Archive for the ‘chives’ Tag

08-22-2016 Journal – Herbs!   Leave a comment

With the Summer more than half over our garden time is more about canning, drying, and storing the results of our efforts than anything else.  I’ve been asked in the past how I can get so much production from such a small garden. There’s really no simple answer. An old adage immediately comes to mind: “Plan the work, then work the plan.”  Test your soil and keep it fresh, season to season, with compost. Plant your plants near compatible plants.  Pull the weeds and kill the bugs. Easy peasy!

The following picture was taken this morning of my small herb garden. The total square footage is 60 ft. which isn’t all that much.  I’ve noted the herbs planted there and while they are jammed tightly into the small space they are flourishing.

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This small patch has been supplying us with fresh and dried herbs for more than seven years and will hopefully continue to do so.  We’ve had so much luck with our herbs growing that next year we’re converting another 100 square feet of garden space for a much larger herb selection. This little patch will continue as is but the new area will be loaded with every herb I can find that we can dry and store. With a larger and more diverse collection I can begin harvesting herbs to create my own mixes for picking, canning, home brewing, and cooking.

Growing more herbs has a number of advantages over vegetables because none of Mother Nature’s little critters seem to like the herbs. That doesn’t include neighborhood felines who find fresh catnip rather interesting. That will allow me to remove some of the fencing I have in place and eliminate my current problems of ripping my clothing on the fence  or constantly falling on my butt trying to climb over it.  My better-half claims that I’m the clumsiest person on the planet but I dispute that.  I’m just unlucky is all.

I will try to post as usual but our upcoming vacation may make it difficult. I’ll attempt to post from New Orleans if I can but after all it is a vacation. I’ll have plenty to post about upon our return.

ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR SUMMER

05-08-2016 Journal–1st Garden Plantings   Leave a comment

Even though the nights remain cool it would appear that Mother Nature is beginning to cooperate.  The hard frosts have stopped and the temperatures have been well above freezing at night.  It’s time to get busy planting a few items that aren’t effected as much by the cooler temperatures. As you can see here the rhubarb could care less about the weather. It’s up and going strong.

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With that in mind I purchased two more small rhubarb plants to fill in the frame a little. You just can’t have enough rhubarb because regardless of what you use it for . . . it’s delicious.

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The herb garden is coming along nicely but I lost a few plants over the winter. I’m not sure why but two of them had been around for years and I hated to see them go.  Nothing I can do but replace them.

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These items were planted next. Three parsley plants, three lavenders, and two spinach.

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As you look at the photo’s you can see chives growing damn near everywhere. Regardless of the weather you can’t seem to slow them down much. We’ll have bushels to harvest once again this year.

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It just felt so good to be digging around in the dirt for a few minutes. Next week I’ll be heading to our local nursery to pick up some lettuces and any thing else that catches my eye. I try to be guided by what the nurseryman advises when it comes to early plantings.  I’ve paid a serious price in years past by not listening to him.  The hot peppers and tomatoes will have to wait a few more weeks when the danger of frost is completely gone.

THE FUN HAS BEGUN

07-31-2014 Journal Entry–Herbs ‘R’ Us!   2 comments

This Summer continues and of course the garden related tasks keep right on coming.  With a break in the rainy weather I thought I should begin harvesting and drying some of the herbs from the garden.  This summer’s abundance of rain has caused the herbs to grow like never before. 

I learned a lot of what I know about herbs from my later mother who had a world class green thumb and could grow damn near anything. Herbs were no different.  Over the years I’ve collected a small library on growing herbs and their many uses both culinary and medical.  I’ve always maintained an herb garden and use them in almost every dish I prepare and eat.  I realize that many of you recognize the names of herbs but have never actually seen the growing plants.  Here’s a shot of what Oregano looks like in bloom. The blossoms are beautiful and can be used to enhance the presentation of any kind of pasta dish.

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I’ll guide you through the drying process as best I can so please don’t get too bored.  First I cut a collection of chives from a number of areas in the garden as well as an armload of Oregano for drying.

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The part of this task I dislike the most is cleaning weeds and other debris from the herbs. It’s a pain but must be done meticulously.  I do meticulously really well especially when it’s concerns something I’ll be eating.

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A quick blanching and a dip into ice water helps kill bacteria and maintain the bright green color.  A quick chopping and then it’s off to the dehydrator for drying.  Tomorrow I’ll remove it from the dryer and package the herbs in airtight containers for storage.  This should supply us with excellent flavors for our meals in those cold and nasty months of January and February.

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I’m sure that by the end of the summer I’ll complete this process at least three more times with the Tarragon, Sage, and Parsley.  The entire house smells of fresh herbs when their drying and I love that.  Someone should come up with a room freshener like that instead of the everyday run of the mill vanilla and spice.

I’ll continue this posting in a day or so with a few photos of the finished dried herbs and the veggie mix the better-half is preparing for canning later today. This pace will continue for another four weeks or until every thing is dried and canned. Then we can kick back and enjoy the late summer and Fall activities. It’s the best time of the year here in Maine with dozens of festivals being held on the weekends. We  Mainer’s do our best to make the most of the Summer and Fall  seasons because they just don’t  last very long. 

06-09-2014 Journal Entry–Mish Mosh!   Leave a comment

I’m feeling somewhat so-so today.  I’ve got the blah’s for some unknown reason and it’s making me a little crazier than usual.  I have a number of small projects to do but my motivation has disappeared.  It shouldn’t be this way but it is.  Even though the weather is beautiful, the house, garden, and yards look as good as they ever have, I’m still blahhhhhh.

Todays title is mish/mosh and it’s the perfect descriptor of where my head is at.  Todays posting will contain almost anything that crosses my mind with no rhyme or reason. To start off this list of so-so crap will be today’s celebration of a stupid flower.  For years my better-half and I wanted to find and to grow white iris’s.  We have hundreds of blue or purple iris’s but white ones seem difficult to find.  Last summer we stumbled on a white iris plant that we purchased, gently planted, watered, and babied hoping against hope to see a bloom this year.  Our wish was granted this week when this bloom made it’s first appearance.

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I can’t believe I actually became excited by this but such is my life these days. Every little special moment must be celebrated no matter how lame I may have thought things like this were in the past.  With that in mind here are a few updated photo’s of the garden and yards now that the weather has warmed and the plants are really taking off.

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As you can see I have chives growing every where.  The main reason is exactly what you see, gorgeous blooms throughout the garden. Later I’ll harvest them and have dried chives for cooking next winter.  It’s just a beautiful plant for those of us who love beautiful flowers and the always delicious taste of onions.

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Over the years our herb and vegetable garden has changed dramatically as we experiment with plants that can be easily stored, canned or frozen for our own use.  Most of the herbs are culinary with the exception of the catnip, apple mint, spearmint, and peppermint.  The catnip is permitted only because it’s removal would really piss off the neighbor’s cat if he couldn’t stop over for a buzz every so often. The mints can be used for tea or potpourri when dried but we don’t use them all that much.  They just supply a wonderful aroma as you walk through the garden.

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There you have it, another posting of my disturbingly blah day.  The better-half and I have an upcoming day trip to Kennebunkport, Maine which should make for a few interesting photographs of the harbor and surrounding area. That should make my next posting a bit more interesting . . .  or not.

BLAH ! ! !

05-21-2014 Journal Entry-Off to Texas!   1 comment

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Well the Texas trip is finally here and I’ll be flying off to Dallas tomorrow.  I don’t intend to do any blogging until sometime next week, probably Wednesday at the latest. I’ll be taking a break from working out, blogging and everything else as well.  That’s what a vacation is supposed to be and I’m going to make the most of it.

This week I finally planted the last few plants in the garden.  I have others breaking ground as we speak and so far everything is doing fine except for the asparagus.  All of those I gently planted are doing absolutely nothing.  I purchased a bag of asparagus roots and knew at the time it was a big gamble.  I have yet to buy either flower bulbs or veggie roots packaged that way that have actually grown.  I’ve finally learned my lesson, never again. Next year I’ll try to find asparagus seeds and start my own plants.  Hopefully I’ll have more success.

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“Zucchini”

As you can see the garden has made significant progress in the last week. The plants are loving the warmer nights and are jumping out of the ground. As you can see I have more chives than I know what to do. When I return I can look forward to a day spent filling the dehydrator with chives for our use through next Winter.

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“Cherry Tomato’s”

Starting tomorrow I can kick back and relax for a few days and enjoy my trip. It will be nice to enjoy the warm and sometimes hot weather in Dallas.  It should help me shake off the effects of this last Maine Winter. My summer will officially start when I return home next week fully rested and relaxed.

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“Left Side”

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“Right Side”

I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and that the weather cooperates.  Show the flag, cook a few burgers and dogs, and toast all of our former and current Vets.  Without their service we wouldn’t have much to celebrate.

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