Posts tagged ‘oregano’
Today there was much harvesting to do in the Beach Flats Garden. The squash have been growing in the heat of the sun, getting sweet and tender to please the gardener’s tastebuds. We harvested two for ourselves, but at least a dozen more tasty specimens were hiding under the broad pointed squash leaves. The first cabbage was ready today; a large light green head was harvested. This cabbage will last for several weeks in the fridge, giving a sweet fresh crunch to tacos, salads, soups and sandwiches.
The main harvesting task was the herbs. We have a long row of oregano, thyme, mint, and tarragon on the east side of our parcel. These herbs form an aromatic hedge that is abundantly delicious. They have been growing feverishly all spring, and now the long sprigs of oregano and thyme need to be harvested. the oregano is growing secondary stems and and the thyme is starting to flower. We cut them down to the base with garden clippers, leaving a little bit of of the plant to grow back for the next round of harvesting.
Today I harvested oregano, tarragon, and lemon verbena from our parcel. Oregano is a must have in any herb garden because of its savory taste and fresh aroma. The tarragon is a zesty perennial herb that is used in french cooking and is great in eggs. Lemon verbena is a favorite herb in Argentina; we have one in our parcel that we harvest for making tea. During the peak season our herbs produce more than we can use each day so we dry the excess and save some for the winter. Oregano, thyme, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, and rosemary can be preserved this way.
Ladybugs are a good friend in any garden. They eat aphids and other bad insects, so always be nice to them and thank them for their hard work in pest control. Certain plants attract them including marigolds, oregano, corn, beans, squash and many more.
Wow! What amazing growth occurs in Spring in El Jardin! We have longer days. The sun rises about six am and falls beyond the line of sight between eight and eight-thirty. Because sun light feeds the plants, the plants “eat,” grow, get sick, heal, and fall similiar to all living things.
Our oregano consistantly gives 10-12 inch springs. I cut 3-7 inch sprigs from our mint plants everytime we work in our garden. Before I grew food plants and food, I did not use fresh mint or fresh oregano. Now I use as much frest mint and fresh oregano as possible.
This seems to be the moment to suggest a few ways to use fresh mint and fresh oregano in your daily life. After I harvest fresh herbs, I add them to my salads – to taste! Everyone differs in opinion on flavor. I suggest you experiment with your preferences. Fresh mint will add flavor, refreshment, and a sense of cooling to your daily water intake. Of course, you can steep mint in hot water for nurturing, relaxing tea. A bit of mint also brings out the flavors of other vegatables and spices you cook at the same time. Fresh oregano can be added to stir fry, soups, salad dressings, etc. Toss oregano fresh onto your freshly made pasta with olive oil, salt, garlic and a bit of lemon and savor the goodness. In fact you can do this with any grain of your choice: brown rice, amerynth, couscous, quinoa, etc.
Spring offers growth, refreshment, and beauty. While these qualities abound in our organic garden, some plants, insects and other beings fall down or fall away. The winter harvests (chard, kale, beets, etc.) die, seed, and continue giving food. The non-food plants (aka “weeds”) grow and the gardeners daily destroy the useless plants. Arugala, lettuces and perenniel herbs offer themselves for harvest. Meanwhile, young basil, tomatoes, chiles, broccolli, letuces, squashes, corns, and beans begin their lives on this earth.
Fresh herbs are a joy in the kitchen. Many common culinary herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, and mint are easy to grow and harvest. Around our parcel you will find all these herbs and more. We harvest these and use them fresh, or if we have a surplus we dry them.
While I took a break from writing last week, you know we still worked in the garden! We started harvesting last week. Also, we cleaned and started planting this week.
So far the harvest includes: fava beans, a neighbor’s purple lettuce, Greek oregano, Italian oregano, two types of mint, and our first sprigs of lemon verbena. The lemon verbena shouts out to our people in Argentina. Lemon verbena grows wild in that part of the world.
We added broccolli and cabbage between our directly sewed summer squash. We have many broccollis and cabbages in the front half of our parcel. So far we sewed three scallop, also called patty pan and sunburst, squash. We directly sewed the following winter squash: delicata honey boat, table king acorn, waltham butternut, and burgess buttercup.
Over the years I have learned that one squash plant usually yields adequate fruit for one family. With so many squash plants we will have enough squash for 6-8 families in our community. The squash plants bear fruit between July and September
We also added a row of oregano and time on the west border of our parcel. We use herbs to protect our plants. The herbs block harmful insects and other pests. Right next to these herbs I sewed Italian parsley, Garden cilantro, and romaine lettuce. These will be wonderful salads very soon!
Today we did that hard labor for our summer, fall, and winter food. The olive tree grows,the doves fly, the sea gulls chatter and all the other birds sing. This fills me with happiness and hope.
I love to use fresh herbs in my cooking, and there is nothing fresher than herbs from your own garden. Many everyday herbs are very easy to grow and can even be grown in small gardens and containers. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, mint and winter savory are perennial herbs that can be easily propagated and grown anywhere. Oregano, thyme, and winter savory are low growing ground cover type herbs. They spread under the ground and fill out in a bushy way. When the weather is warm they send out long runners full of succulent flavorful leaves. Harvest these runners as needed or harvest a bunch and dry them. Mint is similar to the other three, but is a much more prolific grower. Sending out long roots that may come up several feet away from the main plant. Some people say it is best to plant mint in a container for this reason, but the plant is still manageable when planted in the ground. Rosemary is a long living bush that can turn into a veritable hedge if given enough time. When planting rosemary be sure to give it a few feet on either side fill out. When harvesting rosemary it is best to harvest the fresh new shoots before they get a burly. These fresh shoots are more tender and flavorful. French tarragon is a perennial herb that may astound you with its productivity. It may grow up to two feet high with loads of tasty leaves. With all herbs it is important to keep up on your harvesting because it increases your overall yield. If you wait too long to harvest, the plant may flower, seed, or get stemmy, making more work for you and less edible herbs. So do yourself a favor and harvest often.