Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frosty Herbs

Do you grow herbs?  I know many of you have vegetable gardens, both cool season and warm season veggie crops.  Some of you also grow fruit.  I used to grow cool and warm season vegetables.  I used to  grow fruit.  I used to grow herbs. 
Now I only grow herbs.  I might put some lettuce plants in some containers on the deck in the spring....and might do tomatoes this summer.  For now, I grow herbs.  The yard isn't set up for a vegetable garden.  That is ok, we have the best farmer's markets.  What I really love is having fresh herbs at my backdoor.
I grow most of the usual ones---Mediterranean oregano.  Looking to find some Mexican Oregano-- understand it has a different flavor.  I have a killer recipe for chili that calls for MEXICAN Oregano.  Will keep looking.

Flat leaf parsley-- what a difference from curly parsley, and dried parsley?? Not even worth it.

Salad Burnet, Sanguisorba minor, another evergreen herb.  This herb isn't one I cook with, not in the heat kind of cooking.  I use this cucumber flavored herb in salads and in my homemade Tzatziki, a cucumber yogurt dish.  This herb adds that extra cucumber boost.  Nice addition to anyone's herb garden.

One herb I had to search high and low for was one that was in my German herb mix. Fleisch-und-Gyros Würzer, a mixture of Bohnenkraut, Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika and other herbs and spices.  I could find any and all of the herbs except Bohnenkraut.  For the longest time I couldn't find the translation for it.  Finally I found out it was Winter Savory.  Satureja montana, an evergreen perennial sub-shrub, with cute little white blooms in the late summer. 

Here it is all frosty.  I was able to find seeds and grew my own.  One can guess as soon as the seeds sprouted, I found some Winter Savory in one of the garden centers. I now have a few plants and I shared some with my fellow Master Gardener Interns. This herb is so wonderful in savory dishes...figures, right!  Pork dishes, bean dishes, salads, you name it...savory rocks.

One can't have herbs in the garden without Rosemary.  Even if you never cook with it, just to rub your hands across the plant and enjoy the fragrance of its leaves.  Rosemary is a must have.

Thyme is something we all need....both in our food and in our lives.   For now my Thyme is in a small clay pot on the deck.  All my herbs are on the deck in containers.  I have dogs, enough said.   I will find a larger container for some of the herbs in the spring.
I love the Sage with the frost on its leaves.   I use the sage in my stuffing at Thanksgiving and I put it fresh salads.

One herb that doesn't handle the cold weather at all.....Basil.  Sweet Basil is a warm season annual.  I leave my Basil in the herb pot until it is no longer.  The Goldfinches LOVE to eat the seeds of the Basil.  I like being able to have things for the birds to eat.   See how sad these poor little spent blooms look?  

And can see the leftover bloom. 

Have no fear---I harvested a few seeds to grow some Basil indoors over the winter. 

What herbs do you have to have in your garden?

words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.


  1. Janet,
    We planted Mother of Thyme 3 years ago, it did great spread like crazy. Now it is nearly gone, we cook with it a bit, but not that much. Can you recommend a good thyme? We also grow and use rosemary and oregano, don't know which oregano, it has been in the garden over 12 years.

  2. Lovely herbs and you remind me to pick some sage for my turkey dressing. I only have oregano and sage here, and I guess some lemon verbena. You have quite a few herbs and that is great considering you moved in not so long ago. I had no idea the birds love basil seeds-very nice to know.

  3. I love fresh herbs, there is nothing like them for giving great flavor to cooking! I have tarragon, English thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, chives, and marjoram. Oh, also lavender, but I don't cook with that.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I read online that the Piggyback plant used to be a popular houseplant, but I don't remember it from my college days. I had a spider plant, a couple of Christmas cactuses, and a prayer plant in college.

  4. Hi Janet. I grow fresh herbs too, though I have to replace my Sage - I foolishly planted it out in the border and it died, hating the cold clay soil. I will replace it with a purple sage I think. I have trouble growing enough herbs in pots to keep me going I use them in cooking so much. Next year I hope to do better growing them from seed, and will order lots from Jekka's Herb Farm which is just up the road from here. Must try Winter Savory - and hope that next year I don't fail utterly with the Basil!

  5. You are so right about the basil not being able to take cold temperatures. I have even found that bringing it inside doesn't help because it must need a great deal of sunshine to do well even if protected from the cold. The only one surviving in my garden is the rosemary.

    Always Growing

  6. a cucumber flavored herb?? I've never heard of it but MUST try some! I love cukes and tzatziki!

    My rosemary and oregano are hanging on. Parsley and cilantro also do well in the winter here, though I don't have either growing at the moment.

  7. Just a few herbs -- a few types of basil (lemon, lime, and sweet), rosemary and sage. I'd like to grow more but they usually melt down in our vegetable garden.

  8. I grow basil, oregano, lavender and thyme in my garden every season. Next spring I would love to add a dedicated herb garden to grow more things. :)

  9. I'd like to grow more herbs than I do--thanks for some great suggestions, Janet. The salad burnet sounds like something that we would enjoy, and the Bohnenkraut certainly sounds interesting, too. I don't use rosemary in my cooking very often, but I do love the plants; as you say, they're a delight just to touch and smell throughout the growing season.

  10. I get depressed in the years I don't get around to planting polytunnels, but the herb patch does make me feel considerably better about having something to harvest when it is cold out. I didn't know that goldfinches ate basil seeds! Next year I will try to resist harvesting the entire patch for frozen pesto sauce. :)

  11. Randy- I like the Common Thyme or the Silver edged thyme. As I said earlier, I put most of my herbs in containers, so spreading isn't an issue.

    Tina- I have friends who like the lemon verbena, what do you use it for? I know it grows like wildfire. As for the birds and the seeds, it is fun to watch those Goldfinches try to hang onto a basil stem.

    Alison- Hmm, tarragon, good idea, I have a marinade that uses tarragon vinegar. I would love to grow lavender but our soils are clay and would have to amend like crazy.
    Never had a Christmas cactus in college, spider plant--yes!

    Janet- Sage is one I have to replace more frequently....especially the Tri-colored sage. You will love winter savory. I was at a formal garden and they had winter savory in their knot garden.

    Jan- I am not sure how well this front window will be for my indoor basil, will keep you posted.

    Ginger- you will love it! I especially like the extra punch it gives tzatziki.

    Sweetbay- a dedicated herb garden is wonderful. I find it has to be close by the kitchen as I am not always thinking of what I need until I am in the process of making it.

    Rose- Hope you find & like both the salad burnet and the winter savory (bohnenkraut)...I think of Rosemary more as an ornamental than an herb for cooking.

    Eliza- herbs are the way to go! I know, it is hard to choose between the birds and your pesto.


  12. I like Rosemary and I bring my pots inside during the winter.
    Sometimes I get a parsley plant started and then the aphids find it so it doesn't last long.
    I love to grow basil as well in the summer. Good for pesto.

  13. Rosey- I think your climate is a bit harsher than mine, so I would bring mine in as well. Sorry about the aphids on your parsley.

  14. I love herbs also, anytime I can find a way to have fresh herbs in the winter I'm all for it.. I think I'll plant some basil seeds indoors also :)

  15. Hi nice blog :)
    I have 10 different species of basil and still counting. They are the easiest to grow, not much luck with thyme and Greek oregano and lavender though. But never say give up yet!


  16. What a great post! I so enjoy growing herbs. I hope you find Mexican oregano. It has a much stronger smell and flavor than the Mediterranean oregano, but it is a must have particularly when making Mexican dishes. I wish I had known that the goldfinches love the seeds from basil. I was trying to grow it outdoors a little too long and it got nipped by our first frost. I chucked it, but will know now to keep it out for the birds!

  17. Canna Boost

    Nice blog good information in this blog thanks for sharing


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