Growing Stevia Rebaudiana


Stevia Bloom

Stevia Bloom

The stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) has a long history of use as a natural, no calorie sweetener. Read More about Stevia Plants …Stevia Care


Just as with many of my Frugal Gardening Momma articles, more in depth work will be found in my upcoming book. Keep a check on my site for updates!

The stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) has a long history of use as a natural, no calorie sweetener. Stevia is native to the lands of North and South America most notably, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. With a genus of roughly 240 species, the more common S. rebaudiana is one species in a large plant family.

Its growing requirements are simple as it is an undemanding plant that is not often attacked by pests or diseases. The leaves, stems, roots and blossoms of the stevia plant can be used as sugar substitutes—though the parts of the leaf between each vein is thought to be superior as a sweetener with little to no aftertaste.

Place stevia in full sun with well-drained soils that contain a lot of organic matter. The key is to keep the soil moist until the plant is well established. Once established, stevia is drought tolerant–though it grows better if given plenty of water.

Fertilize stevia plants with organic foods such as worm castings, tea and coffee grounds, cow and chicken manure, and compost teas. Avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers whenever possible. Pinch the growing tips of each branch to promote a bushier habit and more sweet-tasting leaves. USDA zone 11—or 32 degrees fahrenheit.

Bachelor’s Button and Catnip Tea


Bachelor’s Button and Catnip Tea

This colorful tea has the slight flavor of green tea with a light minty aftertaste. Catnip does not taste like it smells so for those who avoid it because of that fear, your worries are unfounded. The relaxing, sedative effects of my organic catnip tea are stronger than that of any chamomile I have tried. This recipe is easy to adjust. Try adding your own herbs or omitting those I have used.


Fresh Bachelor's Button Catnip Tea in Cup

Use either dried or fresh herbs for this recipe.

  • 1-2 Tablespoon/s Catnip Leaves and Blossoms
  • 1/2-Tablespoon Bachelor’s Buttons Leaves
  • Four Large Bachelor’s Buttons Blossoms
  • One Stevia Leaf

Pour hot, not boiling, water over the herbs. Cover with a non-porous lid and allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes. Some of the oils from the catnip leaves will collect on the lid. I lick this off before enjoying my tea. Waste not.
This recipe makes one eight-ounce cup of tea.

 

Use either dried or fresh herbs for this recipe.

 

1-2 Tablespoon/s Catnip Leaves

½-Tablespoon Bachelor’s Buttons Leaves

Four Large Bachelor’s Buttons Blossoms

One Stevia Leaf

Pour hot, not boiling, water over the herbs. Cover with a non-porous lid and allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes. Some of the oils from the catnip leaves will collect on the lid. I lick this off before enjoying my tea. Waste not. J

This recipe makes one eight-ounce cup of tea.

How to Grow Peonies


Peonies are one of the most popular plants used in permanent landscapes. These ancient plants offer a wide array of colors and forms in addition to their highly scented blossoms. For every gardener there is a peony to love.

Pink Peonies: MorgueFiles.com

Where and How to Plant Peonies

Peonies do best planted in full sun with rich loamy well draining soil. In early fall plant each division around 18 inches deep in a hole 18 inches wide. Before placing the peonies in their holes, add plenty of organic matter, ½ cup bone meal, and a good slow release fertilizer geared towards blooming plants to the holes. Plant each division with the growing tips 2-3 inches below the surface. If peonies are planted too deeply they will fail to bloom.

The better the planting hole is to begin with the better off these long living perennials will hold up. A good, barky compost mixture that can break down slowly over time would be especially suited for peonies. When planted, mulch each plant and water in well.

Read More … How to Grow Peonies: Growing and Caring for Paeonia

Ideas for Landscaping Acreage


Having acreage presents nearly as many problems as it does gardening opportunities. Careful planning like walking through your property during every season prevents gardening failure for this large undertaking. This will allow you to see any seasonal problems that could arise. Potential problems include summer dry sites that remain wet during the winter and spring, heavy pest animal activity or even pollution from roads such as salt spray in the winter. After your evaluation is over, you may decide to turn a portion of your land into something for charity. Even a little used corner of land can help a lot of people or animals.

Landscaping Acreage Ideas

Community Garden

Opening your land to other people brings with it the risk of lawsuits. It is a good idea to contact an attorney and discuss potential problems before proceeding further. Providing this service to the community brings people together while feeding the masses food they have all helped to grow. If having strangers on your land is more than you are ready for try donating the food you grow to churches, homeless shelters, and food kitchens. If you plant heirloom vegetables, fruits and flowers, save the seeds for future use. They can also be given or traded to other community gardens.

Animal Rescue

For those who have a big heart and love animals, an animal rescue is another idea for acreage. Such causes may require permits so thorough legal research is suggested. Rescue work is costly when food, medications and other factors as addressed. After deciding on the animals you wish to rescue, it is a good idea to set aside a part of your land for providing food for them. This in itself will cut rescue costs. If birds are being helped you can grow most, if not all of their food yourself through grasses, flowers and fruit and nut trees. For those with strong stomachs and that have chosen to save carnivores, you can raise your own meat in the form of fish, chicken and even goats. If properly planned a small portion of acreage can feed several hungry mouths. Building a pest proof storage barn will help to ensure seed and grain harvests are good throughout the winter. Freeze meat animals slaughtered during the warm parts of the year.

Animal Rescue Food Charity

If rescuing animals is too involved for your tastes, you can still contribute by growing foods for other charities. The cost of keeping one elephant is around one thousand dollars a month. Even small donations of fruit and vegetables are helpful to charity owners. If you have enough land, you can grow enough variety to feed several species a month.

How to Make a Bog Garden


Creating a gorgeous oasis in a mud puddle is an easy task if planned out accordingly. Bog gardens can be as simple as a small mud filled pit to as extravagant as a creation with waterfalls and koi ponds attached. Bog gardens can be useful in addition to being beautiful; they can turn a smelly wet area into a beautiful blooming garden.

Future Bog Garden?

Finding and Preparing a Site for a Bog Garden

If an area that stays consistently wet can be located, this would be a good place to add a bog garden. The amount of sun the garden needs depends on the types of plants one chooses to incorporate. Generally, blooming plants like more sun than foliage plants; make sure to check the plants’ growing conditions before locating a spot for the bog garden.

Read More …How to Make a Bog Garden: Creating a Flowerbed for Marginal and Aquatic Plants

Making Newspaper Flowerpots


Ever wondered how to make those neat little newspaper planting pots? Well, keep reading! And best of all; no special or expensive tools are required.

Pink Hyacinth

It is easy to make recycled newspaper pots; all a person needs is a stack of old paper, water, and a way to shred, mix, and mold it all together!