Growing Garlic In Colorado

I am a big fan of growing garlic in Colorado. There are several reasons why. But first, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

growing garlic in colorado

Besides the love of sitting together with others as we prepare the garlic for storage, I also love curly garlic scapes.

bowl of garlic scapes in Colorado

A bowl full of garlic scapes I harvested to use in our cooking. Photo: ColoradoBackyardGardener.Com

I also love growing garlic in Colorado because

Lavender Growing In Colorado

Lavender growing in Colorado can be tricky. But lavender growing in Colorado is not impossible, in fact it is quite easy. But, it is important to note which lavender grows in Colorado. Why? I’ve seen many of our big box stores sell lavender that is not hardy here in our beautiful state. And, I have noticed that sometimes, the tag on the lavender being sold is not labeled with the zone. Depending on where you are in the state, our growing zone varies. Here on the Front Range your zone is most likely 5-5b.  Not all lavenders are hardy in this zone! But this lavender pictured below grows beautifully each year. I took this picture in 2008 and it looks this lovely each year.

Last gardening season, while in Costco, I noticed a particular lavender being sold.

Sola Balsa Wood Flower Bouquet

If you are looking to make your own bouquet for your wedding, I would encourage you to consider a sola balsa wood flower bouquet. Why? Take a look at my daughter’s bridal bouquet.

sola balsa wood bridal bouquet

If the picture doesn’t convince you, let me give you a few other reasons why a sola balsa wood flower bouquet and table arrangements might be the way to go. Besides, there are some of you out there in internet land that are looking to make sola wood bouquets and you are wondering whether to do it. You are scouring the net looking for photos (I found very few) so I’d like to share with you what we did and WHY.  So here is why….

Freeze Tomatoes Whole Skin On

Yes, you can freeze tomatoes whole skin on! Perhaps you have an abundance of tomatoes, or like me you have a generous friend with an AMAZING garden who has given you an abundance of tomatoes. Or maybe you have heard that tomatoes from the farmers market, put up for the winter, are better than any canned tomatoes you can buy. But, you don’t have time to can or don’t know how. That would be me.  Thus, I often decided to freeze tomatoes whole skin on. Let me tell you, this is EASY PEASY!

Read below….so FEW steps!

Freezing Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Freezing sage, rosemary and thyme is about as easy as it gets.  It is even easier than freezing basil and oregano.

And before I go any further, yes, I’m very aware that the title of the post may cause a certain song to start looping in your brain [cue song: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme].  You’re welcome.

Yet alas, I don’t have any parsley to pick today so I am not going to include that in this post.  And thus, there will be no humming that Simon and Garfunkle tune.  Wait!  Am I showing my age?  Oh who cares, THAT album/song is one of the greatest of all time.

But I digress.

It truly is easy to freeze these herbs because they are hard herbs, opposed to the softer herbs like basil and oregano.  All you do is wash them, thoroughly dry them and place them on a cookie sheet (stems and all).  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer.  Once frozen, stick the stems and leaves in a baggie (or a glass jar) and place back in the freezer to use throughout the winter months.  With thyme you can shake the frozen stems once they are inside the bag, causing all the leaves to fall to the bottom of the bag, remove the stems and throw away.  I’ve frozen sage both on the stem and just the leaf.  You choose.

Add them to your bubbling pot of goodness this winter.  Yum.

Side note: If you like to cook with fresh herbs and you don’t garden and want to try your hand at in in a small way, I would start with herbs.  I have to say that I do save money by growing my own herbs.  I’ll post more about growing herbs later on.  In the meantime, you can buy them cheaper now from farmers markets than what you’d pay in the grocery this winter.  So you could freeze herbs that you have purchased.  Always keep that in mind if you are not a gardener.

Be Aware: Not All Lavender Can Be Grown in the Front Range

Only $12.49!!!  Soooo tempting.  But learn your zone.  It won't come up again here in Colorado

Only $12.49!!! Soooo tempting. But learn your zone. It won’t come up again here in Colorado

Once in a blue moon I want to get ticked off at gardening centers and big box stores that sell a variety of herbs that won’t come up again next spring. Ok. I’m glad they sell them, but I think they need to do a better job of telling its customers that they are NOT perennials. For example: (more…)

Freezing Oregano in Water

On the left: my 8 year old oregano plant.  It's best to prepare for storage before it flowers.

On the left: my 8 year old oregano plant. It’s best to fprepare for storage before it flowers.

Freezing oregano reminds me that True hope has an object? I find so many metaphors for hope as I prepare my herbs for storage. It is hard to trim away at a beautiful growing herb but one must do it in order to allow the herb to grow better and in order to preserve it for use in the kitchen during the cold winter months. Popping the icy cubes out of the freezer and dropping the herb in a simmering pot reminds me that spring will come again.

To store several of my herbs I use the ice cube method. Some herbs do best being frozen in a cube, using water. This includes oregano, sage, mint and others. Other herbs do best frozen in a cube using olive oil (basil for example).

This post demonstrates the storage of oregano. Can you smell the spaghetti simmering on your winter stove?

20140621_105736 First,

Watermelon Sorbet

There are many versions of watermelon sorbet recipes on the web. This is mine, seasoned with fresh mint from the backyard garden. If you don’t have this ingredient, then simply replace the fresh mint with 1/8 t. of peppermint extract.  But there is a secret ingredient you can’t skip or replace.  It is what makes this icy goodness smooth going down!

This recipe does require an ice cream maker. I use the Cuisinart 1.5 quart. But apparently you can make sorbet in your freezer. Google “making sorbet without an ice cream maker” and you’ll get a lot of ideas. Use this recipe for the ingredients but follow the instructions on using the freezer to process it. Or, save your pennies and get one of these bad boys. I love this machine.

Oh and for the record, this recipe is by me, the gardener, not my Personal Chef. Yes, believe it or not, once in a while I do find myself in the kitchen. To make and thus enjoy, read on!

Freezing Basil Is So Easy!

Freezing basil in olive oil is so easy.  And I’m so glad for this because I grow a lot of genovese basil (pictured here).  By a lot I mean a ton.  By a ton, I mean enough to use while it is growing and enough to freeze to get us through the winter.  I’m married to my personal chef who loves to use basil.  Freezing it is similar to freezing oregano except you use olive oil instead of water.

Because basil grows throughout the summer and you need to pinch it back and keep it from flowering so it keeps on growing, I freeze in batches throughout July, August, September.  It’s easy so keep reading!