New Blog location

September 8, 2010

If you have been following this blog, please note we have moved our blog to a more public location.  You can access our almost daily postings at   Wednesday we post the herb of the week, every other Tuesday we post a HOW TO, and in between we share recipes, growing tips and ideas.  Check it out!

Tags: backyard patch, blog, diy, herbs, how to, marcy lautanen-raleigh, recipes

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Celebrate National More Herbs Less Salt Day!

August 24, 2010

I love herbs and cooking with herbs.  I can spend hours in the herb room blending and mixing to create just the right flavor combination.  Cooking with herbs is not the difficult or dangerous activity many people believe it is, in fact using them everyday is as easy and having a properly filled cabinet. Through the years I have made and marketed more than 100 different herbal blends and I am always looking for a new way to promote the use of herbs in everyday cooking. 


Sunday will be National More Herbs, Less Salt Day.   In honor of this special day here are a few herbal salt substitutes you can create to use on this auspicious day!

The good news is, using less salt helps with cholesterol and blood pressure lowering as well as reducing water retention and can in many ways improve your skin.  So why not try these flavor-filled treats and help yourself at the same time.  Tomorrow I will give you a few recipes to go with these blends.

Oniony Salt Substitute

(Onion gives you the taste you are looking for without the salt so you can fool your taste buds)

6 teaspoons onion...


Tags: backyard patch, cooking, health, herbs, recipes, salt substitutes

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Peach is an Herb

August 9, 2010

I am always amazed at the new things I learn while stumbling through my regular day.  I subscribe to a couple of internet groups and visit a number of herb related blogs and today I saw Peaches listed two different places as an herb.  I thought that was odd so I investigated this is what I discovered:

Peach is indeed an herb, mostly because if you use it for medicinal purposes you are using the leaves and bark.  It is actually quite good for you and the bark and leaves of a peach tree can be a great addition to your natural first-aid kit. 

On one website that lists references back to some of the original 16th century herbals I located this: “Culpepper informs us that a powder of the leaves 'strewed on fresh bleeding wounds stayeth their bleeding and closeth them.' “

Medicinal uses from various sources:

The leaves, bark, flowers and kernels have medicinal virtue. Both the leaves and bark are still employed for their curative powers. They have demulcent, sedative, diuretic and expectorant action. An infusion of 1/2 OZ. of the bark or 1 OZ. of the dried leaves... [More]

Tags: backyard patch, bleeding, herbal healing, herbs, illness, medicial herbs, peach

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Crockpot Herb Bread

August 3, 2010

I love home-made bread and our farmers market features two different bread vendors so I can get my fill.  However, I also like to make bread at home, but I don’t always have the time (and this time of year who wants to turn on the oven), so I found a quick solution.  I use my Crockpot.  This is an unusual way to make bread, but it is so easy and you can use any combination of herbs to craft if.


  • 1 Tbls. Yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup quick-cook oats
  • 1 ½ Tbls. olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbls. honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp fresh minced rosemary (or 1 tsp dried) - you can substitute savory if you grow it!
  • 2 tsp fresh minced thyme (or 1 tsp dried) – try lemon thyme if you have it!
  • 2 tsp fresh dill or parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups wheat flour, plus up to 1/3 cup more


1.       Turn your Crockpot to high.  Place a riser in the bottom.  Two canning jar rims or crumbled aluminum foil will do.  Add...


Tags: backyard patch, bread, dill, herbs, parsley, rosemary, savory, thyme

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More Summer fresh herb recipes

July 31, 2010

 These recipes are quick and fun and can make a light supper or great appetizer for summer entertaining.

Sage Cheese Spread 
  • 1 cup dry cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated and at room temperature
  • 4 tsp. chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsp. dry)
  • 1 tsp. prepared mustard
  • Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.  Store in crock in refrigerator at least 24 hours before using.  You can place this in small crocks and give as a favor to guests to take home as well. 
 Dilly Shrimp Dip 
  • 8 oz. cleaned and chopped shrimp
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 T. sour cream
  • 1 Tbls. catsup, mayonnaise and mustard
  • 2 dashes garlic powder & Worcestershire
  • 1 cup celery, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbls onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. dill
  • 1 Tbls parsley (or you can substitute 1 1/2 Tbls Marcy's Dill Dip Herb Mix)
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish 
Whirl everything in blender until smooth and creamy.  Chill before serving. 

Tags: cheese, dill, dip, herbs, parsley, sage, shrimp, the backyard patch

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Flower Tip

July 27, 2010

Using Roses

Most floral shop roses are grown in greenhouses and sprayed with pesticides.  Once the flowers are cut, they are treated with Silver Thiosulfate and fungicide for botrytis and other molds.
The growing conditions are carefully monitored to match US requirements, but the flowers are not suitable for food use or skin use, so be careful if saving floral shop roses to use in tea or cosmetics.

Tags: bath herbs, drying, roses, the backyard patch

Posted at: 09:31 AM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Pinching Herbs

July 25, 2010

I was recently asked at a Garden Walk “When I am told to pinch back an herb, exactly what does this mean? How many inches of stem should I take as I pinch? Do I pinch off all the tips, or just one or two?”


When you pinch back herbs, you are orchestrating two fundamental forces of plant life: the need to reproduce and the need to stay alive long enough to reproduce.


Herbs, like other plants, want nothing more than to reproduce. Most herbs want to make flowers and seeds, so they channel their energy toward stems that will grow fast and bloom quickly. With annual herbs such as basil and marjoram, bud production begins within weeks after plants are set out in the garden. Perennial herbs prepare to bloom in spring soon after days become long and warm.


Whether annual or perennial, herbs’ fast-growing tips send chemical signals down the stem telling secondary buds not to grow. In nature, sprinting to maturity is smart. What we see is a lean, upright plant with few lateral branches. It is totally intent on blooming.


This is not exactly what we had planned for the garden. ...


Tags: basil, harvesting herbs, pinching, scented geraniums, the backyard patch, thyme

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Using Fresh Herbs

July 23, 2010

This time of year I make many of my recipes with fresh herbs because they are so abundantly available.  These two recipes are quick and easy and give you a chance to use what is in season.  Even if you don't have an herb garden all of these herbs can be easily gotten at the market.

Herbed Cheese Spread

2 tablespoons fresh thyme - chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh sweet marjoram - chopped fine
4 tablespoons green onions - sliced fine
8 ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
In a small bowl add the herbs, green onions and cream cheese. Mix together until well blended. Cover the top of the bowl with aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve this delicious spread with an assortment of crackers and breadsticks.

Chive Dip

This dip is a wonderful accompaniment to fresh raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes.
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh chives or garlic chives - snipped with scissors
1 tablespoon fresh sage - minced
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
In a medium sized mixing bowl mix add all ingredients and...


Tags: chives, herbs, marjoram, recipes, summer, thyme

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Fertilizing your containers

July 21, 2010

I know it is summer, but we have had some really active weather lately.  Between the wind, the rain and the heat, we are getting a compressed version of a whole season in a few days.  All of the rain has helped the lawns and gardens grow, but has definitely been too much for some containers and other plantings.  If your plants are looking a little tired, this is a great time to give them some fertilizer.  Every time a plant gets watered, the soil gets rinsed or leached of valuable nutrients for your plants, so go ahead and help them out.  Any type of water soluble fertilizer will do the trick.  Just follow the directions and don't add more than recommended.  Look for one that has 3 equal numbers, like a 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 or even a 20-20-20 formulation or something close to it.  Your pots will thank you by greening up and blooming better for you. 

Tags: container gardening, fertilizer, herbs

Posted at: 08:27 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Celebrating Herbal Vinegar

June 25, 2010

June 16th was National Vinegar Day.

I thought that was a great excuse to write about making herbal vinegars.  They can only be done with fresh ingredients and this is the perfect time of year to use fresh herbs and make something that you can use now or save for winter when you want a fresh taste.Herbal Vinegar is the simplest and best way to capture the flavor of fresh herbs.

Create herbal vinegar by harvesting and washing a fist full of fresh herbs.  Choose your favorite, but Basils, especially colored basil, thyme, lemon herbs and chives all make great tasting vinegar.Lay the herbs out to air dry after washing.Once they are dry place them in a glass jar and bruise them with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Cover them with distilled white or white wine vinegar that you have warmed in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes.  Seal the jar with a non-reactive (plastic) lid and let sit for at least two weeks shaking daily.

Strain and rebottle the herbs and use to make your favorite marinade or dressing. 

Try this example:

Lemon-Basil Marinade
  • 1/3 c. lemon...

Tags: basil, chives, cucumbers, dressing, herbal vinegar, lemon, preserving herbs, thyme

Posted at: 06:04 PM | 1 Comment | Add Comment | Permalink

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