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Friday Favorite: Garlic Chives

August 11th, 2017

A few years ago I heard about garlic chives and purchased a small plant at a local nursery and planted it in the garden. It wasn’t happy in that spot and languished for the next few years, my guess is that the quack grass in the area was providing too much competition. Last summer, I finally decided it needed moved to the main vegetable garden to see if it would perk up and look better. If it continued to languish it would head to the compost pile. After a year in this new spot it is thriving and is stunning!

It has probably quadrupled in size and it is blooming profusely. The golf ball sized white blooms are a favorite for the honeybees. Garlic chives make a great addition to the mid/late season garden. So often this is the time when things are starting to wane and fall flowers haven’t picked up yet. This plant would be great in a mixed border or a mass planting. Now that this beauty has taken off, I’m going to propagate it to add it around the garden. The potager could definitely use some shorter, round flowers this time of year. I’m thinking this will pair beautifully with my Russian tarragon.

What plants are you loving in the garden right now?

Friday Favorite: Cilantro

May 26th, 2017

Cilantro is my all-time favorite herb, probably because I grew up in South America eating mass quantities of it. This past winter, when I was looking through the Johnny’s Seeds catalog, I noticed there were a few different varieties. Generally, I grow ‘Slo-Bolt’ cilantro. I have noticed when I purchase cilantro at the store, some is more flavorful than others. This got me to thinking that the different varieties would have a slightly different taste. So I ordered up three different varieties and got them started.

After doing taste tests, ‘Santo’ was my favorite both for flavor and texture. I’ll definitely be growing this variety in the future, along with the ‘Slo-Bolt’ that self seeds itself happily throughout my gardens.

What’s your favorite herb?

Herbal Cats

June 7th, 2016

I grow all kinds of herbs in the garden, including catnip. Of course the cats like to roll in the catnit and catmint, but they also love all the other herbs. Dexter is especially fond of the oregano and frequently smells of it. Samson is particularly fond of the thyme. I’m sure it’s partly their natural inclination for pest control. Many of these herbs keep pets away, let’s hope it helps them not be as palatable to ticks and fleas.
cats in herbs 1
cats in herbs 2
cats in herbs 3
cats in herbs 4
cats in herbs 5
cats in herbs 6
When I head out to the potager I frequently find a cat lounging in one of the herbs. It’s a good thing I have so much of each variety so I can harvest cat hair free sections for the kitchen.

Do you find that your pets like particular plants?

The Tough Chores

August 10th, 2015

When it comes to gardening, the toughest chores for me are pruning back the herbs before they’re completely finished blooming. It’s always hard to cut back the few remaining blooms because the bees love them so much. Of course I know that they’ll come back quickly and provide a second flush of bloom before the snow flies, but that still doesn’t make this chore any easier.
tarragon 1
tarragon 2
tarragon 3
Yesterday was the day for most of the tarragon to get pruned. I have three plants that are still in their prime, so those remain. It’s funny how placement of plants can determine their bloom time. These few plants starting blooming two weeks after the first flush of tarragon, they’ll keep blooming for another week or two before I cut them back.
tarragon 4
Another reason to cut back blooming plants is to avoid too much self sowing. Some plants, herbs in particular, can become rather invasive if allowed to set seed. I always cut back the catmint, oregano, tarragon, hyssop, and the other herbs to avoid too many seedlings popping up. I still end up with a few from late blooms or flowers that I miss.

What garden chores are most difficult for you?

Savory Sage

November 13th, 2014

All summer and fall you’ll find various herbs drying on my sunny back porch or in my oven. Right now I have an oven full of sage leaves drying for Thanksgiving and delicious winter soups.
drying sage
Throughout the summer I eat the young tender leaves fried in butter. Not only do I get a delicious snack, but then I have sage brown butter to drizzle over pasta or soup.
fried sage leaves
Sage is probably one of my favorite herbs, particularly in winter. It pairs so well with winter squash, pork, and other poultry. And who can resist savory sage stuffing at Thanksgiving with lots of onions and celery?

What’s your favorite winter herb?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.