Thursday, September 2, 2010

Herbs in my Garden

It seems I usually have to start my posts lately with an apology for neglecting my readers. Once again, I've gotten lazy about writing. Not that I haven't been thinking about gardening. As much as I can with this heat, I've been pulling weeds and working on some new beds that I've been creating. The rest of the time has been spent adding pictures and sort of re-doing the photo gallery on the Hoot Owl Hollow website. I'm almost done now, which is a relief. It always takes much longer than I think it will. Luckily, I'm not much for watching TV, so Hank watches and I listen while watching the computer screen. It always amazes me when I look up at something I've heard dozens of times and realize I've never actually seen it. But I digress...
This first photo is my parsley. I always grow some in a large pot to keep the rabbits from eating it. It's not exactly something I'd want to spray with rabbit repellent. I always grow a lot since I use it in my tomato soup and some of my other stuff I put up in jars. I also freeze it for winter. If you haven't tried it, it doesn't get much easier. Just pick it, wash the dust off, dry it and put it in zip loc bags or a freezer container. I usually use small snack sized bags so I have small portions to use in recipes and then put the little bags in a larger freezer bag. I never dry parsley because I like the taste of fresh parsley much better. Mine usually overwinters, but since it is a biennial, it will go to seed early in the second season. I usually get enough to have until my new crop is ready.
Thyme is one of my favorites. This is a variegated one, but any of them will do. Just be sure to taste them before you use then because they all don't taste the same and some are pretty bad. Trial and error here. These are perfectly hardy in our zone 6 garden and we probably have a dozen different kinds, mostly growing around edges of paths and such. Full sun and they can take light foot traffic and seem to tolerate a little bit of dry weather. Many stay evergreen, so there isn't any reason to dry it. I can almost always have some for turkey stuffing at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Basil seems to be a staple. This I do dry since it will go down with the first hint of frost. I pull up a plant and hang it upside down and then strip the leaves off once they're dry. Right now I've got some hanging outside since we've had so little rain. I also hang it inside or in the barn. I use it in any sort of Italian food and to make pesto.

Another Basil - this one with purple flowers. I bought packet of seeds that had 3 kinds in it. 2 seem to be green and I can't tell the difference, but this one with the purple flowers (which probably should be pulled off since you don't want it to go to seed) is quite pretty.

Sage is something I don't use much, but it is perennial here, so I just like to grow it. I do sometimes use it in pork dishes, but I find it a bit strong. It dries well.

Same flavor, prettier plant, is this variegated Sage. I've had this clump for 4 years now and it comes back better every year.

Not really an herb, I suppose, but it wouldn't be a garden without nasturtiums. They are quite edible and make a pretty, spicy addition to salads. My kids used to munch them up when they were little. Wonder if they remember that. Once you get used to the idea of eating flowers, there are quite a few that you can use, and growing them yourself, you don't have to worry about chemicals on them.
I've taken a couple hundred photos over the last couple of days, so I'll be sorting them out to share some here.
Happy almost fall - finally cooler temperatures tomorrow.

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