Monday, April 18, 2016

Eight Unique Herbal Gifts for Mom

As Mother's Day approaches, I get asked what is a good herb gift for a mom.  It is a simple question with a huge answer.  So I thought I would put together a list of suggestions for Mom that include herbs from loving the scent to tea to just enjoying the look of them.  There is a gift here for all types of herb lovers!


1. Grow your own Herbs with an Herb in a Pot (available from the Backyard Patch for $6.50 each)

This terra cotta clay pot combination includes soil, seeds, instructions and recipes for growing your own herb in a pot.  Tied into a package with raffia and twine it makes its own rustic gift box. Herbs available include: Basil, Cilantro, Thyme, Oregano, and  Chives.

2. Chase bugs and enjoy the relaxation of Lemon Grass Candles (available from Ashka Candles for $6.50)

Lemon grass scent energizes and relieves nervousness with its strong bug chasing scent.  These 4 ounce candles will burn for 30 hours or more.


3. You can a new tea every month with a Tea Subscription (available from the Backyard Patch in differing lengths)

You receive two bags of loose tea, a tea infuser and a description of the tea in a decorative container each month.  You can customize the tea selections or leave the choices to us.

4. Beaded Tea Ball (available from the Backyard Patch for $3.50 each)

A bead decorated tea ball that will look elegant in any cup or mug!

5. Tea Samplers let Mom try out several teas (available from the Backyard Patch for $4.95 each or a set of 3 for 15.00)

These brochure-shaped samplers contain tea infusing bags, and three small packets of loose teas on themes like Bright Morning, Marvelous Mint or Luscious Lavender.


6.  A Plant Press lets you save leaves and flowers and enjoy them later  (available from KathleenEmilyAnne for $30.00)

This plant press book is a set of paper envelopes into which you can place leaves and flowers and hold shut with the elastic band.  It is portable so you can take it on a walk with you and save memories.

7. Chocolate Cake in a Mug (available from the Backyard patch for $10.95 for 2)

Never forget Chocolate is an herb and this quick and easy cake can be made in the microwave in the mug provided.  Many mug patterns and styles available.  Save shipping by ordering more than 2.

8. Herbal Note Cards (available from LoriLooDesigns for $6.49)

Note writing is becoming a thing of the past, but your Mom may still be one to enjoy sending a thoughtful card and these wonderful photo note cards with herbs come in sets of three!

So hopefully I have given you some ideas for items to give your Mom to celebrate her special day!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Basic Hummus - Weekend Recipe

I am out and about this weekend at the Darien Garden Club Garden Inspiration Event on Saturday and Vegan Vortex in Chicago on Sunday.

I will be serving hummus blended with Butter and Cheese Herb Mix and Fiesta Dip Herb Mix, so I thought I would share a recipe for making your own hummus.

Sure you can buy it, but once you realize how easy it is to make your own, you may never go back to store bought again.

Basic Creamy Hummus

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
1/4 cup well-stirred tahini, use store-bought
Half of a large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Dash of ground paprika for serving

In the bowl of a food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making smooth and creamy hummus possible.

Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice mixture. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.

Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid then rinse well with water. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl.  Add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth.  Add fresh or dried herbs at this point if desired. 

Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the consistency is perfect.

Scrape the hummus into a bowl then drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with pita chips, crackers, veggies... or anything else you can think of. Serves 8-12 as an appetizer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Herb of the Week - Marshmallow or Marsh Mallow

I have had some trouble writing these this year.  I get a post started, begin my research, then then I never finish them.  This week I finally stopped organizing my house and sat down to finish the several herb of the week posts I began back in January.

Today we are focusing on a wonderfully medicinal herb that does not get much attention.  And if you have a wet area in your yard and like late summer flower, this plant is perfect for you!

This week's HERB of the WEEK is Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinlis)

This plant is related to Hollyhock and looks very similar, but it does not have as striking a flower.  It’s been used for centuries in a broad range of ways. The genus name comes from the Greek, altho, meaning "to cure." The family name, Malvaceae, is also of Greek derivation, from malake, meaning soft, both indicating the emollient, healing properties of this plant, which have long been recognized. Pliny remarked: "Whosoever shall take a spoonful of Mallows shall that day be free from all diseases that may come to him." Early recorded uses include poultices to reduce inflammation and spongy lozenges to soothe coughs and sore throats - from which the modern confectionery is descended, though it no longer contains any of the herb. Marshmallow root was eaten as a vegetable by the Romans and in many Middle Eastern and European countries was a standby in times of famine when food was scarce. In more recent times it was a springtime country tradition to eat the young shoots, or make them into a syrup, to "purify the blood".

To Grow

A hardy perennial with tall stems covered with soft, downy leaves and pale pink flowers clustered at the leaf axils in late summer. It reaches 3 to 4 ft in height. It has large, fleshy taproots and seed head or fruit that is ring-shaped with a ring of seeds called cheeses.  It grows in salt marshes, near sea coasts and in moist in land areas, throughout Europe, in temperate regions of Asia, North America and Australia.

It prefers moist to wet soil and a sunny situation. Propagated by division in autumn or by
seed sown in late summer.  Seed is not often recommended, as germination is often erratic, but you can sow it shallowly outdoors in spring, thinning the plants to 2 feet when they  germinate. 
To propagate from the root divide the rhizomes or take cuttings from foliage or roots in the fall.

The velvety foliage will die back to the ground in the fall.

To Use
One can use the seeds, leaves, roots, and flowers. Harvest the leaves in fall just before flowering.  Collect and dry flowers at their peak.  Dig taproots in fall from plants at least 2 years old, scrub them and cook them like potatoes or slice before drying.  If you want them dried, cut the roots into pieces while they are fresh.  Once dry they are very, very hard.

Use leaves to add a fresh flavor to salads, or slice and cook the roots like a potato.  The roots were originally used to produce the sticky substance with consistency typical of the confection marshmallows.

The roots contain natural sugars and were used in early medicinal sweets and the original recipe for marshmallow treat. At one time the young roots and leaves were boiled, then fried with onions as a spring vegetable, or added to salads- but neither is very palatable.

All plants of the mallow family contain mucilage.  Marshmallow has the most.  The whole herb contains a sweet mucilage that is soothing and softening.   It relieves inflamed gums and mouth, gastric ulcers, diarrhea, bronchial infections and coughs. Leaves and roots can be applied externally as a poultice to soothe and reduce the heat in ulcers, boils, inflammation of the skin and insect bites.  It is used in cosmetics for weather damaged skin.

According to Rosemary Floret marshmallow roots are typically prepared using cold water. Marshmallow roots are high in polysaccharides and starches. By using a cold infusion you extract mainly the mucilaginous polysaccharides. If you simmer the root you also extract the starches in the plant.

Cold Marshmallow Infusion (Tea)
a jar and lid
marshmallow root
lukewarm water

To make this preparation, simply fill a jar 1/4 of the way with marshmallow root. Just cover with luke warm water, place the lid on the jar and let steep for lat least 4 hours.  Remove the roots and use the resulting liquid which will change color to a soft yellow. And be thick and viscous.

Once you have this liquid you can use it in the following ways:
  1.  Mouth Wash -  Use it to treat painful mouth conditions like mouth ulcers, canker sores, cuts on the inside of the cheeks, inflamed gums and even sore throats are soothed with a marshmallow rinse. Simply swish the cold infused tea around in your mouth to coat the affected tissues.
  2. Heartburn home remedy  -  Use this cold infusion to find relief from heartburn, peptic ulcers, and inflamed intestines. Besides being able to soothe inflammation, marshmallow root can also  heal wounds within the digestive tract.
  3. Skin Wash – As a topical treatment for wounds and burns, it has been known to prevent gangrene.


Marshmallows can be made adding eggs and food coloring to to the gelatinous liquid produced by steeping or boiling the roots.  There is a great recipe available from Rosmary Floret at Learning  Here is the connection.

I have made various teas with the roots, leaves and flowers harvested from marshmallow.  Here are a few of those recipes.

Heartburn Tea
3 parts Marshmallow Root 
2 parts Marshmallow Leaf 
1 part Spearmint Leaf 

Blend herbs and keep in an airtight container.  Use 1 to 2 tsp. per cup pf hot water and steep for 7 to 10 minutes.  Sip slowly to alleviate heartburn.

Soothing Throat herbal tea
Linden flowers
elder flowers
rose hips
marsh mallow flowers

Combine herbs in equal amounts in an airtight container.  Use 1 to 2 tsp. per cup pf hot water and steep for 7 to 10 minutes.  Many medicinal benefits in this blend of plants and flowers makes it perfect for sore throats and as a boost in immunity.
Marshmallow salve for dry skin
Marshmallow roots, leaves and flowers 
8 ounces of base oil (jojoba, coconut, olive, almond or walnut oil)

Place the herbs in a glass jar.  Add the oil, being sure to cover all the herbs.  Place the jar in a pan of warm water and simmer on low heat for about 8 hours allowing the marshmallow to infuse into the oil.  Use this oil as a topical on dry skin or make into a simple salve.

To make a simple salve, grate up some beeswax and add it to the hot infused oil, stirring continuously until it melts. (About 1oz beeswax to 8 fluid ozs of oil) Test on the back of a wooden spoon to see whether it is of a suitable consistency, then pour into small jars and seal. If you are not confident to do the spoon test, an easier way of checking is to drop a very small amount of oil plus melted wax into cold water in a small bowl or mug. The salve will immediately cool and you can rub it between your fingers to check the desired thickness.

The salve will thicken on cooling, usually from the bottom upwards if you pour into cold jars. It will usually be a paler color than the original oil.
Cough Relief Herbal Blend
This is a rather elaborate tea blend, but it will work on a multitude of different types of coughs and bronchial issues.  You can make it in advance and use all winter!

4 parts Peppermint Leaf
2 parts each:
  Red Clover Blossoms
Mullein Leaf
  Nettle Leaf
  Echinacea Purpurea Leaf
  Marshmallow Root
1 part each:
  White Pine Bark
  Elecampane Root
  Echinacea Purpurea Root
  Wild Cherry Bark
  Licorice Root
Combine herbs and keep in a airtight jar.  Brew 1 to 2 tsp of mixture per cup of hot water and sip to sooth coughing and throat issues.


Rodale’s Successful Organic Herb Gardening Herbs by Patrica Michalak (Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA: 1993)

Herbs by Leslie Bremness (Dorling & Kindersley Books, London: 2000)
Copyright © 2016 LearningHerbs

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monthly Bath Blend - Tub Teas

Bath teas are fun! Big teabags filled with scented herbs and other special ingredients that you just toss in your tub and soak.

The best way to use a tub tea is to brew it. Place the bag in 1 cup of water in a saucepan and boil for 10 to 15 minutes.  Place the resulting liquid in the bath water of a filled tub.  You can also just place the tea bag in tub while you fill it, or if you don't take baths, you can use them as a foot soak or shower scrub (simply wet the teabag then gently use it as a herbal washcloth for your skin).

We are including a free bath tea with every order in the month of April. You will receive our choice of bath tea – we now have five different blends available.  We will choose one that suits the herbs in your order.

NEW - Lavender Mint Tub Tea is excellent for refreshing and cleansing, perfect for oily skin.
NEW - Soothing Chamomile and Comfrey is fabulous for sunburn, rashes, irritated skin, or chicken pox!
Original Bath Tub Tea is a combination of many herbs and flowers of a soothing bath.
Green Tea Tub Tea is a combination of green tea and herbs like calendula that  are especially soothing to the skin.
Secret Garden Tub Tea is a blend of flowers that will take you to a floral heaven while it relaxes and soothes.

If you want to try your hand at your own Tub Tea, try this one:

Total Relaxation Tub Tea
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers
1 tsp. marjoram leaves
1 tsp. chamomile

Combine into a tea bag or coffee filter and use as described above.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Seasoned Beef Empanadas - Weekend Recipe

Time for a quick and easy weekend recipe that has bright spring-like flavors. I made this in 15 minutes excluding the marinading.  We enjoyed it fresh and warmed up the next day.  I am sure you will love it too.

Seasoned Beef Empanadas

1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup regular or golden raisins
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and black pepper
2 store-bought refrigerated rolled pie crusts
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon lime zest

Place uncooked ground beef in ½ cup of dressing and allow to marinade for an hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 375º F. Place a bit of oil in a large skillet and warm over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the marinated beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the pie crusts. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, use your finger to wet the edge of each circle with some water, fold in half, and press with thumb or fork to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Put the sour cream in a small bowl and stir in zest.  Sprinkle a bit more on top and serve with the empanadas.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hot Pepper #3 - Hot Paper Peppers

This is the third in our monthly series on the Herb of the Year Capsicum!  This month we picked one with somewhere between 150,000 and 300,000 heat on the scoville scale.  In the habanero grouping, these are a good pepper to grow in northern climates.

Herb of the Week - 
             Hot Paper Lantern Capsicum chinense ‘Hot Paper’

To check out the previous two postings, see these:

The Hot Paper Lantern is a habanero type hot pepper. More productive and larger than regular habaneros, these magnificent, elongated and wrinkled, lantern-shaped fruits are 3-4" long. Bigger than our regular habaneros, but they pack the same mouth-blistering heat. The plants are relatively compact & sprawling compared to other Habanero varieties and produce excellent yields. They ripen from lime green to orange and finally to a bright scarlet red. Known for their short growing season, which makes them great for growing in northern climates, the plants are decorative and pretty, and can even be grown in containers. The plants are strong and vigorous. It grows larger and ripens earlier in the North than regular habaneros. The stem is thin and easily broken making it easy to pick the peppers without damaging the plant. The wall of the pepper very is thin, making them great for drying.

Taste: just as hot as orange habanero, except it has a different sweeter initial taste before the heat kicks in, while the regular orange habanero has a sharper heat that attacks the tongue much faster. Great for seasoning, salsa, hot sauce or roasting.  They are delicious in many dishes, including soups.

To Grow
Unless your home is in an arid sub-tropical state, your habanero seeds are best started inside and then transplanted outside after soils warm. The Habanero Pepper is a member of the 'Chinese' family of Hot Chili's.  Typically the plants grow larger than most other hot Chiles such as the Cayenne or Jalapeno pepper.
Habaneros can be troublesome start out kind of finicky as tiny seedlings. Habaneros will grow into sturdy plants that are robust and strong. Start them indoors 6 to 10 weeks before the last expected frosts. Habaneros take longer to germinate than smaller pepper plants. It is always better to be a little too late to start your seeds than too early. They will catch up with the other plants once they are in the garden.

Planting the seeds in individual spaces in a tray, or in individual cells or pots makes transplanting easier and keeps failures down too.  Keeping the air and soil humid and damp as well as heated is the perfect environment for germination.  Covering the planting areas with a dome or plastic wrap will speed germination and keep the soil moist as needed.

Uncover the seedlings as soon as they emerge and allow the soil to dry for at least a full day in between watering.  Fertilize the seedlings weekly. Transplant time is at about 8 sets of leaves...although a little more or less won't hurt them.

When transplanting outside, dig a whole several times larger than the root system.  About the size of the shovel width is good.  Peppers like sand, so place a hand shovel full of sand and well-rotted manure or aged compost into the hole and mix well. If you have soil that is too sandy, add top soil and cow manure.

According to Pepper Joe, it is good to toss a pack or two of fanned out matches into the hole.  Your Chili plants will love the sulfur. Sulfur is also a great Fungicide and kills harmful bacteria. This creates a Root Zone that is Habanero plant friendly. It enables the roots to spread out and grow quickly getting nourishment as well.

Water the plant extremely well right after transplanting. It helps prevent transplant shock.
At this point your Habanero plants should be off and running. Fertilize every two weeks as needed with a natural fish emulsion.


Remember to introduce your young tender plants to the outdoors slowly and gradually. This process is called 'Hardening off'.  First day for an hour in indirect sun or shade...then add an hour a day and more sun. The best time to transplant your Habanero pepper plants is at night, or better yet on a cloudy and rainy day. The Sun can be harsh on small seedlings.

You can get seeds to grow these peppers from:


Grilled Salmon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon minced habanero pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
4 (5 ounce) salmon steaks
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons minced habanero pepper
2 teaspoons grated lime zest

In a bowl, stir together vegetable oil, orange juice, 3 tablespoons lime juice, tequila, 1 tablespoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon habanero pepper, and garlic. Reserve a small amount to use as a basting sauce, and pour the remainder into a shallow baking dish. Place the salmon in the shallow dish, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning frequently.

In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic salt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons habanero pepper, and 2 teaspoons lime zest. Cover, and refrigerate.
Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate, and place salmon on the grill. Cook salmon for 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish, top with habanero butter, and serve.

Habanero Salsa
This is a variation of regular fresh salsa with the addition of a hot paper pepper. This salsa is not for lightweights.
3 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chile pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 limes, juiced
7 (15 ounce) cans canned tomatoes
1 hot paper pepper, seeded

Roast jalapenos over a grill or gas burner until completely blackened. Seal in a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and allow to steam until skins are loosened. When cool, remove skin, stem, and seeds.

Place jalapenos, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Pulse to chop and blend, then pour into a large bowl, and mix with the can of green chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. Pulse the tomatoes in batches to desired size, and add to green chile mixture.

Return one cup of chopped tomatoes to the blender along with the habanero, and puree well. Strain the puree to remove any large pieces of habanero, and add to the tomatoes. Mix well, cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least one hour to allow flavors to blend.


Wikipedia - Habanero

Monday, March 28, 2016

Starting a Garden Journal in 2016

It’s that time of year when my garden is on my mind as I sift through seed catalogs and plan my Spring garden. This is actually one of my favorite times of the year for gardening, when the possibilities of the upcoming garden year are before me.  It’s time to shake off the gardening mistakes of the past and look forward to the new year.
How wonderful to sit at a large table, with a warm cup of my own, organically grown, herb tea, and dream about the warmth of the summer sun, surrounded by a smear of catalogs and ideas.

This year I am planning raised beds.  I will create and make lists of crops to grow and where I will put them.  It has been years since I had to plan a garden from scratch and I cannot wait.  But what to plant? and what does it need? and when do I start seed? For those answers I turned to my garden journals from years past.
 This is a page from 1993 
In 1994 I wrote out a monthly narrative of what was happening in the garden.

                                                             By 1997 I was much less organized.

Now the question is did I make good gardening notes those years ago when I had a personal garden? Hopefully your garden notes are some place you can find them this year during planning time and not on sticky notes hidden somewhere. That is why it is beneficial to keep a garden journal.
Lorene Edwards Forkner makes this observation in her book, Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest – “Practice a little citizen science by keeping a garden journal to track what blossoms when; what the weather was doing at the time; and the corresponding appearance, or disappearance of backyard birds and insects. Over time you’ll accumulate a picture of the very unique seasons found in your own back yard and a series of valuable reminders that when you see this happening in the natural world it’s time to do that.”

The purpose of a garden journal is to keep track of what you planted, when you planted it, how to take care of it and if it worked for your garden. Once the pages are created, the information can be recorded by hand and retyped later.  For the past 14 years I have lived in an apartment, so my personal garden has been in pots on the deck. I have detailed notes in a spiral notebook about the successes and failures of containers.  All gardening experiences, good and bad, increase your skill set.

In my garden journal I:
  •       keep growing notes on new plants I’ve never grown before
  • ·         have a place to refer back on things –
  • ·         What was the date I actually planted my garden
  • ·         When was the garden soil dry enough to do a first tilling
  • ·         When were the first and last frost dates for “my” yard
  • ·         Was this a wet or dry spring and fall
  • ·         keep detailed planting notes for crop rotation in my raised beds
  • ·         have notes on new techniques I learn or want to try

These are pages from my Garden Journal available on Etsy
So instead of trying to remember the recipe for that new garden pest technique you tried or that great heirloom tomato you decided to grow, write it down in your garden journal. Make a quick note in a place where you know you can find it later. My personal preference is for a physical book; you can buy one or create your own.  If you are tech savvy, try an online garden journal instead.  Here is one to try:
Making the Journal
You can hand write everything in a spiral notebook or you can make customized pages and place them in a three-ring binder.  I have also purchased a day planner or calendar book and written everything in there.  It is all up to you.  The most important things to record are:

Garden layout and layout key page
The garden layout is a sketch of the garden. A grid created by inserting a table makes drawing easier and keeps everything in proportion. Leave room at the bottom for a key to list the symbols used to represent items in the garden.

First, sketch your home, driveway, patios, sidewalks and pathways. Next, fill in the flowerbeds, trees, shrubs and perennials. Create a key at the bottom of the page. On a separate page, list the symbols and the plants they represent for the entire garden.

Use a pencil so mistakes and changes can be corrected easily. You may need to rewrite or retype your list to keep the symbols in order for easy reference.

Since you’re working on a small piece of paper, you won’t be able to include everything. But be sure to include dominant features and plants.

Photo pages
Photographs keep track of how your garden has changed year after year. Panoramic shots or wide angle shots reveal both the good and bad. Close-up photos of favorite plants lets you can enjoy them year round.

Plant profile pages
Plant profiles keep information about your plants all in one place and at your fingertips. This section identifies plants, tells how to care for them/ and how you cared for them and where they are located in your garden. Find a plant profile page online and print multiple copies if you do not like recopying the same information. Record what you planted, when you planted it and how well it did.

Common name
Botanical name and/or cultivar
Type of plant
Light requirements
Water requirements
When to plant or divide
When to prune

Date seeds started indoors
Date planted in garden
Seed or plant source
Fertilize date and mix

Record of seedlings and cuttings
Keep track of how well your seeds and cuttings perform.
Plant name
Date planted
Seed or cutting source
Date seeds germinated
Total days indoors
Date transplanted
Location planted

TO DO page
Keep track of gardening tasks.
Soil Amendments

Pocket pages
This is a great place to save plant labels, garden articles, postcards, notes and other inspirations.

Daily record Pages Note pages

Keep notes on problems and victories, record rainfall and weather conditions and other notes, drawings or anything else you want to remember, including those recipes I mentioned earlier.
Here are some links to plant sample pages you can download:
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