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Do you grow herbs? I do. 

Herbs are easy to grow and thrive in arid climates and shrug off the heat. I’m the first to admit that I don’t like messing around with fussy plants and so herbs fit right in with my gardening style.

Toward the end of summer, my garden is overflowing with herbs – especially basil. I certainly have more than I can use right now, so I like to preserve my herbs in a variety of ways so that I can enjoy the fresh flavor of summer throughout the winter months.

One of the easiest ways to store herbs is by freezing them using olive oil or water. You can see my post on how to freeze herbs here

Herb salts are a newer way to keep the fresh flavor of herbs alive. The ingredients are simple, and they are a unique way to add a delicious taste to your favorite recipes. See how easy they are to make in this blog post

Finally, the most popular method for preserving herbs is to dry them. Some types of herbs are easier to dry than others, and there are different methods for drying herbs. I invite you to read my latest article for Houzz.com where it’s all you need to know about drying herbs. I hope you enjoy it!


Do you dry or freeze your herbs? Which herbs work best for you?

I enjoy growing herbs for two reasons.  First, they are easy to grow and second, I love to use them when I cook.

 
In addition to fresh herbs, I also use dried herbs from time to time, especially in winter when some of my favorite herbs (basil) aren’t growing.
 
While drying herbs is rather simple, there are some guidelines to follow, which I wrote a blog post about…
 
 
Do you have a favorite herb that you like to use when you cook?
 
 

I must confess that the heat of July keeps me indoors most of the time.

In fact, I try to make my trips out to my garden under 15 minutes or less.  I just don’t like to sweat.

But, I do have two things that I have to share with you.

The first one is – my pumpkin seeds have all sprouted and are growing!

All four came up.

I didn’t plant them inside of my vegetable garden, because of how large they get.
I learned my lesson a few years ago.  You can read my post about it if you like –  “What Is Wrong With This Picture”

 
I also put some chicken wire around the planting site to keep my dogs from digging up my newly planted seeds.  
For water, I put a single drip emitter in the center, which is connected to the drip system of my nearby vegetable garden.

My pumpkins should be ready in October.  Right now, that seems so far away – but it will be here before we know it!

A few weeks ago, I posted about what was happening in my summer vegetable garden “Snapshot of a Summer Week in the Garden”

In it, I mentioned trying drying my herbs by spreading them out onto cookie sheets instead of hanging them up.

Well guess what?


 It worked beautifully!

I placed my herbs onto paper towels and then covered them with additional paper towels to keep the dust off.  

I stored them in our garage and when I checked on them a week later – they were nice and dry.

This was much easier then hanging them, so this will probably be my “go-to” method from now on.

*I can only speak to my experience of drying herbs this way in a desert climate.  I’m not sure how well it would work in more humid climates.
  
But, you never know until you try 🙂
 

Summer is officially here.  To be honest, I think it is funny that summer ‘starts’ on June 20th when we have already had temperatures above 100 degrees for weeks.

It may be hot, but my vegetable garden is thriving. 

Here is a snapshot of the past week in my garden:

 My newest vegetable garden is doing very well.  Actually, it is doing better then I had even hoped.  The reason for this is that it receives filtered shade in both the morning and afternoon.  
 The result is that my marigolds and nasturtiums are still thriving even though they normally die off by the end of May.

I am a thrifty person by nature and like to save money when I can in the garden, so I collect the seeds from dried flowers in order to plant them again the following season:


 Hollyhock seeds
Marigold seeds
I save the seeds in regular envelopes.
About 3 weeks ago, I cut back my spent hollyhocks and have been pleasantly surprised to see them come back.
My vegetable gardens continue to produce corn, tomatoes, string beans, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers and herbs.
Before you see the following picture, I need to remind you that I am far from a perfect gardener…
 This is what happens when you are out of town and don’t get to harvest your corn.

You can see that the kernels are sunken and even dried out.

Now if you grew an heirloom variety of corn, you can save the dried kernels for planting next year.  
(Heirloom varieties of vegetables aren’t hybrids and will grow the exactly the same as the parent plant).

OR, you can allow the corn cobs to dry out completely and set them out for the birds, which is what I plant to do since I planted a hybrid type of corn.
(The seeds from hybrids won’t produce the same plant).
Clockwise from top: Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Purple Basil.
 
I normally dry my herbs in bunches, hanging upside down.  But my sister has done it by drying them on cookie sheets.  Because we live in a desert, this is a viable option.
I must admit that I haven’t tried this before, so I’m anxious to see how it works.  I set the cookie sheets out in my garage, covered with a dish cloth.  
We’ll see how it works.
Lastly, I have planted some vegetable seeds outside of my garden.  More about that later….
As for the rest of the week – I will be spending much of my time indoors in air-conditioned comfort, viewing my garden from indoors 😉 

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How about you?
What are you doing in the garden this week?