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.

Easy Gardening – Garden Seed Tapes

What are Seed Tapes?

Seed tapes are products designed with seeds perfectly attached between narrow strips of biodegradable tissue layers, which are ready for planting in both the garden and house. They are ideal for sowing in containers, large empty garden plots, as well as fill-ins in tighter areas.

The seeds are applied at the correct distance along the tapes to reduce overcrowding of newly germinated seedlings. The tapes can consist of a single variety, custom mixtures, and multiple species of seeds. You can find products with flower, vegetable, and herb seeds embedded into them.

What are the Advantages of Seed Tapes?

  • Provide an easy and efficient way to plant tiny seeds quickly.
  • Seeds are planted at the same depth allowing for a more uniform germination rate.
  • Seed tapes enable you to space plants evenly and eliminate seed wastage. This helps avoid overcrowding that may call for thinning of young seedlings, which is a tedious and time-consuming task.
  • Less thinning also means less disturbance to the root of plants left in your garden. Otherwise, you risk delaying or inhibiting the growth and even performance of the plants.
  • Prevents birds from eating the fresh seeds that you sow.
  • Makes the sowed seeds less susceptible to wash away in a downpour and ruining the evenly spaced rows.
  • Almost all the seed tape products are biodegradable and considered to be environmental-friendly.
  • Very convenient for senior gardeners, particularly those suffering from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other mobility complications.

What are the types of Seed tapes?

Seed tapes

Seed tapes are one of the most common types, which are ideal for growing most vegetable seed varieties, salads, as well as flower seeds. They are usually available in different lengths, especially between one to six meters. However, it is possible to have the garden vegetable seed tapes produced in specific lengths to suit your unique gardening needs. Also, the seed tapes can come as a single track containing one variety of seeds or multiple tracks with different seed varieties.

Seed discs

Seed discs are designed in different sizes. You’ll find smaller and larger seed discs. With smaller seed discs, the diameter often ranges from 8cm to 12 cm, a size that easily fits most typical flowerpots. They are perfectly suited for sowing herbs indoor, such as in the kitchen or windowsills.

The larger discs, on the other hand, range from 14cm to 46cm in diameter. You can use them for sowing seeds in outdoor pots, as well as hanging containers or baskets.

Seed mats

If you want to sow seeds in big planters, garden borders or window boxes, then seeds mats are a great option. With seed mats, you can easily produce a great color display of stunning bedding plants. Well, good examples of such plants include marigolds and pansies.

The size of seed mats vary. Often than not, you’ll find mats available in the size of a small business card and up to 100cm in length.

Seed carpets

Seeds carpets are suitable for planting salads, mixed vegetables, and wildflower fusions in large borders or other large garden areas. They are simply ready-made “mini-gardens” or “allotments,” which are usually one meter or larger in length.

How to Use Seed Tapes

It’s an incredibly easy process. First off, you’ll need to prepare the soil for planting, just like you would with any new seedbed. Once you have a weed-free garden bed, it’s often recommended to follow the guidelines on the package of the seed tapes, discs, carpets, or mats.

In most cases though, you’ll be required to place the seed tapes in a straight line on the soil using the proper rowing space. After that, gently cover it with the top layer soil and then water the area. However, you should avoid prolonged watering after sowing.

If the soil has not been moistened by Mother Nature, consider watering it several hours before sowing. But don’t make the garden bed sopping wet.

Where to buy Seed tapes

You can find the different types of seed tapes we’ve discussed above at most local garden centers or nurseries, DIY stores, and grocery stores. Alternatively, you can just buy from reputable online garden retailers.

A Guide To Protecting the Soil in a Permaculture Garden

Permaculture Erosion Protection
Permaculture Erosion Protection

It is important for all gardeners to remember that the soil is one of nature’s most precious resources. We rely on the soil in our gardens in order to grow food. Without the soil ecosystem, plants simply would not be able to survive – and neither would we. This guide to protecting the soil in a permaculture garden will help you ensure that the soil is safeguarded now and for the future.

Protecting Soil Through Planting

One of the main ways that we, as gardeners, can protect the soil is through making the right planting choices. There are several different ways in which plants can help to protect the soil. These include:

  • Stabilizing slopes and loose soil with their roots.
  • Preventing water run-off and erosion.
  • Encouraging the formation of beneficial bacterial and/or fungal networks below the soil.
  • Providing biomass (leaves & other organic matter) which improve soil structure and nutritional content.
  • Creating shade or ground cover to reduce moisture loss from the soil.

Protecting Soil Through Organic, ‘No Dig/ No Till’ Gardening

In addition to taking care to make the right planting choices for a given location, gardeners can also make sure that the soil in their gardens is protected by choosing to avoid damaging gardening practices.

In organic gardens, no pesticides or herbicides are used. Rather, natural methods such as companion planting are used to retain and good balance and keep pest numbers down. By keeping the soil ecosystem free from pollutants that can damage it, organic gardeners help to maintain good soil health.

In addition, many permaculture gardens operate a ‘no dig/ no till’ system. Rather than digging in organic matter and disrupting the fragile soil ecosystem, permaculture gardeners disturb the soil as little as possible. Instead of digging in fertilising material/ organic matter, permaculture gardeners lay materials on top of the soil.

Protecting Soil Through Mulching

In a no dig garden, the main way to add nutrients to the soil is through mulching. Mulching is simply the practice of adding organic matter, compost or well-rotted manure onto the soil surface (also known as top-dressing). When the soil ecosystem is left undisturbed, the biota contained within the soil are able to do their job. Over time, they will draw the nutrients down into the topsoil and incorporate the material for you so there is no need to dig and disrupt the processes at work below.

In a forest garden, much of the work is done for you as a natural mulch will begin to form below your trees and shrubs, as deciduous trees and other plants drop their leaves. Organic material from the forest garden can be simply chopped and dropped where it stands to build up the ‘forest floor’.

The problem with many modern farming and gardening practices is that they neglect or even actively do harm to the soil. In a permaculture garden, protecting and enhancing the soil should always be a top priority.

Related References

How To Create a Great Garden Culture?

Cabbage in Garden Patch
Cabbage in Garden Patch

Gardens are ecosystems like any other – but unlike other ecosystems, we as gardeners have the power to influence what happens within their borders. While all areas in the natural world can be shaped to a degree – it is our gardens where we have the greatest level of agency and control.

In our gardens, we can shape the natural environment and work with nature to meet our own needs and desires. The key to designing, creating and maintaining a successful and sustainable garden lies in understanding what we as gardeners can do to work with nature to achieve our goals. The tips below will help you to create a great garden culture – a holistic system that works for you and for all the plants and wildlife with which you share your space.

Promote Biodiversity in Your Garden

One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in a garden is attempting to grow mono-cultures. One of the main problems with large-scale food production is that too few crops are grown over too large an area. Growing only one type of plant en masse can lead to all sorts of problems. Not only are mono-cultures more likely to succumb to pests and disease, but they are also less resilient to changing weather patterns and can cause a degradation of the overall ecosystem.

The same that is true of large-scale agriculture is also true in a garden. Organic gardeners have discovered the benefits of creating polycultures (cultures with a diverse range of plants). By growing a wide range of species, organic gardeners can reduce the likelihood of disaster and improve the resilience of their growing areas. Interplanting various different plants can increase the range of beneficial interactions between them, as well as making it easier to garden organically. Of course, having more plant species can also help to attract a wider range of beneficial wildlife.

To promote biodiversity, interplanting (creating polycultures) is crucial. Annual food crops can be interplanted with other secondary crops of herbs, other vegetables or flowers, while perennial planting schemes form ‘guilds’ of plants which help one another in a wide range of different ways. Companion plants may:

  • Provide shade for other plants.
  • Provide ground cover around plants which reduces moisture loss from the surrounding soil.
  • Dynamically gather nutrients (nitrogen from the air, or nutrients from far below the soil surface) which can be taken up by neighboring
  • Attract pollinators (such as bees and other insects) that allow pollination to occur and fruits to set.
  • Attract predatory insects or other animals such as birds or mammals which eat pest species and keep an ecosystem in balance.
  • Serve as ‘trap’ crops to attract pests that would otherwise damage or destroy more valuable crops.

As well as concentrating on creating a biodiverse planting scheme, organic gardeners can also take other measures to improve the biodiversity (and resilience) of their gardens. For example, gardeners can:

  • Create a wide range of different habitats – g., wild corners, brush piles, meadow, woodland/forest areas, a garden pond, etc.
  • Provide food for birds during winter/ periods of scarcity.
  • Provide ‘housing’ for bees, bugs, birds, bats and other beneficial garden creatures.

Squash Bugs On Melon Vine
Squash Bugs On Melon Vine

Control Pests and Disease

Creating a biodiverse garden is the number one way to control pests and mitigate the effects of the disease. The more biodiverse a culture is, the more harmony will be found within the system. This means that pest species are far less likely to get out of control. There will be no need for harmful chemicals to control pests when the wildlife can do a lot of the job for you.

Of course, there are also other things that you can do to control pests and disease in your garden. Maintaining a great garden culture involves understanding the mechanisms by which pests and disease will spread and doing what you can to reduce the risk of these problems occurring too often in your growing areas.

Good plant hygiene, tidiness and an orderly approach can help to stop things getting out of control. For example, gardeners should:

  • Avoid growing certain annual crops in the same growing area year after year. A good system of crop rotation for plants in the tomato family, brassicas, alliums and legumes can help keep the disease at bay and keep things running smoothly.
  • Keep on top of weeds to avoid excessive crowding or competition. (Weed little and often in main growing areas – though remember some weeds can be useful to the garden as a whole.)
  • Keep paths, greenhouses, polytunnels and garden furniture clean and clear of debris.
  • Avoid spreading disease from one area of the garden to another or from one season to the next on garden tools, pots or containers, gardening equipment or through compost.
  • Only incorporate plants into your garden that come from a trusted source and not damaging biosecurity by importing non-native plants or species, or items that may have come from an infected site.
  • Promptly remove all plants in your main vegetable garden that are past peak-production or have come to the end of their useful life, so the disease cannot fester and the area can be used for successional crops.

If you do have an outbreak of pests or disease in your garden you should:

  • Treat pests/disease organically where this is possible.
  • Where plants will not recover, remove all damaged or diseased materials as soon as possible and dispose of them well away from other crops. (Burning items where necessary and making sure they don’t end up contaminating your growing areas or composting area.)
  • Thoroughly clean all garden tools, gloves, etc. that have come into contact with the diseased
  • Wash hands, pots, etc. thoroughly before using them for any other jobs around the garden.
  • Look for ways to promote better harmony/ greater biodiversity in your garden culture in the future.

Feed And  Protect the Soil in Your Garden

Promoting biodiversity and taking measures to reduce the incidence or spread of pests and disease will go a long way towards creating a great garden culture. But there is one more vital element that will ensure that you can keep your garden culture sustainable over the years to come: care for the soil. No matter how well you tend your garden in other ways, if you do not care for the soil – production and appearance will soon begin to suffer.

In an organic garden culture, feeding and protecting the soil should always be a number one priority. As mentioned above, crop rotation is one of the important ways to make sure your garden thrives. As well as reducing the incidence of pests and disease, moving annual crops from one growing area to another on a rotational basis each year will also help to ensure that the soil retains a good balance of nutrients. For example, legumes planted the year after brassicas or other leafy plants will help to replace the nitrogen in the soil.

Other methods that should be used to protect garden soil include:

  • Adoption of a ‘no-dig’ approach
    • A no-dig garden is one in which the soil is disturbed as little as possible. This allows the soil’s complex web of biota to function as it should. Bacteria and fungi and larger soil creatures such as earthworms all, serve important functions in the soil web. No dig gardening allows these creatures to flourish – to the benefit of the plants and, ultimately, the gardener.
  • The use of organic mulches
    • In a no dig garden, rather than digging compost/ manure or other amendments into the soil, the gardener simply leaves these materials on the soil surface as an organic mulch. It has been shown that this material is naturally incorporated into the topsoil below without the agency of a spade. Using compost, fall leaves, grass clippings, comfrey leaves, seaweed, straw, bark or other materials to cover the ground around cultivated areas helps to complete the natural cycles and return nutrients into the system. Choosing the right mulch materials for the right situation can help the garden culture to remain healthy and even to be improved over time.
  • The use of green manures to protect and enrich the soil
    • ‘Green manures’ are simply cover crops that protect the soil surface from erosion and degradation. Nature abhors bare soil in most situations and leaving soil bare for too long means causing damage to the fragile topsoil ecosystem. Cover crops create a ‘green carpet’ over an area to make sure the area of soil is preserved. Green manures are cover crops which have been chosen to not only protect but also to enrich the soil. These are cover crops which are chopped and dropped to return the nutrients to the topsoil system. Like other organic mulches, these ‘green manures’ can form an important part of an organic garden system.

The above should help organic gardeners to plan and implement their garden cultures in a way that will ensure that the culture is not only great, but also sustainable, and can continue to provide food and other resources for them and their families for years to come.

Related References

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