Monday, April 18, 2011

You Should Try Herb

One of my favorite gardens (yes, we have more than 1) is my herb garden. I love to mix the herbs in my rock garden.

Herbs are the easiest plants I have ever grown. I just plant them in small bed next to the foundation of our house and watch them grow-that's it! I always recommend herb gardens to new gardeners looking to plant something edible.

Most years, I plant a variety of chamomile, parsley, sage, oregano, chives, rosemary. I once planted lemon balm and now it will not go away. Never, ever plant anything from the mint family (lemon balm is from the mint family). It's aggressive and invasive. It now grows between every plant and side walk crack in our yard (and likely the neighbors yard). Sure, it makes a nice tea that's good for digestions, but no body's digestion is that bad!

I have often found that my simple little herb garden yields more lemon balm herbs than my family needs. So, I like to pawn it off on my poor unsuspecting friends, neighbors and co-workers. But beware, handing people a baggie of dried herbs may not look so good (or make you the most popular neighbor on the block!). I always dry my herbs using a simple method. I get up in the morning and clip my herbs after the morning dew. Next, I wash and pat dry the herbs and put them on a cookie sheet. I bake them in the oven at a very low temperature (like 200 degrees) until they are dried (usually about 2 hours). I package them in baggies. I really need to find a more legitimate looking container.

Finally, I wanted to share a picture of my lavender row from last year. Lavender is so very pretty. Unfortunately, I have a neighbor who spared the perimeter of his yard with some sort of grass/weed/any living thing killer and every single one of my lavender plants died. I managed one harvest from the plants but couldn't bring myself to use or give them away since I didn't know what my neighbor used to kill the plants. He's a little grouchy, so I avoid asking him anything. And really, he didn't do anything wrong. I still dried them as practise because I do plan to have lavender again, just not in a garden bordering my neighbor's yard.

To dry lavender, I cut them at the height of their blooms, put them in bunches and tied them with dental floss. Next I hung them to dry in a dark, well ventilated room. I actually use this method for my other herbs too. Either method works well.

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