Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

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the mid july garden

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Still reallllly hot here today. In the 90s. It’s that very humid, hot, sweaty kind of day. You try to get by wearing as few clothes as possible. I came home from work to find my tomato plants wilting. I watered and gave them a long, cool drink. Here are a few pics of what else is going on in the garden in mid July.

bachelor’s button

I planted a ton of Bacherlor’s Button from seed back in early April.

blueberries

The blueberries are starting to ripen!

flowering cilantro

I cannot keep up with the cilantro. I cut and it flowers. We have been using tons!

garlic scapes

About 2 weeks ago, I cut the garlic scapes. Now the garlic plants are maturing and soon will be ready to pull!

lettuces

Hot hot weather is very tough for the tender lettuces, but they are hangin’ in!

Supposedly this heat wave will break tomorrow. I truly hope so. It has been sticky!

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pretty potted basil

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Herbs are a wonderful way to add color and flavor to your meals, but especially in (almost) summer when you can grow your own. We are big fans of having tons of herbs on hand to accentuate every meal. My two favorites are basil and cilantro. We go through TONS! I like to grow cilantro from seed in our raised garden beds because it is so easy to grow right in the soil, and you can plant new seeds all summer long to have a continuous supply of herbs.

As for basil, I tend to favor “starts” which are tiny, ready-to-go plants that most likely begin in a greenhouse. I have spent a lot of time over the years starting herbs from seeds indoors in the late winter and carefully transplanting the seedlings to my garden. But sometimes I just want a hardy, ready-to-go plant. Sometimes it is perfectly okay to want convenience and pay a teensy bit more to have someone else lovingly start the growing for you. Especially if it is organic.

So I bought some basil starts a few weeks back from my favorite local farm stand and potted them in cute pots I had on hand to decorate my front stoop. And they have taken off! Growing big, beautiful, aromatic basil leaves!
basil pots

I like having potted herbs close by that I can easily water and clip off what I want for salads, sandwiches, stir frys, and more. Basil thrives in semi-shade, too, so you can almost always find a great outside nook to put your pots. Almost anywhere will do. And I love adding color and greenery to the front steps!
basil front stoop

Next on my list is to find/acquire a healthy rosemary plant. I want to pot one that I can keep outdoors for summer and then bring inside once the weather gets cold. I am on the hunt!

What are your favorite herbs? Which ones do you tend to use the most?

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ridiculously productive weekends rock!

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

How was your weekend? I hope it was relaxing and fruitful. We braved the on-and-off rain all weekend long, but we managed to cross soooo many things off of the to-do list. And we grilled and cooked. And we relaxed plenty. It was really awesome.

For starters, yesterday we finally moved most of our furniture back downstairs and back inside from having the floors redone over a week ago. We had mostly been living upstairs for the last two weeks. The computer is still upstairs, as are the bookcases. We shall see if they stay up there or migrate back down.

In addition, we cleaned off our screened-in porch because we are having it painted later this week! I am really excited about this next project. I had to move all of my houseplants back inside from off the porch (their temporary home over the last two weeks while we were having the floors done).
plants on porch

While Craig worked on wiping down all the porch furniture (pollen explosion!) and moving it to the basement, I cleaned the pollen off of all my houseplants and did some much-needed trimming.

unruly house plant

Eek!

trimmed house plant

Ahh... much better.

plant trimmings

I rooted some of the cuttings, and I will compost the rest.

Once I was done moving the plants back indoors, I wiped down all the curtain rods in the living room and dining room and put all the curtains back up. Then I moved on to putting our upstairs drain in the bathtub back together after its necessary semi-annual cleaning of my hair. Oh the fun! Oh the excitement!

Hey, it’s done. And I love having a free-flowing drain and clean tub!

Then it was off to tend to laundry and other Sunday chores like emptying the compost, gathering the garbage to put out, putting away clean clothes and linens (fresh, clean towels!), replacing the dish cloths, and making tomorrow’s lunches for work: roasted red pepper hummus sandwiches with garden greens and cucumber slices.
hummus sandwich

Meanwhile, Craig dragged our poor old couch to the curb for its pickup tomorrow. Our “casualty” from getting the floors done. Time to get rid of the ancient, sagging, icky couch. We are a little sad to see it go since we are now couch-less, but it’s time.
couch

Finally I did my early evening garden walkabout and picked some radishes to use for dinner. I decided to roast some organic chicken thighs with green peppers, poblano peppers, onions, carrots, and radishes.
radish pepper onion

roasted chicken and veggies

We started with fresh-picked salad greens from the garden, then topped the greens with brown rice followed by the roasted chicken and veggies (roasted with olive oil, garlic, black pepper, and herbs). A hearty and well-deserved meal after a long day of crossing things off the to-do list. It feels so good to start the work week knowing the porch is cleaned off, the plants are back inside, the laundry and cleaning are done, lunch is made, and my belly is full.

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good june pickings

Friday, June 10th, 2011

We are already enjoying many treats and delights from the garden this year. Here’s a peek at the front bed, filled with lettuces, baby spinach, radishes, beets, broccoli rabe, carrots, and garlic.

We’ve been feasting radishes for a few weeks now. And the lettuces are wonderful. Fresh, tender baby romaine and an assorted mezclun mix. Mixed with baby spinach leaves, we are loving garden-fresh salads!

lettuces and baby spinach

Lettuces on the left, baby spinach on the right.

The sugar snap peas are starting to go crazy. They are trellising away.
sugar snap peas

And now they are blooming and beginning to form actual sugar snap peas! By the end of the weekend, they will be ready to pick.

sugar snap peas

Such delightful white flowers that bloom to make way for sugar snap peas.

Meanwhile, I can’t seem to pick the cilantro fast enough.
cilantro

We have been clipping cilantro to use in garden salads, a red quinoa salad that I made, in marinades for roasted chicken thighs… cannot get enough! Soon the cilantro will begin to flower, and then I will clip it all back. I will use what I can and freeze the rest to use all summer long while I plant the next round and wait for it to grow.

What’s coming next? Garlic! The scapes are about ready to burst forth from the garlic plants. Garlic scape time is the best time of year! I’d say we are about a week away.
garlic

And it just wouldn’t be right to talk about good June pickings without mentioning WEEDS.
weed bed

What should I do with this bed? This is where I planted potatoes last year. But I didn’t get my act together on time this year to get starter potatoes to plant. Hmmm… I am thinking I will plant a fantastic herb garden here perhaps. Or I could use the space for flowers. Indecision. But clearly the weeds have got to go!

Weeding this bed is one of this weekend’s projects. And eating well. Weeding and eating. The perfect way to celebrate good June pickings in the garden!

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cleaning out the flower beds

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Yes! It’s that time of year: cleaning all the crap out of the flower beds that has accumulated since last fall. All the dead, withered leaves from last year’s lillies, all the matted and clumped together leaves from the dogwood tree up above, and all the bits and pieces of detritus that make their way into the flower bed and settle there for their long, winter’s nap.

Here is what my front flower bed looked like before I began working on it over the weekend:
cleaning out the flower bed

It was kind of a mess.
cleaning out the flower bed

I have been slowly making my way through cleaning out this bed over the last few days, taking great care not to strain my back as I bend and stretch. And so far it is working! I have uncovered a great many hyacinths and tulips starting to burst forth from the soil.

Here is what the flower bed looks like now:
cleaning out the flower bed

cleaning out the front flower bed

Yeah! So much nicer! The caveat to clearing out the flower beds means that, really, it is now pretty much open season on weeds. Up they will come fast and furious. I will have to go into near daily maintenance mode to pluck and pick out the weeds as they try to compete for my attention.

In the meantime, I’m trying to decide what else I want to plant in the front bed this year… annual seeds? Spring bulbs? More herbs?

What’s growing in your flower beds?

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