Friday, April 8, 2011

Nettles, Hummers and Wintersown Plants

This looks to be shaping up to be a good planting weekend.  The wintersown plants all look like they would like to get in the ground.  I ended up with bachelor buttons double mixed, poppies mixed, bells of ireland, cosmos sensation, columbine dragonfly hybrid, larkspur kaleidoscope, orlaya from Carolyn, and what I believe are a type of crabapple (from a gorgeous hedgerow I saw in the fall).  I also have a spot picked to set out the pink calla lily J gave me for Valentines Day. 

The garden is coming up nicely with peas, spinach, onions, carrots and beets.  The asparagus are poking up more each day.  I'm really looking forward to the first asparagus soup of the year.  We're hoping to see the first potatoes break through the ground very soon.  Last week, I began my first batch of nettle ticture.  I've taken nettles along with quercitin for spring allergies for many years.  Last year was the first time I've grown nettles.  I dried some, but mostly left it to establish itself.  I've been adding several of the dried leaves, crushed up, to my kefir smoothies the past couple of months.  Nettles are full of nutrients and decrease inflammation, in addition to their histamine blocking action. A pretty good plant to have around, I'm thinking.  One of my goals this spring is to learn more ways to use it, particularly in cooking with it.  I know I have soup recipes using it, and some others.  If I have time to experiment with any, I'll share the results.  And if you've used nettles in cooking, I'd love to know.

Yesterday I enjoyed listening to the whir of the sewing machine accompanied by soft dog snores.  While the pups nap, I've been sewing up some rice & lavender therapy pillows and wrapping soap, getting ready for next weeks show.  While washing dishes yesterday, I was delighted to see the first hummingbird at the window.  In just minutes, a pot of hummingbird food (4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar) was on the stove and one of the feeders put up.  I expect it may not have been one of "my" usual birds, but maybe a scout coming through.  In any case, I'm ready now, and hope there will soon be hummers at the feeders.


JLK Jewelry said...

Nettles sound like a really good plant to have around!

We haven't seen any hummers yet, but I'll get the feeders cleaned and ready.

this is such a great time of the year! We can't eat enough of our Swiss Chard, spinach and lettuce! I'm freezing spinach:)

Laurie said...

Oh yum! I was just wondering yesterday if I'd be freezing spinach, between the winter bed and the new spring planting. Hope the hummers visit your feeders soon!

kriips said...

So funny:) Nettles are such an aggressive weed in Estonia - they're all over the place, and can grow up to chest high... The stinging nettle was told to be good for you (us kids always getting stung...) supposedly provided iron... (through the skin?)
We used to harvest big bunches of them and dry them during summer to give them to chickens in the winter (3 months of snow and no greens...)
Did you start your plants from seed? I'd love to grow it here. It's hard to believe people in Estonia don't eat it - I know it's a very useful herb. Also a great fiber plant!

Laurie said...

Anne, no luck from seeds, so we bought plants. I think they did get chest high last year. They do pack a bit of a sting. I dried them mostly thinking of giving them to the chickens, but ended up eating them myself!