Archive for the ‘oregano’ 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

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07-21-2016 Garden Issues!   Leave a comment

The garden is once again fast becoming my top priority. As usual at this time of the season the herbs are out of control. I spent some time this week pruning the oregano and catnip for later drying.  I did a general cleanup of the dehydrator in anticipation of a heavy work load this summer.

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It holds a great deal of material as you can see.  This week I filled it with diced jalapeños, cayenne’s, and two pounds of habaneros.  After six hours the peppers were ready for grinding. Unfortunately my reliable old grinder failed to work and I was forced to make a quick trip to Walmart to purchase another.  The peppers were ground into a fine powder and stored for future uses.

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Hot, Hotter, and Hottest

Then it was back to trimming and photographing some of the newly blooming day lilies.  These pictures are of the early bloomers with more colors and variants expected within a few weeks. I love these colors.

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It was a garden and yard work day all around.  I spent some time paying attention to my compost area. I needed to wet down the piles and add a compost accelerator. I’ll be needing as much of it as I can get to add to the garden this Fall.

The better-half and I also began the process of redesigning the garden for next Spring. We’ve decided to discontinue growing vegetables in one of the large frames and to devote it entirely to growing culinary herbs.  It’ll be something of challenge placing the correct herbs near others that are compatible. We’ll also be placing herbs in the vegetable frames to keep out assorted pests and varmints that the herbs do naturally. Hopefully we’ll be able to agree on the final design of the garden before Spring arrives and the purchasing and planting our selection of herbs begins.

IT SHOULD BE GREAT FUN

 

 

 

 

09-01-2015 Journal–Herbs, Fish, and Gin!   Leave a comment

Goodbye August!  Now begins our downhill slide into Fall and the always unavoidable Winter.  This Summer has sped by faster than any I can even remember.

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The better-half and I spent a couple of hours yesterday canning the remaining cucumbers, jalapenos, and assorted hot peppers from the garden.  With all of the canning competed I can now start dehydrating my collection of our main cooking herbs.  It’s amazing to me just how many herbs we consume each winter.  That’ll be my main job during the coming week because we have a large supply of oregano, tarragon, mints, parsley, and thyme to choose from.

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We still have a few zucchini’s to be used along with a few kohlrabi’s and beans.  The sunflowers are now in bloom and the birds are already circling.  Those little beasts can strip a sunflower in a matter of hours once the seeds are ready to eat.

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We didn’t feel much like cooking yesterday which means an afternoon visit to Applebee’s. For a lot of years we avoided the place because the food was mediocre and over priced.  Going there now is like visiting a brand new restaurant. They’ve changed their menu to something on the order of a TGIF.  The food selection is terrific, the preparation is excellent, and the prices won’t break the bank.  It was Fish & Chips for me and Shrimp for the better-half.  I also washed it all down with a couple of extra tall Gin & Tonics.  Life is good.

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05-10-2015 Journal–Herbs, Herbs & More Herbs!   Leave a comment

The excellent weather will be ending tonight if the forecasters are accurate so I’ve been scrambling to get a few things done before the rains arrive.  The second wave of plantings were finished yesterday.  I spent some time removing a few dead plants from the herb garden and then replanted twelve others.  I put in extra parsley and basil plants and after drying in the Fall we should have enough to last the winter.

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‘Lots of Oregano’

I replanted all of my Sage plants because for some unknown reason they all died.  I hate losing plants that I’ve had for years but there isn’t much I can do about it.  I really thought the heavy snow cover for most of last winter would’ve helped keep them healthy and happy.  As usual it appears the apple-mint, spearmint, peppermint, catnip, and oregano will be huge.  In just the last few weeks those plants have grown four inches and are spreading everywhere.

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‘More Basil’

The new mower arrived last evening and I spent this morning going over all of the equipment and controls.  I finally fired it up and spent an hour learning to operate the machine. It’s much smaller than my last tractor but it cuts very well and is easy to steer around the many obstacles on the property.  Next week I’ll pass the older tractor over to my step daughter’s husband. They should with a little TLC be able to use it for a few more years and possibly even longer.

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‘We Always Need Rosemary’

Next week with the better-half out of town I’ll begin purchasing the next batch of plants and place them into the cold frames.  Cherry tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, cucumbers, and pea pods lead the list.  Just after Memorial Day I’ll get everything else planted as quickly as possible. Then it’ll be time to retire to the deck to relax and watch things grow for a month or two.

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‘There Are Chives Everywhere’

I’ll  stock up on some good brandy and a case of Chardonnay and that’ll be my contribution in helping Mother Nature in getting my garden to flourish. 

The sunshine and deck beckon.

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.