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This issue of Herb Guide News focuses on Oregano (Wild Marjoram).
There are fabulous recipes, how to grow oregano, oregano health benefits and a great mix of projects for kids and adults, gardening advice, things to make and lots more besides.
The Herbal Academy of New England has just announced five days of giveaways - literally hours before I published - depending on your time zone, you may miss the 18th July, but you still could win, an annual subscription to the Herbarium, an Introductory Medicinal Herbs Course, an Intermediate Course - OR another course. So get on over there and enter.
It's a superb Mediterranean herb, particularly good in pizzas and tomato dishes - perfect with pasta sauces.
Very easy to grow but can be tender, so it makes a good choice to grow indoors out of season.
You can try a sample lesson to help you decide if the Herbal Academy of New England is the right choice for you - click the link below.Preview Lesson from the Introductory Herbal Course
This is getting rave reviews as being one of the very best Cheesy Dips that anyone has ever tasted.
It's made out of roasted tomatoes, cream, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, garlic and herbs. People are saying that it's gone down a storm at parties and cookouts.
I must say, it looks very nice - I'm going to halve the quantities though or I'll eat so much, I'll make myself ill.
Recipe here at 12 Tomatoes
I am intrigued by the Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onions and thought you'd like to see how to recreate them at home.
Do be careful with the boiling oil - make sure that the pan is at the back of the hob and there are no kids or big dogs around to knock it over.
I can't wait to give this one a go!
Oh the One Pot Chef - how I love him.
He's so cool and relaxed and he loves his food.
This is a really easy meal that you will just be able to put together and forget. He has put in potatoes and carrots, but you could easily add some more veg. Use any sauce left over to make a base for a great soup by adding chopped vegetables, cooking until soft and whizzing up to a puree with a stick blender or processor.
What a great idea for a food lover - pizza plants in a pot. This one has a salsa, a basil plant and a tomato plant. She's blacked up teaspoons to make plant labels as well.
If you get a big enough pot, you should add oregano to the basil - they're both superb mediterranean herbs that go exceptionally well with tomato based pasta sauces and pizzas.
ChristyRobbins has some fabulous ideas for gifts in a jar - cookies, soaps, things to make, things to eat for grown ups, kids, teachers among others. They make lovely thoughtful gifts and can be inexpensive.
If you've got an abundance of herbs growing, then use them to make some herbal beads. They are quick and simple to make, just need some drying time and Bentonite clay.
You can make them to give as gifts or just hang them around the house, in your wardrobes or cupboards. They will give off an aroma for a long time.
When the scent has gone, thank your herbs and return them to the earth - 100% recyclable.
Herbal Academy of New England instructions to make herbal beads.
If you're short of growing space, then you have to get creative.
Look what you can do with old jeans or an old shoe hanger.
If you want to have a wander round the garden centre, then there are traditional pots that you can get to fit over the rails.
The swans have herbs growing out of the top and tomatoes from the bottom - they will grow well as the tomatoes seem to like growing 'upside down'.
Have you any ideas of how to make the most of your space?
Photos: Flickr Bev Norton; Su.bo; Wiccahwang; Claudia Dunitz
I'd just about finished compiling this month's Herb Guide News when I came across this article from Mommypotamus. I loved it and I thought you would too.
I looked ahead to see if it would fit into any upcoming issues, but really wanted to share this with you now - it can be hard making ends meet, but it's also good to get into the habit of not being wasteful.
One of the things this guide recommends is to grow herbs to make your food more flavorsome and save paying a fortune for tiny little jars in the supermarket.
Growing your own salads, zucchini and squash is also there as being a huge saving that most people can make without being a lot of trouble.
Read it and tell me what you think.
This Herbs for Animals chart is available as a free download at the Herbal Academy of New England.
It's really useful if you're trying to keep your pets healthy you can add herbs to their meals and have a basic first aid kit which won't be using harsh chemicals.
There are lots of articles on their site about pet herbalism, so it's well worth a look around.
Find out how to make your own rain barrel out of an ordinary trash bin.
In some areas (particularly the UK) we're encouraged to save rainwater to use for the garden.
In certain areas of the US, mainly the West it's illegal to collect rainwater - this is because the rainwater you collect would naturally flow into a river and some landholder along that river had laid stake to that water. Nobody upstream can do anything to interfere with the flow of the water onto that land.
Anyway - simple step by step photos here to make a rain barrel from OnegoodthingbyJillee IF you're allowed to collect it.
This article about oregano as a herbal medicine is excellent. It covers the uses for the whole herb and also oil of oregano or oregano essential oil. It has guidelines as to what to look for when buying as not all essential oils are equal. Price is not always an indication of quality.
Oregano is a very powerful medicinal herb.
Its uses are vast - treating skin problems - acne, rosacea, dandruff - fungal infections including hard to treat finger and toe nails, respiratory illnesses, parasites and insect control amongst many other things.
The article is on Natural News and if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see links to more oregano articles, even how some farmers are using it instead of antibiotics!
These glass bathroom scales are exceptionally good quality - glass, lightweight, thin, not some cheap alternative and there's 5 star reviews no less.
Justine's asking a very valid question here - why don't mosquitos suck fat?
For the weight conscious with a sense of humour!!
Either click on the photo or go to the top navigation to see what other funny sayings Justine has for you which can be put on a variety of novelty gifts.
These super easy to make cough drops from Frugalfarmwife.com don't include oregano, but they're easy to make with things you'll probably already have in your cupboard.
Peppermint and chamomile (either fresh, dried or a teabag) cinnamon, ginger and honey - there, bet you've got those!
Also, she recommends making drops onto parchment off the spoon instead of rolling - makes much less mess.
I completed the Herbal Academy of New England Introductory Herbal Course last year - I loved doing it.
You'll find recipes for natural remedies, cosmetics and household cleaners, enabling you to ditch chemicals and not expose yourself and your family to the harmful additives that are in so many products.
Have a read about the course in depth by clicking on the photo.
How to dry herbs is something that you'll need to know if you've got a glut. You don't need massive quantities to make it worthwhile if you follow these guidelines, you can dry a handful of herbs quickly and efficiently without it costing money.
I bought an Aerogarden and had to work out what to do with the herbs as they grew unevenly and the instructions are to cut back the faster growing herbs to let the slower ones catch up before you raise the grow light.
I decided to dry my mint as I wanted to use it to make tea - step by step photos of how to dry herbs in the oven.
These Aromatherapy Candles are so easy to make. You just melt beeswax (pellets will be fine and will melt quicker than the block) add a few drops of essential oils, put in wicks and pour the wax into the container.
ScratchMommy has a list of recommended oils depending on your mood - these will make superb gifts as well as save you a fortune if you normally use aromatherapy candles.
Wicks only cost a few pennies each - you can buy wicking pins, which go across the top of the container to hold the wick in place whilst you pour the beeswax and it sets - don't bother with those, a standard pencil will serve the job just as well. Click below on the Amazon link and search for 'candle wicks'.
A bag of these beeswax pellets goes a very long way and they last indefinitely. Beeswax candles were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen and were in perfect condition - so, that's a while then.
They feature in lots of recipes for natural products - the Healing Salve recipe, using olive, coconut oil and beeswax which featured in Issue #7 of Herb Guide News, Drawer Fresheners in Issue #6, a Homemade Lotion in Issue #5 and Furniture Polish in Issue #3. All of those recipes feature just beeswax with oil you will probably have in your cupboard, so no need for expensive ingredients that you'll only use a tablespoon of.
When you grow herbs indoors, they're susceptible to bugs just the same as any other house plant.
Read how to tell if you have an infestation and what to do - some of the instructions are specific to Aerogarden users, so just ignore those bits about the light - there is a handy recipe for an organic insecticidal soap which is super easy to make.
To make it worth your while buying some castile soap, if you don't already have any in, I've found this great post from OneGoodThingbyJillee of 15 uses for castile soap.
Liquid Castile is very useful - it's organic, made out of a combination of oils and is totally biodegradable. It's non-toxic and can be used for virtually every household cleaning job, pet washing, plant spraying, hair and body washing and a facial cleanser.
I've never found any in the shops, but if you click on the link below, you can get it delivered to your door.
A bottle of pure Castile Soap goes a long way and you'll be able to get rid of quite a few household products you use at the moment.
It's certified organic and vegan, the packaging is recycled plastic and it's natural, containing no detergents.
If you buy the unscented one, you can add a few drops of essential oils of your choice - there are scented ones, but that will limit you to the one scent, by getting the plain one, you can have all sorts for different things.
I ordered mine via Amazon as there are not many physical shops that sell it - plus I didn't want to walk into a shop for one item and spend a month's mortgage! I know my weaknesses, and natural products are on that list.
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