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Keep Growing – How to Identify & Care for your Seeds

Keep Growing

Welcome to our Keep Growing Project! If you haven’t already requested your seeds, you can do so here.

We grow many things on this Farm from beautiful flowers, medicinal plants & herbs to delicious fruits & veggies. Most of these plants produce seeds to ensure their circle of life. We collect the seeds that Mother Nature gives us and pass them on to you!

Our Moto here on the Farm is – Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy Minds. Growth is essential to life, without it, eventually we wither up and blow away. We want to encourage your growth – mind, body & spirit. We also think there needs to be a little adventure, a lot of faith and a dash of curiosity. This is why we send you seeds unlabeled. We want to spark your curiosity and sense of adventure and never lose your faith.

All the seeds we have shipped out originated on this farm. We grew them all, harvested them, dried them & stored them for you.

Identify your Seeds

Calendula

Bright yellow and orange flowers, historically used for medicinal and culinary purposes, come from easy calendula care when growing this simple flower.

Petals are used in cooking, and were used as yellow coloring in cheeses and butters in centuries past. When used in stews, broths and salads, these petals add a spicy taste similar to saffron to many dishes.

The calendula flower or flowering herb is an annual which will readily reseed. Too much calendula care can result in stunted or slow growth. Poor to average, well draining soil and only occasional watering after plants are established is the secret to growing prolific calendula plants.

Chinese Balsam

Chinese Balsam / Impatient

Chinese Balsam or Garden Balsam, is grown for both its showy multicolored flowers as well as its medicinal use in both Indian and Victorian gardens alike. Known for the explosive nature of its seed pods which is where the genus impatiens got its name.

Self-seeding annual.  70 days to flowers.  Plant prefers full sun, rich soil, frequent watering.  Sow directly in spring garden or grow in pots.  Barely cover seed, tamp securely, and keep evenly moist, warm and in the light until germination, which takes 3-6 days.  Easy germination, quick bright flowers and magical seed ejection makes this a child’s favourite.  Space plants 6” apart or let them fall where they may.

Birdhouse Gourd

Birdhouse Gourds

Birdhouse gourds make an ideal gardening project for the whole family. The hard-shelled hanging fruits are not edible but are wonderful for craft projects such as creating decorative homes for the birds. 

The vine and leaves are incredible soft & fuzzy to the touch and grows quickly.

Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Transplant to garden bed in a sunny location. Support mature plants with a trellis.

Leave the gourds on the vine until after frost, when the vine has died completely. Allow your gourds to dry indoors. Give them a good scrubbing with a water/vinegar mixture to kill the mildew that may grow as it hardens. Once you can hear the seeds rattling inside, cut your hole for the birds, empty the gourd & decorate as you please. Hang outside for the birds to enjoy.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is 90% water and loaded with electrolytes!! Be sure to have some on those dog days of summer to stay hydrated!!

Plant cantaloupes in full sun in well-drained soil. Cantaloupe plants need about 85 days to mature, but don’t rush planting. Sow seeds only when temperatures reliably stay above 10 – 15 degrees C. Plant in groups of two or three seeds spaced 2 feet apart.

We hope you enjoy your FREE Gift from us! Everyday, nature shows us how she grows, adapts & evolves to the world around her. You can do the same!!!

Please share your seed journey with us, either on Facebook or in the comments below!

Keep Growing!!

Naturally Knotty Farm
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3 Simple Herbal Tea Infusions

Herbal Tea

I’m going to preface this post with full transparency. I am not an herbalist. However; I have been enjoying the benefits of herbal tea for years!! We use teas for just about everything. I have chosen some simple recipes with very common ingredients that most people have at home. If not, they are at all local grocery stores.

Herbal Tea

Chronic Pain Tea

Most of your regular garden herbs are highly medicinal so it makes sense to have them close at hand. Basil, thyme & oregano all have pain & inflammation-reducing properties and they make a wonderful, highly drinkable tea!!

2 cups water

1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh Basil, Thyme & Oregano

  1. Add chopped herbs to a 473 ml jar
  2. Bring water to a boil
  3. Pour boiled water over herbs
  4. Steep for 10 – 15 minutes
  5. Strain out the herbs
  6. Add honey if you wish

Drink daily, as often as needed, to help relieve chronic pain & inflammation. It may take several weeks of daily use for pain to subside.

Non-habit-forming pain reliever!!!

**Pregnant women should avoid using large amounts of basil.

All three of these herbs are also great for the immune system, so drink this when you feel a sickness coming on to help you get better quickly.

Herbal Tea

Thyme, Peppermint, Honey Tea for Coughs

“Tis the season to be snotty…”

Thyme & Peppermint are especially good for treating persistent coughs, with Thyme being a potent natural expectorant & Peppermint acting as a decongestant. A few spoonfuls of honey to help sooth the throat, and lemon juice is an antibacterial and adds a boost of flavor & Vitamin C.

2 cups water

1 tbsp fresh Thyme

1 tbsp fresh or dried Peppermint

2-4 tbsp Raw Honey

1 lemon wedge

  1. Bring the water to a boil & pour over herbs.
  2. Let steep for 10 – 15 minutes
  3. strain out herbs, and stir in honey.
  4. Drink 1 – 2 cups, as needed to relieve a persistent cough.

** Nursing Moms should avoid Peppermint as it can reduce the supply. Spearmint is a good alternative with similar benefits.

*** While Thyme & Peppermint are highly effective for treating coughs, sage, oregano, and rosemary are also beneficial and can be substituted if that’s what is growing in your herb garden.

Herbal Tea

Children’s Calming Herbal Tea

It is common knowledge that children can easily become overstimulated and, for lack of a better word, rambunctious. When it comes time to bring your child back to center, this calming tea can really help. Catnip, in particular is an amazing herbal ally for children, as it has a gentle calming effect that promotes relaxation and sleep. Lemon balm and chamomile are flavourful herbs that are safe for children and also have a calming effect. all three of these herbs have the added benefit of being good for children’s digestion. In the summer time, pour this tea into popsicle molds for a fun, healthy, relaxing treat. Small amounts of this tea can be given to babies over the age of 6 months.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 tbsp dried lemon balm
  • 1 tbsp dried catnip
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey (optional) (NOT to be given to children under 1 year)

Instructions:

Bring water to a boil and pour over herbs. Steep for 10 – 15 minutes, then strain out the herbs. Add honey, if using.

Serve hot or iced.

Dosage

  • 6 months – 1 year: 1 – 2 teaspoons daily
  • 1 – 2 year: 2 – 4 teaspoons daily
  • 3 – 7 years: 2 – 4 tbsp daily
  • 8 – 12 years: 1/4 – 1/2 cup daily
  • 13+: 1 – 2 cups daily

Have you tried these Herbal Tea recipes? Tell us what you think in the comments below, or share any other tried & true home remedies you use!

Naturally Knotty Farms
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How to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar

How to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple on this farm. We sprinkle that sh*& on everything, as they say. We use it for cooking, cleaning, animal care, immune support and skin care. Because we use so much of it, it is much more economical for me to make it and the home-made version has many more benefits than most of the store-bought options.

What Is So Special About Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many healthy uses. It is made through the process of fermentation and is high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Hippocrates is believed to have prescribed ACV for a variety of ailments. We make Fire Cider to support our immune systems during the winter.

ACV for Digestion and Heartburn

ACV is the base of spicy cider which is a great remedy to help quickly knock out a cold.

Amazingly, and contrary to what seems logical, ACV also has a valuable role in preventing heartburn and aiding digestion. In most cases heartburn is actually caused by too little stomach acid which slows down digestion. Food and gasses put pressure on the stomach, causing stomach contents (including stomach acid) to leak back into the esophagus. When you remedy heartburn with ACV it increases stomach acid and helps the body digest the food more quickly. This prevents the build-up and subsequent leakage which causes heartburn.

ACV Topically

In addition to its many benefits when taken internally, it is wonderful for the skin. When added to bathwater, it helps to naturally restore balance to the skin’s pH. It also helps kill bacteria and fungus on the skin which can lead to a host of problems, including eczema, dandruff, and other skin conditions.

Because of its great pH balancing benefits and dandruff preventing abilities, it makes a great hair rinse that replaces conditioner and can be used after shampooing with a natural shampoo.

Unfiltered, Unpasteurized, And With “The Mother”

Most of the ACV you find in the supermarket is pasteurized and highly filtered. These versions still work well for cleaning but they are not optimal for internal and culinary uses because most of the benefits are gone once the “mother” is filtered out and the vinegar is pasteurized.

There are a few available that are “with the mother” which means they leave in the beneficial bacteria that develops during the fermentation process in the vinegar. When you make your own ACV you can be sure that your vinegar retains this beneficial “mother.”

Important Notes:

  • This recipe uses sugar. The sugar is necessary to “feed” the yeast, but most (if not all) of the sugar is fermented out. People often ask if they can use honey. The short answer is yes, but it really does not work as well and causes the whole process to take longer. And to be honest, because the sugar is broken down, there really isn’t anything to be concerned about as far as the effect it will have on blood sugar.
  • Make sure all of your equipment and your jar are very clean. It is important to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria other than what is naturally occurring in the process.
  • My favorite apple variety to use for applesauce is Red Delicious, only because I have a couple very old trees in my back yard. However, you get the best flavor if you have a mix of varieties. I use mostly Red Delicious, but I will throw in a mixture of other types for the rest. Some I have used are Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and McIntosh. It just adds some complexity to the flavor.
  • White scum is going to form on the top. This is normal. Mold, however, is not good and will spoil your ACV. Be sure that the apples stay submerged under the water. This will help prevent mold. You can use a fermentation weight or even just a smaller glass jar (thoroughly clean the outside) and set it on top of the apples to keep them submerged.
  • Gnats and flies love ACV so you need to make sure your jar is well covered. However, it needs to be able to breath and release gasses created from the fermentation process so do not use a solid lid. Cheesecloth or a coffee filter work well.

Final Notes

At some point while making apple cider vinegar, you will probably notice a SCOBY-like “thing” that forms on the top. This is the “mother.” You can remove it or you can just leave it floating in your vinegar.

If you don’t want to make your own apple cider vinegar, it is becoming more common for grocery stores to carry organic ACV “with the mother.”

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Before starting to make ACV, there are a few things you’ll need to have on hand first:

Supplies:

  • Clean jar – you can use any size jar (I have used a wide mouth quart jar and a half gallon pickle jar)
  • Organic apple scraps – enough to fill your jar ¾ of the way full
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Filtered water
  • Fermentation weight or small glass jar
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • Rubberband
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
Making Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother”

Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe with the Mother

Apple cider vinegar with “the mother” has many benefits and it is simple to make at home with some organic apple scraps and a little time.

Ingredients

  • organic apple scraps
  • 2 TBSP cane sugar
  • 2 cups water (filtered)

Instructions

  • Clean a quart jar very well and let air dry.
  • Fill the jar ¾ full with apple scraps. If you are using whole apples, roughly chop them up before you put them in the jar.
  • Dissolve the cane sugar into the cup of water.
  • Pour sugar water over the apples until they are completely submerged. Add a little additional water if needed to make sure the apples are covered.
  • Weigh down the apples with a fermentation weight or with the small glass jar. Any apples that are exposed to the air could mold.
  • Cover with the cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with the rubber band.
  • Store in a dark place at room temperature. I put mine in a cabinet in the kitchen.
  • Leave it for approximately 3 weeks. Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under the water and to make sure no mold is growing.
  • After 3 weeks, it will still smell fairly sweet. Strain the apples pieces out and return the liquid to the jar. Compost the scraps.
  • Recover and put the jar back in a dark spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days.
  • When the ACV has reached the “tartness” you like you can put a lid on it or transfer it to a different jar with a lid and start using it!

Notes

This recipe is for a quart size jar of apple cider vinegar. If you are making a larger jar, just make sure your apple scraps fill the jar ¾ of the way and are covered with sugar water.When the ACV is finished you can save “the mother” that has floated to the top or just a small quantity of the finished ACV to start a new batch that will ferment more quickly. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2TBSP | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.3g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 0.1g

Have you made your own Apple Cider Vinegar? Tell us about it in the comments!

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6 Reasons Why You Should be Making Bone Broth

Bone Broth

Bone broth has become very popular recently, especially among health-conscious individuals. This is because it’s believed to have many health benefits.

Although there is no published research on bone broth itself, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests drinking it may be very beneficial.

This article takes a closer look at bone broth, how to make it and its potential benefits.

What Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals.

This highly nutritious stock is commonly used in soups, sauces and gravies. It has also recently gained popularity as a health drink.

Bone broth dates back to prehistoric times, when hunter-gatherers turned otherwise inedible animal parts like bones, hooves and knuckles into a broth they could drink.

You can make bone broth using bones from just about any animal — pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, chicken or fish.

Marrow and connective tissues like feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards or fins can be used.

Health benefits of Bone Broth
Benefits of Bone Broth

1. It Contains Many Important Vitamins and Minerals

In general, bone broth is very nutritious.

However, the nutrient content does depend on the ingredients you use, as each brings something different to the table.

Animal bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals — the same minerals needed to build and strengthen your own bones.

Fish bones also contain iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function and metabolism.

Connective tissue gives you glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds found in cartilage that are known to support joint health.

Marrow provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, minerals like zinc, iron, boron, manganese and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

All of these animal parts also contain the protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked and yields several important amino acids.

As the ingredients simmer, their nutrients are released into the water in a form your body can easily absorb.

Many people don’t get enough of these nutrients in their diet, so drinking bone broth is a good way to get more.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know the exact amount of each nutrient contained in the broth because every batch of bones is so different.

2. It May Benefit the Digestive System

Scientists have discovered that your overall health depends heavily on the health of your intestinal tract.

Not only is bone broth easy to digest, it may also aid in the digestion of other foods.

The gelatin found in bone broth naturally attracts and holds liquids. This is why properly prepared broth congeals in the fridge.

Gelatin can also bind to water in your digestive tract, which helps foods move through your gut more easily.

It has also been shown to protect and heal the mucosal lining of the digestive tract in rats. It is thought to have the same effect in humans, but more research needs to be done to show its effectiveness (1Trusted Source).

An amino acid in gelatin called glutamine helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall, and has been known to prevent and heal a condition known as “leaky gut” (2Trusted Source).

Leaky gut, which is associated with several chronic diseases, is when the barrier between your gut and the bloodstream is impaired.

Substances that your body doesn’t normally allow through leak into your bloodstream, which leads to inflammation and other problems.

For all of these reasons, drinking bone broth may be beneficial for individuals with leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

3. It May Help Fight Inflammation

The amino acids found in bone broth, including glycine and arginine, have strong anti-inflammatory effects (3Trusted Source).Arginine, in particular, may help fight the inflammation associated with obesity.

One study shows higher levels of arginine in the blood are associated with decreased inflammation in obese women (4Trusted Source).

Another study in rats suggests that supplementing with arginine could help fight inflammation in obese individuals, but more research needs to be done in humans to support these results (5Trusted Source).

While some inflammation is necessary, chronic inflammation may lead to a number of serious diseases.

These include heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and many types of cancer.

Because of this, it’s important to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods.

4. Its Nutrients Have Been Shown to Improve Joint Health

Collagen is the main protein found in bones, tendons and ligaments.

During the cooking process, collagen from bones and connective tissue is broken down into another protein called gelatin.

Gelatin contains important amino acids that support joint health.

It contains proline and glycine, which your body uses to build its own connective tissue. This includes tendons, which connect muscles to bones, and ligaments, which connect bones to each other.

Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are natural compounds found in cartilage.

Multiple studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin can decrease joint pain and lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

The proteins in bone broth have also proven beneficial for those with rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes painful damage to the tendons and ligaments.

In one study, 60 people with rheumatoid arthritis consumed chicken collagen for three months. Symptoms improved significantly in all 60 participants, with four showing complete remission of the disease (10Trusted Source).

5. It Is Weight Loss Friendly

Bone broth is typically very low in calories, but can still satisfy hunger.

Studies have found that eating broth-based soup on a regular basis can increase fullness, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source).

What’s more, bone broth contains gelatin, which has specifically been shown to promote feelings of fullness (13Trusted Source).

One study found that gelatin was more effective at reducing hunger than the protein casein, which is found in dairy products (14Trusted Source).

Another study in 53 men found that, when combined with resistance training, collagen helped increase muscle mass and decrease body fat (15Trusted Source).

6. It May Improve Sleep and Brain Function

The amino acid glycine, found in bone broth, may help you relax. Multiple studies have found that glycine helps promote sleep (1617Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

One study found that taking 3 grams of glycine before bed significantly improved the quality of sleep in individuals who have difficulty sleeping (16).

Taking glycine before bed helped participants fall asleep faster, maintain a deeper sleep and wake up fewer times throughout the night. This study also found that glycine reduced daytime sleepiness and improved mental function and memory.

Therefore, drinking bone broth could have similar benefits.

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