On the advice of several customers and the young man who delivers our firewood, we’ve broadened our selection of herbs. We chose a sundrenched area with accessible water in the southwest section of our front-row garden and Loren built nine raised beds.
In February, we started seedlings on heat mats in the greenhouse and mid-spring transplanted the tender sprouts into 4” pots. We intended to plant the herbs into their permanent beds in May. However, due to the record cold temps and one of the rainiest springs ever recorded in Washington, we were forced to delay planting those beds until late June. In the meantime, our heat-loving herbs remained safe in the greenhouse.
Herbs have been used for thousands of years, whether as an ingredient in cosmetics and perfumes, to add flavor to culinary dishes, garnish your favorite foods and drinks, or to treat any number of ailments*. In fact, herbs are mentioned in the Bible in the very first chapter of Genesis. As Paracelsus, a sixteenth-century Swiss physician, so aptly put it, “All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it.”
Now in the midst of the summer heat, our herb beds are thriving. So, what’s growing?
Lemon balm: Drop a sprig of lemon balm in a mug, pour boiling water over the leaves, and you have a refreshing cup of lemon tea. You can also add fresh-picked leaves to a salad, or use them dried in sachets, or your own special blend of herbal tea.
Chives: Well, what can I say about chives? They’re actually a vegetable in the allium family which includes onions, leeks, and garlic, but most people use them like an herb to add a milder oniony flavor to their dishes. They’re loaded with healthy nutrients, and according to an article in Medical News Today a few studies have shown that eating a variety of alliums suggests a reduced cancer risk. Growing up we always had chives and sour cream on our baked potatoes. Yum!
Basil: This season we’re offering four varieties, Italian Genovese, Lemon, Sweet Thai, and if you love Basil, you won’t want to miss the pungent aromatic Greek Basil, featured in herb bowls sold in our nursery.
Grune Perle Parsley: Grune is a finely curled Eastern European parsley. Most of us think of parsley as a garnish on restaurant meals. But did you know according to Webmd this underappreciated herb is rich in vitamins A, C, & K, and is a natural diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and is loaded with antioxidants. Please note, if you take blood thinners, such as Warfarin, you’ll want to consult with a doctor before eating foods that contain large amounts of vitamin K.
Shiso: We’re growing two types this season, Brittion and Red.
Popular throughout Asia, Shiso, also known as Perilla, boasts a complex combination of aromas and flavors, which include mint, basil, anise, cumin, and citrus. Considered essential in Asian cuisine, Shiso is used to season vegetables, rice, soups, fish, salads, desserts, and drinks. Britton flaunts bright green leaves accented with deep purple undersides making this herb an excellent garnish. The large leaves serve well as sushi wraps.
Red Shiso maintains the same culinary uses, but is also dried and ground into a powder to use as dye.
Pine-Scented Rosemary: Rub a sprig of this between your fingers, take a deep breath, and you can’t help but relax and feel refreshed. Pine-scented rosemary is perfect used as an herb-rub on chicken.
These are just a few of the herbs we grow on our farm. You’ll find more listed on our website.
Perhaps you’ve never heard of some of the herbs list above. No worries. We’ve done our research and are happy to answer any of your questions or give you tips how to use these herbs.
Remember, as Charlemagne once said, “Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks.”
*Please note you should always consult your physician or naturopath when seeking medical advice on the use of medicinal herbs.