I have grown different herbs over the last several years that I have had an herb garden. I have a perennial garden that has:
Each year, I plant Basil. It usually grows very well.
This herb garden is on the East side of my house, and gets shade in the afternoon.
This year I started a second herb garden on the opposite side of my house. I picked herbs I had grown before –
Rosemary ( 2 varieties),
–as well as new plants. I have
In the past, I have grown Lemon Balm, Chamomille, Fennel and Dill. NOT ALL OF THE ABOVE PLANTS ARE EDIBLE. If you would like to learn more about herbs-their uses, their history, etc, I found great links:
Here are two books I keep as a reference for my herb gardens and the use of herbs:
Healing Herbs from Globe Communications Corporation John Stevens' The Complete Herb Garden
Some I grow for the scent, or the way it looks in the garden.
I dry my herbs by tying them in bundles with string, and hanging them around the house in bunches to dry. It usually takes about 3 weeks, and makes the house smell wonderful. Chives lose their color if dried this way, but you can dry Chives, as well as other herbs, in the microwave. Simply spread them out on paper towels, and turn the microwave on for two or three minutes. Check the herbs. If they are not dry, continue microwaving for 1 or 2 minutes until they are dried. The length of time you need to microwave will depend on the power of your microwave and the amount of herbs you are trying to dry at one time.
Then, store your herbs in sealed plastic bags or in jars with lids. Herbs can also be frozen in ice cubes-great for soups and stews-or stored fresh in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
Herbs are easy to grow. They usually don’t like rich soil, and will grow in bright sun (except Basil) or shade. The more you pinch off parts of the plant to use, the more the plant will grow.
I look forward to the Spring each year. My Sage, Thyme, Chives, and Lavender bloom, and the garden smells wonderful. I’m hoping the second garden I started this year will be as beautiful and long-lasting as my original one.
Update: We are experiencing a drought this summer (1999). Except for the Nasturtium, the Arrugula, and the Ginger Mint (it is planted in a pot), my herbs are doing very well. My Basil is beautiful; the Thyme is lush; and everything else is growing. We are under water restrictions, so I can't water my garden. I hope next summer brings more rain.
Fall, 1999: God has given us rain! Now, all I have to do is find the time to cut my herbs for drying. Our weather is already starting to cool off (a little early for our area). I usually can use my herbs fresh from the garden until sometime in November. In October, I cut and dry as much as I can before the plants become dormant for the winter.
February, 2000 We have had a few days of spring like temperatures. I am so ready to get back in the herb garden!
March, 2000 - It has been so warm here - 70's and 80's - so, of course I got out in the garden. My sage had gotten big and very woody. I dug it up, and will replace it this year with new plants. My chives are coming up. One of my rosemary plants survived the winter, but the other one did not (they were planted two feet apart!) My thyme plants survived, too, as did the nasturtium, the parsley, the silver germander, and the rue. For some reason, my oregano did not survive, so I will need to replace it as well.
And a little Misker's Den fairy for the month of April 2001 gave me this:
Well, I don't mean to sound whiny, but it's April 2, 2001 and we are still dipping below freezing at night. All I want to do is plant my herbs. I tore out the sage-it was getting scraggly. The landscapers (who shall remain nameless) tore out my chives (I guess it looked like overgrown grass, but it doesn't smell like grass) and my lavender has seen better days. I'm just itching to take care of both of my herb gardens!!
May 20, 2001 Well, I satisfied my itch. I put in herbs yesterday. I put in lemon verbena, variegated thyme, variegated sage and pineapple sage, sweet basil, Asian basil (this is new for me), purple basil, chives, parsley, catnip (I have three cats!) and oregano. I am so excited about this!
August 15, 2001 The Purple Basil died; but the Sweet Basil and the Asian Basil are doing really well. The Pineapple Sage is also huge! We've had a lot of rain this summer, and my garden is showing it! My oregano and thyme have grown everywhere, as has the tarragon.
My cats are house kitties (see My Calico Babies) but there are some cats that wander the neighborhood. My catnip has attracted one HUGE red cat. He likes to eat some catnip, then take a catnap next to the herb garden. My cats sit in my window and watch this cat who has invaded their yard!
Anyhow, my tomatoes are doing very well, also, and I've been making tomato sauce using my tomatoes and my herbs. I just love summer!
October, 2001 - Another season has come and gone. I got my herbs harvested before the first freeze. The tomato plants died. Oh well (sigh). The cat who loved catnip has become a yard kitty-he was so thin I started feeding him, and well, you know how that goes! Until next year...
To find out how to use herbs in great tasting recipes:>
Jean's Food and Cooking Use herbs in Roast Chicken, Gravy, Stuffing, and Cream Cheese or Butter. Find these recipes and more on this page.
Legal Stuff: Written text copyright Jean Marie Wilson, 1999, 2000, 2001. Cannot be reprinted without permission (except for personal use). Must be referenced in all documents.
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