This week has been rather uneventful. Of course, it’s hot and we are spending more time indoors then out.
My husband however, has had plenty of projects that are keeping him busy. He seems to enjoy having a ‘to-do’ list and since some of his to-do’s are things for me in the garden – I am a very lucky woman.
Earlier this week, he finished a project that he has been working on a long time for me.
|I wish that my camera had a ‘skinny’ button. BUT, I do have photo editing software, which allows me to crop off any parts of me that stick out too far in pictures – like my rear end 😉|
I’m sure you all have been waiting with baited breath for the second installment of how to grow and dry your own herbs….I know I have 😉
|Clockwise from top left – Oregano, Basil, Sage, Purple Basil, Parsley and Thyme.|
Last time we talked about how to harvest and dry your herbs. The process is so easy – the ‘air’ does most of the work for you.
|Jars of Oregano, Thyme and Oregano|
I grow basil, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme in my garden. To be honest, I don’t use a lot of fresh herbs and I really should. I tend to use dried herbs instead.
While I do like to use dried herbs when I cook – I don’t like to pay $3+ dollars for a tiny container. So, instead of buying dried herbs
at the grocery store – I make my own.
It is very easy to dry herbs and they make great and inexpensive gifts. Herbs are best when they are air-dried – which is the method that retains their flavor best.
– Pick your herbs in the morning and wash and dry them. Discard any discolored leaves.
– Using string or twine, tie your herbs into small bundles (this is especially important for basil, which as lots of moisture in its leaves). Wrap the string a few times around each bundle to keep them from falling out as they dry.
|Bundles of Oregano|
Tie each bundle to a coat hanger.
|Bundles of Oregano and Sage|
Herbs need to hung indoors to dry. Hang them in an area out of
the sun in an area with good air circulation – I used our garage.
You can hang them from a clothes rack that you use for drying your clothes, or you can tie them from almost anything. Laying herbs on paper towels and placing them by a de-humidifier to dry is another method to dry herbs.
**To protect your herbs from dust, you can place paper lunch
bags over each bundle – to do this make a hole in the bottom of each lunch bag and thread the cotton string through it before attaching the string to whatever you are hanging your herbs from. It is okay if the herbs stick out the bottom of the bag – it’s the top which need protection from dust.
Depending on where you live, drying herbs can take as little as a week in a dry climate up to 4 weeks in more humid climates.
Come back for “Part Two” to see how I how to crush and store dried herbs.
Lately, I have been collecting toilet paper rolls. Now I know that may sound a bit weird to some of you, but I needed them for my garden.
So how on earth can toilet paper rolls help you in the garden?
Well, they are an inexpensive, environmentally friendly tool in which to start seeds indoors.
|From upper right – bush beans, marigolds, Kentucky beans, cucumbers, sugar snap peas and spinach.|
Every day, we checked the moisture of each toilet paper roll and added more water if necessary.
Do you remember my post about my runaway gourd vine?
Well, I planted two birdhouse gourd seeds and a few months later, it was escaping my vegetable garden and was making a good attempt at taking over the lawn.
Here are a few of my gourds. The rest I am using as a centerpiece on my dining room table and I also gave some to my mother.
Sometimes when I am driving around, I see a poorly pruned tree or shrub, and I just cringe. It never ceases to amaze me the crazy ways that people take care of their plants. Whenever I see plants like this, I whip out my camera and quickly take a photo and then drive away before the homeowner asks what I am doing.
I mean if they catch me taking a photo, I can’t very well tell them, “I am taking pictures of the horrible way you prune your trees ?” Can I? Well, I probably could and should, but I am too chicken to confront people that way. I have no problem confronting people about their horrible pruning if they have asked me over to do a consult on their landscaping. I just like an invitation first before I tell people what they are doing wrong 😉
‘Poodle’ Olive Tree
A few years ago we suffered a severe micro-burst during the summertime at the community where I was working. The tree above snapped off in the high winds at a weak point in the trunk, which was weak due to improper pruning that was done a long time before the storm.
The Citrus tree, above, has been pruned the right way, but I just had to include it in this post because it is so humorous. Look closely (you can click on the photo to enlarge)…. the homeowner tied CDs to the tree to scare off the birds from eating the fruit.
Now for some truly awful examples of shrubs….remember the “cupcakes” from a previous post?
One of the results of repeated shearing of your shrubs into specific shapes (cupcakes or balls), results in areas of dead growth. This is because sunlight cannot penetrate inside the shrub and it is constantly trying to replace the growth that is cut off constantly. There is a cure, which I will cover in a spring time post, which is when corrective pruning should be done.
I’m sure most of you know how much fun it can be to garden with your kids. I remember my dad building each of us a raised planter where we could grow vegetables and flowers. Today, my kids and I went to the store to buy flowers for their new garden. You will NEVER guess what they are planting their flowers in…
Dianthus and snapdragons were Kai’s choice.