Arcadia Farms

  (Portage, Michigan)
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Planting Herbs in Upcycled Tin Cans

This winter I shared with you that I want a beautiful, traditionally styled, super-sized tea garden full of straight-up tea plant (Camellia sinensis) hedges and oodles of herbs. Despite my grandest dreams, our micro-farm only has room for a micro tea garden. So instead of having something like this…

formal garden

{Image Credit}
www.dnalandscape.com

I’m going to have something like this…

tin can herbs

{Image Credit}
http://fotofraulein.blogspot.com

I’ll be growing herbs for tea in upcycled tin cans which will hang from the posts of our garden fence. I’m also hoping to add some herb containers closer to the house. This weekend I got started on planting my first herbs – stevia.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with stevia, it is a natural sweetening alternative to cane sugar. I’m going to use the leaves in tea but you can also use it in powder form for baking. (Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the aftertaste it leaves in baked goods.) I’m starting small with just five containers. Here’s what I did.

I’ve been collecting an assortment of tin cans all year. I grabbed five of them and used a drill to make holes in the bottom. Because stevia likes well-drained soil, I wanted to add a little something to the bottom of each can to create air pockets for drainage. What better to use than some of the myriad twigs lying around my yard? Cleans my yard up a smidge (ok, a very tiny smidge), makes good use of what would otherwise be yard waste and creates a mini-hugelkultur climate in my herb containers. Win win win!

holes in tin can planter for herbs

I started by drilling drainage holes in the bottoms of my tin cans.

tin can herb planters with twigs for drainage

Next I added a layer of fallen twigs. These will aid in drainage by creating air pockets and will also add a hugelkultur effect to these tiny planters.

planting stevia in tin can herb planters

I’m planting stevia from Seed Savers Exchange in these mini-planters.

I’ve never grown stevia before… can’t wait to see (and taste) what lies ahead! And I’m super excited about all the other tea-worthy herbs that are yet to come.

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.  

Chitting (Sprouting) Seed Potatoes

bags of seed potatoes

Our seed potatoes came yesterday! I ordered certified organic Nicola and Desiree seed potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange and can’t wait to get them planted! (I also ordered sweet potatoes from Annie’s Heirloom Seeds and expect they’ll be coming soon as well.)

This year before I plant my potatoes I’m going to chit some of them. No, I didn’t just cuss at you. Chitting potatoes is the act of sprouting them before they are planted. This is my first year trying it out, but those who’ve done it before say you can harvest your taters up to three weeks early if you follow these steps. Here’s a quick tutorial.

Chitting Potatoes – A How-To Guide

  1. Start the process 3-4 weeks before you’re ready to plant the potatoes in the ground
  2. Place the potatoes in a bright location (sunny windowsill or under a florescent/grow lamp)
  3. Sprouts will emerge. Try to keep the potatoes stable so that these sprouts don’t get broken. Placing the potatoes in an open egg carton would do the trick.
  4. Plant the sprouted potatoes just like you would plant them without sprouts. Just like you plant regular potatoes withe eyes facing up, plant these with the sprouts facing up.

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.

 
 
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