Posted on April 8, 2012 by Rose Marie
Hop shoots are a gardeners’ treat in early spring. Here are photos of them growing by the entry arbor to our herb garden at Nichols Garden Nursery. I snapped off a small bundle of emerging shoots, selecting for short tender stems and tips. Much admired in Belgium and France, where they are known as Jets de Houblon. Mature hop vines are actually more productive of hop cones when some shoots are removed.
To prepare plunge your tender shoots into salted boiling water, cook for 2 minutes and then drain. The timing can vary a bit cook only until barely tender. While shoots drain, poach eggs in fresh water (to avoid discoloration) or gently fry. Reheat shoots in butter and sprinkle over freshly cooked eggs. Don’t miss dipping a few hop tips into egg yolks.
Where these shoots are abundant they are variously sauced with béchamel, used as an omelet filling, served as a vegetable and pickled. Pickling does sound like a lot of effort for an ephemera of springtime. I’d most surely be appreciative of another’s accomplishment.
Filed under: Easy Gardening Tips, Food, garden, Gardening, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs, Recipes | Tagged: hop growing. hop shoots recipe, hops, houblons | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 3, 2012 by Rose Marie
Spring violets, Viola odorata, are edible flowers with a color and fragrance that compliments fresh naval oranges when both are at their peak. Peel or cut away the orange rind, leaving as little pith as possible. Cut into 1/3” inch slices. Allow one orange per person and place on individual serving dishes. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp. mild honey. Garnish with spring violets or candied violets. This light dessert is the perfect conclusion to a winter meal. A few drops of orange liquor can be sprinkled over the oranges.
Some gardeners dislike wild violets in their yards but we enjoy the fragrance and appeal of wild violets. Their scent seems to come and go because our scent receptors become exhausted and must have a few minutes to revive before we can again enjoy this definitive fragrance.
Filed under: Food, garden, Gardening, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, herb recipes, Recipes | Tagged: dessert, edible flowers, fruit, violets | 8 Comments »
Posted on February 12, 2012 by Rose Marie
Join us atawaytogarden.com in an interview with Margaret Roach at her blog/gardening magazine. Today Nichols Garden Nursery is featured. Keane is holding two fine specimens of Oregon Sweetmeat Squash Homestead. Notice the beautiful color and thick walls. Grow it and you’ll also taste how sweet and tender it is. I am holding our very new Ruby-Gold Flint Corn and branches of true Mediterranean bay, Laurus nobilis, Rosemary Blue Gem, a Nichols introduction. Read her article, join the giveaway and learn a few herb gardening tips. Leave a comment on her blog and join the giveaway. Margaret is the former senior editor and Martha Stewart Living Magazine and author of the new and highly reviewed “and I shall find peace there” her latest book. Click the link to Margaret Roache’s article
Filed under: Easy Gardening Tips, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs | Tagged: basil, corn, rosemary, winter squash | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 1, 2010 by Rose Marie
Salsa recipes are versatile and this is one that says Summer! Serve the “Basic Recipe” with chips or crackers.
The goat cheese log shown resting on a nest of wild arugula is summer fare. Make the full “Basic Recipe” and use half for this smokey paprika version. Add 1/4th tsp. Nichols triple smoked paprika and 1 tsp. olive oil and serve with goat cheese. Adding a spoonful of chopped capers to the “Basic Recipe” portion gives a lovely Tuscan quality. Pile onto toasted bread slices for bruschetta. These salsas are good with fish. If your palate wants more heat, acid or garlic adjust accordingly. You are the cook and summer abundance invites improvisation.
6 medium Roma Tomatoes (3 cups diced)
1 large mild onion (Walla Wallas if available)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4-6 Jalapeno peppers –deseeded
1 cup basil leaves, finely slivered and tightly packed
juice of 2 lemons or ¼ cup red wine vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste, a touch of sugar if needed
With a well sharpened knife trim and finely dice the tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Deseeding peppers improves texture of the salsa and produces a milder flavor. The basil leaves need to have stems trimmed away before chopping. Adjust seasonings to your taste. If you prefer to use slicing tomatoes, chop, let sit for a few minutes, and drain off excess juices.
I’ve used wild arugula which holds up in summer heat better than our standard arugula. Both will be delicious, Spread your cracker or toast with goat cheese “Chevre”, add a few sprigs of arugula and top with salsa.
Gardeners tip: beginning July 1 soils in the continental US are warm enough to direct sow basil seeds. Sow seeds about 1/2 inch apart in a sunny spot, keep damp as seeds germinate and plants develop. Thin to allow 3-4″ between developed plants. Start harvesting when 4″ tall. This is always my main crop for pesto. All this clipping doesn’t make for beautiful plants but the flavor and production is great.
Filed under: Easy Gardening Tips, Food, garden, Gardening, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs, Recipes, Tomato | Tagged: basil, salsa, summer food | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 4, 2010 by Rose Marie
Every May, we at Nichols, have our annual Plant Day, the Saturday after Mother’s Day. May 15th is the date for 2010. This is when we bring out unusual plants, run a good sale, and get our gardens spiffed up for company. Shopping is always interesting, we’ll have a huge selection of tomatoes, peppers and other veggies and flowering annuals.
Of course a few herbal or fresh from the garden treats keep your strength up as you watch Jennifer Ewing show how to build a raised bed in only a few minutes. I’ll demonstrate planting in straw bales. An addition this year is a herb spiral garden that is under construction. This is a great way to fit a large collection of herbs into a small space.
I’ll do a short demo on how to sow carrots. We all love those fresh from the garden carrots but they take their time in becoming established. It’s important to keep them moist and I’ll share a few tips with you.
Hope you can join us. Our gardens and retail shop are open Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays.
Filed under: events, Food, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, straw bale gardening, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 5, 2010 by Rose Marie
The elusive sweet fragrance of violets tells us spring is really here to stay. I love the way they naturalize in a garden with clumps spreading here and there. Not only are violets charming they are edible. I recently made a single layer cake, dusted it with powdered sugar and sprinkled it with violets.
Our old website had a number of archived recipes that I will gradually add to this one.
Violets are beginning to appear in our garden. When we first saw our present home, the garden was awash in violet blossoms. Our daughter, who was then barely three, knelt down in the purple carpet to smell their perfume, forever creating a picture in our minds. In spring, we like to make violet jelly. This recipe is adapted from Stalking The Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons. If you are interested in additional violet recipes, look for his book which contains six more.
2 cups fresh violets
2 cups boiling water
juice of one lemon (4 tablespoons)
1 package of powdered pectin
4 cups sugar
Make an infusion with violets and water by placing your blossoms in a glass jar and covering them with boiling water. Put a lid on the jar, and set aside for 24 hours. The infusion will turn a murky bluish green. Strain and discard the violets. Add the lemon juice to the violet infusion, and it transforms to a clear lavender pink. Stir in powdered pectin, and bring to a boil. Add 4 cups sugar, bring to a boil again, and boil vigorously for one minute. Skim if necessary. Pour into sterile jars and seal. Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups jelly.
Filed under: Food, gardens, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs, Old Site Recipes, Recipes | Tagged: violets | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 24, 2009 by Rose Marie
Years ago I gave a Golden Bay “Laurus nobilis” to a friend whose daughter’s name is Laurel. We dropped by last night with a little Christmas token. They’d strung their Christmas tree with lights in anticipation of Laurels arrival Christmas Eve. As my daughter, Katie, and I were about to leave there was a cry of you must come into the garden. It was dark and somewhat cold so hard to imagine what it might be.
In the back corner the bay tree was dazzling with dozens of lights. The branches seemed filled with hanging pears. What a delight to see such a wonderful transformation. Four of us began merrily stumbling through The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Only the next day did I learn the pears were actually Satsuma Oranges wrapped in netting and hung. These photos give you a view of the tree. Once more the darkest time of year is transformed by friends, gardens, lights, song and sharing. A Merry Christmas to all.
Filed under: Blogroll, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: Christmas, Christmas songs | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 24, 2009 by Rose Marie
Spent the day packing plants for my Bountiful Container Gardening talk at the New York Botanical Garden on June 27th. Preparing for a cross country trip with more than a hundred vegetables and herbs in various stages of growth is a challenge. Fortunately, Helen, our nursery shipping expert has it all down. Last summer she test packed plants in various ways for shipping and took their temperature to learn the best way to avoid heat buildup. When shipping in warm weather ventilated plants arrive in good condition and grow best. There is a science to everything and healthy plants mean happy customers. My plants are vented, have ice packs, cushioning, and are separately boxed.
I am looking forward to my time at NYBG, it’s our first visit to this famed historical garden. Keane and I will be taking photos and will post them when I return. I’m taking Amy Stewart’s new book “Wicked Plants” to read on the trip and Keane and I will visit the poisonous plant collection at Cornell. It’s maintained by the veterinary science department and should be very interesting.
Filed under: events, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: container gardening, garden talks, plants, travel, vegetables | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 19, 2009 by Rose Marie
The New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx, has scheduled a summer long series on food gardening. See special admission offer below. The weekend of June 27/28th 2009 is the kickoff event. I’m very excited to do a talk and demonstration on how to grow the foods you like in containers. I’ll show how to plant a container garden for SE Asian cookery, a summer salad garden, a multi- season herb garden and more. My talk is at 3:00 on the 27th, mid-morning I’m participating in a Q&A session and at noon I’ll be signing copies of my book, McGee & Stuckey’s The Bountiful Container.
Gardeners can harvest fresh, organic, beautiful food in the smallest spaces with just a little know how. I hope some of our Nichols Garden Nursery customers and blog readers in the New York area can come to my talk and if not visit the New York Botanical Garden this summer. Edible gardening maven, Rosalind Creasy, has overseen the planting and design of a demonstration family food garden and Martha Stewart has been busy with a herb garden she has installed. This is a rare opportunity to learn and talk with a variety of horticulturists and garden writers who are experts dedicated to home food gardening.
The Metro-North Railroad Botanical Garden station is directly across from the Mosholu Gate. Harlem Line. Driving directions are here.
For a special offer to this event go to http://www.nybg.org/promo/ and enter code EGDIG09 Buy one adult ticket pay 1/2 price for the second. This is a summer long offer with this promo code.
Filed under: events, Food, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, Uncategorized | Tagged: container gardening, New York Botanical Garden | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 17, 2009 by Rose Marie
If you have arugula or “garden rocket” growing in your June garden, it’s probably become a little spicy and is ready to bolt. Try this delicious pasta recipe. You will easily use up a couple fistfuls of arugula and have yourself a salad and side dish in one. The arugula flavor mellows when combined with the hot pasta and savory sauce.
We were having fish for dinner so I made a few changes. Didn’t seem as though we needed cheese tonight so this was omitted. Our tarragon is still tender so I stripped the leaves from three long stems and threw those on top and that was a good partner with the fish. Decided to eliminate the basil. Also the onions need to be used before I take off to the New York Botanic Garden to speak about and demonstrate how to grow a food garden in containers. Next I chopped an onion and stirred it around in the olive oil and garlic. There is nothing like travel time away from the summer garden to send us bustling around trying to get everything done.
4 cups arugula leaves washed, drained and trimmed
1 pound uncooked rigatoni or other small pasta
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
3 garlic cloves pressed or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
salt & red or black pepper to taste
Tear arugula into generous bite-sized pieces. Lay the leaves in a large, heat resistant, shallow serving dish. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until it reaches that barely tender stage. Remove and drain. While the pasta is cooking prepare this easy tomato sauce: Heat olive oil and stir garlic around until softened and fragrant. Add tomatoes and seasonings and heat to a simmer. Remove bay leaf. Pour the hot, drained steaming pasta, over the bed of arugula. Spread the tomato sauce over the pasta. Let a few bright green leaves show around the edges of the pasta. Do not toss together. Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6.
Filed under: Food, garden, Gardening, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs, Recipes | Tagged: arugula, food gardening, herb gardening, pasta, tarragon | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 15, 2009 by Rose Marie
Nichols annual Plant Day is Saturday, May 16, 2009. I will demonstrate straw bale gardening. Our newest demonstration garden is a living example of food gardens from The Bountiful Container-a complete guide to growing veegtabels, herbs, fruits and edible flower in containers. It is still a work in progress but the basics are installed with a couple Adirondack Chairs for relaxing in a home garden-like setting. I will be available to sign and inscribe the Bountiful Container, a 400 page guide to growing food in containers.
Linda Zeidrich will sign her new books, The second edition of Joy of Pickling and The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves 200 New Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits.
Master Gardener Jennifer Ewing will demonstrate how to easily construct a nearly weed free raised bed and how to use the hoop system to support deer netting, shade cloth and plastic. These beds provide a new easy, efficient approach to raised bed gardening.
We will be offering a discount on all in store purchases. Come join us for a little garden time and light herbal refreshment.
Filed under: events, Food, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, straw bale gardening, Uncategorized | Tagged: books, container gardening, NicholsGarden Nursery | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 30, 2009 by Rose Marie
Recently our daughter Katie, who lives in a San Francisco apartment with good western exposure asked for tips and plants to start an indoor herb garden. She has no outdoor growing space but lives close to Golden Gate Park where a nature is never far away.
I began looking at the new style fluorescent bulbs, some are daylight and some are full spectrum, great for growing plants. Screw these into a reflector with clamps that squeeze open and it’s pretty simple to develop an economical indoor herb garden. Fluorescent lights don’t have the heat buildup of incandescents and are economical to use.
Serendipity often occurs. While I was in the midst of figuring out how to do this, Roxanne Webber, an editor for Chow.com called with a few questions about growing herbs indoors for city dwellers, just like my daughter. She was writing an article that would be posted in a few days. I offered to watch for comments to her article an trouble shoot if needed.
When I was in San Francisco, a few days ago, I met Roxanne and we visited about chowhound, gardening, and all those things discussed with a new friend. Her article is posted at Chow.com. My dialogue and Q&A follows at Chowhound. I will answer questions until next week.
The discussion has been lively and I do encourage questions on indoor herb gardening.
Filed under: garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: Chow, indoor gardening, windowsill garden, windowsill gardening | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 3, 2009 by Rose Marie
Hope you have had a good winter holiday. Like most of the country, we’ve been having the usual hard cold weather. We’re harvesting beautiful beets, kale, cabbages, a few carrots and the amazingly sweet Survivor Parsley. Winter hardy plants typically produce extra sugars during cold weather. This acts as a natural anti-freeze and explains why the rugged, flat leaved “Survivor Parsley” is so deliciously sweet and flavorful in winter and spring.
Parsley is a biennial so seeds planted in spring and grows in size through summer and fall. The following summer plants flower, set seed and die. I like to leave a few flowering plants around because they attract butterflies to the garden. Here in Western Oregon, mature butterflies and larvae of the lovely Anise Swallowtail “Papilio zelicaon” feed upon the pollen, flowers, and foliage. This adaptable native is found from British Columbia to Baja California. We also regularly see larvae feeding on blooming Angelica plants. Even if your garden is small with only a few containers, grow parsley, a most useful herb. When it flowers you too may enjoy swallowtail butterflies flitting through your garden
Survivor Parsley and Angelica seed are available in our Nichols Garden Nursery catalog. In celebration of 2009 being our 50th year in business, we are offering notable Nichols varieties at introductory prices. Survivor Parsley is included in this listing. I’d also remind readers, if you haven’t received a 2009 catalog please go to our website http://www.nicholsgardennursery.com and request a catalog.
Filed under: Blogroll, garden, Gardening, gardens, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: butterflies, butterfly gardening | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 21, 2008 by Rose Marie
Basil seeds can be sown directly into the ground though all of July and on into early August. Warm soils lead to quick germination and you should be seeing small starts within a week. Prepare a smooth seedbed and sow seeds few inches apart. Don’t plant deeply, these are small seeds and need to be barely covered with 1/8″ of fine soil. Keep soil moist during the germination period. If weather is really hot and you are trying to keep soil from drying cover with newspaper propped a few inches above the soil. Sprinkle the seedbed and the papers to help hold in moisture during the day. When seeds sprout and show a full set of leaves thin 8″ to 12″ apart.
This late planting is what I use for frozen pesto and other preserved basil. It grows fast, is less troubled by slugs and needs little coddling. One of my favorite ways to preserve basil is frozen basil cubes. Strip leaves from the stem, and place in blender with enough water to make a thick slurry. Pour this mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. These can be stored in a sturdy zip-lock bag. Just toss in one or two cubes into sauces and soups for a burst of fresh summer flavor.
Filed under: Easy Gardening Tips, Food, Gardening, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs | Tagged: basil, seed starting | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 20, 2008 by Rose Marie
Laurus nobilis plants are the source of culinary bay, a handsome tree that grows throughout the Mediterranean. This herb has a flavor and aroma that is mildly spicy and warm, and seems to pull other savory flavors together in soups, stews and sauces. Usually, the tough leaf is left whole and should be removed before serving. Sometimes you will see recipes calling for 1 Turkish Bay leaf or 1/2 a California Bay leaf. Turkish bay is Laurus nobilis, sometimes called Grecian bay, Mediterranean bay, or true bay, is the plant of cookery and myth
California Bay “Umbellularia californica” is a different plant entirely, and while the leaves have a similar texture the flavor properties are quite different. The flavor and fragrance of California bay is quite pungent and harsh and I never cook with it. Both plants are growing at my home and I occasionally pick a leaf of each, crush and smell in wonderment as to why some food writers continue to instruct “use one Turkish Bay leaf or 1/2 California Bay leaf”. Julia Child, a native of California, was disdainful of California Bay for cooking and in my talks I often say if it wasn’t good enough for Julia it’s not good enough for us.
True Bay, is native to the Mediterranean basin. Italian restaurants often use containerized Bay plants to create outdoor walls and extend seating. Bay, when grown in the ground is hardy to Zone 7. Plants grow in full sun to half shade. Give them a light fertilizing and regular watering the first season and once they are established they can pretty much fend for themselves. Evergreen trees may eventually reach 15′ in height. I recommend regular pruning. The tree in this photo is at our nursery. It grew too large for the assigned space and every three years we cut it to the ground and it happily sprouts from the stump to produce a nice oval bush in a few months.
Our nursery and others offer bay plants for sale. Grow as a single tree, a shrub or planted as a hedge. Because it is such a useful herb and tolerates some shade it is one to add to the garden.
Filed under: Food, garden, Gardening, gardens, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: cooking | 13 Comments »
Posted on May 6, 2008 by Rose Marie
I’m happy to announce the fourth printing of McGee & Stuckey’s, The Bountiful Container is now available. This 432 page book is a complete guide growing container gardens of vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers. We’ve included recipes for using your home grown goods. Maggie and I researched soils, containers, fertilizing and every aspect of what gardeners encounter when growing in containers. I love experimenting with new techniques and varieties using pots and small space gardening. If your garden is horizontally challenged, think vertically! If you only have space for herbs, a few salad greens and a tomato in a large pot think how much flavor and variety you’ll add to your household.
This weekend, May 10th, I’ll be speaking and signing books at the Oregon City Farmers Market. Saturday, May 17, is the annual Nichols Garden Nursery Plant Day. If you’re in the area, drop by and enjoy light herbal refreshment, gardening demonstrations, tours of the herb garden and a great sale on plants and other gardening items.
Filed under: events, Food, garden, Gardening, gardens, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, herb recipes, herbs, Recipes | Tagged: container gardening, container gardens, urban gardens | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 18, 2008 by Rose Marie
Baking soda and water is often all we is need to treat mildew in the garden. Trouble is it’s so easy to forget or misplace the recipe. So if that should happen to you this recipe it will be archived on this site.
1 tablespoon baking soda (from the kitchen cupboard) 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap 1 tablespoon horticultural oil 1 gallon of water
Mix together and apply from a clean sprayer. The baking soda counteracts the fungi by changing the pH of the leaves, the soap helps it spread, and the oil coats the fungal spores and keeps then from growing. In a pinch, I’ve used a clear kitchen oil like canola or grapeseed as they too will smother but the lightweight hort oil is best. If you have plants you’ve not treated with this spray before start out on a small section. Plants should be well watered befoe applying and don’t apply in heavy sun. For many plants this might mean watering well in the morning and then in late afternoon/early evening come back and spray well hydrated plants when they are not in direct sun. I like to discard unused mixture after one or two days and then mix up a fresh batch. When these measures don’t seem adequate for fungal or mildew problems I apply Serenade, a commercially available and OMRI approved organic product.
Filed under: Easy Gardening Tips, garden, Gardening, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, Recipes | Tagged: plant diseases | 7 Comments »
Posted on February 7, 2008 by Rose Marie
February 15th, 16th & 17th, you’ll find Nichols Garden Nursery at booth #1386 at the beautiful Portland Yard, Garden, & Patio Show. Sunday, at 11:00 a.m. I’ll present a seminar on “Culinary Herbs: How to Grow and Use In the Pacific Northwest”. YGP, gets us enthused about the beginning of spring. With lovely display gardens, free seminars, vendors offering fantastic selections of plants, seeds, bulbs, this is the place and time Oregon and Southern Washington gardeners gather to shop, learn, relax and plan their garden year.
The Oregon Convention Center has good parking, benches to relax, and such a nice ambience that the entire show makes me feel like I’m already in a garden.
Come by our booth and mention you’ve seen our blog or website and pick up a free packet of spinach or sunflower seed. We’ll have seeds, gardening products, catalogs and we’re ready to answer your gardening questions. If you have a little extra garden space and are concerned about local hunger issues, we’d like to explain Plant A Row For the Hungry, a program of the Garden Writers Association. We can offer you a choice of seed packets to get you started. Collectively, participants raise thousands of pounds of produce for local food banks and soup kitchens where fresh vegetables for those in need are always appreciated.
Filed under: Blogroll, events, garden, Gardening, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: Garden & Patio Show, Plant A Row For the Hungry, Portland Yard Garden & Patio Show, Yard | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 5, 2007 by Rose Marie
Tarragon is one of my most easily grown herbs. I say this because it wasn’t always this way. Our home garden soil tends to be wet and cold in winter. Tarragon dies back in winter and is often the slowest plant to reappear in late spring. After a particularly cold wet winter we may not see it at all. The photo below was taken in early November shortly before harvesting.
The solution is to grow it in a container. Drainage when using potting soil is no longer a problem, the container warms early in the spring and you’ll harvest tarragon all season. Best of all, if you have a division or a small container bring it indoors in January when foliage has died back and soon vigorous delicious shoots will appear.
Tarragon’s roots will tightly intertwine and it can choke itself out if not divided every one to two years. If planting in the ground pick a sunny well-drained location. Plants benefit from a good fertilizing at the start of the growing season. Work some crab meal or aged chicken manure into your soil. I recommend container gardeners fertilize with fish emulsion
French tarragon does not set seed, so don’t be tempted to buy a seed packet. It will be Russian tarragon which is nearly tasteless. Regular using and cutting of plants early in the season develops a desirable compact growth habit. Later I will post some cooking hints for this classic herb
Filed under: garden, Gardening, Greetings From The Garden, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: container gardening, herb gardening, tarragon | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 8, 2007 by Rose Marie
I’m trying to address the problem of deer in the garden in a constructive manner and not just rant. Our in town garden, mostly of edibles, is favorite target of the rising deer population. Because it is rather large and spread out the cost of fencing is prohibitive. So what do we do?
Two days ago, it was dry and I sprayed a sticky blood based product all around, especially the areas where I know deer walk. Roses and pansies that the deer browse have been sprayed. It doesn’t look very attractive but should keep them from being browsed. The straw bale garden now is caged with wire fencing and covered with bird mesh. This too was sprayed as there will be nothing harvested from eaten down bales for a few months. Our raised beds are covered with bird netting which is nearly invisible and the best thing I’ve found for protecting areas. It needs to kept quite loose but fastened in place. If it is taut the deer will start ripping away at it, when loose they apparently don’t like it slipping under their hooves and are afraid of getting tangled into it. I used this at a public garden planting we maintain and planted a twenty foot circle of salad greens this summer. It took two overlapping packages of bird netting pegged in place with small bamboo stakes. This is the first year we’ve successfully protected this area.
I know there are recipes for eggs and pepper spray, bloodmeal, and other potions but in a wet climate like Oregon they tend to wash away. Perennial herbs, with their strong aromas aren’t much bothered. Our herb garden which include various edibles was heavily damaged. We had prepared it for a photo shoot and they ate down some plants enough that we had to replace them on short notice. An evening ritual became surrounding this area with a large circle of wire. Since a newly planted fig was just defoliated last night it will get the wire circle treatment and such damage this time of year won’t really harm it. I’m tired of the deer and wish they would go away. I certainly don’t feel one with nature when they go traipsing down our street at high noon.
Filed under: garden, Gardening, herb gardens | Tagged: deer, deer control | 8 Comments »
Posted on October 3, 2007 by Rose Marie
Some days begin with a good chuckle. This morning I opened BBC news and read about a terrorist alert in London. You can go to this url for the full story:Burning chilli sparks terror fear. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7025782.stm It really does sound right out of Monty Python. However, since this blog is The Gardener’s Pantry, I remembered my container planting of Demon Red Thai Peppers surrounding a plant of Thai Basil. This container will move indoors for a few months as I continue to harvest those little red hots and basil.
When I bring a container indoors I check it for insects and anything that might be living near the drainage hole. Insects on peppers and basil aren’t usually much of a problem outdoors but may emerge inside your home or greenhouse. Keep an eye on plants and wipe off any eggs you see on the underside of leaves. if you see those little round pillbugs coming out of the drainage hole place the container on a tray filled with cornmeal. If something is flying around or on the leaves figure out what it is before trying to treat the problem.
Filed under: events, Food, garden, Gardening, herb gardens, herbs | Tagged: container gardening, herb gardening, Hot Peppers | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 27, 2007 by Rose Marie
Papaloquelite, Porophyllum ruderale known as papalo or summer cilantro, is a Mexican and Central American herb. The leaves have a warm pungency like cilantro with a hint of citrus and a more powerful flavor. I recommend using about 1/3 as much papalo as cilantro when preparing salsa and then adjust flavor to your taste. In Mexico, restaurants often place a little vase of papalo cuttings on the table and the diner adds leaves as desired.
The use of Papaloquelite “butterfly herb” predates the introduction of cilantro, Coriandrum sativum to Mexico by thousands of years. It’s easy to understand why cilantro with it’s similar flavor was so quickly adopted. It is used for salsas, sandwiches, guacamole, salads or simply sprinkled over rice and beans. The flavor is lost when cooked. This Cornell U website has information on papalo.
Plants grow in ordinary garden soil with moderate to full sun. This summer mine has grown well in a shallow container and never bolted in summer heat. Today I sowed seeds in a small rectangular container for a windowsill garden. The intense flavor may possibly substitute for cilantro in Indian and SE Asian cooking. If you enjoy cooking with unusual herbs this is one to try.
6 ripe Roma Tomatoes
1 Bell Pepper, any color
2 Pasilla chiles or ‘Holy Mole’
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper
½ small mild onion, peeled & chunked
½ cup lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Chopped papalo leaves (1 to 2 tblsp).
Take a large skillet, heat and add whole tomatoes and peppers, heating until skins are slightly charred. Rub off skin from tomatoes and chunk. Remove skin from peppers, and don’t be concerned about a few charred bits as they will add flavor. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and surrounding light colored tissue to temper the heat. Place all ingredients except papalo in a food processor or blender and process only until slightly chunky. Pour into dish and add 1 tablespoon papalo. Taste after five minutes and add more papalo if needed.
Filed under: Food, garden, Gardening, herb gardens, herbs, Recipes | Tagged: herb gardening, Mexican herbs, papalo, salsa, windowsill garden | 8 Comments »