Tag Archives: culinary herbs

Garden Wish List for 2013

december nasturtium

My mind is turning towards my garden and all that I want to do with it and plant in it and the things I want to change in it.  At the moment I am struggling to make myself new clothes because suddenly everything I wear has holes in it or stains on it and I don’t have a lot of choice and I have decided that since I may be obese for life regardless of good healthy changes I make to my life – I am determined to stop being so drab.  Making clothes requires pattern work and lots of time.  I need to finish this before I get my hands into the yard – but while I’m sewing I keep trying to organize in my head all the things I want to grow.

We mostly have low maintenance shrubs and plants here.  A couple of things we do have that are awesome:

a lemon tree (not a Meyer I’m happy to say)

A white peach

a gardenia

a few roses

freely seeding salvia and alyssum

The trees and roses all need big help.  The peach has been in a barrel for years without the bottom cut out – so it need the bottom cut out as was done for the lemon so it can spread its roots.  It needs a little compost and fertilizer – as does the lemon.  Both produce fruit (I just had broccoli yesterday with lemon juice from our tree!) but need care.  The roses are in dire shape as they’ve been in the shade for years.  They are horribly spindly and thin – they all need to be moved up front to the strip of dirt in front of the porch and they’ll need rose food to help them along.  The wee gardenia has a bud but it is being crowded out by a really big hideous shrub-turned-tree that I am going to completely remove.

What I want:

Culinary herbs: rosemary, lots of thyme, Greek oregano, Mexican oregano, winter savory, French tarragon, dill, parsley, sage, and marjoram.  (I would add basil and cilantro but I’ve never done well with either)

Fruit: a yellow peach tree (or two, dwarf), an orange or tangerine (though orange might get too big), gooseberries, lingonberries, wild strawberries, currants, blueberries, kiwis, and Red Flame grapes.

Flowers (both annuals and perennials): penstemon, scabiosa, lavendar, rudbeckia, cosmos, nigella, bleeding heart, coreopsis, campion, dahlias, nasturtiums, and columbine.  Also hundreds more I can’t think of right now and probably don’t have room to grow.

Medicinals: calendula, comfrey, peppermint, feverfew, catnip, chamomile, and other things I can’t remember right now and need to look up.

Vegetables for this year:  cucumbers (fresh eating), lettuce, Swiss chard, tomatoes, green beans, summer squash.  Just the basics.  Even if I get a couple of raised beds going in the driveway I won’t have much room.  Perhaps snow peas too?  If so I should get those going soon I think.  That would be good for both salads and stir fries.

One last thing I want to grow in this garden if I can are mushrooms.  We have all that shaded area and a big oak – some mushrooms like oak trees.  I want some half rotted logs innoculated with spores to try and acclimate with plenty of mulch and obviously moisture when the season comes.  I must look into this.

So what’s on your garden wish list?

Dried Thyme Yield for Spring 2011

I harvested over 2 lbs of thyme from a total of 8 thyme plants and yielded 6 oz of dried thyme.  I had wanted this report to be more accurate but I had a minor setback because I dried batch after batch of tyme but failed to dry the final (much smaller) batch.  I should have weighed what was left but I didn’t.  Instead I let it sit in the fridge in a paper bag.  For a week.  I made a curious discovery by doing this:

Thyme kept in a paper bag in the fridge for a week will dry itself.

However, not to my satisfaction.  I would have kept it if I’d been desperate for dried thyme and that was all I had, but it was dry yet still slightly supple making it hard to remove leaves from the stems.  I could have put it in the dehydrator to dry it out more thoroughly, but I was lazy, and threw it out.

Please don’t throw rotten potatoes at me!

The amount that was left I estimate to be approximately 4 ounces.  Even though my numbers, this time, might not be precise I think it’s still useful information.  This is the first harvest of 2011 and there will be at least one more this year.  I have more than 8 thyme plants but at least 2 of them are dying and need replacing.  What I love about growing and drying my own thyme is that the quality is superior and though it isn’t particularly expensive to buy dried thyme, it is a fraction of the cost to do it yourself.  My thyme plants are two years old and have given me at least 6 big harvests already.  If you keep harvesting them regularly you keep them from becoming too woody.  Plus they look nice in the garden if you do a nice job trimming them.

Although I use a pretty wide variety of herbs and spices in my food, thyme is the one I use the most.  I especially like it in a French style lentil soup.

8 plants yielded 2 lbs 4 oz fresh thyme

2 lbs (approx.) fresh thyme yielded 6 oz dried thyme