Anise - Annual (not much call for this item.)
Anise /ˈænɪs/, Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavor has some similarities with liquorice, fennel, and tarragon.
Culinary Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavor. The seeds, whole or ground, are used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including the black jelly bean, British aniseed balls, Australian humbugs, New Zealand aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German Pfeffernusse and Springerle, Austrian Anisebögen, Netherland muisjes, Norwegian knotts, New Mexican Bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones. It is a key ingredient in Mexican atole de anís or champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate, and it is taken as a digestive after meals in India.
Catnip - Perennial
Nepeta cataria (also known as catnip, catswort, or catmint) is a plant in the Lamiaceae family that is native to much of Asia and Europe, and is widely naturalized elsewhere. The common names can also be used to refer to the Nepeta genus as a whole.
Nepetalactone is a mosquito and fly repellent. Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites. Research suggests that in a test tube, distilled nepetalactone repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents, but that it is not as effective a repellent when used on the skin.
Fern Leaf Dill
Sweet Bay Laurel
Growing Bay Leaf (Bay Laurel)
Bay or sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) is the leaf from a tree in the Laurel family. It's an evergreen that originated in the Mediterranean, where it grows to a height of 40 feet. Bay laurel is beautifully appointed with medium sized, glossy, green leaves. It is not winter hardy in areas that experience freezing weather.
Luckily, bay can be cultivated in a container and brought indoors to overwinter. When potted, it seldom grows taller than 6', but can be cultivated into a dense, rich specimen plant. Bay topiaries aren't uncommon, and they can be very elegant on a deck or patio. That's the good news. The bad news is that bay can be persnickety about its living conditions.
It prefers rich, well-drained soil that has a sunny exposure. Plant your tree away from other plantings. Once it gets started, it will need room to spread out. This isn't a shrub. Because it's considered an herb, it's easy to underestimate bay's growth potential. This is a tree that can last many decades, so give its location some serious thought. Because it likes its soil relatively moist and doesn't like to dry out, consider mulching, and don't forget to water it regularly while it's young.
Keeping Bay in a Pot
If you're planning on keeping your bay tree in a pot, avoid terracotta, and look for commercial potting soil that has good water retentive characteristics, like water beads and vermiculite.
Plan on a 12" pot for a plant that's about eight inches high. Since bay is a slow grower, invest in a larger plant if you can afford it. Bay can be pricey, but you'll be glad you paid a little more.
Growing Bay Leaf Indoors
Make sure your plant gets plenty of sun while it's spending time indoors. Remember, the quality of the light in a room starts to drop sharply as you move back from the window, so give it plenty of clear, bright light, or provide grow lights for it. Bay also dislikes drafts and hot spots, like those near heating vents or exterior doors.
Don't fertilize outdoor specimens you are over-wintering inside. Wait until spring. If you are maintaining a bay indoors year round, try putting it out on a patio for a couple of weeks in spring. A little time outdoors each season will do it a world of good. To make the moving task easier, give it a base with casters. Your back will thank you.
All this sounds like a pain, but a healthy, shiny, specimen can be a beautiful sight.
Propagating Bay Leaf Laurel
Take stem cuttings (four or five inches), or air layer. The end of summer is the best time to start new plants. The cuttings will have to be carefully nurtured; a conservatory where you can keep them in uniformly humid conditions would be ideal. Transplant the following spring.
Harvesting Bay Leaf
You can start to harvest bay once the plant is a couple of years old. The leaves should be dried before use, as fresh bay is bitter. The best wait time is around 48 to 72 hours from the time you pick a leaf. I know you get long-dried bay leaves at the store, but the freshly dried leaves have better, deeper flavor. After all, you aren't going to all this trouble for nothing. Select the largest leaves. The older the leaf, the stronger the flavor will be.
Uses for Bay Leaf
Bay leaf is a favorite in cooking. It is commonly used whole in stews, sauces and soups. It can be used in both mild and strongly seasoned dishes and works well with many other herbs and spices. Bay Leaf is one of the key ingredients in Bouquet Garni, and ground bay leaf is the signature herb in Old Bay Seasoning.
Bay can also be used as a weevil deterrent. Place a few leaves in the cabinet where you keep your flour and other grains to repel bugs.
It is a pungent addition to potpourri, and an ointment made from bay leaf can help reduce joint inflammation. Bay also makes a very full and impressive base for an herb wreath.
Basil - Annuals (half-hardy)
Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum (pronounced /ˈbæzɪl/ or, in the US, /ˈbeːzɪl/), of the family Lamiaceae (mints), sometimes, in some English-speaking countries known as Saint Joseph's WortBasil.
Basil originally from India, is a half-hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.
There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. × citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as 'African Blue'.
Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.
Chives - Perennial
Chives are a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 10-20 inches tall. The bulbs are slender, conical, about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch broad, and grow in dense clusters from the roots. The scapes (or stems) are hollow and tubular, up to 20 inches long, and about 1 inch in diameter, with a soft texture, although, prior to the emergence of a flower, they may appear stiffer than usual. The flowers are pale purple, and star-shaped with six petals, and produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together; before opening, the inflorescence is surrounded by a papery bract. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule, maturing in summer. The herb flowers from April to May in the southern parts of its habitat zones and in June in the northern parts. Chives are a commonly used herb and can be found in grocery stores or grown in home gardens. In culinary use, the scapes are diced and used as an ingredient for fish, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.
Creeping Red Thyme
Thymus praecox is a low growing perennial hardy in USDA zones 4-9 with fairly minimal requirements. An evergreen with lightly haired foliage, this tiny-growing creeping thyme varietal – rarely over 3 inches – will appear in low dense mats, which sprawl randomly and quickly fill in areas as a ground cover. T. serpyllum is another creeping thyme variety.
Just like other thyme varieties, creeping thyme is edible with a flavor and aroma akin to mint when crushed or steeped for teas or tinctures. To harvest creeping thyme ground cover, either remove the leaves from the stems or dry by snipping from the plant and hanging upside down in a dark, well aerated area. Harvest creeping thyme in the morning when the essential oils of the plant are at their peak.
Another creeping thyme fact is despite its enticing odor, growing creeping thyme ground cover is deer resistant, making it an ideal landscape candidate in areas frequented by them. Creeping thyme is also capable of withstanding the tromping upon by rambunctious kids (making it kid resistant as well!), which makes it an exceptional planting choice anywhere around one’s home that has frequent foot traffic.
Flowering creeping thyme is very attractive to bees and is a nice addition to a garden focused on honeybees and in fact, the pollen from the blooming thyme will flavor the resulting honey.
How to Plant Creeping Thyme
As mentioned, growing creeping thyme is a simple process due to its compatibility in a variety of soils and light exposures. Although this ground cover prefers well-drained lightly textured soils, it will grow quite well in less than desirable medium and thrive from sun to light shade environments.
Soil should be kept moist but not wet, as the growing creeping thyme plant is susceptible to root drowning and edema. The soil pH for growing creeping thyme plants should be neutral to slightly alkaline.
Creeping thyme ground cover can be propagated via stem cuttings or divisions and, of course, can be purchased from the local nursery as either established plantings or seeds. Cuttings from the creeping thyme plant should be taken in the early summer. Start seeds when growing creeping thyme indoors or they may be sown in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.
Plant creeping thyme 8 to 12 inches apart to allow for its spreading habitat.
Prune creeping thyme ground cover in the spring to maintain a compact appearance and again after the small white flowers are spent if additional shaping is preferred.
Information from www.gardeningknowhow.com
Cilantro and when it seeds coriander.
Each cilantro plant grows from the center and develops stems that branch out. It's best to harvest just the outer stems. This leaves the center of the plant undisturbed, allowing for future growth. When harvesting cilantro stems, use a knife or shears and cut them off near ground level. Be careful not to accidentally cut the center stem. It's also a good idea to only harvest about 1/3 of the stems at a time, leaving enough to keep the plant strong and healthy.
When harvesting cilantro, it's important not to pick too many stems at a time. This will weaken the plant and future production will be poor. If you wait to harvest the coriander seeds, it doesn't matter if you do damage to the plant, as it is near the end of its life cycle anyway.
A Fun Way to Identify your Herbs in the Garden.
Garden Markers, Herb Watchers for 12 types of herbs, hand painted with multi-colors and designs. The markers are 12" in height.
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