Posts Tagged ‘parsley’
March 5th, 2010
Every garden should have the addition of herbs. You can make this a small section dedicated to the growing of different types or you can just mix them in amongst other plants. Even people with no garden at all can pop some into a pot and make a mini herb garden. I love my herbs. They are so useful for adding flavour to food and there is nothing quite a satisfying as taking a little stroll into the garden while preparing a meal and coming back with some fresh sage or basil. Oh, how simple pleasures can lift the spirit. It also gives you a great excuse to get out of the kitchen and into the garden.
Herbs are different from most other plants because of the strong volatile oils and other substances contained within them. Many herbs, such as rosemary, use these pungent flavours to survive because grazing animals are able to eat relatively small amounts of the stems and leaves, just ask my ducks! They try rosemary every now and then, but don’t seem to like the taste, although parsley is another matter! Still, herbs can be tough and that makes them my little buddies in the garden. Useful, tough and pretty! Who could ask for more?
Most herbs need a lot of sunshine to fully develop their characteristic flavours. They also need a very well drained place in the garden. So, if you keep that in mind you are sure to find a spot where they will be happy and make you happy too! You don’t need to fuss about them – they actually thrive in impoverished soil so you can just plant and forget most of the time. So easy care!
Some additions to my garden which I have found very useful and pretty are:
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) This is a very pretty perennial plant with a sharp, lemony scent and flavour. It grows in sun or in part shade. You can use the leaves as a flavouring and pop them into stir fries or cook them up with vegetables. It also makes a lovely tea. Or, just float some into a cool summer drink, just like you would do with mint.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) Who can live without this in their garden? A superbly pungent herb, this little fellow loves the sun! He also needs a very well-drained spot. In the kitchen a touch of sage can add magnificent flavour so, if you don’t have any – get some!
Parsley (Petroselinum crisptum) Here is one of the great herbs, being very rich in minerals and vitamins. Parsely can be used in large amounts in most dishes. Although, sometimes I can overdo it a bit when it is growing like mad and I am trying to get ahead of it and stop it all from going to seed! My children have been known to wail ‘Can’t you leave out that green stuff?’ It really costs just as much to buy a bunch from the supermarket as to buy a punnet of seedlings and have parsley for months so it is very worthwile to try to keep some in the garden.
Of course there are many others: Thyme; Marjoram; Chives and all the mints. Once you start you won’t want to stop!
December 17th, 2009
Since the very earliest times, we have used herbs not just for food but for healing. Every great civilization of the past – Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, they all used plants to heal wounds, deaden pain, lift the spirits and balance the mind. Plants have been used for healing for thousands of years. Our grandmothers used them every day.
We can grow many herbs in our gardens or pots, not only for their usefulness but also for their beauty. Sage for example is perfect underplanting for roses. Don’t feel you need a special ‘herb garden’ to enjoy them; put them in the beds you already have for they are beautiful in their own right, and can add to any garden bed. But if you have the space and the sunshine then indulge yourself by creating a special herb garden.
I myself have only a small garden with space very limited so I decided to grow my healing plants in mixed beds. As my garden is also very shady this means I can use any spots that get enough sunshine to grow the herbs I really can’t get by without having. But whether you have a large garden, a small garden, a balcony or even only a window-sill, you have room to grow some herbs.
I use any space I can find. While many herbs like full sun, many others, such as chives, fennel, lemon balm, and parsley, are happy in part or dappled shade, while mint, comfrey and lungwort (Pulmonaria) will grow well in full shade.
Since I am trying to grow all my plants organically I can use them in my cooking without having any reservations about what sprays have been used on them. This means that I don’t use any weed killers and no insecticides. But with most herbs this is easy because most herbs are tough cookies. For most people who are concerned about the environment, as well as what they eat, it is the only way to garden anyway.
The essence of organic gardening is that you feed the soil with compost or well-rotted manure and allow the plants to draw their nutrients from these, instead of taking them directly from artificial fertilizers.
One of the best ways to keep herbs vigorous and growing well is by regular picking. So use your herbs in your cooking regularly, it is good for your plant keeping it bushy and producing lots of new growth and it is good for you as herbs not only add taste to your food but essential oils and minerals to your diet. Parsley for example is a tonic for the nervous system and good for digestion, stimulating the appetite and combating wind. It is also a diuretic, very useful for urinary infections as well as helping with such conditions as arthritis. So think of that as you sprinkle some over your next meal.
Rosemary has been a popular rememdy for centuries for improving concentration and memory – rosemary for remembrance – and since it works by stimulating the flow of blood to the head, that may well be true. It is certainly good for headaches. It can even be used as a mouthwash!
I just love the plants themselves. The fragrance in the early evenings, or while I work in amongst them. I often make myself a cup of lemon balm tea or sage tea just by snipping off a good handful and pouring the hot water over in my little tea pot. I let it infuse for about 5 minutes and then enjoy.