List of some herbs to grow inside the home.

indoor herb garden

Low Bamboo LED Grow Light Garden
Modern Sprout Brass Grow-Anywhere Growhouse

Between the convenience of having flavourful herbs on hand whenever you need, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you grew them yourself, there are lots of reasons to consider starting an indoor herb garden. Imagine seasoning your fresh tomato sauce with a few leaves of freshly picked basil, sprinkling a pinch of cilantro in your homemade guacamole, or tossing a sprig of rosemary on your roasted vegetables. As idyllic as it sounds, though, these little herbs pose big challenges for the aspiring indoor gardener. Most require at least six to eight hours of bright light each day and enough water to thrive – but not so much water that their roots will rot.

Here’s a list of great herbs that you can grow right in your home!


Lemon Balm

Grow lemon balm plants for a single year for best flavor. Plant it indoors in the fall, grow indoors through winter, then you can plant it outside for spring and summer.

Chives

Chives grow almost anywhere. Harvest them at the base (like cutting grass), no more than one third of the bunch at a time.

Mint

Growing mint indoors may be the best plan for most of us. Containerizing mint keeps it from growing all over the yard and garden. All varieties are suitable for indoors.

Parsley


If you choose to start parsley from seed, soak it in warm water to crack the seed coat before sowing it.

Basil

Use the smaller globe types of basil for indoor growing. Many of the larger types are too large and will cause space problems.

Bay Laurel

Also known as bay leaf. This shrub can get quite large if left unpruned. It works well indoors through the cold months, but performs best if kept outdoors in warm weather.

Cilantro

Cilantro is short-lived by its nature. Start a succession of seedlings at two or three week intervals to keep a supply going all the time.

Thyme

Thyme is adaptable to pots as small as four to six inches. Simply repot it from a nursery plant, or divide a larger plant that has grown outdoors. Like rosemary and sage, it is easy to propagate from cuttings as well.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass can be grown from seed, purchased as a starter plant, or propagated in water from the fresh herb in the grocery store.

Oregano

Oregano is easy to propagate from cuttings or by division. Take a few cuttings at the end of summer and root out in a cup of water. Fresh oregano is much milder than dried. Use it at the end of the cooking process so that its flavor is not lost.

Rosemary

Take cuttings of outdoor rosemary at the end of summer to grow indoors through winter. Start with a four inch cutting from a branch tip, strip the lower foliage and stick it into potting soil. Cover with plastic to retain humidity as it roots.

Sage

Buy a starter plant or start it from cuttings off an established plant. Simply snip off the growing tips from a plant outdoors and stick them in a pot with good potting soil. Keep the cutting moist and it will root in a few weeks.

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir lime is another woody plant used for its foliage. As with bay laurel, give it outdoor time in the summer if possible.

Mileece is a sonic artist and environmental designer who developed technology to hear the sonic song of plants.

Mileece sonic artist music from plants

In this episode of Sound Builders, we went to Los Angeles, to meet with Mileece. She’s a sonic artist and environmental designer who’s developed the technology to give silent seedlings a portal to their own sonic expression.

Channeling a plant’s sentience into an instrument is no obvious feat. Mileece’s background as an audiophile and programmer dovetailed to turn a garden into an organic medium for music. She pulls this off by attaching electrodes to leafy limbs, which conduct the bio-electric emissions coming off living plants. The micro-voltage then gets sucked into her self-authored software, turning data into ambient melodies and harmonic frequencies.

It’s simply not enough for these green little squirts to just spit out noise. All this generative organic electronic music must sound beautiful, too. As a renewable energy ambassador, Mileece’s larger goal behind her plant music is to enhance our relationship with nature. And if plant music can have a pleasing aesthetic articulation then hopefully we all can give a greater damn about our environment.

While some may see the paradox in an organic medium generating electronic music, Mileece does not. She sees this as a symbiotic relationship, a vital one, and one that hints to a larger relationship she’s been trying to unify, which is that between humans and nature.

Royal Frogmore House and Garden opens to the public and welcomes visitors for its annual charity.

Beautiful Royal Frogmore House
Frogmore House
PHILIP CRAVEN/COURTESY ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST/© HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II 2019

Frogmore House and Garden, a historical Royal residence situated in the Home Park of Windsor Castle, will open its gates next month as part of its annual charity garden open days.

A Royal retreat since 1792, when it was purchased by George III for his wife, Queen Charlotte, Frogmore was originally built during the 17th century. Over the years, many monarchs have enjoyed its peaceful gardens and surrounding landscape. The property is now frequently used to host the Royal Family’s private functions, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding reception last year.

The interior of the house is decorated with artwork and botany, reflecting the artistry of previous Royal residents, including Queen Charlotte and her daughters, the Duchess of Kent and Queen Victoria. May 2019 marks the bicentenary of the death of the flower artist Mary Moser, whom Queen Charlotte commissioned to decorate one of the rooms at Frogmore. Named in Moser’s honour, the space features a display of floral garlands reminiscent of an arbour open to the skies.

image
ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST/© HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II 2019

As well as exploring the interiors, the public are invited to venture into the 35-acre gardens and explore how previous monarchs have shaped its design, which is modelled on a ‘picturesque’ landscape. As you stroll around, expect charming views of Queen Victoria’s Tea House, the white-marble Indian Kiosk and the 18th-century lake.

Each open day will raise money for a different charity: the National Garden Scheme, which funds nursing and caring charities by opening private gardens; the British Heart Foundation; and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

Frogmore House and Garden will open on 28, 29 and 30 May.

Here’s a video look inside Frogmore House

Story written by ABIGAIL HARTSHORN for Town & Country

Cycle the Vineyards tours launched for Kent vineyards and wine lovers

Drinking win in Kent UK

English – and Kentish – wine is flourishing, with record harvests and millions of bottles produced.

At the 2018 International Sommelier Awards, English and Welsh wines won more awards than Champagne for the first time. And Champagne house Taittinger has also invested in land in Kent to plant their own vines.

Despite all the accolades, English wine is still somewhat under-appreciated by Brits.

Cycle the Vineyards tours by Will Males
Cycle the Vineyards tours by Will Males

But an entrepreneur from Kent has launched Cycle The Vineyards, to be one of the first to guide small groups on tours to a selection of English vineyards – by bike.

Will Males aims to help cycling and wine lovers get to know the wines better through guided wine tastings and winery tours, as well as enjoying the scenic road biking routes of the South East.

The two-night Wine Garden of England tour stops at four vineyards that are part of the Wine Garden of England group. As well as being able to taste their wines, guests will be provided with food pairings, from platters of local produce for lunch at Hush Heath and Gusbourne Estate, to five and six course meals at Squerryes Winery in Westerham and the Swan at Chapel Down, Tenterden. As an added touch, dinner on the first night of the first tour on May 15 will welcome guests into Squerryes Court – home of the eighth generation of Wardes to live there.

Hush Heath Estate near Staplehurst is one of those involved
Hush Heath Estate near Staplehurst is one of those involved

Will, founder of Cycle The Vineyards, said: “We wanted to create something that was more hands-on for guests than your typical wine tasting, so we have worked with the vineyards to create some really exciting experiences on the tours.

“From a ‘sabrage’ masterclass at Chapel Down, to disgorging your own bottle of Gusbourne’s sparkling wine, as well as a private dinner at Squerryes curated by the head chef and their Master of Wine, our tours will be filled with unforgettable moments,” Will added.

The first two tours will run from Wednesday, May 15 to Friday, May 17 and Tuesday, June 26, to Thursday, June 28.

There will be two further two-night tours and two four-night tours running later in the summer.

Prices are from £1,250pp. To find out more go to cyclethevineyards.com

To find out about the Wine Garden of England, which celebrates Kent wines, go to winegardenofengland.co.uk

This story was written by Angela Cole acole@thekmgroup.co.uk for
https://www.kentonline.co.uk

3 Tips on planting and how to stop plants from wilting

Planting tips keep plants from wilting

Here are three quick tips from Blossom on Instagram to make your plants grow healthy and fast while preventing them from wilting.

  1. Use an ice cream cone
    In the short video, a dry wafer ice cream cone is used to place seeds inside to help them grow. After the seeds have blossomed, the cone is then placed into a larger pot outside where it will eventually naturally decompose. It acts a biodegradable seed starter and will help flowering plants. 

  2. Growing green onions in an empty egg carton
    The next brilliant tip is to regrow green onions in an empty egg carton, instead of throwing them away. Turn the egg container upside down, pierce a small hole in the top and place in the ends of the green onions. Ensure there is water in the bottom and watch them grow overnight. 

  3. Rusty nails can help revive plants
    Not sure how to put your old rusty nails to use? This trick is an easy and smart way to save your plants, using something as simple as an old metal nail. Simply place rusty metal nails with water into a bottle and leave for a few days until the water has turned a brown-like colour. Then pour the water onto your wilting plants and watch their leaves revive again. The rust releases iron which is crucial in helping to nourish dying plants.

Earthworm research spurs farmers to act

biodiversity earthworms farming biology science

A study of England’s farmland has found key earthworm types are rare or absent in two out of five fields and has led to the majority of farmers affected vowing to change the way they farm.

The results indicate widespread, historical over-cultivation, and may explain observed declines in other wildlife, such as the song thrush, that feed on these worms.

The #60minworms project was the first comprehensive worm survey concentrating solely on farmland and was carried out by farmers themselves – 57 percent of whom said they would now change their soil management practices as a result.

The scientist behind the survey, Dr. Jackie Stroud, a NERC Soil Security Fellow at Rothamsted Research, said: “Earthworms are sensitive and responsive to soil management which makes them an ideal soil health indicator. The aim of this research was to find a baseline of farmland earthworm populations that would be useful and used by farmers to assess soil health now and in the future.”

Biologists categorise earthworms by ecological role—with surface dwelling and deep burrowing worms the types most sensitive to farming practices, whilst the topsoil worms are generally unaffected by over-cultivation.

Earthworms perform a number of useful ‘ecosystem services’, and high numbers of earthworms have been linked to enhanced plant productivity.

This new citizen science project published today in the journal PLOS One, has revealed most fields have good earthworm biodiversity – meaning an abundance of all three types of earthworms were seen.

In Spring 2018, the average field had 9 earthworms in every spadeful of soil, with top fields having three times that number. One in 10 fields had high earthworm numbers of more than 16 worms per spadeful.

However, the study also revealed that 42 percent of fields had poor earthworm biodiversity – meaning either very few or none of the surface dwelling and deep burrowing worms were seen.

The absence of deep burrowing worms on 16 percent of fields is concerning, says Dr. Stroud, because they are ‘drainage worms’ with vertical burrows that aid water infiltration and ultimately helps combat waterlogging.

“The deep burrowing worms have slow reproduction rates so recovery in their populations could take a decade under changed management practices. In fact, we know very little about earthworm recovery rates.”

More than 1300 hectares were surveyed from all over England for the project, including fields managed under arable, potatoes, horticulture and pasture.

Earthworm research spurs farmers to act
Deep burrowing worm. Credit: Rothamsted Research

Each farmer volunteered to dig 10 regularly spaced pits across their field to make the observations, and an identification guide allowed them to allocate any sightings to one of the three main types of earthworm.

The success of this pilot project has already led to a much larger study, which recently concluded, says Dr. Stroud.

“Working with farmers led to the redesign of the pilot survey, culminating in a shorter, more efficient field assessment and a co-created earthworm identification guide, to help improve farmer confidence in earthworm monitoring.

“These improvements were well received, with farmers all over the country spending an hour of their time digging five soil pits and assessing their earthworm populations in the Autumn.”

Empowering farmers to survey their own soils would save about £14 million in soil health monitoring if rolled out nationally, she added.

Healthy Soils were not a headline indicator for the draft DEFRA 25-year plan for the environment, so the DEFRA policy aspiration of achieving sustainable soils is currently unclear.

Despite this, soil health is widely regarded as vital for both farming and the environment.

Dr. Stroud said: “Decisions made above the ground, whether by farmers or policy makers, influence the billions of earthworms that are engineering the soil ecosystem below the ground.

“Earthworms influence carbon cycling, water infiltration, pesticide movement, greenhouse gas emissions, plant productivity, the breeding success of birds and even the susceptibility of plants to insect attack.”

However, she added, as earthworms are sensitive to various farming practices, including tillage, rotations, cover cropping, organic matter additions, and pesticides, we need to do more to look after them.

“Crucially, working together with farmers, we now know typical earthworm numbers in agricultural soils and between us have developed a quick method for ongoing monitoring. Many farmers have reported they plan to survey again this Spring following benchmarking their fields last year.

“Soil health is complicated, but the path to doing things differently has to begin somewhere.”

This story is by by Rothamsted Research for https://phys.org