A HOUSE FULL OF HERBS

Just lately it’s all been about herbs, harvesting them from the garden, drying them, putting them in oil, making powder and so fort. It has been a busy but rewarding time. I’ve learnt a lot more about Dandelion plants and this means that the Dandelion is now been promoted to a primary plant in our garden. Luckily we have a lot of them as I’ve always been reluctant to pull them up from among the other vegetables. Now they have gained a firm status of valuable nutritional source. So far I have dried roots and leaves. The roots are for tea and the leaves are for either a soak in water overnight making a cool drink, or to be grinded into powder to add a touch to soups. I am looking forward to spring when I will use some of the flowers when baking biscuits, only some though as they are earmarked mainly as food for the bees. Nettles are another good source of minerals and they have been growing so well this past summer in our garden. I’ve harvested many and again grinded some into powder for the soups and will use the leaves for a green drink.

Dandelion leaves
Sometimes I hang my herbs, but mostly now I dry them in the oven with the pilot light on and the oven door a little ajar.

Just recently I had bought the long desired book by Rosalee De La Foret: ‘Alchemy of Herbs’, and I am finding it a brilliant work. So much information, and beautiful photography too. As well as this book I have once again signed on to Herb mentor from Learning Herbs, it’s an amazing informative website and course, a hands on type of learning which is great fun as well as being very interesting. (It’s online; https://learningherbs.com/herbmentor/)

A start in making use of Dandelions in different ways.
I’ve got two different types of Oregano and they grow so very well. There is the variegated Mediterranean type with white flowers, so loved by the bees, and the all green regular one with the pink flowers, which this one is. A lovely herb.

All these herbs are humble plants, many of them are even considered to be weeds by some people. I’m so very grateful that they come growing in my garden. Some, like the Yarrow, plantain and violets grow in the boreen close to where we live. On my walks I always keep an eye out for useful wild plants in case I should ever need them, then I know where to find them.

We may be very thankful for the wealth of wild plants and herbs in our gardens.

THE WINTER GARDEN

Gathered in the garden ready for cooking chicken broth is wild three cornered leek, cut and come back celery (a plant that is two years old and doing great) and oca which I have been growing for some years and which is a Peruvian root vegetable.

Due to all the rough weather we have been experiencing lately, and also due to the indoor work which we were completing I had not been much in our garden to check on things and certainly did not do any work in it. But between the two latest storms I did go out and took stock of what needs doing and what is growing right now and it seems that we have quite a bit going for us, there is more food to be found there than at first one would think. And so I have become encouraged and excited to get going. I plan to grow as much as I can fit, because my plan is to preserve some surplus harvest and to that end I bought some Kilner jars today. When I was growing up every housewife used to preserve a variety of foods in those jars. My mother did this until she was well in her eighties.

I am chitting our potatoes, last summer my grandchildren and I dug up the potatoes that I had grown, the excitement this caused was so much fun that I decided to grow some more this season!

ODE TO THE DANDELION

I’ve loved Dandelions all my life, they are bright, beautiful, yellow, and very delicate if you look at them closely. And they flower early in spring, and grow everywhere in the wild. I remember picking a bunch of them when I was six years old, for my mum, who had just given birth to one of my siblings, I did not then realise how much of a stain they can leave on your hands. The leaves are lovely used in a salad, and from the roots you can make a good coffee substitute that you can drink for a healthy liver.
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And a detail of some of the petals and stamens.

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These are the flowers of the wild onion, beautiful white flowers with a green stripe along it’s petals.  And today in the mini greenhouse the temperature rouse to 10* Celsius.

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Young shoots of the Lady’s Mantel, and the Chives, great to see those in the garden.

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My patch of Garlic is coming on well, they won’t be harvested until well into the autumn.  Among the Garlic is growing some fresh Goose grass (Cleavers) which I want to use this year, in the soup.   I harvested a good amount of spinach for tonight’s dinner, it was delicious.

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And so another week is over, and we are coming closer to real spring starting, here it is said that once St.Patrick’s day (17th of March) is over one can start to sow outside.  My seedlings inside the house are absolutely rearing to get going, they are getting stronger by the day, it’s a joy to watch them grow.  Even the Holy Basil has now sprouted.