The Herb Garden goes in!
This afternoon I got a buttload of work done on the garden, mostly the herbs. I’m feeling very tired and very satisfied. (I can’t believe how heavy and yet how small 40 lbs of dirt is!) Here’s what’s in the ground:
Backyard raised bed:
2 hidcote lavender plants, 1 orange mint, 1 lemon balm.
All three of these plants are very hardy and very invasive. In the past when I’ve planted these near my other herbs, they’ve squeezed them out of the garden entirely. (Note: I’ve never done the orange mint before, but I’ve tried other mint and it spreads with great fervor and aggression.) The lavender gets big and rooty enough that the balm can’t take it over, and the balm will spread anywhere you let it. Mint has this sneaky way of sending out underground lateral roots and springing up half a yard away, which is sort of embarrassing when that half a yard turns out to be your neighbor’s and he has a beautifully manicured lawn and all. So I’m hoping the raised-ness of the raised bed and the swampiness of what’s not raised over there will result in it staying put.
Over in the side, by the walkway to the kitchen patio, I’ve planted most of my culinary herbs there so it’ll be easy to grab them mid-meal-prep. The inventory there:
2 chamomile (I think roman, but it could be german, I took a chance since the Latin name wasn’t on the plant. I probably won’t know till next spring when they either come up or don’t.)
1 English thyme
1 orange spice thyme
1 French tarragon
1 Greek oregano
I’ve also started basil in some pots, since they hate the cool weather.
WHAT I DO WITH THESE HERBS:
I learned a few summers ago how to make herbal tinctures and potions, and they’ve saved me a lot of money. Once Nancy gives me the echninacea plants she promised me, I’ll save even more–I can make a quart of echninacea tincture for maybe ten bucks and six weeks, whereas buying 4 oz. costs about $30+ Ditto the other tinctures.
Lemon Balm–tea, tincture, and liqueur. Lemon Balm is a good natural relaxant and decongestant. The liqueur is both refreshing and relaxing, and its general “aura” sort of depends on when you got the leaves from the plant–it’s lighter and sweeter when you use young leaves, and gets a heaviness when you use leaves that’ve been on the plant for a long time. The trick is to get the leaves before the plant flowers, because as soon as that happens they lose all their flavor.