Chayote, Sechium edule

Chayote is also known as the Vegetable Pear and the Mirliton. This vegetable is a member of the cucurbit family, which means it is a type of squash. It is probably the strangest looking squash you will find in your grocery store. chayote

The fruit is light green in color and pear shaped. The fruit is produced on vigorous growing vines that are cold sensitive.

To grow your own chayote, Continue reading “Chayote”

All About Basil

Ocimum basilicum  includes

A few of the more common varieties are outlined here. We will get into more detail later.

Sweet basil basil_sweet-150x150
This is your basic basil, with large leaves and white flowers. The Genovese variety (names include ‘Sweet Genovese’ and ‘Genovese’ or ‘Genova Profumitissima’) is particularly nice, with a very pleasing flavor preferred for pestos. I’ve also found it a vigorous, luxuriant grower, slow to bolt. The leaves on those I’ve grown tend to be a bit larger than common sweet basil, which means you need fewer leaves for that batch of pesto!

Lettuce leaf, O. b. crispum
A short, wide plant with thick, very crinkled leaves; Continue reading “All About Basil”

Update on West Coast Inspection

Brier Ridge Farm Fresh Herbs got a visit from the inspector Friday, June 6th. The inspector took some soil samples from a lot of individual plants for a nematode inspection. The soil samples will be brought up to the Florida Plant Inspections in Gainesville. Since we use bagged commercial potting soil, it is highly unlikely that we would have nematodes. My grandma (owner of and Brier Ridge) signed BUNCHES of papers for shipping to TX, MISS, OR, CA and many other states! We were the ONLY herb garden that this inspector had ever seen so we are special by a first see. I’ll keep you updated on the inspections and the TRIP TO CINCINNATI blog will be updated. 🙂

Trip to Cincinnati- Twin Oaks RV Park Elko, GA

I’m here at Twin Oaks RV Park in GA. I found some plants in this RV Park that I’ve never seen in SWFL. The plant of the state I’m going to explain is the Spinning Primrose.
The Spinning Primrose spins in the evening. It is native to Persia that was brought here to North America and now grows here in Georgia. Spinning Primrose is yellow and makes a nice bush as I’m parked near it. This will be it with Day 1 of the Trip to Cincinnati, OH.


spins in the evening. From
Spinning Primrose








Trip to Cincinnati Blog

This month, I’m starting a blog that brings plants from different states near I-75. Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio will be the chose states to this blog. Stay tuned on the blog! YOU CAN GROW IT 

West Coast Inspection

Brier Ridge Farm Fresh Herbs is FINALLY getting an inspection to ship to the US West Coast. These states includes California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Texas and so MUCH states! If we pass this inspection, all you people will get FARM FRESH HERBS! I’ll keep you posted on the Inspection to the West Coast 🙂

(This does not add Alaska and Hawaii)

Plumbago – Plumbago auriculata

Plumbago – Plumbago auriculata

Today was a busy day. We mulched the front yard and my dad trimmed this awesome looking, blue colored bush called Plumbago. I did some research and I found out this flower is native to Southern Africa and this surprised me, seeing that it came from that part of the world.

Plumbago is poisonous but that doesn’t matter unless you are awfully hungry and try to eat it. This plant looks so nice and beautiful that you can put it anywhere in the front yard and it will look beautiful. So my dad made cuttings of this plant. Trimming up this one plant made almost 140 cuttings because it was so bushy.

Plumbago’s brother is called Wild Leadwort.plumbago

This plant cost $110.00 at Classy Groundcovers but here at Brier Ridge Farm Fresh Herbs, we sell them in 1-gallon pots. It costs about $5 (gallon size) when we have our yard sales. So, which would you prefer,  a $110 plant from someone you don’t know or $5 for a gallon-size plant grown locally here in beautiful Punta Gorda, Southwest Florida.

Plumbago grows outdoors and blooms almost year round in Zones 8-11, although some protection may be necessary in Zone 8. If you live in a colder climate, Plumbago is happy to grow inside as a houseplant during the cold months. Just move it outside after danger of frost for lots of new growth and lovely blue flowers. Yes,  You CAN grow it!Plumbago, Imperial Blue

Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosioides

You know how sometimes, when you’re genuinely trying to find information on something via Google, you end up wandering off the trail and manage to find something unexpected? Well, that happened to me this morning.

Epazote, Chenapodium ambrosioides
Epazote, used to season some Mexican foods

I found epazote!

Okay, to explain:

Last summer, our Haitian friend Chewan visited and collected some moringa shoots and leaves. He’s always excited when he discovers something “from home” around here. Sometimes we have very different uses for the same plant and so it becomes a learning experience for both of us.

That particular day, he spied a bushy plant that I was planning to dig out Continue reading “Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosioides”

Gardening Hydroponically

I’m always on the lookout for new gardening ideas. And so, I’m a member of Home Depot’s Garden Club. Yeah, that’s a “big box” store and we normally steer clear of them, but let’s face it: they come up with good ideas and sometimes there’s just no other place around to get garden supplies or an emergency plant.

Today, when I opened my email, I received one from the Garden Club that contained an interesting indoor decorating video. As I followed that link, I found this video about hydroponic gardening. It just doesn’t get much easier than gardening hydroponically. You set up a kit that looks pretty simple to build yourself, plant your herbs or whatever in soiless pots and feed with a liquid nutrient. That’s it. You quickly have pots of herbs right inside your house, garage, or basement because there’s no mess to worry about.

I haven’t actually tried this yet but it looks pretty simple. If you get to it before I do, please share your experience and let us know how it goes for you.


Moringa – as a Vegetable

We have a Haitian friend who comes by periodically to check up on the progress around our little farm. We first met him when he answered an ad we had placed in the paper to sell some of the gang of little male goats that had been born earlier in the year. He asked if he could walk around and look at everything. We obliged.

The Haitian gentleman was thrilled to see that we had chickens and immediately asked about eggs, old hens and roosters. He said he missed the flavor found in chickens that were allowed to roam freely. About that time, he turned and saw the moringa trees lining the fence. He ran over to them, shouting and laughing. I didn’t understand a word he was saying and I’m not sure if my sister understood him but he finally slowed down and reverted to speaking English. He was thrilled to see that we had moringa trees. He calls them something else, though, and I still can’t understand him when he talks about it. He asked if he could have some… and we said yes, in spite of the fact that we weren’t sure exactly what or how much he wanted.

He began snapping off the new growth at the tip of each branch,

Moringa Leaf Tips
Moringa Leaf Tips

about 10-12″ of it, stems and all. At this stage, the stems are soft and green. We asked him how he planned to use it. “Cook it, like spinach” was his immediate reply. “Cook it in soup with other vegetables” came next. He took a nice bag full of it and was just as thrilled with the moringa as he was with the goat he had purchased.

Chewan visits us regularly now, always asking about goats and “the trees”.

And so, although we had only seen the medicinal side of moringa ourselves, we learned that in many third world countries, moringa is also a basic vegetable, cooked and eaten as an everyday part of life.