Tuesday, June 9, 2009

When Do Ice Cube Trays and Carpet Go Together?

Anytime you've got a garden....

If you read my 365 Days in the Moonshine Capitol of the World blog, you'll know I scored these room-size pieces of carpeting at my favorite church rummage sale this last weekend.

While I would love to have cream-colored carpet in my livingroom, it's not going to happen (4 dogs and red clay backyard -you do the math), but my garden is another story.

While the blueberry patch (picked the first ones this morning BTW) is mulched with straw, the rest of the garden has red clay, so I scrounge all the used carpet I can find, then cut it into strips, turn it upside down (fluffy carpet side down, stiff backing side up), and lay it down for paths.

It lasts for years, looks neat and tidy, mulches the plants and helps them keep their roots moist, keeps the weeds out, and is either free or very, very inexpensive (each of these large pieces ran me $5). Much less expensive than buying bags of chips or decorative mulch to make paths.

And once you've made the garden paths, your plants grow big and healthy, until its time to....

Harvest your herbs! This year I'll be chopping fresh leaves of basil into small pieces, then dividing them into ice cube trays. Fill each space full of herb, then add water. Freeze.

When the water is completely frozen, pop the cubes out into a large ziploc bag. This winter, whenever you need fresh basil (or any other herb you choose), just take a couple cubes and drop them into your soup or stew.

If you have basil, oregano, marjoram and sage you have all the ingredients for Italian seasoning. You can either freeze a fresh Italian blend in ice-cubes and have them ready to go, or, dry your fresh herbs (in the oven* at temp up to 180, for approx 4-5 hours or until completely dry), and then use this recipe to make your own seasoning:

2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage

Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container.

Use less of this mix than you usually would since home-grown is a lot stronger than the processed stuff in the store.

*Using the microwave for drying is not advised - instead of drying the leaves, it actually cooks them, and the quality and taste are poor.

See - carpets and ice cube trays. What's not to love?

1 comment:

  1. Great idea to use the carpets that way! We have used gravel around the edges of the veg garden as we bought a big bag of it to put on the floor of the polytunnels & had some left over.