The US girls are planting their gardens as it is spring and we are getting ready for winter. So we are all in different situations and climates. And some of us may have no garden at all or a tiny space. But we can all grow a few things. And it's a money saver. Herbs are available to buy in many forms, fresh bunches, semi dried, dried... and they all cost a few dollars a bunch or packet. For the same few dollars you can buy several tiny plants and get them going for future use. Once you have some of them they go on forever and others seed like my Parsley that is now over a hundred baby plants! Some we can get going for free if a friend has rosemary or mint, for instance, you can usually pull up a little bit and you have a plant ready to go.
Only the other day I showed how I stacked four pots to form a herb garden in a small space. This grows a surprising amount of food. The bottom layer is a half wine barrel and will grow quite big things. But smaller pots will still give you a supply of your favourite herbs. If you are growing parsley you need a really tall deep pot. I could not ever grow it well until I found this out.
Grow what you love and use if it is suitable for your climate. The local nursery will help you with this.
I grow and use chives, garlic chives, oregano, two types of parsley... one is Italian the other I don't know! Also rosemary, thyme, chili, capsicums, tomatoes, limes and recently we planted an apple tree.
For a while there I thought my garden was quite full. Then when I had so many parsley seedings I started to look for spots to plant them and suddenly every small space was fair game. Now that I have done this I can see I can keep going and I have room for lots more herbs. It means my garden will look increasingly English Cottage Garden (which I love) rather than neat manicured garden which we inhertied when we moved in. So now I am gardening in the gaps!
Along the front fence I have three rosemary bushes. I cut this all the time and use when I am roasting lamb as it goes beautifully. It is so fragrant and I love it.
Out the back I have my herb pots near the back door and a bit planter full of sage and parsley.
Mimi and Hilde taught me to make sage and burnt butter . Yum.
My basil is almost finished so not at it's best but I have had wheel barrow loads of it!
I don't know much about herbs but am trying to improve. Glenda is helping me with that. And my philossphy is to grow the things that I am successful with and in big quantities. I am happy to grow much more than I can use as then I have bunches to give away. Once I took a basket of rosemary and bunches of parsley into our local cafe which has a market garden theme and lots of fresh produce. I got to know the people in there. They gave me free coffees after that! But anyone who cooks will love a fresh bunch of herbs. The basil smells just beautfiul.
Plenty of chopped parsley goes into my chicken soup and I serve it chopped over spahetti sauce and as an addition to lots of meals. I use this most. The chives I sprinkle over potatoes and sour cream potato salad, in savoury muffins, with eggs and tomato (the addition of chives makes Andy like anything).
Basil, I make pesto and a simple basil and tomato summer salad that is lovely. I add fresh oregano chopped over spaghetti sauce, this is delicious. Last night we had lamb with baked feta and sprinkled with thyme and it was lovely. I know I do use something from the garden nearly every day. And I have been able to give away and also do some trading. I wonder what this all would cost me per week to buy? I would guess if I bought several bunches of fresh herbs per week it would mount up pretty quickly. Or I just wouldn't use so many because of the expense. So the abundance I have makes a difference!
Mum has the hugest Bay Leaf tree that she planted about thirty years ago. We all use the leaves from this lovely tree. She also has rosemary and lots of lavender.
Now to look at what to add and make the most of my spaces. It is wet here now and there are things I could plant. I am not too worried about frost as open spaces get it but not so much in more protected spots and it is not winter yet anyway.
Pa grew comfrey and used it to make a tea that was a liquid fertiliser for the garden. So comfrey is something I will look to add. I could probably add ten more things...
What do you grow? Do you have somewhere you could add a little more? I thought if I could learn more about different herbs I could further expand my pantry this way.
There are times like during floods where our garden might no longer be a help to us. If you are in a flood prone area some pots up higher with your herbs might be better. And there are those who have tons of room that can go way further with lots of fruit trees and vegies. I know Cath grows a great crop of pumpkins in her back yard. The thing is to use the space we have, even if it is a balcony or tiny courtyard, to grow what we can. The first time you go out and snip herbs to go with dinner they have paid for themselves. They are always there to add freshness to your meals and goodness in your cooking. I know, at least, I am not relying on the shops for this part of my pantry.
I am sure I can expand on this in my garden and also use more herbs in cooking and dry, freeze and preserve reserves. I am just learning. All tips and recipes will be appreciated!
My bit is to encourage us all to include some things from our garden into our supplies and reserves. We will be so glad we added what we could.
I hope you are having a good week! Hoping to have god news to report soon! xxx