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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

… in the gardens 🙂 Even when I’m battling mystifying critters each day. I never knew of a mouse that enjoyed leeks, basils, dill & sage so much! Grrr

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With the herbs nearly all harvested now, its time to make sure the winter medicine cabinet has all it needs. Elderberry syrup and Thyme honey are two of the important parts of my medicine cabinet.. mainly used for colds, influenza and sore throats.

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Thyme is a powerful antiseptic and it’s loaded with antioxidants. It works hard to:

  • ward off colds.
  • relieves a sore throat & inflamed tonsils
  • provides relief from hay fever
  • helps improve digestion

It’s strong antiseptic properties including activity against viruses, insects, bacteria and fungus, is just another reason to always have some on hand.  Traditionally, thyme was used to treat bronchitis but I find it to be useful in my house for treating winter illnesses such as colds like the one I am fighting now. 😦

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One nice way to use thyme is as honey… and its very easy to make. You can still pick thyme now, it should withstand a mild frost just fine. Cut stems short and put them in a glass mason jar. Cover the thyme with wildflower honey. Put the jar in a pan of water to slightly heat the honey while pushing the thyme down and adding more thyme. Once the honey is fluid, put the lid on the jar and store the honey with the thyme still in it, until needed. You can use this honey to add to tea or use it straight for a sore throat… and I just love it drizzled over my fresh yogurt too! Be well!

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They cleaned me out at farmers market this week, so..its gonna be a dilly of a morning.

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Winter being the longest season here, at least for me ~~it’s time for rest. Many of the other seasonal chores have been put to bed under a blanket of snow..

The seed catalogs are quite the gayest blizzard afforded during this cheerless month of January. Since about half of every catalog is given to annuals, is it any wonder that these visionary Edens are a true delight of three-foot larkspur, glowing snapdragons, fragrant mignonette… and culinary herbs, Lavender, Basils, Rosemary and Thymes.. and vegetables–so many delicious varieties of tomatoes, squash, peppers and every other perennial flower we’ve ever wished to grow to perfection?

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We can sketch some tentative plans on paper, make out seed lists… and think green! Then, on the first of February, my growing season begins in the grow room, with about as many flats of herb seedlings you can imagine–setting, all in rows over heated benches. And here they will remain until mid March, when they can safely be moved out into the coldframes for hardening off before their final stages of growth into the garden in mid to late May here in Maine.

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Last season a friend send me here, GrowVeg.com where I was able to design my garden plot. It was a fun project, and it gave me a good resource guide, (because I can no longer depend on this old memory) as I put to paper my plan for this years garden. You might want to give it a try–it surely beats shoveling snow 😉

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Herb Garden

Herb Garden

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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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