Sheri Ann Richerson's exotic gardening, elegant cooking, crafty creations, food preservation and animal husbandry... all on two and a half acres in Marion, Indiana!

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    Disclaimer: I received this product for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

    Years ago the majority of people relied on natural remedies – eating or brewing common plants such as the dandelion – that is now considered a weed – into a delicious, healthy #dandeliontea. But that got pushed aside and modern medicine took over. There’s no doubt that modern medicine has done a lot of good, but it’s not without its downside. Sometimes people end up overmedicated for health issues that can be treated simply and effectively at home using old-fashion methods. A great way to treat some of common health problems that affect people is through the natural use of plants just like they did years ago before they had modern medicine.

    Plants don’t give you the same dangerous side effects that a lot of the medications prescribed today will cause – although they still have some side affects and can interact with prescription medications. But let’s face it, it’s easier and a lot more cost effective to turn to nature when you need healing than to pay a doctor or prescription bill.

    There are a lot of different plants that you can grow and use to treat your ailments naturally. Some can be applied topically and some are brewed into tea. You should make sure that you understand how much and what part of a plant to use, because just like medicines you get at the pharmacy, there are dosing guidelines you need to follow when using plants to treat ailments. When in doubt about what to use or how much to take, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

    Headaches

    A good natural treatment for headaches is the bark of a willow tree. You can grow a willow tree with a cutting from a mature tree. One of the reasons that this is effective is because willow contains salicin, which is comparable to what you’ll find in aspirin. It’s also a good treatment for anything that causes you to feel pain since it works like an aspirin does. One drawback is that people who experience a reaction to aspirin could also potentially have a reaction to willow bark. It should not be used by nursing mothers or given to ill children due to the potential same side effects that aspirin can cause.

    Lavender is a flowering plant that looks beautiful in a garden. But it’s also a natural treatment for headaches – even if those headaches are migraines. It’s the oil from the plant that gives a person relief from the pain and the smell helps with relaxation. Dilute lavender oil with a good carrier oil such as grape seed oil and rub it directly on the skin. Another option is to inhale the scent by boiling the plant and inhaling the oils as they’re released into the air.

    Another plant that you can grow to treat headaches is peppermint. This plant is used by crushing the leaves and applying the mixture to the area of the body where you feel the pain. The oils are absorbed through the skin.

    If you’ve ever had to deal with cluster headaches, you know how bad these can be to deal with. These headaches, which show up and then come back repeatedly over the course of several weeks can be difficult to treat with modern medicine because as soon as you stop the treatment, you can end up with rebound headaches. One of the best natural remedies that you can plant indoors or outdoors to help with these types of headaches is cayenne pepper. This plant contains capsaicin, which is used to relieve pain. It can be applied directly to the skin. However, you should be extremely careful to keep any of the plant from touching your face. If the plant comes in contact with your eyes, it can cause unpleasant burning. A side effect of this plant when applied topically is a burning sensation that does go away after a few minutes. If you’re prone to skin allergies, this may not be the right remedy for you to use.

    Thyme, when made into a tea can also be used to relieve the pain associated with headaches. Bay leaves are helpful in treating headaches as well.

    Insomnia

    Doctors recommend that you get between six to eight hours of sleep every night. This is what’s best for your body. When you have insomnia, it can really take a toll on your personal and professional life. Plus, prolonged bouts of insomnia can cause your health to suffer. It can lead to sleep deprivation behavior, which can be dangerous. Fortunately, there are plants that can treat this ailment. Many of these plants have a sedative quality to them, which helps relax your mind and body. As a result, you end up with a good night’s sleep.

    One of these helpful plants is the lemon balm plant. If you look closely at the leaves, you’ll see how they resemble the leaves if the mint plant. This is because lemon balm is in the same family of plants as the mint. It can be taken as a tea. Another way to use lemon balm to help induce sleep is to stuff a small pillow with leaves of both lemon balm and hop flowers. Place this herbal pillow inside the pillow case of your regular pillow before you go to bed.

    One flowering plant, that’s actually labeled as a weed is evening primrose – also commonly called primrose, is effective in treating insomnia. The flowers of the plant are colorful and quite beautiful. It’s best to grow this kind of plant with outdoor gardening rather than indoor gardening because it thrives outdoors.

    Another plant that’s well-known to aid in helping to treat insomnia is woodruff. This plant has small white flowers and is a perennial. It has a sweet scent and grows best in shade rather than direct sunlight.

    Passionflower is another plant that you can grow that’s used in the treatment of insomnia. The plant has medicinal properties that are used to produce calmness and a state of relaxation, which helps you get some sleep.

    There are some plants that you can grow that work toward helping you to get a good night’s sleep. Rosemary is a plant that you can use during your waking hours that won’t induce sleepiness so you’ll still be able to go about your day. What this plant does is help to relieve stress and tension which are the leading causes of insomnia other than reasons related to diseases. Rosemary can be grown indoors or outside but it can grow to some substantial height. So what you might want to do if you’re into indoor gardening is to start the plant inside and then transfer it outside once it begins to grow.

    Fevers, Colds and Coughs

    There can be many different reasons for your body to develop a fever. The same stands true for a cough. Unless a doctor finds that the fever has a direct cause, the only thing you can really do for it is to treat the symptom, which is the fever itself.

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    orchids

    It’s no wonder that people fall in love with the beautiful, exotic looking flowers of the orchid family. Orchid flowers come in a variety of colors and make great house plants. Unfortunately, caring for Orchids involves more than getting the plant, watering it and feeding it at regular intervals. These plants – especially the Blue Orchid – are very in-demand, and most growers create a booming business selling them but often fail to provide adequate care tips with the plants. Whether or not you’re new to this flowering plant, you can benefit from knowing how to get the healthiest flowers from your efforts.

    Step one – don’t start out behind. You want to make sure that the plant you select will give you beautiful blooms. Some people buy very small Orchid plants and then don’t understand why it doesn’t flower. It can take years for a new plant to flower, so what you want to select is one that already has flowers on it. It is ok to buy ones on sale with faded flowers because while they may not flower again for a while you know they are of blooming size.

    Step two – check out the health of the leaves. If the leaves are pale or look spotted, then the plant isn’t healthy. If you already have Orchids at home and the leaf color isn’t consistent, then something’s wrong with the plant. Spotted leaves often mean the orchid has a virus. It is best to separate orchid plants that are unhealthy from those that are.

    Step three – give your plant the water amount that’s suitable for the type of orchid that you have. Give it plenty of water, especially in the hot summer months. But keep an eye on the roots to make sure you’re maintaining a healthy moisture level. The roots should be plump and  green.  Shriveled roots that are white, brown or black are dead. It is best to carefully cut these roots away from the plant during re-potting.

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    Growing A  Garden_ Growing Vegetables-2
    With spring fast approaching, many of you are in the final stages of deciding what to grow in your vegetable garden this coming year. Most of us will agree that growing our own food not only produces better tasting produce, but also allows us to control the chemicals that come into contact with our food. With all of the preservatives and chemicals used today, it just makes better sense to grow as much of our own food as possible.

    Try Companion Planting This Spring

    Basic garden produce usually includes green beans, peas, corn and tomatoes. Companion planting has become quite popular in the past couple years. It is especially useful in small areas. For example, try planting tomatoes, geraniums and basil together. The geraniums will help the tomatoes to turn color faster and produce more, while basil has always been a good companion plant for tomatoes. It also makes it more convenient when picking for freezing. Just add a few leaves of basil to your tomatoes and freeze. This allows the basil oils to flavor the tomatoes without much additional work on your part.

    Don’t Forget About Fruit!

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    lR25g1vr73xk5XEI.jpg

    Disclaimer: I did receive this product for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

    When I was contacted by Big Mouth Toys, Inc. to look over their new selection of home and garden items, Norman The Doorman Door Greeter instantly caught my eye. It’s not that I’m into Gnomes, but he is cute and I love the fact that he had a motion activated whistle sound. At first I thought I would sit him on the deck outside my front door. Then he arrived and I realized he was for indoor use – not that I couldn’t set him outside once in awhile on nice warm days, he just can’t get wet. An alternative is to sit him facing my front door so if anyone walks up to it his whistle goes off – and believe me his whistle is loud. In fact, it is loud and annoying at times – but I still like that I can turn it on and off as I wish.

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    Brugmansia

     

     

    These beautiful fragrant plants are commonly known as Angel’s Trumpet. This week we will take a look at the Brugmansia family. Hailing from South America, these beauties love damp conditions with warm days and cool nights. They are in the Solanaceae family, which is the same family that tomatoes, potatoes and petunias are in. However, a word of caution: Brugmansias are toxic.

    Over Wintering Brugmansia

    If you live in zone 9, these are long-lived perennials, but if you are in zone 8 or lower and the roots should freeze, they will die. The best thing to do is over winter them in either a sunny window or by pruning them back and storing them in a cool, dark place such as a basement. Another option available if you have limited space is to save the seeds by placing a pantyhose or similar material over the seed pod and allowing it to open naturally. The liquid inside the seed pod is extremely dangerous, and should not be touched with bare skin. You can take a cutting, dip it in rooting hormone and roll it in newspaper before placing in a safe place. These plants have been known to root up to two years after they have been stored in this way.

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    Growing Daylilies_

    When many people think of Daylilies, they think of the orange ditch lilies you see growing on the side of the road. While these may be the most common summer flowering bulbs that are seen, hybridizing has produced an unbelievable array of colors, including many that are bi-color. Other interesting color combinations include stippled, polychrome, edged and blended. You can choose Hemerocallis that have markings such as eyed, banded, halos and watermarks to name just a few.

    Hemerocallis Scent, Shape And Bloom Time

    Many Hemerocallis now offer a wide range of fragrances not to mention a choice between single and double blooms. The size of the blooms can also vary extensively. Some are two to three inches in diameter while others can be as large as five inches across. There is quite a range in sizes, including some dwarf varieties. The shape of the flower is another option that is available in today’s Hemerocallis. From the typical trumpet shape to flat, recurved, star, triangular and circular there is a shape that will please everyone. The double varieties are available in a double hose-in-hose, a double peony and a ruffled shape. With additional advances in bloom times, it is possible to make them the mainstay of your garden from May through September. Hemerocallis has become one of the most popular perennials in today’s gardens and rightly so.

    Interesting Facts

    The name Hemerocallis means “beautiful for a day.” While it is a commonly known fact that the individual flowers only last for a day, the flower stems bear quantities of buds that will continue to open for extended periods of time. A little known fact about Hemerocallis is that there is a night blooming variety, Hemerocallis thunbergi. I have found this variety available through a nursery this year although it is one that has been around for well over twenty years. Prices can range from ten dollars up to at least one hundred fifty dollars depending on the variety you choose. The newer the plant is the more expensive it will it be.

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    6 Easy Tips On How To Care For Your-2

    1. Watering

    A watering can is a must-have in every home and garden where live plants are growing. It is recommended that you purchase one with a narrow spout to ensure adequate watering. However, even with adequate watering plants can receive too much or two little water depending on a number of factors such as soil temperature, root mass and watering frequency, so the finger test may come in handy. Insert your index finger into the soil near the center of the pot up to the first joint. If you feel that the soil is damp, don’t water it. If the soil is dry, go ahead and give the plant a through watering. Most houseplants unless they are from a rainforest region do not need to sit in water so go ahead and use saucers under their pots, but dump the excess water out of the saucer 10 to 15 minutes after you water the plant.

    2. Feeding
    Foliage plants prefer a fertilizer that is  high in nitrogen. For flowering plants a phosphorus-rich organic fertilizer is needed. Fertilizers such as the slow release ones can be mixed with compost and applied as a top dressing or mixed right into the soil. However, some plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizers at specific times such as when they are in flower. Feed plants during height of their active growth. I prefer to not fertilize my plants at all during their rest period. For most plants this is the winter months but there are exceptions. Plants like the Christmas cactus or amaryllis need fertilizer during the winter months because this is their normal bloom season.

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    Spring is just around the corner and what better way to kick-off the growing season than with a mega garden giveaway! 
     
    There will be multiple garden-related prizes for one lucky winner! We are currently still working with several sponsors to coordinate all the prizes but will have all the info soon including the amount of the gift cards! 
     
    Currently accepting Sponsors, Co-Hosts and Bloggers with paid & free options to participate! 

    Sponsors

    If you would like to sponsor a garden related prize in exchange for having your product and company featured on MULTIPLE blogs, please contact Stephanie at sosimplystephanie@gmail.com with information about your product. Each prize will need to be a minimum retail value of $25. (For products less than $25 you can combine multiple products for a ‘gift basket-type prize or send the remainder amount via PayPal and all ‘PayPal funds’ will go towards a gift card to be included in the giveaway!)

    Each Sponsor Will Receive:
    •  2 social media links on the giveaway widget
    • Product info with links to your website (or Amazon link to product)
    • Picture of product
    • social media shout outs throughout the giveaway
    • Be featured on multiple blogs for the duration of this giveaway! 

    Co-Hosts

    10 Co-Host spots will be available. Co-Host spots are $10 each and will help cover the costs associated with hosting this giveaway!
     
    Each Co-Host Will Receive: 
    • Blog name & feature listed on the giveaway info with a link back to your site
    • 4 social media links on giveaway widget
    • 1 Comment or Pin-It option on giveaway tool (preferably a garden related post or pin)
    • Free Link Option for posting the Sign Up HTML on their blog (HTML below)
    Co-Hosts Sign Up Here.

    Paid Bloggers

    Paid Bloggers spots are available for $3 each. 
     
    Each Paid Blogger Will Receive:
    • 2 social media links on the giveaway widget 
    • Free Link Option for posting the announcement post on their blog (HTML below)
    Paid Bloggers Sign Up Here.

    Free Link Option

    Bloggers can also opt for the free option and receive a free social media link on the giveaway widget by sharing the Grow Your Garden Sign Up info (this same post) on their blogs. All Co-Hosts & Bloggers will receive an additional link for sharing the sign up info on their page as well. You do NOT have to be a Co-Host or paid Blogger to receive the free link option.
     
    Free Link Option ONLY Sign Up Here.
     
    You can find the Announcement Post HTML Here.
     
    If you have any questions or suggestions for this giveaway please contact Stephanie at sosimplystephanie@gmail.com. 
     

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    Winter Garden Ideas_ Harvest Vegetables-3
    Getting a head start on the vegetable garden can be tricky if you wait until January because of frozen ground. It seems this time of year if the ground is not frozen it is wet. Neither condition is conducive to tilling, seeding or planting. There are some ways to get around these conditions so you can get your seeds and plants in the ground in plenty of time to get an early spring harvest.

    Start Your Vegetable Garden In August
    One way is to plant your garden in August. The ground is usually workable then, the seeds will germinate easily and then all you have to do is cover the young seedlings with a cold frame and wait. Starting seeds in August will allow you to harvest vegetables throughout the winter months. Good choices are brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, kale, lettuce and carrots. Brussels sprouts and kale can over winter without a cold frame and often taste better if they are not picked until after they have been frosted upon.


    Fall Preparation For Early Spring Planting
    If you don’t want to mess with winter gardening but do want to get a head start on your vegetable garden early in the year when conditions may not be favorable for working the ground, now would be the time to till up empty spots in your garden so the ground will be ready when you are. You can also pre-dig holes. For example, if you know you are going to plant potatoes in December, dig the trenches now. Cover the soil you dug with black plastic to help it retain heat. Go ahead and put the grass clippings, straw and compost in the bottom of the hole. When the time comes to plant those potatoes all you will need to do is lay them in the hole, cover them with more grass clippings, straw, compost and soil. Dig holes for any other early spring plants you intend to grow such as cabbages and if you grow lettuce or other greens in rows, go ahead and draw those rows in the dirt.

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    Early SeasonVegetable GardeningPinterest

    January is a good time to prep your vegetable garden, plant cool season crops and get your seed starting supplies ready for the upcoming season. For those who were unable to get into their garden in January due to snow and cold weather, there is still time in February and even March to get a head start on the gardening season.

    Spring is just around the corner. Seed catalogs are arriving almost daily in the mail. It’s time once again to sit inside where it is warm and decide what vegetables to grow from seed this coming spring. For gardeners who plan to get an early start on the season, now is the time to place those orders.


    Plant Leafy Greens As Early As January

    Even gardeners with a short growing season can begin planting some crops outside in mid-January as long as the ground is workable. Cabbages as well as other leafy greens can be direct seeded around the 16th of January.

    Seed potatoes that did not get planted in November or December can be planted now. With winter sown potatoes, remember to plant them eight inches deep and use grass mulch both under the seed potato as well as on top of the seed potato. Cover the mulch with about an inch of soil and by mid-summer you will be digging potatoes.

    Some gardeners prefer to place a small cold frame or a frost cover over anything they plant early in the season. Although it is not necessary, using a cold frame will bring a faster harvest because of the heat buildup inside the cold frame. It will also protect your seeds from being washed away by harsh rains.

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