Commonly Used Perennial Culinary Herbs

Perennial herbs are an excellent choice for your garden. Perennial herbs continue to grow and provide fresh herbs for your kitchen for many years if given a little care.

You can prepare a mouthwatering recipe by using Perennial herbs. Perennial herbs are good for your health, and you can also use them to make salads, stews, and soups.

Perennial herbs can be grown at ease, and the best part is that you can harvest them at any time of the year. Some of the most commonly used perennial culinary herbs are:

Mint

Mint is recognized to be one of the well renowned perennial culinary herbs which are used for cooking on an extensive scale. Though it is lemony or bit-peppery in its raw form, mint leaves a cool after taste.

Mints have slightly dented, pointy, oval, and bright green leaves along with the sturdy stem. Mint is used for cooking on an extensively in Middle-Eastern and North African recipes.

This herb emanates a refreshing smell. The intense flavor of this herb makes it the best option to cook fish sauces, peas, lamb, vegetables, and chocolate. You can also use mint to prepare tea and other beverages. The most popular varieties of mint which are used for cooking include spearmint, good old peppermint, and apple mint.

Rosemary

It is another popular favorable herb that can be used for cooking vegetables, meat, and poultry. In addition to this, you can also use it with apricots, garlic, roasted potatoes, and roasted chicken. You are going to love this plant for its delightful scent.

They are used on an extensive scale in different types of floral arrangements. The intense flavor of this herb contributes to being one of the prominent reasons why this herb is used for cooking across the globe. It has needle leaves along with hard woody stems.

Sage

This is another worth mentioning name in the list of perennial culinary herbs, which is used for the preparation of Balkan and Italian dishes. You can fry it with light batter for preparing pork, sausages, and bacon.

You can also make the best use of this herb for preparing fresh stuffed pasta, butter, rabbits, eggs, to name a few. Furthermore, you can use this aromatic herb for making sauces, seasoning meats, and vegetables. Sage in its dried form emits strong flavor.

Dill

This herb has earned a high reputation for its fresh aroma and amazing delicate flavor. The leaves of this plant are soft and light. It is used for the preparation of Eastern and Northern cuisines. Dill is an ideal choice for cucumbers, green soups, salmon, beetroot, cream, pickles, and other recipes. Dill can also be used to season peas, potatoes, lamb, and fish.

Oregano

This perennial herb is primarily grown in the warm climate of Mediterranean and Eurasia. Also referred to as the wild aroma, it is used to flavor a plethora of American and Italian dishes. Oregano is commonly used in the preparation of Turkish, Grek, and Mediterranean dishes. Oregano, also, goes well with olive oil, tomatoes, lamb, pizza, yogurt, and kebabs.

Spring is the ideal season for growing this herb. This delicious herb comes with a lovely smell, and you can use it for different purposes in your kitchen.

Winter Savory

It is recognized to be the perfect herb for the preparation of cold and warm dishes. You can use winter savory to make tasty teas. winter savory is useful in adding an aromatic flavor to a plethora of recipes.

Besides this, it boasts of a bunch of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The intense flavor of this spicy herb makes it an ideal choice for the preparation of poultry, beans, and fish. You can also use it for garnishing the salad and flavoring the liqueurs.

Lemon Balm

This perennial herb comprises of medicinal properties, and it is regarded as an ideal option for the kitchen. You can use lemon balm to garnish meals. It can also be used for the preparation of teas and other beverages.

Lavender

This perennial herb produces a variety of purple flowers which add to the beauty of the garden. It is used for the preparation of dressings and salad. It offers a bit of sweet flavor to a plethora of dishes.

The dried lavender buds and lavender syrup make it the ideal choice for the preparation of Lavender marshmallows and scones. This herb also consists of different health benefits, which make it the prime choice for cooking.

Thyme

The perennial herb tyme can found in most kitchens. Tyme is known to have a pungent, earthy, and lemony smell. tyme is used widely in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries recipes.

Tyme can be used in barbecue meats, eggplants, mushrooms, chicken, roasted vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and goat cheese. You can also add this herb for preparing stews and soups.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned herbs are regarded as the best option for the preparation of different cuisines. They are used primarily after drying, and their flavor and aroma enhance the taste.

The best thing about these perennial herbs is that perennial herbs can easily be grown in pots, in your yard or in your garden. All you need is an adequate amount of water, right exposure to light, and care and you are good to go.

When to harvest Yardlong beans

While (Asparagus) Yardlong beans can grow up to 36 inches long, however, it’s best to harvest Yardlong beans at 18 inches or less when Yardlong beans are at their most tender and flavorful.

How to grow blueberries

Blueberries Planted as part of a good neighbor fence
Blueberries planted as part of a good neighbor fence

The blueberry not only bears delicious fruit high in fiber and vitamin C but does double duty as an ornamental landscape shrub. Blueberries are very easy for the home gardener to grow and enjoy.

How To Grow Blueberries

Choosing Blueberries

  • Chose blueberry varieties appropriate to you garden hardiness zone.
  • While blueberries are technically self-pollinating, the use of at least two different varieties will greatly enhance fruit size and yield.

Planting Blueberries

  • Plant with soil 1/4”- 1 1/2” above the root system
  • Spaced 4 ft. apart and mulched regularly.
  • Blueberries require an acid soil with a pH of5-5.0 with a high organic content to maintain moisture.
  • Newly-planted blueberries will need deep watering during their first spring and summer so they can establish themselves.

Ripe Blueberries On A Branch
Ripe Blueberries On A Branch

Caring For Blueberries

  • For best fruit production deep water when the berries begin to set and grow.
  • Add iron sulfate to acidify the soil, if needed.
  • Unless you have acidic soil, grow blueberries in large pots.
  • Feed with a fertilizer formulated for blueberries (according to package).
  • Mulching will improve plant health and fruit yield.
  • Pine needles are good mulch for acid-loving

Blueberry Problems

  • Insects and disease are rarely a problem.
  • Netting and other protective measures for birds may be required when berries begin to ripen.

Picked Blueberries In A Basket
Picked Blueberries In A Basket

Harvesting Blueberries

  • Harvest after berries has been blue for a few days for peak nutrient content.
  • The immediate consumption or preservation of the berries is recommended.
  • Blueberries can be used in smoothies, scones, muffins and a whole range of other delicious desserts. However, freezing my well be the easiest and way to preserve blueberries for future use.

Related References

 

 

How To Grow Apricot Trees

Apricot on a tree branch
Apricot on a tree branch

The apricots are a fine addition to a home growing repertoire. Apricot trees can be grown as fans, bushes or pyramid-shaped examples, or left to grow to a natural shape. Dwarf varieties are available which can be grown in containers, small space in the landscape, or trained along walls so that apricot trees can be suitable for even the very smallest of gardens.

Choosing an Apricot Tree

If you choose a self-fertile, you will only need to buy one apricot tree, which can crop without a partner tree. It is important to choose an apricot tree suited to the exact conditions where you live. The crucial factor is when the tree will blossom. Apricots tend to bloom early, so can be prone to frost damage if there is a danger of a late frost in your area. Bryan, Hungarian and Moorpark Apricots could all be good options for zone 8 in Texas.

Planting an Apricot Tree

Apricot trees will grow best in sunny, wind and frost sheltered, locations. They like a deep, moisture retentive, well drained and ideally slightly alkaline soil and will struggle in shallow soils which have low fertility. Be sure to space your Apricot trees according to the space requirements of the variety you have chosen.  Generally, I like to add two feet to the spacing to provide clearance for picking and maintenance. Mulch the trees with rich compost or well-rotted manure in March and early April. Mulch will help to fertilize and keep down competitive weeds.

Caring For an Apricot Tree

Newly-planted Apricot trees will need deep watering during their first spring and summer so they can establish themselves. For best fruit production deep water when the fruits begin to set and grow. Mature trees may also need to be watered if there are drought conditions.

If your tree is cropping heavily, then you should thin apricots to around 8-10 cm intervals when they are roughly the size of hazelnuts. You may also wish to prune for shape and size at the same time.

Apricots require insects for pollination. If there are not enough insects around yet when the tree breaks into bloom, then you may need to pollinate by hand to achieve the best possible yield. Better still is to encourage pollinators into your garden by companion planting apricot trees with a beneficial guild of plants that can help gather nutrients and which will attract bees and other pollinators to your yard.

Ripe Apricot
Ripe Apricot

Harvesting Apricots

Apricots will be ready to harvest in late June through August. The Apricots are ready to pick when the fruits have a golden-yellow color, are soft, and detach easily from the tree. Take care when harvesting to avoid bruising the delicate fruits and the immediate consumption or preservation of the fruit is strongly recommended. Apricots can be used in preserves, a whole range of delicious desserts, and dehydrated as a healthy treat.

Apricot Torte
Apricot Torte

Related References

How To Grow Peach Trees

Home grown Peach on a branch
Home grown Peach on a branch

Peaches are such attractive trees and have such delicious fruit – no wonder they are a favorite with many gardeners in the climate zone. Peaches are a delicious, fresh taste of the summer and there is nothing better than being able to pick these juicy fruits from your garden.

Choosing a Peach Tree

Most peaches are self-fertile and so will not require a companion tree to fruit. However, you may wish to consider choosing different peach varieties to be able to harvest these delicious fruits over a longer period. Peaches that do well in zone 8 gardens include Gulf Crimson, Early Golden Glory, Bicentennial, Sentinel, Redglobe, Milam, and Fayette. Ask your local garden center, master gardener or agriculture extension office for other examples of peach trees that will do best where you live.

 Planting a Peach Tree

 Peach trees will require a sheltered site in full sun.  Moisture-Retentive and yet well-drained soil is best. Be very careful to avoid planting in a frost pocket or a windy or exposed location, as peaches blossom early and so can be damaged by late frosts in some areas.

 Caring For a Peach Tree

 The first year after planting It is important to deepwater your peach tree to ensure that the roots do not dry out. During the growing season, you should deepwater regularly, and during periods of extreme heat,  you may need to water more frequently.  Use of a drip irrigation system is strongly recommended. A good layer of compost and two to four inches deep mulch will help to retain soil moisture and will help feed your tree.

Underplanting with a beneficial guild of companion plants will also help with soil cover and moisture retention, as well as aiding your peach tree by attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden.

Prune your tree as required for shaping and size requirements. Pruning aims to replace fruited wood with new growth. Peaches mostly grow on the previous year’s growth.

When fruits appear, these should be thinned to give a final spacing between fruits of around 15 cm. Remove any small or misshapen fruits when they are around the size of your fingernail. Keep an eye on fruits and if necessary, protect them from birds and other wildlife.

 

Harvested Peaches in a bowl
Harvested Peaches in a bowl

 Harvesting Peaches

 Peaches should be ready to harvest between July and September depending upon weather and the variety of peach. Peaches are ready to pick when they are fully colored, and the flesh close to the branch stem feels soft. Cradle each fruit in the palm of your hand and then lift gently. You will need to harvest over more than once as the peach become individually ripe,  as not all the peaches will develop and ripen at once; especially if you have planted different varieties. Do not leave picked fruits uneaten or unpreserved too long. Peaches are most nutritious and flavorful used immediately after harvest.

 If you do have a large harvest of peaches, you can also turn these into a range of delicious desserts, or preserves to see you through to the colder months.

Related References

A Permaculture Garden Guide To Composting

Aging Compost Heap
Aging Compost Heap

One of the key skills any permaculture gardener should learn is how to create good compost. Creating a good compost is key to creating abundant, productive and sustainable permaculture gardens. If you want to be able to grow your food using permaculture principles then creating compost is one of the foundations upon which your garden will be based. This guide to composting in a permaculture garden will help you make your garden the thriving, resource-rich ecosystem that it should be.

Why Composting is Important

 Composting is an important element of gardening because it allows you to adhere to the permaculture ethic of returning the surplus to the system. It allows you to eliminate waste, and make full use of the natural resources at your disposal. It enables you to care for the soil of your growing areas, and to make them rich, fertile places to grow a range of fruit trees and other edible and useful plants. When you create and use compost in your garden, you are completing the natural cycles and creating systems that can endure and sustain for many years to come.

Black Compost Bin
Black Compost Bin with two compartments, which tumbles

Composting Methods

 There are some different ways to create compost. The main methods used in a permaculture garden are:

  • Composting in Place (Sheet mulching with organic materials and allowing them to decompose on top of the soil of your growing areas.)
  • Cold Composting (Creating a heap or large bin in which compost is slowly created.)
  • Hot Composting (Creating the conditions for faster, warmer decomposition in a bin or other container.)
  • Vermiculture (Creating compost with the help of special worms.)

Mushroom growing in Forest Floor Compost
Mushroom growing in Forest Floor Compost

Creating Compost in a Permaculture Garden

 No matter which method you are using to create your compost, the principles at play remain the same. You are taking organic materials that are considered to be ‘waste’ and creating the conditions for their decomposition. Once decomposed, the compost is used to conserve or enhance the fertility of the soil.

Creating a good compost involves a basic understanding of the different sorts of material in a compost heap. The materials are grouped into two categories – carbon-rich ‘brown’ materials and nitrogen-rich ‘green’ materials. Both types are necessary to create a good-quality compost. Brown materials include cardboard, straw, twiggy material, wood chips, and bark. Green materials include green leafy matter, grass clippings, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

To get a good mix in your compost, you should add ‘brown’ and ‘green’ materials in thin layers. Adding in thin layers allows for the right conditions for aerobic decomposition and helps to ensure that your compost does not become too wet or too dry.

In addition to thinking about getting the right mix of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials in your compost, creating good compost also involves thinking about getting a good balance of the main nutrients that plants need to grow: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as the various micro-nutrients needed by plant life. Adding a good mix of different ingredients to your compost will help to create compost with a good nutrient balance.

Creating compost is not rocket science. Anyone can create good, crumbly compost for use in their forest gardens or polyculture vegetable beds.

 Related References

 

A Guide To Attracting Wildlife in a Permaculture Garden

Fox In The Shade
Fox In The Shade

 If you are a keen gardener then doubtless you love watching the wildlife that comes into your garden. You may enjoy watching the birds, for example. In a permaculture garden, you will discover that the whole ecosystem teems with life. Food forests and other diverse garden ecosystems are great at attracting wildlife – far better than a boring lawn! This guide to attracting wildlife in a permaculture garden will help you understand the reasons to attract wildlife and learn how to attract wildlife in a range of different ways.

Bee Covered In Pollen
Bee Covered In Pollen

 What Wildlife Can Do For Us

 It is lovely to watch wildlife in your garden – but this is not the only reason why, as gardeners, we should do all we can to encourage a range of creatures into our backyards. Here are some of the many things that a diverse range of wildlife can do for us:

  • Pollinate our fruit trees and other food crops.
  • Predate pest species such as aphids and blackfly, slugs and snails.
  • Add fertility to the garden soil (through droppings, for example).
  • Spread seeds and propagate useful plant material.
  • Aerate soil and aid in nutrient transmission and spread.
  • ‘Recycle’ old plant material and help in decomposition.
  • Naturally ‘prune’ plants and trees through grazing.
  • Increase diversity and beneficial interactions, thereby making your garden ecosystem more stable and resilient.

Almost every mechanism and natural cycle in an organic garden involve some form of wildlife in some way. The more you think about what wildlife is doing for you, the more you will appreciate the creatures, large and small, with whom you share your space.

Cardinal On Holly Branch
Cardinal On Holly Branch

 Attracting Wildlife Through Planting

 One of the most important things that we can do as gardeners to attract beneficial wildlife to our gardens is to plant a wide range of wildlife-friendly plants. For example, certain flowers will be particularly good at attracting bees and other pollinators, while fruiting trees or bushes may attract birds and mammals that eat pest species.

When planting for bees and other pollinators, it is important to consider providing for these insects throughout the year by choosing appropriate plants that are in bloom in Spring, Summer, and Fall. A useful list of bee-friendly plants for Central Texas gardens can be found here: Central Texas Bee-Friendly Plants. You’ll also be able to find out more about which plants to choose to attract different types of wildlife by chatting to other local gardeners and the staff of local plant nurseries and garden centers.

 Attracting Wildlife Through Habitat Creation

 Beyond choosing the right plants, there is more than gardeners can do to attract wildlife. By creating a range of different habitats in your backyard, you can attract a wide variety of different creatures. For example, a garden pond could encourage aquatic creatures to move in and can also be a boon to birds, mammals, and insects. A brush pile will provide shelter for bugs, beetles, and other creatures. Bird boxes, feeders, and baths can help to create a bird-friendly habitat. Try to create diverse environments of shade and sun, cool and hot, to increase the natural diversity in your garden and make it more resilient.

Related Reference