Tag Archives: herbs

Fennel – Under Used And Unappreciated


Fennel is a flowering plant species closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean. Use Fennel in soups, stews, salads, baked, broiled or eat them raw.

There are two types of fennel. One is treated as an herb (Foeniculum vulgare) and one that is treated like a bulb type vegetable (Florence fennel or Finocchio – Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce).
The herb type grows 3-5 feet tall with fine textured foliage resembling dill. Flat topped clusters of yellow flowers appear in late summer. Stems, leaves and seeds of this type of fennel are harvested and used.
Florence fennel is shorter with darker green foliage and is grown for its large, flat thick rosette of petioles at the base often referred to as a “bulb.” Both forms have an anise or licorice flavor.

Fennel are grown from seed. Both types prefer a full sun location in soil that is well prepared with organic matter. This is especially important when growing Florence fennel as it prefers uniformly moist soil to develop the best “bulb.” Herb fennel is best direct sown in the garden in the spring after frost is past. It does not transplant well due to its tap root structure.

Florence fennel is also direct sown into the garden but seeding is best done from mid-June to July. This is done to allow the crop to develop during the cooler, shorter days of late summer and early fall. If planted earlier, long, hot days of summer result in plants bolting (flowering) thus reducing the quality of the “bulb.” Another important consideration for Florence fennel is maintaining uniform soil moisture. If soils are allowed to dry out, it will result in bolting and affect bulb quality. When “bulbs” start to swell and become the size of an egg, push soil around the “bulb.” This will produce a paler and tenderer “bulb.” This is a blanching process that is similar to what is done with leek.

Herb fennel can be harvested as needed by cutting away the feathery foliage. If seed is desired, allow the plant to flower and when the flower heads turn brown the plant can be cut, place in a paper bag and hung in a cool, well ventilated area to dry. Seeds will drop down into the bag and can then be cleaned and stored. Foliage can also be air dried and stored for later use.

Florence fennel can be harvested when the “bulbs” are about the size of tennis balls by digging the “bulb” and cutting off the root and cutting back the top. “Bulbs” can be stored in a cool location for several weeks.

Hint: Make any cabbage dish special by adding a bit of Fennel.

Fennel Popular Varieties
Herb Fennel Types
Sweet Fennel – Standard variety for fresh and dry leaf production.
‘Purpureum’ – A bronze leaf type. It is used as an ornamental.
‘Rubrum’ – A deep bronze to red leaf type. Also is used as an ornamental.

Florence Fennel Types
‘Rhondo’ – Uniform round bulbs, quick to mature.
‘Victoria’ – Vigorous type with grater resistance to bolting.
‘Cantino’ – A very slow to bolt variety good for early planting.
‘Mantavo’ – Good yield in slow bolting variety.

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Jerusalem artichoke – Did you know…

This is a reworked/updated post from January 2014.
Consider adding this plant to a somewhat neglected spot in your yard or garden. Brighten up that neglected area with colorful sunflower like blooms and get a surprise crop of tasty tubers as fall turns to winter.

sunflowers Suprise! Jerusalem artichoke is not from Jerusalem, and it is not a artichoke. All though both are members of the daisy family.
A plant with many names. There have been various other names applied to this plant, such as the French or Canada potato, topinambour, and lambchoke. Sunchoke, a name by which it is still known today, was invented in the 1960s by Frieda Caplan, a produce wholesaler who was trying to revive the plant’s market appeal.
The eatable artichoke part of the Jerusalem artichoke’s name comes from the taste of its edible tuber.

Jerusalem artichokes are native to the Central America. The plant is technically an evergreen perennial but cultivated as an annual crop. Once established, it grows vigorously with multiple branches, reaching about 5-10 feet height and carries many golden yellow flower heads at the terminal end of branches.

It’s tubers are elongated and uneven, typically 3 or 4 inches long and 1 to 3 inches in diameter and vaguely resemble ginger root in appearance, with a crisp texture when raw. They vary in color from pale brown to white, red, or even purple. sunflower-roots

Jerusalem artichokes are easy to cultivate. The tubers are sometimes used as a substitute for potatoes. They have a similar consistency, and in their raw form have a similar texture, but a sweeter, nuttier flavor, raw and sliced thinly, they are fit for a salad. The carbohydrates give the tubers a tendency to become soft and mushy if boiled, but they retain their texture better when steamed.

Jerusalem artichokes have 650 mg potassium per 1 cup (150g) serving. They are also high in iron, and contain 10-12% of the US RDA of fiber, niacin, thiamine, phosphorus and copper.

It is one of the finest sources of dietary fibers, especially high in oligo-fructose inulin, which is a soluble non-starch polysaccharide. Inulin should not be confused for insulin, which is a hormone. The root provides 1.6 mg or 4% of fiber. Inulin is a zero calorie saccharine and inert carbohydrate which does not undergo metabolism inside the human body, this tuber an ideal sweetener for diabetics and dietetics.

The tuber contains small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A, vitamin-E. These vitamins, together with flavonoid compound like carotenes, helps scavenge harmful free radicals and thereby offers some protection from cancers, inflammation and viral cough and cold.

Jerusalem artichokes are an excellent source of minerals and electrolytes, especially potassium, iron, and copper. 100 g of fresh root holds 429 mg or 9% of daily required levels of potassium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte which brings reduction in the blood pressure and heart rate by countering pressing effects of sodium.
100 g of fresh sunchoke contains 3.4 mg or 42.5% of iron, probably the highest amount of this trace element among the common edible roots and tubers.

It also contains small levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin.

Sunchokes prefer loose, well-drained soil, but will tolerate poor soils. (Lighter soil makes harvesting easier.)
Space sunchoke tubers 12 to 18 inches apart, 4 to 6 inches deep.
Space rows 4-6 feet apart (they will be prone to spreading).
Soil temperature at planting should be at least 50F.
Plant in full sun
Do not plant in areas that are consistently wet, as wet soil will rot the tubers. Plants are drought tolerant, but produce best with a regular supply of water.
Preferred growing temps = 65 to 90 F.

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My First Garden – My First Garden Was A Failure

Oklahoma State University said “An area exposed to full or near full sunlight with deep, well-drained, fertile soil is ideal.” The site should also be located near a water supply and, if possible, away from trees and shrubs that compete with the garden for light, water, and nutrients.

Many urban gardeners have a small area with a less than optimal site on which to grow vegetables. It is still possible to grow a vegetable garden by modifying certain cultural practices and types of crops grown.
\Areas with light or thin shade can be used, such as those under young trees, under mature trees with high lacy canopies, or in bright, airy places which receive only one to two hours of direct sun per day.
There are several vegetables which will grow under these conditions, including beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, peas, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, and turnips.
If the site is not well drained or if the soil is thin, the use of raised beds can help with this problem.

Beginners Gardening Tips
In order to have a successful garden, the gardener must
follow a few rules.
• Sample soil and have it tested every three to four years.
• Apply fertilizers in the recommended manner and amount.
• Make use of organic materials such as compost when and where available.
• Use varieties recommended for your USDA zone and area.
• Thin plants when small. Cut do not pull them up, pulling them up may damage the root system to remaining seedlings.
• Use mulches to conserve moisture, control weeds, and reduce fruit rots.
• Avoid excessive walking and working in the garden when foliage and soil are wet.
• Examine the garden often to keep ahead of potential problems.
• Keep the garden free of weeds, insects, and diseases.
• Wash and clean tools and sprayers after use.
• Rotate specific crop family locations each year to avoid insect and disease buildup.
• When possible, harvest vegetables during the cool hours of the day.

First time and beginners common gardening mistakes.
Planting too early. It never fails that somewhere in mid-February a warm front comes through and everyone gets bit by the gardening bug.
Air temperature, is a bad indicator of when to plant. Soil temperature is the key to knowing if a tomato or pepper will survive the cold, not the air temperature.
Most summer crops prefer soil temperatures at least 55-60 F. Closer to 65 F if you are talking about sensitive crops like okra and super sweet corn. Planting too early when soil temperatures are too cool will cause plants to stunt or other disorders such as leaf roll or misshapen fruit. Check soil temperatures with a soil thermometer or through your local county extension office to know when it is safe to plant.

2. Planting when it is too wet. Planting when the soil is too wet is about as bad as planting when the soil is too cold. The soil should only be worked and planted in when there is a slight bit of moisture. Tilling or planting in soils that are too wet will cause poor seed germination and transplant survival. To know if the soils are the proper moisture to plant, grab a handful of soil from the garden and squeeze it tightly together in your fist. Take a finger and push it into the soil ball you just formed. If it breaks apart into multiple pieces, the soil is perfect for working. If your finger pushes into the ball and it doesn’t break apart, it’s too wet to work and may need a few more days to dry out.

3. Not controlling weeds. Weeds can be one of the biggest headaches for both the beginning and experienced gardener. It’s always easier to try and keep the weeds out then to get them out later. Weeds compete for nutrition and moisture, and take up valuable root space from our intended crop. Prevent them through the use of mulches that include pine straw, wheat straw, wood chips, newspaper or some type of landscape fabric. Weeds can also be kept at bay by the use of both pre- and post-emergent herbicides. Make sure you read the label on all chemicals to be sure you can use it on the vegetable type you are growing.

4. Improper fertilization. Nutrition is vitally important to all types of vegetables. Too much or too little nutrition can cause major problems in the garden. Too much fertilizer can cause excessive vegetative growth and few blooms or fruit.
It can also lead to an increase in your weed population. Too little fertilizer will make plants stunted and unable to produce a good crop. Start with a soil sample through your county extension office to determine the nutritional needs as well as the pH of the soil.
In general, most vegetables need fertilization at planting time and then not until they put out their first small fruit. Additional fertilizer may be needed on continuous producing items such as tomatoes, okra, peppers and others.

5. Water is the most essential component of a successful garden. Just like fertilizer, however, too little or too much can cause more harm than good.
Most vegetables need between 1 to 2 inches of water a week to thrive. Frequency depends on the soil type and the amount of supplemental rainfall we receive. It’s far healthier for the plants and much more efficient to irrigate with either soaker hoses or drip irrigation. Overhead watering does work, but can lead to foliar diseases and also wastes a lot of water wetting non-target areas.

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10 Easy to grow garden crops

The Old Farmers Almanac Has a lot of Useful as well as fun information for farmers and Gardeners no matter how big or small your farm / garden or your age.

Mother Earth News What mother earth news about says the 10 Best Garden Crops for Beginners.

If you’re a beginner, consider starting with the 10 crops discussed below. All are easy to grow, and this combination offers lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these crops are best grown by setting out started seedlings, but most are easy to grow from a packet of seed planted directly in your garden soil.

1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not so great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks(3-5). Plant the seeds anytime the air temperatures remain above freezing.

2. Salad greens (beet and turnip tops, lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix. Many companies sell mixed packets for summer and winter gardening. Plant the seeds in spring and fall, and you can pick salads almost year round.

3. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big crop, they freeze well, and they’re also delicious when pickled with dill as dilly beans. Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.

4. Onions. Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens.

5. Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare root plants in early spring. Put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well watered and weed free.

6. Peppers. Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.

7. Bush zucchini. This squash won’t take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it’s very prolific. Start from seeds or transplants. You won’t need more than a few plants for a bumper crop.

8. Tomatoes. There’s just no substitute for a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when you start with strong plants. If you get a big crop, consider canning or freezing your excess tomato’s.

9. Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it’s a nice complement to tomatoes or any tomato dish. Basil is easy to grow from seeds or from transplants.

10. Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool. A simple and low maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil. ‘Seeds’ are whole or cut sections of potatoes, sold in early spring.

Lifehacker has a lot of good useful information for the novice gardener, even if some of it is a bit on the wacky side of gardening.

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WWII Victory Garden Planting List – Heirlooms

Today,my friends I beg your pardon, but I’d like to speak of my Victory Garden.
With a hoe for a sword and citronella for armor, I ventured forth and became a farmer …
Ogden Nash 1943

Smithsonian Institution
WWII-era vegetables Victory Garden
The vegetables planted in the Smithsonian Institution’s recreated
Victory Garden were commonly grown during World War II and can
still be found through seed * catalogues and nurseries.

From a tiny seed I will feed my family. (unknown)

Spring Garden
* Carrot
Amarillo
St. Valery
* Lettuce
Bronze Arrow
Forellenschuluss
Black-Seeded Simpson
Tennis Ball
* Kale
Red Russian
Early Curled Siberian Kale
* Onion
Red Wethersfield
Siskiyou Sweet
* Peas
Alderman Tall Telephone
Corne De Belier
Green Arrow
* Radish
Red Meat
White Icicle

Summer Garden
* Basil
* Lettuce Leaf
Mrs. Burns Lemon
Beans, Bush
Black Pencil Podded
Beans, Pole
Kentucky Wonder (‘Old Homestead’)
Dow Purple Podded
* Beans, Lima
Red Calico
* Popcorn
Strawberry
* Corn, Sweet
Stowell’s Evergreen
Golden Bantam
Texas Honey June
* Cucumber
Lemon
Early Russian
Suyo Long
* Eggplant
Black Beauty
Rosa Bianca
Muskmelon
Hale’s Best
Pike
* Okra
Clemson Spineless
* Pepper
California Wonder (Sweet)
Marconi (Sweet)
Black Czech (Hot)
* Pumpkin
Rouge Vif D’Etampes
* Squash, Summer
Yellow Crookneck
Cocozelle Bush
* Squash, Winter
Blue Hubbard
* Tomato
Yellow Pear
Brandywine
Mortgage Lifter
Cherokee Purple
* Watermelon
Moon and Stars
White Wonder

Fall Garden
* Beets
Detroit Dark Red
Bull’s Blood
Chioggia
* Broccoli
Calabrese
* Cabbage
Early Jersey Wakefield
* Carrot
Amarillo
St. Valery
* Cauliflower
* Lettuce
Bronze Arrow
Forellenschuluss
Black-Seeded Simpson
Tennis Ball
Kohlrabi
Purple Vienna
* Parsley
Extra Curled Dwarf
* Parsnip
Sugar Hollow Crown
* Radish
Red Meat
White Icicle
* Spinach
Viroflay
Bloomsdale Long Standing
* Swiss Chard
Ruby
* Turnip
Purple-Top White Globe

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Organic food isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

It turns out eating organic isn’t always that great for the planet, and may only have a marginal effect on your health.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances reports organic farms have the ecofriendly benefit of using fewer pesticides but they also use more land, which is harmful to the planet.

University of British Columbia analyzed organic crop farming across 17 criteria such as yield, impact on climate change, farmer livelihood and consumer health by looking at the existing scientific literature on its results.
They found the environmental benefits of organic farming can be offset by the lower yields of such crops (typically 19 to 25 percent lower than conventional farming).

While an organic farm may be better for things like biodiversity, farmers will need more land to grow the same amount of food.

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Some Like Them Hot – Some Don’t

This Is Not a recommended list of peppers to grow in your home garden. It is a chart to base you pepper selection from.

How hot do you like your pepper? The sweet bell peppers at zero Scoville units to Naga Jolokia(Ghost Pepper) at over 1,000,000 Scoville units.
The substance that makes a chile{chili} pepper so hot is called Capsaicin. Pure Capsaicin rates between 15,000,000 and 16,000,000 Scoville Units!

Scoville Units

Chile Pepper

Heat
Range
Sweet Bell 0
Sweet Banana 0
Pimento 0
Cherry 00 ~ 500
Pepperoncini 100 ~ 500
Sonora 300 ~ 600
El-Paso 500 ~ 700
Santa Fe Grande 500 ~ 750
NuMex R Naky 500 ~ 1,000
Coronado 700 ~ 1,000
TAM Mild Jalapeno 1,000 ~ 1,500
New Mexico 6-4 1,000 ~ 1,500
Espanola 1,000 ~ 2,000
Poblano 1,000 ~ 2,000
Ancho 1,000 ~ 2,000
Mulato 1,000 ~ 2,000
Pasilla 1,000 ~ 2,000
Anaheim 500 ~ 2,500
Sandia 500 ~ 2,500
NuMex Big Jim 1,500 ~ 2,500
Rocotillo 1,500 ~ 2,500
Pulla 700 ~ 3,000
NuMex Joe E. Parker 1,500 ~ 3,000
Bulgarian Carrot 2,000 ~ 5,000
Mirasol 2,500 ~ 5,000
Guajillo 2,500 ~ 5,000
Jalapeno 2,500 ~ 8,000
Chipolte 5,000 ~ 8,000
Long Thick Cayenne 6,000 ~ 8,500
Hot Wax 5,000 ~ 9,000
Puya 5,000 ~ 10,000
Hidalgo 6,000 ~ 17,000
Aji Escabeche 12,000 ~ 17,000
Serrano 8,000 ~ 22,000
Manzano 12,000 ~ 30,000
Shipkas 12,000 ~ 30,000
NuMex Barker’s Hot 15,000 ~ 30,000
De Arbol 15,000 ~ 30,000
Jaloro 30,000 ~ 50,000
Aji 30,000 ~ 50,000
Tabasco 30,000 ~ 50,000
Cayenne 30,000 ~ 50,000
Santaka 40,000 ~ 50,000
Super Chile 40,000 ~ 50,000
Piquin 40,000 ~ 58,000
NuMex XX Hot 60,000 ~ 70,000
Yatsafusa 50,000 ~ 75,000
Red Amazon 55,000 ~ 75,000
Haimen 70,000 ~ 80,000
Chiltecpin 60,000 ~ 85,000
Thai 50,000 ~ 100,000
Merah 85,000 ~ 100,000
Tabiche 85,000 ~ 115,000
Bahamian 95,000 ~ 110,000
Carolina Cayenne 100,000 ~ 125,000
Kumataka 125,000 ~ 150,000
Bahamian 125,000 ~ 300,000
Jamaican Hot 100,000 ~ 200,000
Birds Eye 100,000 ~ 225,000
Tepin (Wild) 100,000 ~ 265,000
Datil 1,000 ~ 300,000
Devil Toung 125,000 ~ 325,000
Fatalii 125,000 ~ 325,000
Orange Habanero 150,000 ~ 325,000
Scotch Bonnet 150,000 ~ 325,000
TigrePaw-NR 265,000 ~ 348,000
Rocoto / Manzano 225,000 ~ 350,000
Caribbean Red 120,000 ~ 400,000
Choclate Habanero 325,000 ~ 425,000
Red Savina Habanero 350,000 ~ 575,000
Dorset Naga 800,000 ~ 900,000
Naga Jolokia “Ghost Pepper” 800,000 ~ 1,041,000
Pure Capsaicin 15-16,000,000

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Rosemary, Summer Savory, And Sage – Some Like It Hot And Dry

Many culinary herbs originally came from southern Europe in and around the Mediterranean sea. There have been a lot more herb plantings {rosemary, thyme, lavender, summer savory, and sage} killed with love{over watering} than have been killed by neglect.

A majority of herbs like a well drained soil with a pH range of 6.0-7.5. Outdoors, avoid planting in heavy clay soils as well as wet areas. Also, avoid soils that have a high nutrient content. These rich soils may actually prove detrimental to the herb’s quality by promoting rapid, lush growth that will contain only small amounts of the volatile oils that give herbs their characteristic aromas and flavors. Containers used for growing herbs, whether indoors or outside, should always have holes in the bottom to insure proper drainage.

Most herbs require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight in order to grow well. All day sun is even better. The more intense the light, the more oils will develop within the glands of foliage and stems, creating stronger fragrances and seasonings. A southern or western exposure will meet the needs of most herbs, although some may do well in a bright east facing location.

Indoors, it is crucial to give herbs the best light available. During winter, when days are shorter and typically darker, fluorescent grow lights will probably be necessary to maintain healthy plants. Twelve hours of artificial light daily is adequate for most indoor grown herbs.

Water thoroughly only as needed by soaking the soil to a depth of 8 inches, to ensure that the root zone is receiving adequate moisture. Outdoors, container grown herbs must be watered more frequently, even daily, if days are very hot and sunny. Indoors, water thoroughly when the soil feels dry a half inch or so below the surface.
Tip: Never allow the plants to wilt between watering, but avoid constant soggy soil conditions. Constantly wet soil encourages root rots which are the most common problem of herbs grown indoors, especially during winter.

Fertilize sparingly. Too vigorous growth will produce foliage low in essential oils and therefore bland. Use a liquid fertilizer at half the label recommended strength once every 6-8 weeks or so for indoor plants and every 4-6 weeks for herbs in containers outdoors.

Mulching materials such as straw, marsh hay, compost, and leaves provide good winter protection for hardy perennial herbs. Depending on the size of the plant, a mulch 2-5 inches thick will keep the temperatures around the plant more constant during late fall and early spring, keeping winter damage to a minimum. Mulching can also be beneficial during hot, dry periods of the summer by helping to regulate soil temperature and moisture.

Rosemary plant care is easy. When growing rosemary plants, provide them with well drained, sandy soil and at least six to eight hours of sunlight. These plants thrive in warm, humid environments and cannot withstand winters below 30 F. (-1C.), it’s often better when growing rosemary plants to put them in containers, which can be placed in ground and easily moved indoors during winter.
Rosemary prefers to remain somewhat on the dry side; therefore, terra cotta pots are a good choice when selecting suitable containers. These pots allow the plant to dry out faster. Thoroughly water rosemary plants when the soil is dry to the touch but allow the plants to dry out between watering intervals. Even indoors, rosemary plants will require lots of light, at least six hours, so place the plant in a suitable location free of drafts.

Sage is sturdy, hardy, prolific, and drought-tolerant. It grows well within a wide range of temperatures and planting zones. Sage also boasts a long growing season. Since this resinous herb is evergreen in most zones, you can harvest sage well into late fall.

Savory two types of savory: summer savory and winter savory. Summer savory is an annual. Winter savory is a perennial. Both can be planted in spring about the time of the average last frost date or started indoors as early as 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Both will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.

Summer savory is a fast growing annual. It grows upright to about 18 inches tall as a loose bushy plant. Summer savory has needle-shaped leaves to about 1 inch long on four sided, gray green stems. Summer savory flowers are light purple to pink.

Winter savory is a semi-evergreen bushy perennial that grows to about 15 inches tall. It also has needle shaped, dark green leaves to about 1 inch long on four-squared stems that become woody with age. Winter savory has small white or purple flowers.

Winter savory has a piney, sharp flavor.
Summer savory is sweet flavored.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing Rosemary Plants: Rosemary Plant Care https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/rosemary/growing-rosemary-plants-rosemary-plant-care.htm
Source document: University of Minnesota Growing Herbs

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The Thyme Is Now

Thyme is a highly aromatic herb which grows especially well in sunny somewhat dry conditions. A Mediterranean herb, thyme holds its flavor in cooking and blends well with other flavors like garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 – 9+
Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: Varies with variety.
Thyme is generally low growing, spreading, 6 – 10″ in height. Some varieties form an almost flat carpet.

Description: Thyme is a low growing, woody perennial. It is extremely fragrant and flavorful and grows well in tough, dry conditions. The pink, lavender or white tubular flowers are very popular with bees. Tiny gray-green leaves remain evergreen. There are about 350 different species.

Suggested Varieties:

  • Thymus x citriodorus ‘Aureus’ – Lemon-scented thyme with a true lemon scent, the minty quality of thyme and golden variegated leaves.
  • T. pseudolanuginosus ‘Woolly Thyme’ – Very soft, flat spreading carpet. No scent. (Zones 6 – 5)
  • T. herba-barona ‘Caraway Thyme’ – Low growing, with pale pink flowers and the scent of caraway. Also look for thymes with the scents of orange, rose and lavender.
  • Growing Requirements & Maintenance: Thyme pretty much grows itself. In fact, the more you fuss with it, the less hardy it will be. Thyme is most fragrant and flavorful when grown in dry, lean soil. Too much moisture will rot the plants.

    Thyme will grow well indoors, if given a bright, sunny window. However, since it survives quite well outdoors all winter, you might want to consider giving it a sheltered location outside, where you can continue to harvest.

    Maintenance: When grown in warmer climates where it can get shrubby, prune hard, in early spring, to prevent the plant from getting too woody. Additional shaping can be done after flowering. Otherwise all that is needed is to prune by harvesting and to remove and replace any areas that die out.

    Uses: Thyme is flavorful fresh and dried. It makes a nice complement to tomato sauces, cheeses, eggs and vegetables. It can also be used to flavor jellies, breads, vinegars, marinades, sauces and in bouquet garnish.

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    Town & Country – Farm & Ranch Stores

    I reside in USDA zone 7. My last average last frost date is about the 10th of April.
    Armed with that trivial information and my nifty little computer generated calender, I have determined that it’s only 61 days until it’s relative safe to plant frost sensitive vegetables.

    Fruit trees are breaking bud and will be in full bloom in a week or so. Ornamental shrubs, trees and spring flowering plants will soon burst into full bloom.

    Guess what gang. Stores that sell things like vegetable seed and seedlings, things like tomato’s, peppers, onion sets, potato sets are putting out displays of nice looking seedlings for gardeners that don’t have a clue about last frost dates and those that truly believe that because we have had a week of frost free weather, winter has come to an end.

    Gardeners thinking with their eyes and an over whelming desire to plant this years vegetable garden will invest a lot of money in seed and seedlings. In a week or so weather will return to it’s normal temperatures, seed will fail to germinate because the soil is to cool for most seed to germinate and seedlings will be killed when temperatures fall below 32%(0% C) for several hours or even several days.

    Don’t fall for mother natures winter tricks.

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