Gardening Gone Herbs!
Finally some cooler days as September begins! The Bolivian cilantro is a towering 7 feet and thriving as I begin to clear out the garden beds, preparing for a fall crop. Seed packets of beets, kale, bok choy, and lettuce varieties are on the kitchen counter waiting to be planted. The dill and parsley have already self-seeded, and I look forward to watching those seedlings pop up. The cleared beds will be getting a refresher of compost and eggshells before seeding. It is a good thing to have some greens along with faithful Italian parsley to add to the menu during the winter months.
The garlic chives that I had planted in a challenging spot are blooming, and I will use some blooms for a delicious addition to salads. Others will be left to go to seed. I admit to being a garlic chive fan!
This is also a good season for foraging, so keep a lookout as you drive on country roads. This week I found some Staghorn sumac, which my depression-era dad called ‘Indian Lemonade’. It is high in vitamin C and can be easily be spotted. The taste has been described as sweet/tart and citrusy. I will remove and sort the fuzzy seeds from the pods to soak overnight for lemonade, or steep them in hot water for tea.
Beside the sumac were stands of Goldenrod flowers which also came home with me. The dried flowers will be used as an anise-like tasting tea. Goldenrod has a variety of herbal uses as soap or salve that will be fun to explore as I refer to my herb themed books.
As the summer gardening season comes to an end, look about for cultivars that you really liked. Save seeds from those special peppers, or Chinese long beans, and make some batches of pesto to put in the freezer. If you do have the odd extras, as I do, consider dehydrating those vegetables and herbs to enliven the winter months!
Wishing you well with a fall garden!
~~ Reni Erskine