Arbico Organics has a free Garden Journal download available! Who’s excited for Spring? 🙂
Request the FREE Gardener’s Idea Book from Proven Winners! The 36 page booklet is full of gardening inspiration.
Chocolate mint is an easy to grow perennial that once you plant it, you will find yourself with an abundance of it. It smells just like the name suggests, like minty chocolate, and smells good enough to eat! If you grow chocolate mint or are considering it, take a look at these 7 creative uses for chocolate mint that you must try! You will find that it’s a really practical and delicious herb to grow. Here is what you need to know:
1. Use it as a dessert garnish.
Chocolate mint is safe for food use as long as it has been grown without chemicals and is washed well. You can use it to top your cakes, cookies, and cupcakes as it offers some nice color and even adds to the aroma of the dessert.
2. Add it to shakes and ice cream.
Chocolate mint is a wonderful addition to your homemade shakes and ice cream. The oils in the plant can add a minty flavor and chocolate aroma that is heavenly. Be sure you only use mint that has been grown without chemicals and is rinsed well.
3. Freeze it in ice cubes.
Fancy up your beverages and add flavor at the same time when you freeze chocolate mint leaves in ice cubes. They will give the cubes some color and add flavor as they melt. This is an excellent idea to try when you’re throwing a garden party or shower. You can also add it to homemade popsicles as well.
4. Add it to your cocktails.
Chocolate mint is perfect for adding to your cocktails that require muddled mint. Mojitos taste even better when you add some fresh mint, and chocolate mint will get the job done and add a unique twist to the drink as well. Also, you can garnish any drink with a fresh chocolate mint sprig!
5. Make mint infused oil.
You can let chocolate mint leaves and stems soak in a bottle of almond or coconut oil to make your own mint infused oil. You can then use it as a massage oil (mint will cause slight tingles and warmness, be advised) or even add it to dessert recipes or a type of fruit salad.
6. Mix it in with your homemade bath products.
You can add chocolate mint to any of your homemade body scrubs, body butters, or other homemade bath products. Just muddle the mint or dry it and add it. You will not only get the benefits of mint but it will leave a wonderful scent too.
7. Dry it for crafting.
You can use dried mint leaves in your crafting as well. Try adding it to homemade candles, lotions, potpourri and more. It will add a lovely fragrance and some fresh color as well. To dry your mint just tie it into a bundle and hang it in a cool dark place until it’s dry.
Are you ready to put chocolate mint to work for you? Give these 7 ideas a try and see how useful it really is!
Lemon balm is a perennial herb that grows thick, bushy and abundantly. It smells great, is super tasty, and has a variety of fun uses. If you’re wanting to create an herb garden, lemon balm should definitely be included on your plant list.
Because it grows so abundantly, you might be searching for ideas on how to put it to use. Here are 10 uses for lemon balm that you’re sure to enjoy:
To Repel Mosquitoes
Lemon Balm is a great herb to have in your outdoor living spaces because it’s known for repelling those pesky mosquitoes! I currently have Lemon Balm in a planter with some colorful annuals next to our patio table. You could also try rubbing a few leaves over your arms and legs so the lemon scent is on your skin, warding off the mosquitoes.
Each summer I like to make up a batch of simple syrup so I can enjoy some delicious summery drinks. Sometimes I like to add some lemon balm leaves for an extra special treat. All you need is
- 1 cup of packed lemon balm leaves
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- Bring all the ingredients to a boil for 1 minute, until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and cover.
- Let stand 30 minutes.
- Strain the leaves from the syrup.
- Store the syrup in the refrigerator.
I like to use the mixture in lemonade and iced tea or in club soda to make Italian sodas.
To make Tea
Dried or fresh lemon balm leaves are great for making a calming tea. Lemon balm is also known for fighting colds and flu so drinking a cup of lemon balm tea is sure to make you feel good!
To make lemon balm infused honey, pack a jar half full of lemon balm leaves then fill it up with honey. Let the mixture sit for a month or so before straining. This infused honey is perfect for using in tea, desserts, and more.
For Cold Sores
Lemon balm can be an effective way to treat cold sores. You could create a lip balm by infusing a carrier oil (almond oil, jojoba oil…etc.) with some lemon balm, then combine with some beeswax to get lip balm consistency.
In desserts or fruit salads
Add a few tablespoons of chopped lemon balm leaves to fruit salads to impart some lemony flavor without making it too sour. You could also try mixing some chopped leaves with yogurt to use as topping for fruit salads or for creating parfaits. It’s even yummy in fruit crisps and pies.
Make a Sleepy Time Syrup
Put about 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves into a small pot and add just enough water to cover the leaves. Simmer, covered partially, until the liquid is reduced in half. Strain out the leaves. While still quite warm, measure out about 1/2 cup of the concentrated tea and stir 1/4 cup of honey into it. You can add more honey to taste, if you’s like. Store in the refrigerator for about a week. Dose by the spoonful at night to help calm and relax everyone from children to adults. (Keep in mind that honey should not be given to infants under one year old.)
Use in bath water
How about a nice lemony scented bath? You’ll feel relaxed and refreshed! You could either sprinkle some leaves right in the tub or you could put some in a cloth bag and hang it from the tap. (and let the water run through it while you fill it up.)
Use in iced tea
Another drink I like to make in the summer is Sun Tea. Along with the tea bags, sometimes I like to add some lemon balm or even mint for that matter.
Use to make infused water
It’s crucial to drink a lot of water, but let’s face it, plain water can be boring! Jazz it up by placing some lemon balm leaves and some fruit to your water to make it more exciting to drink.
For those of you that grow lemon balm, what are your favorite ways to use it?
7 Frugal Ways to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
Attracting butterflies to your garden is not only ideal because of their beauty, but because they can help pollinate your flowers and plants as well! Butterflies are an excellent asset to your garden, which is why attracting them should be on your to do list. Attracting butterflies doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult; in fact, you can get them to come flocking for just pennies! Take a look below at 7 frugal ways to attract butterflies to your garden so you can enjoy them and the benefits they bring all season long.
1. Place out “sweet spots.”
Give butterflies sweet spots to feed on when you place out shallow lids with sugar water in them. The lids of Pringles cans or butter containers are perfect for this task. Then, watch the butterflies come and take a sip.
2. Try sponges.
Cut up sponges into cubes and soak them in sugar water. You can then place the sponges out in your garden and wait for butterflies to find then. They will love perching on the soft sponges and drinking the sweet water.
3. Give them watering stations.
You can do both of the suggestions above using plain water instead of sugar water so the butterflies have a place to get a cold drink. They get thirsty just like we do, and will flock to spots where water is available for them.
4. Plant ground cover.
Plant some low laying plants and ground cover that butterflies can find shade in. They will appreciate a retreat from the sun and enjoy a shady place to lounge in.
5. Plant butterfly friendly blooms.
Butterflies love Rose of Sharon, Butterfly Bush, and many other flowering bush varieties. Add some of these plants to your flower beds and landscaping and the butterflies will return year after year.
6. Forget the pesticides.
If you use pesticides in your yard, they will scare and/or kill butterflies off. Instead, avoid using chemicals in your yard and by all means avoid pesticides. Try natural pesticide options instead such as lady bug releasing or a simple spray of Dawn dish soap and water.
7. Let them eat fruit.
Butterflies love fruit rinds and peels. Place these items in shallow dishes and place them out for butterflies so they always have a snack on hand!
See how simple it can be to bring beautiful butterflies flocking to your yard? Give these tips a try and in no time you will be enjoying beautiful butterflies in your garden, even on the tightest of budgets!