Friday, March 30, 2012

Try coloring eggs naturally

Use about a handfull of dye materials of your choice. Cover dye materials with water in a pan. Bring to boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes to up to an hour. Remove from heat and strain the liquid. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar for each cup of liquid. Let the eggs soak. The longer the eggs soak, the deeper the color. Try overnight soaking in the fridge for even darker colors. In the morning, you'll have a colorful breakfast.

Items To Dye With

Canned Blueberries

Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)

Purple Grape Juice
Brown or Beige

Strong Coffee

Instant Coffee

Black Walnut Shells (boiled)

Black Tea
Brown Gold

Dill Seeds
Brown Orange

Chili Powder


Spinach Leaves (boiled)

Liquid Chlorophyll
Greenish Yellow

Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)

Purple or red grape juice or beet juice

Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice

Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice

Red Zinger Tea

Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)




Cranberries or Juice


Red Grape Juice

Juice from Pickled Beets

Pomegranate juice
Canned Cherries (with syrup)
Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Violet or Purple

Violet Blossoms

Hibiscus tea

Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)

Red Wine

Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)

Carrot Tops (boiled)

Chamomile Tea

Celery Seed (boiled)

Green tea

Ground Cumin (boiled)

Ground Turmeric (boiled) or Saffron

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Keeping our cool

Happy St. Patty's Day!!!

Peas were soaked overnight to help speed up germination

Often, Memorial Day weekend is thought of as the time to start planting veggies outside.  That's true for some crops.  Heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplants thrive in the summer heat and hate the cold. There is still the fear of frost in the Pittsburgh area until mid-to-late May.  The weather is unusually warm this year, but don't be tempted to plant heat-loving crops.  The frost will kill those seedlings.  

Instead, cool season crops are the perfect choice for planting this time of year. St. Patrick’s Day is a good time to plant greens, peas, carrots, beets and radishes.  These plants tolerate the cooler weather and taste sweeter after a frost.  We planted seven lucky varieties of peas, even a yellow variety called "Golden Sweet." 

Pea ready to be planted

Just a reminder, it  snowed last year on March 31, the same day as the public garden kick-off meeting. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wormy workers

We have started preparing the beds for spring crops.  The in-ground beds and garden paths between the rows need a bit of re-grading.  Thanks to the earthworms, the soil is loose, even on the paths which were walked on over and over last year.  The soil temperature is getting warmer and the earthworms are making their appearance above ground.  This guy was found next to some of the lettuce that overwintered.  Earthworms are quite the workers and a delight to see in the garden.  They aerate the soil, breaking down organic matter and help make nutrients and minerals available to plants.  Our harvests of summer crops, like tomatoes, are months away, but our earthworms are hard at work already.