Herb of the Month “Dill”

dillWhat I look like: Dill is a fragrant annual herb with thin thread like leaves and produces yellow flower heads.  Like fennel, dill is a cool weather performer and grows best if planted in fall; however you can continue to plant dill through the cool weather season to maintain a constant supply of dill.  Dill on average grows up to 4ft tall, likes well drained soil and full sun.

What I’m used for: Dill is mainly used for its culinary uses and is often added to salads, soups, baked potatoes, fish and chicken dishes and is most often used to pickle veggies. Aside from its culinary uses, dill has been used medicinally to aid in intestinal problems, insomnia, flatulence, and heartburn.

This container grown herb is currently available at Bluebonnet Herb Farms.

Dill Potato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
  • 4 pounds waxy potatoes such as Red Bliss, Yukon Golds, or Blues
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced, including green ends
  • Dressing:
    • 1-1/4 cup prepared mayonnaise
    • Juice from one lemon
    • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill weed
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Additional paprika for garnish
Preparation

Boil whole unpeeled potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. (If you wish, you may peel the potatoes before cubing.) Toss with green onions.

Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika, celery seeds, cider vinegar, dill weed, salt, and pepper.

Pour dressing over potatoes and green onions. Toss gently to mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into serving dish and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to let flavors mingle before serving.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

March 2014 Gardening Tips for the Backyard Gardener

Spring is just around the corner! Most of our cool-season vegetables are still going strong and enjoying the colder weather. For any more freezing that we might have, make sure we have spare sheets or commercial insulated blankets on hand and ready for freezing nights to protect those lesser cold hardy, tender plants. In February, root crops including turnips, carrots, beets and radishes can be planted.

Take advantage of the remaining dormant season to plant fruit trees, roses, shrubs and ornamental trees. Trees are our best landscape investment. Large trees for shade include live oak, and burr oak. Small flowering trees for our shed include redbud, settle gem magnolias, and crape myrtles.

Fruit trees for our area include persimmons, pears, plums, and peaches. Blueberries (for acid soil areas) blackberries and grapes can also be set out now.

Perennials to set out include phlox and oxeye daisies, daylilies and bearded irises. Echinaceas (purple coneflowers) are now available in colors, including pink, white, peach and yellow. Turks cap hibiscus is available in traditional red, but also in pink and white. Columbines like Henkley yellow brighten partially shaded areas and return each year.

Petunias, pansies, calendulas, hollyhock, snapdragons and sweet alyssum are among the good choices for annuals to set out at this time. Sunny well drained locations are best.

Ornamental grasses add movement and texture to the garden. Good possibilities include gulf coast muhly grass, foundation, and bluestem and Mexican feather grass.

Prepare for spring by cleaning birdhouses and birdbaths, clean and sharpen hoes, shovels and pruning shears. It is also time to service mowers, edgers, and weed eaters as well. Also now would be a great time to clean those beds and mulch, mulch, mulch!

Happy Gardening!

February/March 2014 Newsletter

Once again, another year of gardening officially ends and a new one begins. As we welcome the New Year 2014, winter brings us brisk mornings and soon enough spring will be among us and the promise of bountiful blooms lie ahead of us. As always, Linda and her landscaping team are hard at work preparing for the spring season.

Down at Bluebonnet Herb Farms, we have expanded our Antiques and Uniques section of the shop, exciting new treasures decorate the halls. We also now offer a banquet hall that’s been completely refurbished and beautifully decorated. Our space will be great for hosting your special event birthday, book club, retirement party, and any other event. We are also planning on bringing back educational and interactive classes as the year progresses.

2014 Spring Fling

Bluebonnet Herb Farms


Presents
2014 Spring Fling
March 29th

Refreshments & Hot dogs

Bluegrass Music

10am to 6pm
2105 13th Street Hempstead, TX 77445
979-826-4290

We would like to invite you to come and see what is new!! Indulge your senses as you stroll through our gardens and take advantage of our beautiful selection of Herbs, Annuals, Perennials and Native Plants.

Take a tour of our Event Center & Party Rooms!

They are newly remodeled and available to rent for Private Parties.
1 – 2 rooms

Friends of the Farm
Pam’s Homegrown Harvesting & More • Judith Ritchey’s Advanced Nutritional Support
Brenda Will Flemmings Native Trees • Brenda Sue’s Cooking with Herbs
Get Cracking with Carmen & Gunter’s Fresh Photography

Our “Friends of the Farm” will all be on hand to share new ideas, showcase their products and give out printed handouts. Some will even give a brief lesson about their products, so come on out and enjoy the day with us. There will be something of interest for everyone!

Our New Spring Flowers and Herbs have arrived and are on
Sale Now!!

Bees, Honey, & Benefits

As a gardener I’ve always appreciated to gentle flutter of butterflies or the special appearance of hummingbirds, however bees aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. That being said bees have a great importance in our gardens and our ecosystem as a whole. By holding back our instinctive reaction to swat at them we should really be doing the reverse and try to attract them to our gardens and reap the rewards of having an abundance of bees.

One of the greatest rewards of having bees as a mainstay in our gardens is that they are natural pollinators. With more pollination, you will yield more crop from a vegetable garden and more flowers in your flower garden. Another benefit of having or aiding bees in their journey back to the hive is for that liquid gold that they make. Both honey and bees wax have amazing properties that just can’t be reproduced by man and that alone is one of the main reasons bees are truly a treasure.

Basic Principals for attracting Bees to your Garden

  • Be willing to have some plant damage
  • Choose a pest management regime that does not include pesticides
  • Opt out on the bug zapper. If you have one, these generally kill more beneficial bugs than actual pests
  • Provide water source a small dish of water with some sand and pebbles so the bees do not drown preferably by flowering plants
  • Provide a diverse variety of blooming plants throughout the seasons for the long haul

Oh, HONEY! How sweet it is?

Honey has a long history of human consumption and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener. Honey is also used to treat many different ailments such as promoting a rejuvenating sleep. Strengthening those weakened by illness or stress, replenishing energy, enhancing physical stamina, soothe a cough and is also used to treat minor skin wounds and chapped lips.

When buying honey it is always best to read the label. Now days nothing is as it seems to be. Raw honey is the best kind of honey you could get. But why? Raw honey is honey fresh from the comb. It’s not pasteurized and it still contains the healthy enzymes that enable its medicinal properties.

It is said that store-bought pasteurized honey is no better than white sugar not to mention some of these retailed honeys actually water down their product or are artificially flavored. The heat from pasteurization kills the beneficial enzymes making them useless to the body. One thing to also keep in mind is raw honey does have variations in color, taste, and texture. This is because some species of bees only pollinate certain flowers, and also what sources of nectar producing flowers were available to the bees. Monofloral honey is made from the nectar of one type of flower. To produce monofloral honey, beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower. Some examples of monofloral honeys are clover, orange blossom, blueberry, sage, buckwheat, mesquite and many more.

Herb of the Month “Lavender”

French lavender Norfolk Lavender - French Lavender English Lavender
What I look like: There are many different varieties some of the most popular are the Sweet Lavender (36″ height, Purple blooms), French Lavender (24″ height, pale blue lavender color) Hidcote lavender (24″ height, dark purple), Munstead lavender (12″ height, deep blue-purple) , Goodwin’s Creek Lavender (24″-36″ height, lavender color).

History:Lavender comes from the Latin word “lavare” which means “to wash”. In ancient times lavender was used for perfume and baths. Queen Elizabeth used lavender as a perfume. She also drank lavender tea to ease her migraines. Queen Victoria used lavender to wash floors, and furniture. She would put lavender among her linens and used it to freshen the air. Even today, the French send their lambs to graze in lavender fields, to make their meat tender and fragrant.

Uses: English lavender is most frequently used in cooking because it has the sweetest fragrance. The flavor of lavender flowers increases when dried. A little lavender goes a long way, so start with a small amount and add to your taste. The best time to harvest lavender blooms is when the flowers begin to open up. This is when the essential oils are the greatest. Lavender is a very versatile herb not only can it be used for flavoring food but it also has some medicinal properties as well and is also used in aromatherapy. Medicinally it can help ease stress and headaches simply because of the scent.

Availability: Very easy to find. Lavender is carried at Bluebonnet Herb Farms throughout the year

Extra Tip: Lavender’s aroma is loved by bees. When planted in vegetable gardens and orchards, the shrub enhances pollination.

Lavender Mint Chip Cookies

The mint chips, lavender and chocolate in these cookies create a new and very interesting flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup Andes Crème De Menthe baking chips
  • 6 tsp. of ground lavender

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mix. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and ground lavender. Add to the butter-egg mixture – beat well for one minute. Add pecans and chips.

Mix well, and spoon onto un-greased cookie sheet 3 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until the cookies look puffy with cracks on top. They should fall and flatten as soon as you take them out of the oven. Do not over bake.

Recipe Provided by: Chappell Hill Lavender Farm