Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reader's Questions: Gardening and Herbs

The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource, adding color and suspense to all our life. ~Daniel Boorstin

We're leaving for a camping trip later today, but I'll be back on Monday with more garden tips. Cross your fingers that we don't get rained out:)

My Iris get leaf spot every year. Do you have any ideas for them? I have sprayed them, but they seem to get it again. I have a batch by the house which don't get them, but other places on the property do? ~Ginny

I wonder if you don't need to move them from that soil. From what I've found you need to remove ALL foliage that is infected and burn it-- plus in mild climates you may need to actually destroy the plants that have it because it can continue to live in the soil. That would explain why some of yours have it and others don't. I would start by removing all of the foliage now--and burning it--don't leave even a little piece on the ground. Then see what happens next year and if they still have it I'd try moving to a different location.

Do you have any info. on Bergamot? Mine is blooming up a storm and I can't remember what to do with it! Any recipes? ~Marty

Try replacing mint in recipes with bee balm flowers or leaves. This is really good in teas and punches. To make a tea with bee balm/bergamot add one tablespoon of the fresh flowers or leaves to a mug or pot and add one cup boiling water. steep for 5-8 minutes or so, strain and sweeten with honey.

I also found a recipe for vinaigrette from a Shepherd's Garden catalog I kept around after they went out of business.

Bergamot Vinaigrette

1/4 cup bergamot, fresh chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 small garlic cloves
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried red chile flakes
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Pour lemon juice into a large mixing bowl. Crush garlic clove, add to bowl. With the back of a wooden spoon, press garlic into lemon juice to release its oil, then discard. Add sea salt and chile pepper, and stir with a whisk. Add olive oil in a thin stream, stirring with the whisk until the dressing emulsifies, then stir in chopped mint and parsley. Serve over steamed beans or other vegetables. Cool and serve.

When, and where do you prune back the snapdragon? I have some planted, they bloomed out beautiful, but are now all brown and falling off! I still have some un-bloomed buds, some of the leaves and stems are turning yellow? Thanks, Steve

Snapdragons should be deadheaded after they bloom. It will keep them blooming until a hard frost in the fall. After they bloom then you'll see a roundish green pod form, which has tons of little black seeds inside. Cut all of these off and the dead blooms. You can trim off a few yellowed leaves if you want. It might mean they need a little bit of fertilizer. I use organic, and it can be put on anytime, then just watered in to the soil. Leave the buds on the plants, and if you deadhead you should get more. In the fall I stop deadheading and let them reseed.

Discover the sweet side of herbs with these recipes on OFL:


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