Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nothing Says Summer like Fresh Herbs: 2007 Garden Update #2

Last week I showed you the veggies and tomatoes I'm growing, and promised I'd be back to show the herbs. I've been growing herbs for more years than some of you have been alive, and nothing gets me excited about cooking in the summer like fresh herbs. The bounty of herbs from my garden was how Weekend Herb Blogging got started, and this year I'm growing a few new things, so there should be plenty to blog about for months to come.

Of course basil is one of the best thing about summer. This is lettuce-leaf basil, which produces huge leaves. I grow basil mostly from seeds, but I usually plant a few big plants to get the basil season started. Last year my basil was getting devoured by some kind of pest, so I moved it close to the house, but unfortunately the pests are finding it there too. I still don't know what's eating the basil.

Last year I didn't ever find Thai Basil, so when I found some this year I grabbed a couple of plants. I love this spicy basil variety in stir-fries.

Some of my herbs didn't come back this year because Utah had an unusually cold winter. However, the curly parsley is back with gusto, which is fine with me because I love it, even though the flat kind is more trendy. Parsley is actually a biennial plant, but if you let it go to seed a little at the end of the season it will re-seed in the same spot for years.

No Italian parsley came up this spring, maybe because I trimmed it too well last year, so I planted two new plants to supplement my curly parsley supply.

A new plant for me this year is French Tarragon, and I've already found a great recipe that I'm planning to try with this herb.

Another new plant for me is this Variegated Marjoram. I've been curious about marjoram, and am looking forward to trying it. Anyone who's cooked with it, I'd love to hear from you in the comments about what you've used it for.

I had a long row of mint on one side of my garden, but this year I planted mint in a little triangular-shaped flower bed by my back door. It has the house on one side and the sidewalk on the other two sides to help the mint behave itself.

One of my herbs that didn't seem to mind the cold winter was this huge oregano bush, which I've already trimmed a few times this year. This is Greek Oregano, and I love to use it in Greek Salad or other salad recipes.

The rosemary plant on the right barely survived the winter, and I bought another plant to keep it company. I love to freeze fresh rosemary when it gets to be fall, so you can never have too much of it.

My sage is also healthy and already starting to flower. Sage is the only fresh herb I remember from my childhood; my Grandmother Denny always had a sage plant by her back door.

The thyme I had last year didn't make it through the winter, so I replaced it with these two Silver Thyme plants. Thyme is another herb I love to freeze and use all winter long.

One last plant waiting to get transplanted to the garden is this lovely Golden Oregano, which arrived in the mail courtesy of Bloomscape, a company which sells herbs, vegetables, and indoor plants online, founded by someone who's a reader of Weekend Herb Blogging. When they offered to send me a live plant by mail, I wasn't sure what to expect, but a very large plant arrived in a few days, happy and healthy. If you live where you have a hard time getting herb plants, you might want to check out their selection. (And if you're wondering, they are not paying me to write about their plants, but I was very impressed with the plant they sent.)

You can check the progress of my garden through the season by clicking the label 2007 Garden Updates below. If you're looking for the Recap of Weekend Herb Blogging for this weekend, it will be posted at Kitchen Wench sometime tomorrow.
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26 comments:

  1. Wow, Kalyn, what a beautiful herb garden! The variety of herbs you have on hand is mind-boggling. I wish I was your neighbor so I could ask for a sprig or two :)

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  2. I have many of the same herbs in my garden -- just planted my basil today -- but my favorite is thyme, which I seem to use on everything in the summer. I love the lemon thyme, too.

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  3. I am ridiculously jealous of your herb garden! Most of our land is paved or houses trees, so unfortunately I have very little growing space...ah well, one day :)

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  4. You have got the best selection of herbs ever! I was wondering about your basil too and thinking about maybe getting a glue trap and cutting it to fit around the base of one of your plants and perhaps the culprits will get stuck there, so then you will know what you are up against. Just an idea.

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  5. ooo :) and you are growing these on a flat plot of land it looks like? :) so much fun! does it smell lovely too? :) i'm jealous! :D

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  6. What a wonderful bounty you have there! All those possibilities! I'm very impressed :)

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  7. I'd love to have my own veggie and herb garden, like you have, one day. Great job!

    Paz

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  8. Nupur, if you were my neighbor I'd give you as many herbs as you wanted if only you'd cook some Indian food for me once in a while.

    Lydia, I haven't tried lemon thyme. Will look for it.

    Ellie, you could grow some herbs in pots. They are really quite wonderful.

    Neil, interesting idea. I might try it. But what if it's flying insects? I'm quite sure it's not snails, at least it wasn't last year. They are only eating the lettuce leaf basil, which is supposed to be milder.

    Trinigourmet, there's not really a smell yet, but later in the summer you can sometimes smell the herbs. I grow most of these in a strip along the edge of my garden.


    Truffle, thanks. I love it.

    Paz, you have the energy of New York City, which is also a nice thing. You can't have it all! I could use a bit more energy around here sometimes, but I guess most of the time I like the peacefulness.

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  9. I too plant lots of herbs in pots outside my kitchen door, then when the weather is horrible I don't have too far to go! Its so much more sensible to grown them than buying them from the supermarket.

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  10. Your herbs all look lovely!
    I do the same with the basil - most from seeds but a few big ones to get me started.
    That golden oregano is lovely!

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  11. It's a bit like being a detective. If you put a glue trap and something is still eating that plant then you know it's a flying insect or maybe caterpillars, but you should be able to find those. It's quite surprising the number of crawling plant eating insects that live near by. If you eliminate one group of insects, you can target more effectively.

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  12. Margaret, I agree. Plus when you grow your own herbs, you can cut just what you need and you don't waste them!

    Lydia, I really like the mild flavor of the Golden Oregano too.

    Neil, I'm going to get some and see what I can catch. (It's called Flypaper in the U.S.)

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  13. I'm so jealous, especially of the thai basil!

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  14. Your garden is lovely!!! My little parsley plant is struggling for life (but doing ok), so I really love hearing about successful gardeners. :)

    Someday maybe I will join the ranks.

    Lovely, lovely...as is your entire blog!

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  15. That all looks absolutely fantastic. I can't tell you how much I want an herb garden. Is there some place on line that you recommend for seeds?

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  16. Chris, I am pretty lucky to have such a big garden. Of course, we're never satisfied, so now I want raised beds so there aren't so many weeds!

    Burcu, wish I could send you some.

    Kirsten, there's nothing more fun than having a garden for people who really love to cook. I sometimes think about moving to a house with less upkeep, but I think I'd miss my garden too much.

    Maryam, I haven't ever bought seeds online, and actually don't plant too many seeds except for basil, arugula, and chard. I bet herbs would grow wonderfully well where you are though!

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  17. Kalyn, your herb collection looks wonderful. Tarragon has such a lovely anise flavor. Our tarragon overwintered (to my surprise) and I discovered this weekend that it tastes great with carrots. I made a simple salad with shredded carrots, chopped tarragon and a vinegarette. It was lovely.

    I've heard marjoram is supposed to be very good with tomatoes, though I've never tried it.

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  18. Your herbs look great already. Did you plant any lemon verbena? I remember you gave us some last year and it was the most heavenly scent ever!

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  19. Christa, I've seen a recipe for a carrot salad with tarragon somewhere, and it sounds wonderful. When I get more tarragon I definitely want to try it.

    Maria, the lemon verbena didn't survive the winter. I didn't use it much last year (despite the great smell) so I didn't plant it this year.

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  20. Your garden is looking great. I need to get some more herbs for mine. Isn't it great being able to just go out to the backyard and get fresh herbs while you're cooking.

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  21. Your herbs looks so wonderful! It always makes me feel so good to see herbs growing in a garden. I need to plant more of them and you have inspired me to do that.

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  22. So jealous! You have an amazing herb garden. How lucky to be able to grab tons of fresh herbs right out of your back yard.

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  23. That's a spectacular garden! I grow a few herbs in pots on my porch. I had a hard time finding thai basil seedlings but it turned out that the bunch of basil I bought at the farmer's market was thai basil. I stuck them in water and one started growing roots before I finished using it all so I'll stick it in a pot and hope it grows. :)

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  24. Oh! What a wonderful herb garden you have! You are so lucky :) I would love to have something like this...even half of this! :)

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  25. Sylvie, there's nothing like fresh herbs to make me want to cook!

    Sher, your garden is looking great too. I wish I had the raised beds like you have.

    Sara, I admit, it's the best.

    Amy, that's interesting. I haven't heard of starting basil like that, but I might try it too.

    Joey, thanks. I am thankful for my garden.

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