Culinary herbs for short-season gardens by Ernest Small

By Ernest Small

Culinary Herbs for Short-Season Gardeners has every little thing herb enthusiasts want to know approximately cultivating annual and perennial herbs in USDA zones 1 to five wherever snow sticks to the floor within the wintry weather, from Alaska to Pennsylvania. the way to utilize a quick starting to be season, together with: selecting the simplest place for planting, offering wind security and chilly air drainage, development raised beds, utilizing season extenders, seeding interior and outside, hardening off and transplanting, and mulching.

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Pick flowers when blooms are almost completely open, then hang to dry. • Freeze flowers and freshly chopped leaves for later use. • For dried floral arrangements, leave at least 30 cm (12 inches) of stem below the blooms. Bergamot is sometimes called Oswego tea after the tribe of Native Americans who lived in what is now upstate New York, and who used the plant extensively. CULINARY USES • Enliven the taste and look of salads by adding a sprinkling of bergamot flowers. Use fresh or dried leaves in tomato dishes, and as a substitute for sage in stuffing for poultry and meats, especially pork and veal.

Plant seeds indoors, about 8 to 10 weeks before your last spring frost date. Seeds need light to germinate, so plant to a depth of no more than 6 mm (¼ inch). Seedlings emerge in 8 to 10 days. Transplant seedlings outdoors after danger of frost is passed. • Space plants about 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 inches) apart. • Seeds can also be planted outdoors in late fall, to lie dormant through the winter and germinate in the following spring. • Can also be propagated by stem cuttings and root division.

Young leaves are rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. CAUTIONS • Borage contains small amounts of a toxic chemical, so while eating it in moderation is harmless, consuming large quantities is unwise. If you’re pregnant or nursing, or if you suffer from epilepsy or schizophrenia, you should not consume borage. • Some people experience bouts of dermatitis after touching the hairs on the leaves and stems. • Bees love borage, so be careful there are none on the flowers you pick.

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