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So far Kelly has created 35 blog entries.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas | Bowery Beach Farm

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

By |December 24th, 2015|Holidays, Holidays|

Christmas Decorating

DIY Christmas Gingerbread house Bowery Beach Farm

Every year it’s the same old story …. I cannot believe it’s almost Christmas! And I’m sure it is the same in your house this time of year. The most magical time of year is always going so fast.

As I do every year I made my gingerbread house. But this year I made it significantly bigger and Houston, we have a problem. The roof broke. But no worries. 

A little super glue (we don’t eat our house, its more just to look pretty), more frosting to ‘hide’ the damage, and some string to hold it together while the glue and frosting reset and we were all good to go. again. 

Then after spending some quality time with Pinterest I just had to make some of these DIY Snow Globes. Which I was rather satisfied with. 🙂

DIY Christmas Snowglobe| Bowery Beach Farm

One of my favorite traditions of the season is to wrap all the gifts. My husband always says he plans to help but seems to ‘disappear’ when it comes time to wrap. But that’s okay. Me and Mr. Bert settle in with a pile of Christmas movies and go to town!

DIY Christmas Wrapping| Bowery Beach Farm

This year I went old school with my wrapping plan. I used brown kraft paper, greens and wild rose hips cut from the garden and some bakers twine to hold it all together.

But the gifts would be nothing without the tree …

DIY Christmas | Bowery Beach Farm

A few years ago my mom and I found a local nursery that sells these sparsely branched ‘Charlie Brown’ trees which I just LOVE! Hope you all are finding time this holiday season to enjoy your favorite traditions.

 

By |December 16th, 2015|Holidays, Holidays|

12 Christmas Tree Tips

Christmas Tree Tips | Bowery Beach Farm

Your Christmas tree only has two essential needs, cool temperatures and plenty of water! So as long as you make sure your tree has water and isn’t drying out, the only problem you are facing are needles. Follow this guide for a longer-lasting Christmas tree, and stop the drop

Tip 1: Choose and cut your own tree. The longer your tree sits cut on the lot, the more moisture it loses. By cutting your tree down, you know it is as fresh as it’s going to get!

Tip 2: Inspect tree before purchase. Choose a healthy tree. It should have a good scent, and it’s needles flexible at the tips, not brittle to the touch. If the needles fall when gently brushed, then the tree has been sitting too long.

Tip 3: Make fresh cut. When a tree sits, the sap collects at the bottom and blocks the stem from getting enough water. So if choosing a pre-cut tree, saw off the bottom half to one inch of the trunk, making the cut perpendicular to the axis. Do not angle the cut, or it will make it more difficult for the tree to take up water.

Christmas Tree Tips | Bowery Beach Farm

Tip 4: Thin out crowded branches before bringing indoors. Remove any sad-looking or congested branches outside. This not only makes the tree look better, but also reduces moisture lost through the needles.

Tip 5: Shake and see them drop – shake the tree outside to knock of any dead or loose needles so you have less of a mess in the house. Norway Spruce, Red Cedar, Virginia, White and Scotch Pines are known for dropping lots of needles initially, so be sure to shake them well.

Christmas Tree Tips | Bowery Beach Farm

Tip 6: Place the tree out of direct sunlight in a bucket of water outside. Once home you may need to prepare the space for your tree. Most trees can go 6-8 hours without water and still take up water, but to be on the safe keep it in a cool place with lots of water.

Tip 7: Keep your cool and avoid the heat. Don’t place your tree in direct sunlight or near sources of heat. It will last longer if kept cool and away for fireplaces, heaters and vents.

Tip 8: Use a traditional tree base with plenty of water! The best is a reservoir-type stand, and the rule of thumb is that the base should hold 1 quart of water per inch in tree trunk diameter.

Tip 9: Use a stand that fits your tree. Sounds obvious, but if you attempt to squeeze a larger tree into a too-small base it will die quicker. Whittling away around the edge of the trunk only opens up opportunities for infection, faster drying and reduces water uptake.

Christmas Tree Tips | Bowery Beach Farm

Tip 10: Monitor for freshness. Check your water daily to be sure your tree has enough to drink!

Tip 11: Reduce drying by using low heat lights, and be sure to turn them off when going to bed or leaving the house. The extra heat will dry out your tree faster.

Tip 12: Select a non-drop needle tree. Ignoring the obvious artificial tree, some trees drop less needles than others. Consider choosing a Nordmann Fir or Fraser Fir tree since they are known for excellent needle retention.

By |December 9th, 2015|Growing & Gardening|

Christmas Wreaths

Christmas Wreath  | Bowery Beach Farm

With Christmas around the corner there’s so much to do … gifts to buy, presents to wrap, parties to attend, work to finish and life to keep up with.

But one thing every home should have that says “Welcome! Christmas is here!” is a wreath. My husband always says I have enough greenery and Christmas decor but I can’t help myself when I pass take a walk through the garden or on a local trail … there is usually something green and alive that comes back with me.

The above wreath is made with sprigs of balsam tied to a wreath base using floral wire (which everyone should have in their house … it has a multitude of uses) and decorated with pinecones, red fake apples for color and a red and white bow. I especially love that when you pass a live wreath you can breathe in Christmas!

Another favorite is the boxwood wreath.

How to make boxwood wreath | Bowery Beach Farm

This is a wreath I make annually. And this year I got my grubby little paws on some real, live mistletoe! So you know that means it’s making its way into ALL my Christmas decorations. There’s only one caveat. And its BIG. Mistletoe is poisonous so make sure there are no berries or leaf droppings that children or your pets can pick up and put in their mouths! But other than that these white berries add a little something extra!

Rosemary WreathHow to make boxwood wreath | Bowery Beach Farm

And as an herb farmer, my live Christmas decor would be incomplete with out some rosemary included somewhere. So this year I used the same metal wreath frame I use for my outdoor wreaths, I just choose a smaller diameter, and made a rosemary wreath for the back of each chair of our kitchen/dining room table. Not only do they look pretty, but our family and guests get to take one home and as they dry can be used in the kitchen on cold winter nights!

By |December 2nd, 2015|Holidays, Holidays|

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful for my mom and sister

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and may you be surrounded with love today!

By |November 26th, 2015|Holidays, Holidays|

Natural Thanksgiving Decorations

Natural Thanksgiving Decorations | Bowery Beach Farm

Here at the farm I like to bring outdoors inside. Here is a peek at how I decorated our Thanksgiving table.

Obviously there are a lot of pumpkins that are brought in from the garden. This year we grew the famous Fairytale Pumpkin which has a lovely muted orange hue that was screaming to be our Thanksgiving centerpiece. Simply hollowed out the center, washed it with a mix of water and clorox to keep it fresher longer and deter mold from growing, and inserted a plastic chinese food soup container into the pumpkin. Then I added water and a ball of chicken wire to the plastic vase insert and added some lime green hydrangeas from Trader Joe’s and some wild rose hips and ferns collected from our frosted gardens and voila!

Natural Thanksgiving Decorations | Bowery Beach Farm

I also included some small Baby Boo white pumpkins and dried eucalyptus pods to complete the table. The runner is simply made of burlap sacks I had laying around the potting shed that I cut and ironed. And the place settings are a mix of my favorite flea market find china and mismatched hotel silverware tied in a brown ribbon with a fern sprig to add some earthiness. 

Natural Thanksgiving Decorations | Bowery Beach Farm

As much as the pumpkin centerpiece was the focal point, my favorite detail were these little candlestick wreathes I made of wild rose hips and dried ferns from the yard. They’re were made super easily using green floral wire as a base and to tie it all together. These are so pretty and are drying so well I’m planning to use them on our Christmas table as well!

By |November 18th, 2015|Holidays, Holidays|

How to Dry Thyme

 

Drying Thyme | Bowery Beach Farm

I’ve been running the food dehydrator non-stop to my husband’s dismay. Everyday he says things like, “You haven’t finished drying that parsley yet?” and I have to remind him that now I’m onto drying something else like sage, rosemary or thyme. This week I’ve been harvesting and drying a TON of thyme. This year we grew quote a few different varieties in bulk but some of my favorites include: French, English, Silver Edged, Lemon, Spicy Orange and Lavender.

Culinarily French Thyme is the typically the best tasting and the most requested by our restaurant and chef clients. This drys exceedingly well and maintains its delicious flavor. English is another highly sought after variety and the most most home gardeners are familiar with. We grew both on the farm this year and I personally found the French variety edges out the English ever so slightly. Silver Edged is also a good choice because it can be used in cooking but looks just as pretty in the garden or a pot with its silvery-white edges. Lemon is a must if you like to cook with fish and Lavender is a good addition to rice, pot roasts and doughs if you like the flavor of lavender (it really does have a lavender taste!). And I found spicy orange is best for borders. I adore its citrusy-orange scent as I step on or brush against it in the garden.

Drying Thyme | Bowery Beach Farm

Thyme – fresh or dry – is a must in the kitchen for me. It is an essential herb in spice mixes like bouquet garnis and herbes de Provence. I use it in soups, stews, herb breads, marinades and meats. This herb has so many uses in the kitchen that it is a no-brainer for us to grow and dry so we have home-grown thyme all year long.

And drying this herb couldn’t be easier! Harvest stems early in the morning, and cut right before your thyme blooms for peak flavor. Rinse and shake off any excess water. You can dry the leave on or off the stem, but they’ll dry quicker off. If you have a dehydrator kudos to you, it should take a couple of days. If not, don’t worry, you can bundle a few springs together and hang them upside down in a room that is a at least 50ºF for a week or so. Once dried, the leaves should come off easily by using your thumb and forefinger to squeeze and run them down the stem. 

Drying Thyme | Bowery Beach Farm

Now just store them in an airtight container out of sunlight to maintain flavor. And as a rule of thumb use one teaspoon of dried thyme for every tablespoon of fresh when cooking.

n soups, herb breads and  marinades

By |November 5th, 2015|Herbs|

Propagating Pelargoniums

Propagating Scented Geraniums | Bowery Beach Farm

Have you ever started a project with a timeline in mind of how long it would take … and then it takes twice, scratch that, four to FIVE times as long?  Well, that’s about how long it’s taken me to propagate all our varieties of scented geraniums!

Propagating Scented Geraniums | Bowery Beach Farm

And that’s not even going into all the leaf and flower drying and essential oils we’ve been distilling from everything growing in the fields and hoop house.

 

But with just over 50 scented geraniums (or pelargoniums for you more botanically inclined plant enthusiasts) growing for next year it’s been a busy couple of weeks months of cutting and propagating.

Propagating Scented Geraniums | Bowery Beach Farm

For many of our larger leaf cultivars I trim, no, make that cut down the leaves by half or a third in order for the plants to have enough energy for root development, rather than transpiration. This helps them develop stronger root systems much faster than if they had their entire leaf.

Propagating Scented Geraniums | Bowery Beach Farm

And don’t waste your money on rooting hormones – scented geraniums really don’t need need or require that in order to set root. They are more than happy to grow roots and into healthy plants with just some light, water and TLC.

By |October 19th, 2015|Herbs, Propagating|

October Dahlia Harvest

Growing and Harvesting Dahlias | Bowery Beach Farm

It’s hard to believe but the dahlias just keep going and going. 

Growing and Harvesting Dahlias | Bowery Beach Farm

And with the weatherman calling for frost every other day I’m amazed they’ve kept producing at such an incredible rate. So now I’m getting greedy and don’t want to give up our trice weekly dahlia harvests.

Growing and Harvesting Dahlias | Bowery Beach Farm

So far I’ve been able to harvest from both the dahlias in the field and the hoop house, although I’m sure the ones in the open air will eventually succumb to the cold first.

Growing and Harvesting Dahlias | Bowery Beach Farm

For these lovely autumn weddings the ‘Snoho Doris’ and ‘Bracken Rose’ give such a lovely punch of pink color to their bouquets while still evoking the essence of fall. And we certainly can’t forget the loveliness of  Fluer and Cafe au Lait’s.

Growing and Harvesting Dahlias | Bowery Beach Farm

Hoping these beauties will keep rocking’ it into November with the cover of the hoop house. And then I’ll find someway to coerce my husband into braving the cold to take down the greenhouse for the season and help me with digging just under 100 dahlia plants …

By |October 12th, 2015|Dahlias|

Stop and Smell the Flowers

When I turned around and saw that my calendar said September I just about fell off my seat! Where did the summer go? Did I miss it? I’m sure everyone feels this way, but I just need to remind myself take a moment and pause. Take it in. Breathe. And stop and smell the roses … well at least the scented geraniums ….

Scented Geraniums | Bowery Beach Farm

One of my favorites this year was Mimosa – and that’s not only because a mimosa is a wonderful way to start the weekend. It has a deliciously sweet scent.

Mimosa Scented Geraniums | Bowery Beach Farm

But it is hard to beat the smell of heliotrope just after a rain.

That is why I like to plant it not only in the garden, but also in pots next to my window and door. So that whenever a breeze comes by, or I brush by it as I come in the house I get a whiff of the sweetness!

Heliotrope | Bowery Beach Farm

And even though dahlias aren’t fragrant, they are beyond beautiful. So much so that I forgive them for not inviting me in with their non-existent smell. This year I’m growing just under 100 plants, and one of my new trials will definitely be making it into the big dahlia beds next year. 

Mom's Special Dahlia | Bowery Beach Farm

Mom’s Special is indeed special. The photo in the catalog doesn’t do her justice. Streaked delicately with purple and white this dahlia is showy! Making it the perfect focal point in an arrangement or bouquet. Now I just wish I  had grown more of them … 

And that’s why there’s always next year!

 

 

By |September 8th, 2015|Cut Flowers, Growing & Gardening|