It happens every year.
They come and spray for the spiders.
And this year, just like in previous years, I came home late from work to have to put tarp over the pots lining the side of the house and haul in all the rest of the plants.
That was a good workout! Climbing up and down the stairs!
I then got to looking over my plants and did a bit of pruning. I'll spare you the details of which ones I took off the leaves to dry for future use, such as for teas and soups, and which ones I collected to add to my pesto recipe today ;)
Interestingly, one of them was Lemon Verbena and my neighbor was telling me that the infusion can be used to help soothe colicky babies. Hm, I thought Chamomile was a good choice, but it turns out that Lemon Verbena is a mild sedative, as well as being a Stomachic. Guess I'll personally find out when I toss some into the soup pot come fall :)
FYI: I did try Lemon Verbena fresh in a pesto, but found her way too overpowering! I think soup would be much better, especially during those cold days when a little pop of lemon would be highly appreciated.
A word on Zinnia leaves...
They are bitter and a small handful goes a long way. Make sure you have other nice herbs to cover the taste. Despite adding in Basil and Miso, I had to add in a whole bunch of fresh Coriander to mask that bitter taste! I steam the Zinnia leaves, by the way, before consuming them. Have yet to juice them, but I could see them working great in a green juice. I'd use Zinnia leaves like any other bitter green (e.g. Dandelion), so 1/4th bitter greens and the rest Lettuce, Spinach, Chard, etc. + fruit.
Today, after they sprayed for the spiders, I had to haul my pots back to their original spots. Yup, another workout for me!
And who do you think I discovered, hovering under the lid of my water filter, hiding among the leaves of Pansy, and pretending to be hibernating on the lid of my indoor compost bin?
Spiders! Several of them, and all scaredy-be when I went to haul them back to the great outdoors.
Sheesh, I think they're more afraid of us than us them! Although seeing one of the bigger ones, I faced my fear with a head-on thought: face 1 fear each day. It worked :)
She was actually pretty chill once she realized I was taking her outside, although she was trying to see where she was going while clasped in my hands ;) I, of course, was trying to stay calm. Spiders are helpful to the eco-system, get over yourself my dear!
So I did ;)
I then discovered an army of black aphids on all 4 of my Nasturtium plants. Grrr. Where are those Lady bugs when you need 'em?
I sprayed them with an antibacterial cocktail mix of Mint, Lavender and Lemon. It was a "no poop-pourri spray" I had made for the bathroom, diluted into a spray bottle with water to the top of the bottle. The label read Clean & Fresh, which is exactly what I'm hoping for ;)
Also found orange aphids on the Butterfly weed. Again. I've sprayed her 2 or 3 times now, poor her. She's just trying to grow and these bugs won't let her be!
I planted some more Marigold seeds after noticing that a few pots were rather bare. And since the Lettuce bolted, there is now some Radish seeds waiting to emerge into the world and showcase their pungent beauty :)
I yanked out the Zinnias growing with the Tomatoes and Cukes. They need a lot of space and they were being crowded out. Also found a Mustard plant gone to seed growing in there too. Aah, plants, what friends that do like to roam about! :)
Also found 3 Pepper plants growing in there, hiding behind the foliage of the Tomatoes and Cukes. I'm thinking of transplanting them but not sure where. They need a lot of room and depth and the pots I have remaining are small. Hm, maybe out front...Oh yes, great idea, as I realized why the Hollyhocks never came despite planting seeds twice: when I went to lift one of the tall planters, it had rained and it was like lifting a rain barrel! Tons of water started pouring out when I tilted it a bit on its side...Oops...
The Peppers might do well there, they'll be in full sun most of the time and I'll make sure not to water unless it's really needed...
Saw my neighbor and hopped over to get some free weeds: a touch of Dandelion and Wood Sorrel to add to the next pesto recipe and a good bunch of Mallow leaves. My neighbor is now complaining that there are too many Mallow plants, that they are crowding out her Marigolds that she'd planted!
Ah, the ego, never satisfied ;)
As I said, I helped her to prune them by divesting them of several leaves to make more "space" for the Marigolds, then got back home to dry them out for future tea. I really like adding Mallow to tea for her slimy nature: she's an excellent herb for those with leaky gut and she's great to pair with astringent herbs (like Horsetail, for example) or bitter herbs to help prevent yin deficiency (in other words, dryness).
Weather is looking sunny and bright next few days, so I'm hoping to visit Buckthorn woods. Have yet to go there this summer and passing by in the car, I noticed that the Goldenrod is out! Yes! Those leaves are edible, my dear, I've added them to soups and now I'll try them in a pesto recipe! Flowering tops, I make muscle-relaxing oils with them or dry them to make a diuretic tea. Cleavers as I mentioned in a previous diary entry, has got me going to the loo more often than before. She's an excellent diuretic, Prunella isn't bad, whereas others like Nettle and Goldenrod aren't so noticeable in more frequent bathroom trips. Now, adding Cleavers, Prunella and Nettle (with a touch of Mint for freshness) is a sure pee-pee, I mean, er, bathroom flusher ;)
Have harvested 3 Cukes as of now and I was reading about helping the plants to pollinate HERE. Male and female flowers in Cukes = lots of flowers, not always so much fruit. Pollinating them is easy, but when I went to check on my friends, they seemed to have wasps, flies and other critters around, so I think they are doing alright. Well, I could always ask them to make sure :)
OK, sunshine dearie, stay bright cuz the next adventure is just 'round the corner :)
PS. Whoopsy, looks like foraging won't be 'til later on because I forgot I had a doc's appointment this week....
PPS. After pruning tons of Mint (and Chickweed, for a future pesto), I think I'm going to take some cuttings and plant her in another pot. Wormwood seeds have yet to sprout anything, so there's an empty home to fill and Mint, being the lovely "invasive" that she is, will sprout roots in no time, about 2 weeks I gather :)
PPPS. Mini-mini foraging adventure when I went for a jog this evening and discovered in what used to be a veggie garden that the older folks had done last year ---- a really big and thriving Yellow Dock sweetie and several Lamb's Quarter plants (well, they do tend to like their own company ;)). I couldn't see that well, but I grabbed a few leaves of Dock and some Lamb's Q for... you guessed it, the next pesto recipe! Dock, I'm going to dry and use her leaves for soup because I rather fancy her that way :) Can't wait to go explore during the daytime when the light is better, and so close to home to boot! Hm, maybe there'll be some good greens (or some Day Lilies) not minding to share their energy with me when I go to work tomorrow, we'll see!! :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: