Gardening Gone Herbs!

Lavender

Summer has finally arrived with the gift of a few interspersed cool days. Now is the time to watch over all of those new plants that were brought home from the MBG Plant Sale and what a fine collection it is! Keep track to see how the new plants are doing and if they like their placement in your garden. It is ok to move unhappy plants to a different spot. As the month progresses and it becomes hotter, keep a watchful eye and do not give up. Above all, do not put off or forget to water. 

Also, almost everything is thriving after our rains, so nip the flower buds off from selected herbs such as basil, oregano, and sage. I am growing basil for fresh pesto, not flowers or seeds! Lavender has also been blooming for several weeks! Cutting the flower spikes in the morning optimizes their scent and the gardener does not have to compete or maneuver around the variety of the nectar seeking bumblebees.

Ginger shoot

The volunteer kale which grew 5 feet tall has finally had its seed pods ripen and those pods are now drying in a paper bag. The seeds will be used for a winter cover crop and winter greens. Dill and parsley seed heads are starting to form as they are surrounded by a swarm of very small native pollinators that I do love to watch.

If your garden is doing well, then preserve this bounty. Herbs are easy to dry by trimming the healthy growth back. Those cuttings can go into a dryer or on a clean sheet. After they are dry, strip the leaves off of the stems and store. My glass jars are now filled with lemon balm, parsley, and leeks! 

Parsley blossoms

Dried herbs are for the winter months and the robust flavor of fresh herbs are perfect to cook with right now. A gardener’s joy can be going into the garden and picking those herbs that will complement that day’s menu! Here is one of my favorites: Pick the purple flower heads of chives, separate those flower heads, and add the individual small blossoms to a salad. That addition is a wonderful flavor enhancer. Perhaps you have tried something new? Ginger root is coming up in my raised bed, and I am rather excited to see how it will do.

Yes, this month is a time of maintenance and harvest, but there is also time to relax, nap, read, and contemplate in a hammock! We need both. See you in the garden!

~~ Reni Erskine

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