried lavender or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender

Mix the two ingredients together and seal in an airtight container for two days before using to ensure the flavors meld. Recipe can be doubled or tripled, depending on how much sugar you need.

Lavender and Herb Butter

¼ pound of butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon of dried lavender
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1 tablespoon of dried oregano

Mix all ingredients and chill in the fridge for a few hours. If you prefer, you can use almost any other dried herb, such as basil or chives.

Lavender Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried lavender or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender

Mix ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool for a few hours, strain, and pour into an airtight container. Syrup can be stored in the fridge for several weeks.

 

Successful Seed Starting


Starting seeds indoors can be a fun and simple process and a great way to inspire children  to get involved in gardening.  Manage the variables of temperature, water, soil, seeds, and light for optimum success with some tips and helpful products.

Botanical Interests Seeds are in stock now!

Botanical Interests Seeds are in stock now!

SEED BASICS

A seed is the embryo of a plant. It is “naturally” enclosed in a protective coat.

Seeds respond to water, light (or absence of light), and temperature. Making good choices for soil and containers will help you grow a strong plant, which will thrive in your garden (inside or out), stay healthy and be productive.

We at Paonia Farm and Home offer Botanical Interests seeds, seed starting containers, high quality seed starting soils, artificial light sources designed to grow healthy rather than spindly plants, and other accessories to make your gardening efforts successful and satisfying.
Sproutkit

A Mini Seed Starting Greenhouse

A Mini Seed Starting Greenhouse

CONTAINERS

You will find all kinds of sizes and shapes of ready-made seed-starting supplies in our store.

However, many ordinary household containers and disposables  can be re-purposed as a seed-starting container.

Containers should be clean.  Re-purposed containers must be sanitized to remove any possible pathogens. Soaking them in a 1:9 bleach:water solution offers one option.

Good drainage is essential to making the container effective.  The container of choice must have a way for excess water to drain away.

Seeds come in many different sizes and shapes

Also, If you will transplant your seedlings as single plants at a distance from each  other plant, then individual pots or divided trays will be the optimum choice. If you will plant your seedlings in clumps or close groupings, then a broad or wide, shallow container could also be suitable.

Other consideration in container choices will be the  seed size, the length of time from planting to transplanting, and the size of the resulting seedling.  Large seeds like beans or squash plants and quick-growing plants (i.e. tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkin) all denote the need for a larger initial container.

SOIL

FoxFarmLight Warrior Seed Starter

FoxFarm Light Warrior Seed Starter

Use a high quality seed-starting mix such as FoxFarm, Light Warrior Seed Starting soil. Generally “you get what you pay for,” so don’t sacrifice quality. Outdoor soil ofter harbors microorganisms and pathogens that, when taken out of the balance of nature, can harm or kill your seeds.  Another choice would be to use high quality potting soil which promotes a moist, not soggy, environment with the ideal mix of air and water to promote germination.

LIGHT

Light is one of the most important factors to creating a healthy, strong seedling. Some seeds get the signal to germinate from light. Other seeds, usually larger ones, can have their germination inhibited by exposure to light. Your Botanical Interests seed packet will have any special seed sowing instructions you need to consider.

This improvised light fixture is adjustable as plants grow

This improvised light fixture is adjustable as plants grow

Sufficiently intense light of the right duration will make a shorter, stronger seedling rather than a taller more spindly plant. A light set-up can be as simple as four fluorescent tubes, two cool and two warm spectrum, hung no more than three inches from the top of your seedlings. A timer will help you consistently deliver 14 hours or more of light per day.

TEMPERATURE

Generally, normal household temperatures are within the ideal range that encourages germination.  You can increase germination percentage and speed by gently applying heat to your soil by placing trays and pots near a heat vent, radiator, or other heat source or you can purchase a heat mat at the store designed to promote healthy seed germination and growth.

WATER

Since plants primarily consist of water,  water application becomes another essential factor in determining the overall health of your seedlings. Water signals to the seed that it is time to come out of dormancy, germinate, and grow.  Young plants are fragile so consistent moisture is vital. Hence seed starting success depends on you to create and maintain the right amount of moisture by watering gently and thoroughly.

Moisten the soil before sowing, especially for the tinier seeds and  maintain consistent moisture after the first watering, but never to the point of soggy soil. Soggy, saturated soil can create conditions that will rot your seeds before they germinate.  Some gardeners cover seed containers with plastic wrap, removing it after seedlings emerge. Sown seeds allowed to dry out may die.

GET STARTED NOW

The back and inside of the BOTANICAL INTEREST or other brand seed packets contain all the rest of the information you need to you plan your garden and start your seeds. Determine if the seed(s) you’ve chosen should be started indoors, and if so, when. By following the guidelines above and the seed starting chart you will be able to create a schedule for when to start your indoor seeds.  Visit the store for best selection of Botanical Interests seeds and all the information you need to get started today!

Cream of Asparagus Soup

asparagus

Nutrition experts extol the virtues of vegetables and seasonal eating more and more.  Here’s a simple way to incorporate Asparagus and a  literal stash of vitamins and minerals including a source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium.  Vitamin B rich foods aid in regulating blood sugar levels. If the soup is made with real bone broth it will make it a beneficial food for bone health, colon health, and a boost to the immune system.

1 pound of Asparagus
6 Cups Chicken Broth (real bone broth is best)
1/2 Cup finely chopped onion
1/2 Cup chopped celery
3 Tablespoons of butter
3 Tablespoons of flour
1/2 Cup of cream
salt, pepper to taste
1 chopped hard boiled egg (optional)

Wash and remove Asparagus Tips from Asparagus.

Simmer the tips, covered until they are tender in a small amount of water, about 3-5 minutes.

Cut the Asparagus stalks into 1-2 inch pieces and place them in a large saucepan with the broth, onion, and celery covered for about 30 minutes.  Strain the veggies and broth through a sieve.

In a medium saucepan or double boiler, slowly melt the butter.  Stir in the flour until blended.  Then slowly stir in 1/2 Cup of cream.  Slowly mix in the Asparagus stock and continue heating the soup.  Add the asparagus tips.  Season with salt, pepper, paprika and garnish with one chopped hard-cooked egg. (optional)Cream_Of_Asparagus

Option #1

Blend the asparagus stalks, onion, and celery and a portion of the Asparagus stock until smooth in a blender and use it as the Asparagus stock in the soup base.  This makes a thicker soup.

An Introduction to Permaculture Tools and Methods

Permaculture principles

Permaculture principles

Saturday March 4th, 2017 10am to 12pm – PFH Organics

The goal of Permaculture Design is to provide for the needs of people and communities in a way that is also beneficial to the earth’s natural systems. Starting from the basics of food, water, shelter we plan and build stable and efficient systems and also aim to go beyond toward increased yields, quality of life and community.

Permaculture design is built on a practical, common sense approach, direct observation of nature, learning from historical and cultural successes and technological advancement.

In this introductory workshop we will look at the Permaculture concept in general and learn some of the basic principles and methods of design. The emphasis will be on the local area and the tools and techniques for gardens and farms that can be applied here.

Everyone is welcome with a suggested donation of $8. Proceeds will be given to benefit local agriculture.

Instructor Bio

Our highly qualified Instructor, Aaron Jerad (Heideman), is a Paonia native. He grew up on an organic apple orchard and farm that later became the home of Big B’s Apple Juice.

He encountered the Permaculture concept around 2006 and was immediately drawn to learn more. In 2009 he traveled to Australia to study with some of the leading thinkers and doers of Permaculture including Geoff Lawton and David Holmgren.

After a year of intensive study and hands-on experience, Aaron returned to Colorado and began working with the new principles and methods on his family farm outside Hotchkiss. He continues to practice, teach and learn. He runs two small businesses: a web design and development company and a Permaculture design and consulting company.Permaculturegraphic

Apple Fruit Crisp

Use tart cooking apples for best flavor

Use tart cooking apples for best flavor

An easy, delicious dessert in our valley of abundance is a fruit crisp.  Substitute peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines, pears, rhubarb in season, or any combination of fresh or frozen fruit in the basic recipe for a quick and tasty dessert for all occasions.  The following recipe is for an 8 X 8 inch baking dish.  Double the recipe for a 9 X 13 pan.

Ingredients

Mix the fruit, sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl and then evenly arrange the fruit in the bottom of an 8″ X 8” baking pan.

5 Cups sliced apples or other sliced fruits
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TB flour
squeeze of lemon juice

Topping

1 Cup flour
1 Cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg

Mix the topping ingredients together until it is like a crumb mixture and sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Pat down and then carefully and evenly pour the butter over the topping.

1/2 Cup (one stick) melted butter

Bake the Crisp for 55 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until the topping is evenly brown.

This simple device will save hours of old-fashioned peeling

This simple device called an apple/potato peeler, sold in the store,  will save hours of old-fashioned peeling.