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Harvesting Herbs


Guest Tiger Lady

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Guest Tiger Lady

Wow! This year the herbs are growing in abundance. I really think we owe it to the nice hard winter we had this year. All my plants seemed to have had the proper winter rest that they've been cheated out on for the last couple of winters before.

 

Yesterday, I harvested a couple of bundles of yarrow. My yarrow is a bit of a 'volunteer' plant. Its been in my hosta bed since I moved here and I thought that it was a weed and I yanked it before it had a chance. Last year i decided to let it grow and find out exactly what it was. This year, it came up beautifully and its full of blooms. I can't believe I so stupidly yanked them last year. I decided to find out exactly what the magical properties of yarrow was, since I've falling in love with this herb that I thought was once a weed. It turns out - that it is indeed a very feminine plant. Traditionally it is given to a bride to incorporate into her bouquet. After the wedding she is suppose to hang the yarrow upside down beside or above her bed. For seven years, she is then suppose to be blessed with a blissful marriage. This is where I got a good chuckle. 7 years!?! 7 years, is the average of most marriages that end in divorce. Heard of the 7 year itch? So, my husband and I've always joked that we had so much time left before our divorce. Of course, we're past 7 years now. But now I know why marriages end in 7 years - its the yarrow. Blame it on the yarrow! All joking aside, I did collect 2 bundles yesterday. I hung one bundle in the living room and one - beside our bed.

 

I also made a beautiful, huge smudge stick. This year my lavender and sage have gotten so big - that I could probably make 10 more huge smudge sticks and still not make a dent in my plants. There's something satisfying about sitting on my front porch and winding twine, tightly around a bundle of lavender and sage. Plus all the weird looks you get from passerbyers is priceless. I know what their thinking. It looks like I'm about to light a big doobie. :naughty:

 

I also harvested a large amount of oregano and more sage for culinary purposes. I need to go back out and harvest some lavender for culinary purposes as well. I got ahold of some recipes last year that involve lavender that I can't wait to try. My cilantro, basil, and parsely are not far off from being harvested. I'm not sure I want to dry my chives - I've been enjoying them fresh. I can't imagine them dried.

 

How is everyone else's herbs doing?

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We have a long growing season here in North Texas. So, I have used most of my fresh herbs and the second garden is coming along nicely.

I like drying my own herbs, since I know that they were grown organically, and I know their origin.

I also have some of those "Topsy Turvey" bags, and my tomatoes are LOVIN' them. Also are my peppers and several herbs. The really seem to like growing upside down. That makes it SO much easier for me. I can do things without having to fall off the porch.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It is a busy time of year in the garden. I am taking a break drinking sun tea and checking into this forum before I head back out to the garden again.

 

I have been harvesting and braiding sweet grass.

 

I have tons of oregano I have been harvesting, using fresh and drying some for later.

 

I have been drying some of my spanish lavender to experiment with.

 

I have also been harvesting St Johnswort flowerbuds and making oil.

 

Today I was harvesting mugwort and Lemon Balm to dry.

 

I have dried chives in the past, doesn't keep much taste. Barely worth the trouble, though I did use it for a little color in winter soups and stews.

 

Yarrow is also good for stopping bleeding.

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Guest Tiger Lady

Wow you have been busy Greenfeet! My lemon balm won't be ready for harvesting till next year as well as my rosemary, thyme, and cat nip. I've started harvesting parsely and I need to find a use for my lemon basil - I think maybe on chicken. I need to find more recipes to use cilantro in other than salsa. Although when my tomatoes and peppers are ready - I definitely want to can salsa. Bean Sprite gave me mint - but I want to let it root a little better before I start using it.

 

Sun Tea .... hmmm!

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I will harvest the first of my herbs this weekend. They're ready now, but I won't have time till Saturday.

 

I like to cut them long and use ribbon to hang them throughout the house till they are dried. Then they chopped up and put into containers.

 

I have a weed(?) in my yard that has the most beautiful purple bell shaped flowers. Does anyone know what it may be? Its all the area here and I haven't been able to find it in any book.

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I am so jealous you guys. I am in a horrible third story apartmet with really bad sun. I have one lily in my bedroom that is barely hanging on. So no fresh grown herbs for me this year :cry: I can't wait to move somewhere I can grow some herbs again. I love gardening!!!!

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Lemon basil and cilantro both can be made into pesto. Usually I make my cilantro pesto half cilantro and half parsley. I love pesto. Made some today using lemon balm and golden marjoram and added almonds instead of pine nuts, just 'cause that is what I had in the cupboards.

 

I use pesto on alot of stuff. Pasta salads, tortillini, chicken, omelets, crackers etc.

 

Wow you have been busy Greenfeet! My lemon balm won't be ready for harvesting till next year as well as my rosemary, thyme, and cat nip. I've started harvesting parsely and I need to find a use for my lemon basil - I think maybe on chicken. I need to find more recipes to use cilantro in other than salsa. Although when my tomatoes and peppers are ready - I definitely want to can salsa. Bean Sprite gave me mint - but I want to let it root a little better before I start using it.

 

Sun Tea .... hmmm!

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Do you do sprouting RavenFlyer? Give that green thumb a little workout anyway. Alots of cool things you can sprout and add to your diet.

 

I am so jealous you guys. I am in a horrible third story apartmet with really bad sun. I have one lily in my bedroom that is barely hanging on. So no fresh grown herbs for me this year :cry: I can't wait to move somewhere I can grow some herbs again. I love gardening!!!!
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Guest Tiger Lady
Lemon basil and cilantro both can be made into pesto. Usually I make my cilantro pesto half cilantro and half parsley. I love pesto. Made some today using lemon balm and golden marjoram and added almonds instead of pine nuts, just 'cause that is what I had in the cupboards.

 

I use pesto on alot of stuff. Pasta salads, tortillini, chicken, omelets, crackers etc.

 

 

Good advice! Thanks Greenfeet. :D I'm going to have to make something tonight.

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Guest Tiger Lady

I have a weed(?) in my yard that has the most beautiful purple bell shaped flowers. Does anyone know what it may be? Its all the area here and I haven't been able to find it in any book.

 

I wish I could help Morgana. I'm not sure what it is at all.

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Do you do sprouting RavenFlyer? Give that green thumb a little workout anyway. Alots of cool things you can sprout and add to your diet.

 

What is sprouting?

 

SapphireMoon

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Sprouting seeds for use as food etc. Almost any seed can be sprouted. Most commonly sprouted are probably mung and alfalfa sprouts. I also like radishes, sunflowers etc. Just be aware that many seeds that are packaged for growing in the garden are treated with toxins, so don't eat sprouts from seeds that may have been treated. Health food stores sell a variety of seeds specifically for sprouting. Sometimes I gather my own seeds.

 

I have a couple jars on my kitchen counter with screens on the top, you can make screens or buy them in any health food store. Soak the sprouts first overnight, and then rinse and drain them at an angle twice a day. I set them to drain in my dish rack. When you have it set up right, it just takes a couple of seconds to handle them. They greatly increase in volume, so start out with just a tablespoon of small seeds like alfalfa and see how that volume fits your needs.

 

The life force is strong in sprouts. They can be used for magical purposes as well as nutritious addition to food such as salads, breads, stir fries etc.

 

What is sprouting?

 

SapphireMoon

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I started waaay too late, so nothing has popped up yet. I wound up buying a lavender plant and planting that because all the lavender seed got washed away in a downpour, and I don't know how the other seeds fared. Not to mention the damn birds helped themselves too.

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That's what I also like about having things in pots. My sister just gave me a beautiful nest of pots and I am going to set some herbs in them. I have a skullcap in full bloom and ready to be turned upside down to dry for tea. I have lavendar ready to pluck. I mixed my old soil with the mulch pot, since I have been mulching the plants all season. It will be re-used, re-fortified for the next group. I would like to obtain one of those turn-it-yourself barrels. It would be so much easier for me to take my biologicals directly out to the pot after supper, when I feed the birds.

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Guest Tiger Lady

My hands smell so pretty. I've been harvesting herbs today. Its the first sunny 90 degree day we've had in a while. My oregano is getting way out of hand. I collected a huge bunch of it and its now cleaned and hung. I also was able to collect some lemon basil. I really want to try it fresh but since basil doesn't like being a perennial in this area - I've got to collect some for this winter and next spring as well as the beginning of next summer. Although tonight I'm going to try a dish with fresh lemon basil and my freshly plucked baby squash. Mmmm....

 

I'm going to try to dry some cilantro and chives. From what Beansprite tells me - they are not wonderful dry but if you dry them quickly (use the oven instead of hanging them) you can preserve some of the flavor. Its mostly so I can have some in the winter.

 

I also made another smudge stick today. This one has rosemary (I finally had enough to spare), lavender, white sage flowers, purple sage flowers and sage leaves.

 

I boiled the rest of my lavender flowers. They are all spent and now with them off the plant - I'm ready for round two. In about 2 weeks I should see another crop of lavender flowers coming up. I get about 3 harvests a year. This year I'm having trouble coming up with enough things to do with the lavender flowers. My two bushes have really come into their own.

 

Its cool to see how everyone else grows and uses their herbs - its given me a lot of ideas. Thanks

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Sprouting seeds for use as food etc. Almost any seed can be sprouted. Most commonly sprouted are probably mung and alfalfa sprouts. I also like radishes, sunflowers etc. Just be aware that many seeds that are packaged for growing in the garden are treated with toxins, so don't eat sprouts from seeds that may have been treated. Health food stores sell a variety of seeds specifically for sprouting. Sometimes I gather my own seeds.

 

I have a couple jars on my kitchen counter with screens on the top, you can make screens or buy them in any health food store. Soak the sprouts first overnight, and then rinse and drain them at an angle twice a day. I set them to drain in my dish rack. When you have it set up right, it just takes a couple of seconds to handle them. They greatly increase in volume, so start out with just a tablespoon of small seeds like alfalfa and see how that volume fits your needs.

 

The life force is strong in sprouts. They can be used for magical purposes as well as nutritious addition to food such as salads, breads, stir fries etc.

 

Thanks Greenfeet. I'm still not sure i understand but I get the jist. How would i find out what seeds are good for sprouting to eat & such? I'll prob. have to order off of the net as the health food stores around here are pretty much just supplement stores plus I dont get out much.

 

Sapphire

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Sapphire: You should be able to find alot of information online Googling for sprouts or sprouting. There should be plenty of info on which seeds to use, directions, supplies etc. There are alot of people who sprout, at least out here on the west coast anyway.

 

There are books on sprouting. I just bought "The Sprouting Book" by Ann Wigmore, at the local used book store. Copyright 1986. Don't know if it is still available or not. I haven't read it yet, I just skimmed through it , it has lists of seed types, sprouting charts etc. Also has recipes of all kinds of things you can do with sprouts. I mostly just use in salads and sandwhiches and stir fries, but maybe I will learn something new.

 

I think if we get into more detail on this subject, it should be moved to its own thread. :D

 

Thanks Greenfeet. I'm still not sure i understand but I get the jist. How would i find out what seeds are good for sprouting to eat & such? I'll prob. have to order off of the net as the health food stores around here are pretty much just supplement stores plus I dont get out much.

 

Sapphire

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I harvested California bay leaves in the woods yesterday. I was needing more bay, I have been burning it for protection alot lately with a problem I am having with a couple I know.... but that is another story.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my garden I have been harvesting Mugwort and Lemon Balm.

 

And I went into the higher elevations to gather some herbs a little late in the season with a friend. We gathered yarrow, St John'swort and elderflowers this week. We also gathered Usnea.

 

I am drying some of it, and some of it I am making into tinctures and oils.

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Ok so can anyone tell the girl with the black thumb *cough* me *cough*, how to grow this stuff so it doesn't die on me? I'd LOVE to get an herb garden growing, but I suck so bad at keeping them alive, I always do something wrong with them, even when I follow instructions to the letter. Any ideas? lol

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Well, first, rid yourself of that black thumb. Meditate it away, or perhaps someone else has an idea for you. Then start smallWith an East window plant, if you have one. Ivy is always good. Ivy gets a little water about once a week, and a little "organic" plant food about once a month. Do NOT over feed or over water it.

You can do this. Have a little confidence in your self. My sister used to have a black thumb, Now she can grow anything she wants.

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Does Ivy grow better inside or outside? I ask this because our screened in/covered back porch faces east and blocks the one window that would get sun if it wasn't for the porch lol. I should also mention that we live in the desert so would more water be required? I know these are probably stupid questions to ones who know, but I REALLY have bad luck with plants and I so want a beautiful yard.

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Guest Tiger Lady
In my garden I have been harvesting Mugwort and Lemon Balm.

 

And I went into the higher elevations to gather some herbs a little late in the season with a friend. We gathered yarrow, St John'swort and elderflowers this week. We also gathered Usnea.

 

I am drying some of it, and some of it I am making into tinctures and oils.

 

 

That's awesome GF! My lemon balm is starting to take on a life of its own. I have a feeling next year its going to take over. I think my yarrow is about done. Its looking a bit sad. I did dry 2 bundles of it.

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Ivy gets to be such a big plant, (though I know there are a few varieties that are smaller and sold in pots) it likes to grow and take over the world ha ha. I have had little luck growing the smaller varieties inside, it does Ok for a while and then its wild side languishes in the confines of a pot. And because it can be quite aggressive, I hate to suggest planting it outdoors either. In some areas it can be a noxious invader. I have some in my yard from previous owners and I have been trying to get rid of the stuff for years. :grind:

 

Since you are in a desert, you really need some local plant advice. What grows here in Oregon, or England, or where ever, could be poor choices for your region. I noticed your Bio does not include info on where you live, so I have no idea what desert climate you live in, so I am not at all sure if my experiances when I lived in Southern California would be any value to you at all.

 

Look around your area, see what people are growing there. Then go to a local nursery and talk to them about what varieties of stuff you have seen that looks good in your region. That is where you will get the most practical advice.

 

Does Ivy grow better inside or outside? I ask this because our screened in/covered back porch faces east and blocks the one window that would get sun if it wasn't for the porch lol. I should also mention that we live in the desert so would more water be required? I know these are probably stupid questions to ones who know, but I REALLY have bad luck with plants and I so want a beautiful yard.
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I live in New Mexico, and I'll be sure to talk to the nursery people here, we moved from Florida not too long ago and I'm still in that mindset. After 10 years of living there and having everything grow very easily, (except for any plants I put in lol). I've been forgetting that I need to look up heat tolerant plants.

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