I grew a variety of herbs this year together with a few pollinator attracting flowers. Alyssum & lemon bee balm were new to the garden and I enjoyed them immensely. Both were planted in the straw bales and the alyssum also found a spot in some of the beds. The plants in the bales didn’t take off until late summer, but once they did it was quite the show, especially when it came to the bee balm:
Lemon Bee Balm - it was gorgeous!
There were a few standout herbs this year, one of which was the cilantro. I had some empty space in one of the allium beds at the end of August and, since I hadn’t grown any in the spring, I decided to give a fall sowing a shot. It was one of those unplanned, spur of the moment sowings that ended up working very well.
This year I also tried a new variety of basil – Eleonora – which was touted as being basil downy mildew resistant. And lo and behold – no downy mildew on the basil this year which meant a bumper crop of basil & lots of basil pesto for the freezer:
The other surprise was a new to me flower/herb – chamomile. I didn’t have enough asparagus seedlings to fill the 3rd bed, so decided to use the empty spot for the chamomile. Seven tiny, innocuous seedlings...
|Chamomile seedlings in May|
|Chamomile in mid-July|
Even though I was a bit slack in picking the chamomile later in the season, I still ended up with a lot of flowers, which I dried & stored in jars. My kids gave me a single serving teapot with a built in strainer for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago, but I don’t often purchase loose leaf tea so I haven’t used it that much. Not until now, that is – it’s perfect for making my very own chamomile tea:
|I have a feeling a lot more tea from the garden is in my future...|
Made some bread with a spoonful of these just a few days ago
|Lots of parsley = Lots of chimichurri in the freezer|
Overall Impressions & Plan for Next Year
I had some wonderful flower & herb surprises this past year. I’ll be repeating the fall sowing of cilantro – this will provide me with a good stash to freeze for the winter. I'll also make sure to sow some in the spring, which I will let go to seed. That’s one thing I missed last season – fresh coriander seed.
I’ll be sticking to the same variety of basil, Eleonora. I would really like to grow them in the tomato bed again, but since I'll be using a different configuration in those beds this year, I'm not sure if that will be possible.
I will not be sowing any chamomile as I have a feeling that we are going to be inundated with self-sown seedlings. In fact, the spot where they grew still had a mat of green seedlings before our last snowfall covered them up. I’ll be digging up any that survive the winter or emerge in the spring & transplanting them elsewhere, although I haven’t decided where yet. What I do know is that 4 plants will be more than enough for my needs, so long as I keep them picked.
I’ll be re-establishing the chives this year as well. They were growing at the edge of the herb bed and since that bed is only raised by 6”, quite a bit of grass had found its way into it. You can imagine how tedious it was to pick out pieces of grass as I harvested the chives, so I decided to rip them out last fall and I’ll be planting a new clump this year.
And lastly, I didn’t end up purchasing a new rosemary plant last year to replace the one that died over the winter, so that will also be on my purchase list for the garden centre this spring, together with whatever else tickles my fancy...it's impossible to walk out of one of those places without a few impulse purchases :)