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Herbs from My Yard


  1. Unknown permalink
    12-Apr-2005 12:49 am

    Hi C.Fool:Whoa! How have you achieved such a density of herbs so early in the season? I\’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Rosemary, thyme and sage are no-brainers…since they survive winter pretty well in tact. Mint is easy, because it multiplies like rabbits.But what about parsely, cilantro and (most frustrating of all) basil?! Do you grow them under glass during winter…then replant them in Spring?Envious, envious, envious…With thumb of all colors but green,Sal

  2. Culinary permalink
    12-Apr-2005 7:31 am

    Hi Sal!These are mostly evergreen and perennial herbs – we had such a mild winter that they really took off this year. However, I do have two mutant parsley plants which I\’m beginning to find a bit scary! I first bought a plant at a local Farmers\’ Market from kids in a program that brings homeless children in and gets them involved in gardening – it\’s a great program and I try to buy a little something from them each week to support the program. Well, the first year the plant sort of languished and then died off in fall, as it should. The following spring (last year) tons of volunteers came in the same planter, which wasn\’t surprising. But then I noticed more parsley growing in one of my big planters clear on the other side of my deck – probably 20 feet away! Okay, maybe the wind blew some seeds there? I hate to kill volunteers so I let it grow. But here\’s the weird thing. NEITHER PLANT DIED BACK THIS WINTER! We did have a pretty mild winter and I moved the pots to a sheltered location for the bad weather but they still should not have survived. The plant in the large pot is crowding out the "real" plants like geraniums! It\’s becoming very powerful and all encompassing! Maybe it\’s just a survivor like those kids. I don\’t know but I think a little pruning or dividing will be in order soon! The funny thing is that I don\’t even really use this type of parsley – I just bought it to support the program. :-) As for basil, I don\’t even try to grow it during the winter, especially since it\’s so widely available in markets now. I will be starting some seeds pretty soon though and I\’ll keep them inside until it warms up enough to put them out (temps need to be 50°F or above at night – that\’s 10°C for you!). And in May I\’ll also buy a couple plants since I like to have a few varieties around. All summer I\’ll harvest my "extra" and make pesto, then freeze it or dry the leaves for use in the winter. Since you are already in shorts, I\’d think it was about time to plant in your neck of the woods! ~ B

  3. Unknown permalink
    12-Apr-2005 12:15 pm

    C.F.!You\’ve given me a useful rule of thumb: When the shorts come out, time to start planting.Actually, I have. I started three pots of cilantro in pots back in January. Nothing happened until March…but what a month March was! Those rascals shot up to six inches, and I replanted them into the garden last weekend.Finding the seeds was an interesting story. I searched high and low, but nobody sold cilantro seeds. It\’s not a very popular herb in Spain. So I went to the spice rack of a large grocery store, and bought several boxes of whole coriander seeds. I figured it was worth a shot. If they didn\’t sprout, then I (being the world\’s most fanatical Indian food fan) would use the remainder for cooking. Well…they did sprout. Beautifully, in fact.Now I\’m in the hunt for basil plants. This is another difficult task…because basil isn\’t very popular in Spain either. Amazing that a country so close to Italy doesn\’t like basil!As for parsley, that\’s easy. Based on some rough calculations, I predict that spores from your mutuant parsley plants ought to land in my garden on or around May 13.Thanks again for the advice.Sal

  4. Culinary permalink
    13-Apr-2005 7:01 am

    Sal – you are so creative! Always thinking out of the box – although my guess is you\’ve never exactly been in the box! I\’m pretty sure you won\’t be able to find a jar of basil seeds at the local tienda, though! :-) I\’d be happy to send you a couple packs. Email me your address and I\’ll get them in the mail. They will be more likely to get there than the parsley…. ~ B

  5. Unknown permalink
    13-Apr-2005 7:47 am

    Thanks VERY much for the offer, but my parents are coming for a visit in a month…and I\’ve already requested their services as "mules." I envision an interesting scene at Spanish customs:MOM: "But…but…these are basil seeds! Really! It\’s an herb. You eat it with tomatoes, etc.."CUSTOMS AGENT1: "Basil? [sniff,sniff] I never hear of no stinkin\’ "basil." José, you ever eat "basil?"CUSTOMS AGENT2: "No. Never eaten nothing called "basil." I think she\’s making it up."Thanks again!Sal

  6. Culinary permalink
    13-Apr-2005 3:08 pm

    Okay but when she gets sent to the slammer don\’t come crying to me about it! :-)

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