Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A variety of herbs

CHIVES (Allium scboenoprasum) This is a perennial plant growing from bulblets. They are really very easy to grow from seed. Mine, started under the fluorescent lights as well as in the greenhouse in the spring germinated in 10 days. The tiny little plants look like fragile spears of grass. When transplanted they wilt slightly. Even during a continued drought they grow very well. Mature plants grow to 12, inches; space 6 inches apart. They are very hardy even in cold locations. Flowers are pretty enough so that chives can be grown as a border or in the rock garden. Fine in salads, egg dishes and sauces of all kinds. Potted up, chives will grow on a sunny windowsill in winter.

SAGE (Saivia officinalis) This is a hardy perennial in our location and is often grown in gardens for its pretty foliage and spikes of bluish flowers. Seed sown indoors germinates in 14 days. Grows to 2 feet and should be spaced 12 inches apart. Can be sown outdoors in May with germination in 21 to 30 days. Fine herb for dressings for chicken, turkey, pork and for flavoring sausages.

BORAGE (Borago officinalis) This has pinkish blossoms which turn blue like the perennial pulmonaria. It is an annual and should be planted directly to the garden in early May in the North. Growing to 2 feet it should be spaced 10 inches apart. Germinates in 7 -to 10 days. Resents transplanting except when quite small. It is excellent used in tossed salad to add a most elusive flavor.

LAVENDER (Lavandula). I have had excellent success with germinating seeds of lavender giving a four-week pre-chilling period in the coldframe before bringing into the greenhouse with germination in 14 days. This year sown under the lights the seeds germinated in 15 days with no pre-chilling period. This is a hardy perennial with gray foliage and spikes of fragrant lavender flowers, which when dried are used to perfume the linen chest and for sachets. Dry easily when hung free in a dry garage or attic.

MARJORAM, SWEET (Majorana hortensis) This is a perennial in frost-free sections of the South but is grown as a hardy annual in the North. Sow seed indoors with germination in 7 to 10 days. Grows to 12 inches; space 6 inches apart. Plants may be potted up and grown in the greenhouse or sunny window over -the winter. Adds a delicate flavor to lamb, fish, salads and soups.

CHERVIL (Anthriscus cerefolium) Although this plant will germinate in the fall and live over the winter I would advise the inexperienced gardener to grow it as an annual, sowing the seed to the garden in mid-May (in this area). Grows to 2 feet and should be spaced 8 inches apart. Grows quickly and is mature in 6 weeks. Resents transplanting. Fresh leaves can be frozen in small packets after washing carefully. Excellent to flavor egg dishes.

SESAME (Sesamum orientale) This herb has whitish colored leaves and pretty pink flowers. Needs warmth for germination and should not be planted into the garden until -the soil and air are very warm; about 70 degrees. This would be in late May in our location. Germination will take place in 3 to 7 days. Although they grow 21/2 to 3 feet they need but 9 or 10 inches between plants as they do not branch. Seeds are used to flavor breads, crackers and cookies.

SAVORY, SUMMER (Satureja bortensis) This is an easily grown annual being best planted in mid-May in our location directly to the garden where it is to grow with germination in 7 to 10 days. Grows to 12 inches tall; space 5 or 6 inches apart. Good to flavor fish dishes, beans and soups.

THYME (Thymus vulgaris) This is a hardy perennial being of somewhat shrubby growth. Leaves are cut for drying before the blossoms are open. It is easily grown from seed sown indoors with germination in 21 to 30 days. Grows slowly when young. Grows to 12. inches; space 8 inches apart. It needs rich soil. Thyme is used for flavoring soups and poultry dressing.

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