Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Herb and Cooking Tips

Crispy air and azure skies, high above, a white cloud flies, bright as newly fallen snow. Oh the joy to those who know October! ~Joseph Pullman Porter

Today I have a few fall herb tips, both for care and cooking!

Annual herbs that have run to seed should be pulled up and added to the compost pile. Your perennial herbs can be cut back and harvested, which will encourage new growth next spring. This is especially important for any herbs that reseed IF you don't want them to spread.

Onions, celery and mushrooms all add a great flavor to soups, but if you brown them in a tiny amount of olive oil BEFORE adding to your soup pan the flavor will be much richer. Try it next time when you make soups or stews.

From Mississippi State University: Freeze whole leaves or stems of herbs such as parsley, chives, oregano and rosemary in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they're frozen, pack in plastic bags and return to freezer. This winter when you need "fresh herbs" remove herbs from freezer, chop while still frozen and add to your recipe.

If you are trying to cut back on salt you can use herbs to give her foods extra flavor.

-Use lemon juice on fish, seafood and vegetables in place of salt.

-Use roasted garlic. Unpeeled cloves can be roasted in the oven for about 1/2 hour or you can do it in the microwave by covering the cloves with plastic wrap and cooking for a minute or two till they are as soft as you want them to be.

-Use onion and garlic powder or granules instead of salt. It doesn't take much so use just a small amount!

Simple herbal gifts to make this fall:


Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Garden Tips and Chores

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools. ~Henry Beston

Fall is a great time to plant perennials, but make sure the soil temps are above 40 degrees in your area. Once the soil is colder than this on a regular basis the roots will stop growing. Planting now does give them a head start though. You can find some really great bargains out there right now!

Dividing and cutting back-- Hosta flower stalks can be cut back when they are finished blooming. The leaves can be cut back anytime before a heavy frost--after the frost they become mushy. If you prefer to leave them be or run out of time, you can just rake up anything left in the spring. I also transplant mine in the spring and divide them if needed.

Butterfly bushes should be cut back in November before the snow is heavy. In colder zones like ours cut it back to 2 or 3 foot and warmer climates can cut back to a foot or so. Mulching it with straw, hay or grass clippings is good too. Transplant it if necessary in the spring.

Black-eyed Susans: I leave the seeds for the birds, plus they reseed which is fine with me. If you want to cut them back you can do it after the blooms are finished. I also transplant in the spring and very early in the summer and they do well. If you want to reseed them elsewhere in the landscape, just grab a few dried seed heads and sow in the new location, covering lightly with soil.

On OFL we have tips on growing Lords and Ladies this fall for spring bloom: