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Archive for May, 2013

CulinaryHerbs

I’ve been an avid gardener for many years,  owned an herb farm for twenty three years where we raised culinary and    medicinal herbs along with an honor system vegetable stand. I’d supply local restaurants daily with fresh culinary herbs, and we’d open up the farm for shoppers and gardeners alike every Spring  Our  barnyard was a plethora of goats, sheep, chickens and ducks.  The work was hard to say the least, but most fulfilling, probably the most joyous time of my life. Nothing gave me more pleasure than firing up the greenhouse in early February so that I could begin my plantings.  So, as Memorial Day weekend typically kicks off the gardening season for many, I thought I’d post a few tidbits about growing a  Kitchen Herb Garden.

The sensible practice of planting a garden close by the kitchen door for easy accessibility was brought to this country by the European settlers.  Herbs in the kitchen garden were both useful and decorative, not to mention the marvelous aroma as you brush them stepping by.

Culinary herbs are my favorites, easy to grow with minimal care and just so versatile.  They may be added to salads, soups, sauces, marinades and rubs for meats and poultry, homemade sausages, egg dishes, appetizers, cheeses–and even desserts!  These are some of my favorites that work well in their respective categories.  But don’t feel limited by this list.  It’s fun to experiment with different combinations and varieties, both for cooking and in the kitchen garden itself.  Be creative I’d tell my customers–plant a new herbs or two each year.  Expand your culinary skills by trying new recipes from one of the many cookbooks dedicated to cooking with herbs.  Your choices are limitless.

Herbs For Poultry Dishes

Thyme • Sage • Oregano • Rosemary • Tarragon • Lemon Thyme

Herbs For Fish

Dill • Parsley • Fennel • Garlic • Bay • Lemon Basil

Herbs For Vegetables

Tarragon • Dill • Garlic • Chives • Savory • Thyme • Mint • Basil • Chervil

Herbs For Meat Dishes

Rosemary • Bay • Oregano • Marjoram • Mint • Parsley • Sage • Horseradish

Dessert Herbs

Angelica • Mint • Rose Petals • Rose Hips

Kitchen Herb Garden

Kitchen Herb Garden

Some perennial herbs, such as horseradish and many members of the mint family, are a bit too invasive to plant directly in the soil of your kitchen garden.  So instead, plant invasive herbs in attractive containers and place the containers in a appropriate growing spot nearby. I grow many mints: spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, orange mint, chocolate mint, etc…and enjoy drying the chocolate mint leaves and then grinding and adding them to my morning coffee.

Other perennial herbs, such as rosemary, bay and lemon verbena, are not winter hardy here in New England, so grow these and other tender herbs in containers that can be set out in the garden during the frost-free growing season and then overwinter in a sunny indoor location.  So there you have it.  I hope you’ll consider adding a kitchen garden when you’re planning your garden this year.. you won’t be sorry!

Have fun this Memorial weekend everyone & stay safe.

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Blossoming lilacs

Blossoming lilacs

I’ve been really busy in the garden and as most gardeners will agree, Spring is the busiest season of all…but by far, the best! Two of the bluebird houses have hatched out this week–rain and all, we’ve had a new fox visiting in the early daybreak hours, the rhubarb patch is just gorgeous this year, and the  grapevines are all blossoming out.  Most of the veggies are set, and greens I am picking daily.  Only the tender basils, lemon verbena and eggplant are left to plant. I’m waiting out anymore surprise frosts before I set them.   If you want to follow our season in the garden hop on over to Mama’s Giardiniera to see how it progresses.  Don’t you just love this time of year and the lovely lilacs in blossom.

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Forget-Me-Not1szd

  If I had a flower for each time I thought of my Mother, I could walk in my garden forever.

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