Crafting with Nature and Beets

beets bottle branch blog

It probably won’t surprise you to know that, in my kitchen, I have a pineapple plant grown from the top of a supermarket pineapple, a motley collection of house plants, and a red oak seedling pulled from my garden with roots in tact, and now growing in a bottle of water. In short, I’m often tempted to experiment with the bits of nature that come my way, either by way of the supermarket, the garden or the greater world outside.

crafting with nature book bottle branch blog

So, when I first opened up Amy Renea’s book, Crafting with Nature, I was immediately smitten. Want to make a lavender wreath? Here’s how you do it. Want to find something to do with your bumper crop of lamb’s ears and sage? Try this! I was thrilled by the variety and volume of ideas and more than a little tempted to drop everything, and whip up a few all natural lotion bars and luscious healing whips.

growing beet tops bottle branch blog

When I flipped to the section on beets, I knew that would be the right place to start. Beets have long been one of my garden stand-bys, and I was happily surprised with some ideas I had never thought of. How had I never thought to slice off beet tops and keep them growing for baby beet greens?! Or, to boil the skins to make dye?

beet dye and beet tops bottle branch blog

I still haven’t decided what to do with the beet dye (too many choices). Maybe I’ll stick it in the freezer and use it for a frozen cranberry wreath this winter. (Another enticing idea!), but in the mean time, I’ll be happily sprinking those beet greens in smoothies and salads.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did receive a free copy of this book to review, but I was beyond thrilled to take a look inside and give it a try. I will undoubtedly be trying out lots of the other ideas/ recipe/ crafts in it, and in fact, I’ve aready got another one in the works. But I’ll tell you about that one in another upcoming post.


Garden Update: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Here I go again, bragging about my garden. Only its not exactly bragging. It might even be over-sharing, because I plan to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

tomato plant in june
After two weeks in the soil, Green Zebra Tomato, still looking pretty small

The good. Two weeks ago, I planted the tomatoes I grew from seed: yellow pear, green zebra, ‘stupice‘ and red cherry.  For now, they look tiny but the seed packets promise they will reach 7ft, especially with my new tomato cages. (mother’s day present) I am positively rubbing my hands together in anticipation.

Mmmm.. freshly watered kale plants
Mmmm.. freshly watered kale plants

The bad. We’ve already cycled through one crop of arugula and one crop of spinach. This is bad only because it means we have only kale ready to eat in the garden and everyone at my house is starting to get testy about those kale smoothies I keep offering to make.

Yucky beets greens: what am I doing wrong!?
Yucky beets greens: what am I doing wrong!?

The ugly. The greens on my beets are starting to look like someone doused them with acid. I have no idea why. Actually, I am wondering if beets do not like to be top watered? Thoughts, theories, suggestions most welcome.

Happy June, everyone!