April Showers Bring May Flowers

Mid spring flowers in our backyard garden. A lilly, lilacs, violets and columbine flowers. all except the lilac started from seed or bulb last year or the year before.

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Reflecting on Life in the Niagara Region

Since we recently began this project we have had many discussions about what our goals are and how we hope to share our passions and those of our community through Culture and Greens. Having been travelling back and fourth between Canada and South America since 2010 our separate and shared experiences have continued to come together and manifest, and now here in the Niagara Region we are planting roots(both literally and metaphorically)

We choose Niagara for a few reasons; firstly my family is here and this is where I was raised before moving to Toronto, and then heading to South America. I feel I have a strong connection to Niagara, many memories a lot of which being positive and countless including nature. I feel grateful for this place that helped shaped the person I am today. Secondly both my husband and I craved to be surrounded by nature and community, and Niagara provides that through it’s beautiful parks, community gardens and outdoor spaces.
Before moving here we had an established piece of land in Venezuela where we planted our heirloom tomatoes as well as other vegetables and practiced self sustaining living techniques. It was a beautiful time but due to the instability and insecurity of Venezuela we made the decision to move to Canada. It wasn’t an easy one but it’s been a great experience for learning and growth coming back to Canada. It wasn’t until 2014 when I was able to share this place with my now husband and now that we are here together we are taking in all of the beauty of our community, continuing to work in sustainable living practices and maintaining an organic vegetable garden.

We are unsure as to where Culture and Greens is headed but hope for an opportunity to build community and share experiences with others who appreciate the good and the green.

We’ve been really enjoying autumn here in Niagara, so we thought we would share a few recent photos.

Rainbow Corn
Rainbow Corn from Bry Anne Farms
Rockway Glen
Small Waterfall at Rockway Glen
Welland River
Full moon over the Welland River
Fonthill in Fall
Autumn Trees in Fonthill, Ontario
Rainbow Corn
Rainbow Corn from Bry Anne Farms
Birds nest found at E.C. brown wetland conservation area
Birds nest found at E.C. brown wetland conservation area

Air Drying Herbs in 6 Easy Steps

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If you are like us here at Culture & Greens you may have eagerly planted a garden in the spring with all of your favourite herbs and veggies, maybe you are experimenting with some new plants or using some of your favourite saved seeds. If this is the case you may also be in the middle of harvesting some of your herbs & veggies; and after you have exhausted your prime customers(family & friends) and had your fair share of fresh herbs in every recipe possible, air drying herbs is a great option to save money, avoid waste and ensure the quality of your herbs.

It’s an easy process, all you need is water to wash your herbs, towel to pat them dry, string or an elastic to hang them and glass jar to store them.

5 Simple Steps to Drying Your Homegrown Herbs

1. Cut 

Try to cut your herbs in the morning when they are without dew and make sure it’s close to the base so you have enough space to tie a string and hang them. It’s also best to remove any dead or damaged foliage (We always throw it in our compost)

2. Wash & Dry 

Rinse the herbs gently with cold water and pat dry with a clean towel without damaging any of the foliage.

3. Tie in a Bouquet 

Tie the ends of your herbs together, We usually use a hemp string, but you can also use a twist tie, twine or elastic. Make sure the herbs are secure at the end and be sure to leave a long string to hang them.

4. Air Dry

Hang the herbs in a shaded, warm and dry area that receives good ventilation but away from any dust. We don’t get much light in our kitchen and throughout the summer it’s been warm so for us it’s been an ideal spot. Throughout the colder months you can also utilize your fireplace if you have one by placing the herbs close by to increase the drying time. If you don’t have something to hang your herbs from you can always just tie a string from one object to another in a desired place and hang the herbs from the string.

5. Remove Stems & Store in Glass Jar

Remove the stems. You may choose to crumble your herbs or leave them full, for mint and flowers we tend to leave it full but basil, oregano and parsley we like to crumble. Remember to store in a dark cool dry environment to keep flavour longest. Light and heat tends to affect the colour of the herbs as well as the lifespan. For storing  your herbs mason jars work great, but really any clean jar with a good seal should work fine.

After you have stored them you can simply write on the jar with a permanent marker or chalk maker or take some inspiration from some of our favourite creative labels

Botanical Illustrated Labels by Kitchen Table Scraps

Vintage Printable Labels by Lia Griffith 

Water Colour Spice Labels by Spoon Fork Bacon