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Camp Frémont

Gardening, Photography, and Homeschool.

- by Sarah Fremont

  • Sarah Fremont

March winds and April showers

can blow your plants away.

So start your seeds inside the house

and plant outside in May.

Hollie Hobbie

When we first started gardening, we were so excited to start from scratch with seeds grown indoors. Growing plants from seeds allow you to start gardening earlier in the season, and buying a packet of seeds is much cheaper than the cost of plants. We went to our local gardening store and purchased a wide variety of seed packets, brought them home, and began the process of starting our seeds. We planted them in suitable seed starter soil, watered them, and provided adequate sunlight. After a bit, the seeds formed little seedlings that peeked through the soil. It was all very rewarding. Once the seeds had outgrown their indoor homes, we were ready to transplant them outdoors. This is where we, as newbies, had a sad awakening. Although our seedlings were ready to be transplanted, the garden was not ready for the seedlings. It was not the appropriate planting time for the specific vegetables we had chosen. Fortunately, we were able to transplant the seedlings to larger indoor pots and enjoy the fruits of our labor indoors.

Now that we know to choose seeds that will form seedlings at the right time to be planted, we have enjoyed the process of starting seeds in eggshells. Eggshells have been a fun choice because they are easy to obtain, you can place the shell and seedling directly into the soil, and the eggshell provides a great source of calcium and other minerals for the plant.

If you’d like to try this at home, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose your seeds. Look at the packets’ indoor starting time to help you choose the best seeds. Herbs and flowers are easy, great choices.

  2. Save your cracked eggshells. Choose shells that are mostly intact, rinse them well, and line an empty carton with the shells.

  3. Using a spoon, carefully add pre-moistened seed soil to the eggshells. Seed soil is a lighter soil that allows the root system to grow freely through the plant, creating a strong and healthy plant.

  4. Add the seeds to the soil and slightly push down, just until the seeds are fully covered. We add two to three seeds per shell for optimum success rates and keep the strongest looking seedling.

  5. Gently mist the soil with a spray bottle of water
. Continue to keep the soil moist while the leaves are developing.

  6. Place the carton in a sunny windowsill and watch the seeds sprout.

  7. When your seedlings develop leaves, you can transplant them into a larger pot or directly in your garden. Before you transplant, gently crush the shell and remove a few shards around the bottom.

We’ve used this method for our outdoor garden, and also for starting flower seeds for our indoor house pots. It is such a rewarding feeling to know you were involved in the entire growth process from start to finish.

Happy planting!

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  • Sarah Fremont

I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea: and she gave a dose of it to Peter! “One table-spoon to be taken at bed-time.” But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.

From The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

In the afternoons we would walk over to our neighbor’s house. As we entered her home, we were greeted with the smell of freshly baked muffins and the sounds of classical music in the background. The table was set with a lovely white linen tablecloth, blue china she found at an antique shop, and fresh flowers in a beautiful vase. We felt like the most honored guests for the simplest of occasions—afternoon poetry and teatime. Chamomile tea was poured in our delicate tea cups, honey and milk were passed around, and a delicious muffin was set on our plate. Our dear neighbor would begin reading her book of poetry while we ate and sipped. It was a treasured and dreamy time.

Do you enjoy chamomile tea? The soothing apple and sweet honey flavor is a delight. Chamomile has been found to help with insomnia, anxiety, and digestive upsets. Peter Rabbit’s mama gave him tea to settle his tummy and to help him sleep. We were pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was to grow our own chamomile indoors, so naturally we had to give it a go.

What you will need:

  1. Seeds or seedlings: We use the German variety of chamomile and found our organic and heirloom seeds at our local nursery. Alternatively we found seedlings ready to ship on Etsy.

  2. Soil: Always spend the extra money on healthy, organic soil.

  3. Terra cotta pots: They are the best pots for breathability.

How to grow chamomile:

  1. Fill pots with soil.

  2. The seeds are very tiny and can be gently pressed into the soil. Keep soil evenly moist and place pots in the sun.

  3. Once blossomed, harvest the open flowers in the morning, and lay them out to dry inside on a paper towel.

  4. Once dry, store them in a sealed container until ready to brew.

  5. Place dried flowers in a tea ball and steep for 5 minutes. Add milk or honey to taste and enjoy.

The flowers can also be dried for floral arrangements, pressed for crafts, or woven into charming wreaths. Leaves are edible too, and can be tossed into salads. Enjoy growing this sweet and useful flower. And happy teatime! xo

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  • Sarah Fremont

As we were driving home in November, I spotted a brilliant, beautiful red-berried shrub alongside the road. It was growing on an abandoned lot, so I took a mental note of its location. Naturally, I went home for my garden shears and returned later that day. It was a very spiky shrub, but I was smitten by the festive color of the berries. I snipped several of the branches, and placed them in the back of our van. At home, I assessed my treasure. Were these fit for a vase or wreath? With Christmas on the way, I decided on a wreath and gathered the necessities: an old metal wreath form from a previous project, twine, and a table to handle the mess!

The history of wreaths dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Ring-shaped wreaths were made using fresh tree leaves, twigs, small fruits, and flowers. Worn as headdresses, these wreaths represented one’s occupation, rank, achievements, and status. Christians have adopted the circle shape of the wreath to represent Christ’s eternal love, his strength, and the creation of new life. Evergreens are commonly used in the construction of the wreath due to their heartiness throughout harsh winters.

Have you ever made a homemade wreath? They are quite simple in their construction but delightful in their beauty and the way they add a bit of nature in the home during the barren winter months. Here is what you will need:

  1. Wire wreath frame. I purchased my wire wreath at my local craft store. They come in a variety of sizes to suit your space and design. For this project, I used a twelve-inch wreath form. I save mine so I can make a new wreath every year.

  2. Floral wire.

  3. Shears to cut the branches and the wire.

  4. Branches. There are so many options (evergreen, grapevine, berry branches, etc.). I used Ashe Juniper branches cut in nine-to-twelve-inch long pieces.

  5. Ribbon for decoration and for hanging.

How to make a wreath:

Gather three branches, wrap the bundle together three times with your floral wire, lay the bundle on your frame, and attach the bundle to your wreath form by wrapping the wire around the form at least three times. Take a second handful of branches, repeating the process and covering the stems of the first bundle. Continue working in a clockwise fashion, adding branches until you have gone around the entire wreath form. Tuck the last bundle under the first bundle. Finish by tying your ribbon around the top or bottom for added color and for use in hanging the wreath. I like to keep mine very simple, but you could always tuck pinecones or other bits of nature into the secured branches.

Any size and variety of wreath makes an excellent gift for a friend or neighbor. Gather a few evergreen branches and make your own. You will find them to be so simple you will want to make one every year! Happy Christmas! xo

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