Sunday, May 5, 2013

MAY 2013

Plant an herb garden. Chive butter for baked potatoes, fresh cilantro for salsa, sage chopped for stuffing and basil to make pesto are all possible if you start an herb garden. With more and more people growing their own vegetables and fruit, planting an herb garden seems like the next logical step. A small plot will keep you in fresh herbs all summer long while a larger area will yield enough to dry for future use. Certain herbs like sage, oregano and parsley can even be harvested fresh in winter. If possible choose an area that is easily accessible to the kitchen. The spot should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and the soil should be amended with compost to provide good drainage. Choose the herbs that you use most often or find attractive. Plant perennials and reseeding annuals, leaving space for tenedr annuals like basil and marjoram that you will replant every year. Begin at the back of the garden, or the middle if it is a round space, with tall herbs. (P = perennial, A = annual, R = reseeding annual or biennial)
In the 3'-5' range are:
Lovage (P), celery flavored leaves for soups, sauces & stews.
Fennel (R), great in seafood stews & salads.
Upright Rosemary (P), use in beef, pork, lamb and chicken dishes. Very drought tolerant, often used as an evergreen shrub and it is deer resistant.
Lavender (P), grown for fragrance, tea, and Provencal cooking. An evergreen, deer resistant shrub. There are also 12''- 15'' lavenders.
2'-3' tall would include:
Dill (R), use the seeds and leaves in fish dishes, pickles, salads and dressings.
Sage (P), used to flavor stuffings, sausages, poultry and pork. Pretty lavender-blue flowers.
Greek Oregano (P), essential in Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking. The best flavored oregano in my opinion.
Moving out from the center, or away from the back, plant shorter herbs. 1'-2' tall are:
Parsley (R), Use in clam sauce, tabouleh, soups, salad and sauces.
Basil (A), lots of varieties that can be used in Italian and Thai cuisine.
French Tarragon (P), leaves are anise flavoed and a must in French cooking.
Savory (A), great for flavoring beans and cabbage.
Marjoram (A), good in salads soups and vegetable dishes.
1' tall would be:
English Thyme (P), leaves for stuffing, gravies, sauces and soups.
German Chamomile (A), flowers used for tea.
Chives (P), flavor potatoes, cottage cheese, salads and pickles.
Cilantro (R), Use in salsas and many Mexican and Thai dishes. It bolts when it's hot but will reseed and germinate when it cools down.
Stevia (A), used as a sweetener in place of refined sugar.
Epazote (A) sometimes (R), another Mexican cooking essential.
Groundcover plants that you would plant near the edge include Roman Chamomile (A), Lemon Thyme (P) and Creeping Thyme (P). Allow some of your herbs to bloom since many of their flowers have the added benefit of attracting beneficial and pollinating insects as well as butterflies and their larvae. Letting them go to seed will encourage them to germinate and grow when conditions are ideal for that particular herb. Feed your herbs during the growing season with a fertilizer such as Chickity Doo Doo, Yum Yum Mix, Fox Farm's Happy Frog Tomato & Vegetable or liquid Grow Big. We have many of these herbs in stock now and receive weekly deliveries of other varieties.
French Tarragon, Sage, English Thyme and Lavender thrive in an herb garden.
Koelreuteria paniculata. The Goldenrain Tree is the tree you see blooming with fragrant 10" long golden flower clusters at Pinon Plaza. It is a moderate grower that will reach a mature size of 25' tall by 15'-20' wide. The blue green leaves are 15" long divided into several toothed leaflets. Due to its open habit the shade it produces is dappled. In fall the seed pods persist looking like buff colored Chinese lanterns. This tree adapts easily to cold, heat, wind and alkaline soil. The smaller size makes it a good patio tree or an anchor in a perennial bed. It is drought tolerant once established.

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