What is Comfrey.. And Why I Bought it Off Amazon.

You guys this was crazy but it worked! I was very skeptical when another homesteader over on IG recommended a great source for comfrey.. from Amazon! It wasn’t even expensive like I’d assumed it would be. Ill leave the link to the roots I purchased at the bottom of this post.

When the roots showed up I was in awe. I wasn’t sure if I’d get live plants or cuttings, but root sections wrapped in damp paper towel is what I found. Of course I planted right away. The seller even gave me some sprouted crowns!

The package came with a nice typed up set of instructions which said it can take up to 60 days for the cuttings to sprout. The roots I planted in horizontally came up in about a month but the crowns I planted vertically and they came up within 10 about days! I’m just totally blown away at the quality of these plants. They are not picky about their soil and grow quickly. Two things me likey.

So at this point you might be wondering what comfrey even is and why this crazy lady is raving about it. So here’s what I know from my research.. Comfrey is a biodynamic accumulating perennial. Lots of big words huh? Let’s brake it down.

Biodynamic accumulator: Sends down tap roots deep into soil and pulls vitamins & minerals up from deep and stores them in their foliage.

Perennial: plants that come back every year. So you only have to plant once.

Basically its a permaculture and organic gardening powerhouse. A must have for any homestead. Because, it can be used in so many ways for all the goods things stored in its leaves and roots and is extremely sustainable. From teas and salves to compost tea, it can even be used a green mulch, just chop and drop it around any plants you think need an extra boost. The amazing wound healing properties promote cell division and healing. A comfrey compress on a sprained ankle or even a poultice to draw out infection can do wonders.

One last fun fact about comfrey; it attracts and feeds beneficial insects earthworms. A++

There is just nothing this plant cannot help with. I’ve seen many examples of comfrey being planted in fruit tree guilds to help feed the tree. In future I’d love to have fruit trees on our homestead and with such barren dry soil comfrey will be a must.

Comfrey spreads by root division as well as seed so it can multiply very rapidly. It can become a nuisance if left to spread somewhere unwanted. Luckily I purchased the “Bocking 14” Russian Comfrey which was developed to be sterile. Meaning this variety is unable to be spread by seed. Making the spreading easier to manage. But honestly I’d be ok if it went crazy. And I can still take my own root cuttings. Plus chickens love to eat it so at this point I can’t have too much.

I stuck some in both gardens to help balance the nutrients in the soil naturally with the help of worms and compost. I hoping to give some comfrey salve a try this winter I hear it’s great for cuts and scrapes.

Most of what I’ve learned about comfrey has come from Paul Wheaton. Check out his webpage and YouTube channel for tons more info. I also find that Justin Rhodes of Abundant Permaculture has tons of great into about comfrey on his YouTube Channel (go check it out!)

Reach out if you have any questions about my comfrey and I’ll keep you updated!

Peace & Love

Q

Buy Comfrey Here!

Sources:

“Wonderful Multi-Purpose Comfrey Plant” Permaculture Research Institute

Permies.com- Paul Wheaton

5 Easy Seeds Anyone Can Save.

Saving my own seeds was an infatuation that turned true love. I never thought I’d stick it out or find so many plants that have such easy seed saving processes. I truly thought it would be so much work, and it just wasn’t. So I’m now fully obsessed and moving forward, I will always harvest my own seeds. The way seeds form truly fascinates me and I love watching them develop just as much as I do a fruit on the vine. Nothing says sustainability like not having to buy certain seeds from the store ever again.

There are tons of easy to save seeds out there but here’s the ones I started with and continue to save every year. You’ll be wowed at how simple it is and maybe chose a few to start saving yourself.

1. Marigolds

A must have for any garden for the two simple reasons that they provide for pollinators and bring that glorious golden glow to the garden. When the blooms get dry on the plant simply pluck them off and set somewhere to dry.

You’ll get hundreds of seeds per head, trust me you’ll be giving them away you’ll have so many. And you’ll have seeds to plant for years to come. I’ve stored them in paper bags over winter and my germination is always very high.

Marigolds are a wonderful companion plant to just about any fruit/vegetable plant. Currently I have them in my three sisters gardens (corn, beans, pumpkins), with raspberries, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, they grow well just about anywhere.

2. Bachelor Buttons

Another must have. If you’re planting a food garden, flowers are a must. These tall airy plants self seed fantastically and the beneficial bugs love them. Will basically pop up and grow by itself almost anywhere. The flower heads should be left on the plant until they look like the one below.

They get a sort of straw flower feel after they lose their petals when ready, you’ll see the seeds are jammed in under that fluffy center. Be sure to keep an eye out because once they are ready they’ll be dropping seed with any light breeze. So get them off and set aside to finish drying out.

Like marigolds I usually leave the seed heads intact over winter up but you can totally separate the seeds out and store them anyway you’d like. The point is all these seeds are simple to save and store.

3. Basil

This herb is a given. If you garden, you have basil. If you don’t you are missing out friend. From it’s medicinal to culinary uses basil can be used all across the board and the bees will thank you.

Canning tomato sauce? Don’t forget to plant basil with your tomatoes. They love the shade the tomatoes provide and bush out like crazy if you continually harvest. Another self seeder these seeds will pop up anywhere with ample moisture. Keep a close eye once the flowers on the plants dry up since the tiny black seeds scatter easily.

4. Dill

I’ve only recently started growing dill and I’m blown away by the ease of it all. If you’ve ever made homemade pickles you know home grown or at least local dill is the way to go. Plus its gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

The seeds will form once the flowers die and you’ll be able to pick a beautiful seed head. I remove the seeds and store in seed packets so they take up less space.

5. Chives

These whimsical plants belong in all gardens in my opinion. Their little clumps spread easily and come back every year. Once the purple flowers fade you’ll know they are ready. Inside you’ll find dozens of little black seeds. Simply snap off the heads to collect and save.

The girls and I eat most of our chives while in the garden. They’re a perfect snack with a little spice and pair wonderfully with fresh picked spinach. But let’s be honest, they are best in a salad!

So there you have it. Seed saving isn’t as daunting as it might seem. As a tip, avoid hybrid varieties for seed saving. Sometimes the seeds you harvest won’t be true to the parent plant, so stick to heirlooms to be safe. If you’re feeling extra inspired here’s a few other varieties just as easy to save:

– zinnia

– cilantro

– parsley

– radish

– kale

– mustard

Now get seed saving!

Peace & Love,

Q

Simply Delicious Homemade Pesto.

Hi y’all! If you love pesto you’ll love this recipe, if you also love preserving your herb harvest this post is for you.

Before this summer I never how simple and fun making homemade pesto was. Even better if you have your own right outside your back door, am I right?

All you need is a food processor/blender and cute jar to stuff it in and you’re set.

Ingredients:

  • 3 C fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • 1/2 C organic olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan (fresh if possible)

Directions:

  1. Clean off any bugs or dirt from basil and rinse under water if needed (pat dry)
  2. Add basil leaves, pine nuts, lemon zest & juice, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to food processor and blend until well incorporated.
  3. Drizzle in oil and let emulsify and blend in well.
  4. Voila! Pack your yummy pesto into a jar and store in your fridge.

Make this pesto with any and all varieties of basil you choose. So far I’ve done sweet, Thai, and cinnamon… lime and purple are next up. I even started more seeds and took a few cuttings for indoor winter basil. Add it pizza, pasta, toast or anything your heart desires.

Cheers y’all!

Peace and Love,

Q

8 Free Seed-Starters

There’s no need to go break the bank on fancy seed trays. Up-cycle any of these for a quick and easy (and free) solution. Eventually I plan on buying a couple soil blockers in order to cut down on our waste and use of plastic, but until I can invest in that tool this is what we did this year. Check it out. 

  1. Milk cartons– these were empty epsom salt cartons we just cut the top off and filled with soil. 
  2. Toilet paper rolls– we save all our rolls for crafts or firestartes, and now see starters. Works great for peas since you can fill halfway and back fill as the sprouts grown taller. 
  3. Shallow boxes– this was my mother’s experiment and it worked amazing for sunflowers, and that’s just mulch from the chicken yard. 
  4. Shipping materials– fill with soil and plant. Boom. 
  5. Juice bottles– all did was cut off the top and added two drain holes. 
  6. Egg cartons— ever tried planting tomatoes in egg shells?And here’s a couple more options that I didn’t have the chance to try, though I have seen other folks find great success with also 
  7. Milk jugs– simply cut the jug in half and discard top half, poke some drain holes in the bottom and voila! 
  8. Coffee cans– coffee cans are great since they hold warmth quite well and can be reused many times. All you you need to do is take a hammer and a nail and add a few drain holes in the bottom. For an added effect only fill halfway with soil and cover it with plastic to retain temperature, sorta like a greenhouse.
  • One a side note: instead of buying more greenhouse seed trays I also started a great deal of our garden in paper cups and solo cups that we had lying around the house, saved a lot of money doing that folks!

As you can see, there’s no need to spend countless dollars year after year on expensive to buy cheaply made plastic seed trays. This is more sustainable and much more financially forgiving. Not to mention you will be cutting down on your household waste and reusing those paper/plastic/metal products. Most of the paper based ones can also be planted directly into the ground. Give it a try, what can you lose? And just keep planting seeds y’all!

Okra in the sunset.

Peace and Love

Q

    What To Do When Your Dogs Get Skunked! 

    Might I take this chance to introduce you to a few of my fur babies…?

    This is Dixie Mae, culprit of the stink numbero uno. 

    She was skunked about a month, being her (our) first time we had no idea what that burning hair/plastic smell was. No joking, Spencer and I searched for the ‘electrical fire’ source for about two hours before deeming ourselves insane. 


    By routine the next morning Spencer gave Dixie her goodbye kisses before leaving for work, only to find out his face and beard would then be smelling of skunk for the days entirety… and then some.. 

    So yes, she stank up the house for a good 8 hours before we noticed… ufda. 

    Next on the rap sheet Mr. Kato… he was the antagonist of the satire which was the other night… he was so close to the skunk that half his face was yellow…. sigh. Save to say the swear words were a flyin’ around the middle of that night. 

    His side kick? That ever dependable and trouble-making sister Brodee Sue.


    So what do you do in these most stinky of circumstances?

    Take a deep breath (since you’ll not want to for three months) and try to laugh about it. Dogs will be dogs and skunks will happen from time to time. Like Forrest Gump said, “sh*t happens… sometimes…”

    In the one month since we moved all (three) of our dogs have been sprayed by a skunk. So you could say I’ve had some time to experiment with how to keep the smell at bay. 

    To keep things easiest I won’t talk about what didn’t work… (tomato juice/sauce bath) ahem….

    But what has WORKED for us:

    – Bath your dog (and yourself) in Dawn dish soap… since you’ll likely end up in the shower and wet anyway. Trust me the smell passes from family member to family with haste. 

    – After the shower wipe down your fur baby with a rag dampened with hydrogen peroxide. Let dry. 

    – Wipe down a second time with an apple cider vinegar dampened rag. Let dry.  

    – Keep diluted spray bottle (ACV + water) on hand for intermittently spritsing your dog and whatever bedding they’re using. We went so far as to spray this in the air once a day when the smell would come back up. 

    – Diffuse CPTG essential oils FOREVER — as you already should be ;)!!! Since we only have one diffuser I let my tea kettle steam with OnGuard EO on board. In the meantime I’ve had an assortment of Lemon, Lemongrass, Wild Orange, Lavendar, OnGuard, Grapefruit and Cedarwood hard at work, and boy does it take that stench away. 

    • Don’t have essential oils?? Visit my online store —-> HERE!

    – Double wash any garment/linen that has come into contact with said stinky pup. I usually use an environmentally friendly detergent but we went full out on Arm & Hammer with OxyClean. 

    Unfortunately there is no immediate quick fix to get rid of the smell completely. It’s all you can do to keep it at bay. The spray from the skunk attaches to hair follicles and gets into skin pores, worst part? It will not be totally gone for up to 3 months. So you’re in for the long haul folks. 

    Ok so not all of these are the most natural of remedies. But let’s just say being pregnant with three skunked out dogs has been no cup of tea.. But if these worked for me I’m sure they can help you to. 

    Anyone else’s dog ever been skunked? I would love to hear what y’all did to beat the stink. 

    Peace and Love,

    Q