Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another plea for help

All you gardeners out there, let's have a cheer for the time of year when we're all choppin' at the bits, wishing we could toss aside the seed catalogs and go out and scoop up a handful of moist warm dirt!

I like winter. I'm glad for changing seasons. I like cozy sweaters and crackling fires. (Though we don't have a fireplace, so a crackling heater will have to do!)

I enjoy winter.

Until the end of January.

After January, I'm done with cold weather, thank you very much. I'm quite prepared to usher winter out the back door and welcome spring through the front.

This year is no different. Well, in small ways it is, because we're always planning new things for our garden. This year it's 15' high tomato plants and compost tea. (I hope to write in detail about those plans sometime soon!)

Also, Dad's given me a 4'x5' space to experiment with on my own this year. I think he wants me to try out mostly herbs, though I'm free to do whatever. Since this past year was the first time we've tried herbs (and we only grew oregano and sweet basil), I'm really starting off ignorant.

Tomatoes? I've helped grow those since the time I could walk out to the garden with Daddy. Cucumbers? Yup. Green beans? I've had those coming out my ears. Lettuce? Beets? Squash? Fine, fine, fine. Been there, grown those.


Uh....no. Don't know a thing about those. I don't even know a thing about cooking with those!
But I want to learn.

I'm thinking about planting rosemary, dill, lavender (is that an herb or flower? TOLD you I was ignorant!), oregano (I'll be transplanting that from last year), sweet basil, and anything else that sounds good and useful.

So those of you out there who know anything more than I do about herbs... (and that would be any of you that have grown them or cooked with them!)... Are there any things I should avoid? Any plants that cannot be grown together? Special ways to use the herbs? A very useful herb I've forgotten to mention? Special soil likes or dislikes? Importantly - how do you harvest? Do you pick the top leaves or the lower ones? Pick heavily or lightly?

ANY help would be very much appreciated.

On an aside; have y'all started praying even now for the Lord to bless your gardening efforts this year? Knowing that He controls the rain and sun and wind is such a restful thought, but it also motivates me to pray that He would see fit to bless us with an abundant harvest and good weather ...and a will to work! I know that the best climate in the world won't yield a thing to a sluggard! I'm awfully good at getting excited in the spring, but I know I'll need God's grace to get out in 90* weather to turn compost in the middle of summer!


Marie said...

Herbs are a lot of fun. they seem to prefer light well drained soil. We added sand to our clay and they loved it. Harvest right before they start to bloom. Cut the stalks off. You can harvest up to one half of the plants stem. Though I genrally do't do quite that much. Then hang the cut stalks up to dry.

Last year I tried some herbal tea plants such as Spearamint, Orange Mint, Bergamot, and Thyme. These were really fun. One warning though. Most herbs are very invasive and will attempt to take over the whole garden! (I have thyme all through the yard now. :D )

Anonymous said...

It's not a herb, my project last year was RASPBERRIES.

They grow very quickly.

And SPREAD even faster.

My loving family even helped me COUNT every. single. one. last summer - just for a laugh.

Total? 22,955!!

Amy in NY =)

Ruth Ann said...

I'm not much of a garden person but we've had a garden for years. However, you convicted me on the praying now for God's blessing on our garden. I have never thought about that but how true it is! We must work but we must pray!

Anna said...

gAHG! I just had a long post written then accidentaly hit the back button. Here goes again.
We had a big herb garden at out old house. We grew lots of stuff. Chives don't take up much room, kinda grow like grass. They're great in baked potatoes and soup. We grew oregano too, and dried it (pick sprigs, let them sit out and dry several days, then pull the leaves off.)Parsley is a good one, not very invasive, and really good fresh. It's good in soups and such. We had a big rosemary bush. We may have dried it...I don't remember. We also grew basil. Ithink its spreads a lot, but irs really good to make homemade pesto, and italian dishes. We dried this too, but I'm pretty sure we used the dehdrator for this one.
BTW, a dehdrator is a great thing to have if you don't have one! Its one of the best ways to preserve fresh things. We have done tons of tomatoes, and the sometimes when we rehydrate them we use olive oil and a little vinager and put them on a sandwich with pesto and cheese. Its SOO good. =) We have also done peaches, apples, strawberrys, pineapple, and probably other vegitables that I can't remember.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Mom mom knows a ton about growing and cooking them.
OH, if you don't grow garlic in your veggie garden, you could try that though it's not really an herb. There's nothing like fresh garlic though. hehehe. =)


Leah said...

Amber, my Mom and I have grown some herbs and had good success, they seem to be pretty hardy!

Here are some that we liked: Summer or Winter Savory, Thyme, Sage, Lemon Basil, Peppermint, Dill, Cilantro, Parsley and Chives.

And yes, they do spread!

I read somewhere that dill and tomatoes do not do well together.

Thank you for the reminder to pray now for the garden!

Love in Christ,

Amber said...

Wow, what a wonderful lot of good advice! Thank you, ladies; you've been so helpful!

Amy, we planted raspberry vines last year, but haven't had any yield yet. I'm glad to know they are usually easy to grow! ...22,995 berries! Whoa! How many vines did you have, and WHEREVER did you get the patience to count all those? :)

Anna, I'm so sorry you lost your first post! I know how frustrating that can be - I do it all the time! Agh! And yes, we do have a small dehydrator, but we've only used it for fruit (well, once on a teenie-tiny zucchini, just to see what it would be like. The shrunk pieces weren't big enough to really taste!) I'm interested in what you said about drying tomatoes. Sounds like it might taste good! We always have tons of tomatoes. How do you rehydrate them?

Anna said...

To rehydrate them, we will sometimes put them in some olive oil and a little vinegar, which makes them taste so good! Well, maybe not by them selves, but on sandwiches, salads, or whatever else, they taste really good!

Or you can just do it in water...I've never had them like this I don't think but mom said you can.