Tip of the day–the herbs have gone crazy so I have been cutting them and drying in my warming oven. turn the oven to 150 degrees and place the herbs on a piece of newspaper. I leave them in the oven about 4 hours and then use my hands to rub them from their stems. I have bags of dried tarragon, thyme, oregano,mint and stevia. I do not dry my bay leaves that way since they turn a brown color. they are best just hung to dry.
When you plant Lovage be sure to trap it in a container because it will take over an area and it is hard to dig out. Reminds be of planting bamboo. I like to add Lovage to potato soup as it simmers, tie it with string so it is easy to remove. It give the soup a wonderful mild celery flavor, served hot or cold. .
My herb garden takes up most of the front area of our house so it is easy to keep watch over it’s progress. This year has been warm enough that many of my herbs made it through the winter and are going crazy. since I can only use so much to cook fresh I have been cutting like crazy and drying in my warming drawer. I set the temperature on the warming drawer at 150 , lay the fresh herbs on a newspaper and close the drawer. The heat will shut off in a couple of hours, I leave the herbs in for the night and in the morning has perfect dried thyme, rosemary and tarragon.
The rabbits are quick to eat the Stevia when I frist plant it so you have to use repellant or it will be gone by morning.
Note on Lovage—-Lovage grows like a weed and needs to be contained very much like mint and of course bamboo. I stuff chickens with Lovage, tie a hand full with string and add to my potato leek soup while it simmers. Discard the lovage, before you puree the soup, serve hot or cold but you will love the flavor of the lovage.
It is April first in Seattle and time to start planting. We will plant peas, radishes and lettuce this week-end. We are planting 3 types of peas, first a shelling pea called Sienna and an early shelling pea called Strike.
Next we plant a short row of snow peas or often know as sugar peas and pea pods for those stir fry dishes and salads.
We will seed the peas closer than normal so I can pick about a third of the plants when they reach about 6 inches high, this gives me those tender pea shoots for stir frying. This will be the first planting of peas since they will be ready in 49 to 60 days. We will seed a second planting in about 3 weeks so we have a longer harvest period.
Be sure to soak your pea seeds for at least 12 hours in a glass of water before planting, this will help them sprout faster. A peas root nodules are very high in nitrogen, this is why you do not want to thin the peas. When we double plant for the harvesting of the pea shoots I only pinch off the tender shoots and leave the roots in the ground.
The nitrogen released from pea roots helps increase the yield of the pea crop but also the next crop you plant in the ground when the peas fade.
We had a great harvest of garlic this year and now have taken all the dirt off, removed the leaves and placed the heads in seperate mesh bags. We allowed the garlic to hag in a dry cool place for about 6 weeks before we removed the leaves and roots.
Found the bags at Whole foods and they are made of cotton so should keep the garlic dry and free of mold. I have seperated the types and will report as we start to use each type.
A good web site is Peaceful Valley at, groworganic.com, some of the best types are as follows.
Purple Italian, Georgian Fire, Purple Glaze, California Early White, Music and Metechi. Each one of these types has a different flavor and size clove. It is close to the time to plant your new garlic so order now and enjoy next fall.
I worked on the herb garden this week-end. We had a mild day and since I had lost several of my rosemary plants and wanted to replace them. It is time to sow the seeds for my parsley hedge, I did half flat leaf and half curley leaf.
It is strange that I also lost 3 of my large sage plants that were 3 years old. I guess the hard frost we had in Dec. took them out.
Carl planted bush peas and I planted red cabbage starts and lettuce starts. We put in Chard seeds and hope they will come up.
The garlic that we planted in October is about 8 inches high. We still have some left from last year so I am trying to work my way through before it starts to sprout.
Now is a great time to clean out your herb pots and get planting.
It seems that we have just gotten the garden finished, cleaned up and we are getting ready to plant again. We ordered new garlic starts from Peaceful Valley, http://www.groworganic.com, is a great source for garlic and fingerling potatoes.
Really like two types that are a bit stronger Chesnok Red and Metechi.
these are all organic starts and we have great success from everything we have bought from this farm in the past.
This is the week of clean up.
After being gone for a week I have spent the last few days picking the last of the roma tomatoes and roasting the tomatoes for my final batches of sauce. I cut the tomatoes in half, drizzel with olive oil and roast for 2 hours at 325. Then put them through the food mill and vacu seal before I place them in the freezer.
Picked the last of the peppers and took them to the neighbor for them to make a great hot pepper condiment packed in oil and used all year long.
Corn is going fast so I blanched about 20 ears then cut the corn off the cob, vacu sealed and pop in the freezer. The corn now is great in chowder, salads and added in other soups. Check out my recipe in Memorable Recipes for a wonderful corn chowder recipe.