The Buzz

Preserving Your Herbal Harvest


Whew! It is that time of year again: when the praying mantises are large enough to see, the Argiope aurantias (garden, or writing spiders) are spread out in every other plant crevasse, the wasp nests are big enough to create wasp/human unrest, the overlooked weed waves ten feet tall, and fall can be felt looming in the distance. As a herbalist, this pending “end” is reminding me that it is now, or never! Many of the herb plants have blossomed into mini Audreys – eating up more than their share of space and resources. If I were a better herbalist, I would be constantly harvesting my herbs and preserving their herby treasures all season long…I am human, though, and other things just seem to zap my time.  So, here I am today: the garden is a mess and I have no herbs laid by for the winter. Time to hike up my britches and get to work! 

Hundreds of holy basil have been cut out and shared with the volunteers who helped. Anise hyssop flowers have been harvested and preserved for winter cookies. Oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, mint, lemon balm, lemongrass and sage have been responsibly harvested per their type and are part of future salad dressings, digestives, and drinks.  Some herbs are drying as I type, and some are in the freezer, and the odd herb or two is in the water I am drinking. 

Currently, the herb garden more resembles the tame garden that most gardeners are comfortable with: open and clean (mostly) of weeds with signs standing tall and proud in front of the proper herb. As usual, the weeds erupt daily so there is no rest for the weary (me, John Peterson, Kathy James, Jane Roane, Debbie Robinson, and Lisa McGeorge!). Sometimes I sit in the new pergola, on the new benches in the dead end and just enjoy the sweet ambiance (really, I am looking for the weed hiding in the wealth of green – and looking forward to the next stage planting around that area). 

Come out, say “hello” to me in the Herb Garden – we have had some cool days and it is perfect for enjoying the 96 acres I call my second home.  I shall say “goodbye” to you blog readers for now – I am taking my experiences that prompted this blog and turning them into a “Preserving Your Herbal Harvest” talk for the brown bag on September 1.  If you want to find out how I did the preserving listed above, come out and see me then.  I will have handouts with instructions and recipes…

Posted by sherri mccalla at 8:30 AM


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