Grow Your Own, Nevada! Spring 2012: Growing herbs


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  • Botanical: … an herb forms new stems and leaves each season. Herbs vs. Spice:: A spice can be from the plant’s bark, root, bud, fruit, berry or seed The first recorded mention of herbs and their uses was by the Egyptians ~2000 BC on papyrus scrolls. The study and use of herbs exploded during the middle ages; all those monks in monasteries.
  • We grow herbs to enhance the landscape. Traditional herb knot gardens originated with Druid and Celtic patterns, became popular in Elizabethan England The formal herbal knot garden design moved to America during early Colonial times.
  • We grow herbs to enhance the modern landscape
  • Does anyone except me have a thyme lawn?
  • We grow herbs for culinary purposes. Here fresh mint from the school garden jazzes up some canned pineapple.
  • You can make a simple tisane or herb tea by steeping fresh leaves in boiling water. Favorites: mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm Herbal vinegar: Use 3 to 1 ratio of vinegar to fresh herb: Pack herb in glass jars, cover with choice of vinegar: white or white wine to see the color of the herb. Put in cool, dark location for at least 2 weeks; strain through coffee filter or muslin. Favorites: tarragon, chive flower, mint, rosemary, basil, oregano, dill What about herbal oils? Botulism hazard Herbal jams and jellies: classic mint jelly, lavender peach
  • Vitamins A, C, folic acid and K, Potassium Anti-inflammatory: turmeric and basil (also ginger) Examples: basil: Vit A and K, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin, potassium and iron Parsley: same plus Vit. C, potassium and calcium Rosemary: high in folic acid, as well as A
  • We grow herbs for culinary purposes. Here fresh mint from the school garden jazzes up some canned pineapple.
  • More than 25% of modern medicines contain plant extracts. We’ve already mentioned anti-inflammatory effects Examples: aspirin from willow bark Digitalis (digoxin) from foxglove Chemotherapy drugs: Vincristine and vinblastine from vinca Peppermint (but not spearmint) to soothe upset stomach; sage tea as a sore-throat gargle
  • Being natural doesn’t mean safe and wholesome. Some of the most powerful toxins known are natural: amanita mushroom, botulism is naturally occurring Raspberry leaf is safe to make into teas; Rhubarb leaf – high amounts of oxalic acid –is toxic Fennel – culinary uses are fine; its volatile oil > vomiting, seizures, respiratory problems Rue – skin blisters following topical application and exposure to sunlight St. John’s Wort – photosensitivity dermatitis Interaction w/medications: due to high Vit. K level may interfere with warfarin type blood thinners
  • Can be an ingredient in homemade soaps, lotions, lip balms, bath salts. Can you name some? Rosemary mint shampoo; lavender oil Be aware of risk of sensitivity or allergic reactions: skin irritation or rashes Aromatherapy uses: rosemary and the citrus scented herbs are energizing; lavender fragrance is calming
  • The pre-Christina druids used herbs for conjuring and rituals: mistletoe was named by Pliny the Elder in 1 st Century AD. Yarrow was used in the casting of spells Herbal Labyrinth from The Gardener’s Labyrinth Thomas Hill 1579 or Didymus Mountaine “… may be set with Isope and Time, or with winter Savory and Tyme, for these do well endure all ye winter through greene. And there be some which set their mazes with Lavender, Cotton Spike, Majerome and such like. But them be ordered in this point, as liketh best the Gardener…”
  • Sacred saxon maze as a model
  • White sage is traditionally burned by Native Americans in cleansing or purification rituals and also used by modern day Goddess culture practitioners So of these uses, which interest you?
  • Clearly there’s a crossover of reasons to grow herbs: they can be all of these things. Among a specific type of herb, the use can determine which variety to choose. E.g, for culinary purposes, I grow sweet basil to make caprese salads and pesto. I like Greek oregano and Tuscan blue rosemary for their potent aroma and flavor.
  • Let’s take a minute and check you’re herb knowledge… Can you name some classic annual herbs? Anise, basil, chervil, cilantro, dill, summer savory Perennial herbs? Chives, fennel, lavendar, lovage, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme, winter savory Biennial? Parsley and caraway
  • Remember that these are just general types, there are many different varieties within each.
  • *tender in northern Nevada;
  • Can you name some shade loving or at least tolerant herbs?
  • Space available: ex. French lavender vs. English lavender Sunlight: most want full sun. Can you name some shade loving or at least tolerant herbs? Good drainage is important: None like soggy conditions; most soils benefit from addition of compost Soil fertility: most like average garden soil; Only a few like additional fertilizer. pH: most prefer more acidic conditions than our native soils provide; though anise is listed as one that likes alkaline soils; amending with compost will help lower the pH a little.
  • Can you recognize the herb shown here? Sweet woodruff – a great groundcover for dry shade. Essential ingredient in May wine.
  • Christmas basil, has a pine fragrance Highly recommend that mint be grown in containers due to its invasive nature
  • Show peat pellets
  • Examples of notorious self-sowers: anise hyssop, borage, lemon balm
  • Any others?
  • One source said thyme may not be true to seed so should be purchased or taken as a cutting.
  • … When the ground warms up. These don’t transplant well.
  • … When the ground warms up.
  • … When the ground warms up.
  • Tailor fertilizer : too much will promote rampant leaf growth and minimize volatile oils so flavor will be less intense.
  • Example lavender and chamomile
  • Classic French Fines herbes: equal parts parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil Bouquet garni: parsley, thyme and bay leaf Herbes de provence: herbal mixture that contains lavender Can you give examples of any personal favorites: Add dried herbs at beginning of simmering a soup or stew to extract the most flavor out of the dried leaves Flavored sugars or salt: mince fresh herb leaf and stir into sugar or salt. Stir well and keep in a sealed jar a few weeks to allow flavor to permeate the salt or sugar. Can you think of examples?
  • Can you give examples of any personal favorites: Add dried herbs at beginning of simmering a soup or stew to extract the most flavor out of the dried leaves Flavored sugars or salt: mince fresh herb leaf and stir into sugar or salt. Stir well and keep in a sealed jar a few weeks to allow flavor to permeate the salt or sugar. Can you think of examples?
  • Herb flowers: basil, borage, chives, thyme, rosemary Citron Daylily, certain varieties of Asiatic lily Signet (tagetes signata) and Mexican (t. lucida) varieties of Marigold
  • If you’re saving the whole leaf, need to blanch for best quality Examples of good herbs to freeze (those with relatively low volatile oil or those whose flavor is lost when drying: basil, parsley,
  • Herbs that have a high volatile oil content retain flavor best when dried: Rosemary, tarragon, sage If preserving seed heads, put in a paper bag punched with holes to permit good air circulation
  • Grow Your Own, Nevada! Spring 2012: Growing herbs

    1. 1. Growing Herbs -From Anise to Yarrow
    2. 2. Kerry Seymour, MS, RDWestern Area Nutrition Specialist
    3. 3. What would you liketo learn aboutgrowing herbs?
    4. 4. Overview Why we grow herbs Which ones to grow Where to grow How to grow and harvest How to use and preserve Resources
    5. 5. Definition of Herb Botanical: An herb is a seed plant that does not produce a woody stem Culinary: The aromatic leaf, stem or flower of low-growing shrubs
    6. 6. Why Grow Herbs?
    7. 7. Landscaping/ornamental
    8. 8. Landscaping/ornamental
    9. 9. Landscaping/ornamental
    10. 10. Culinary
    11. 11. Culinary
    12. 12. Health Benefits: Nutrition Rich in key vitamins and minerals Antioxidant properties Anti-inflammatory effects Protective pigments: lutein, zeaxanthin Examples:
    13. 13. Medicinal
    14. 14. Medicinal Effects Pharmacological activity Herb specific Dose and form dependent Science-based vs. folk lore Examples:
    15. 15. Be Aware of Health Risks Pharmacological activity Allergic reactions Interaction with medications Examples:
    16. 16. Cosmetic/Aromatic
    17. 17. Spiritual/Sacred/Mystical
    18. 18. Spiritual/Sacred/Mystical
    19. 19. Spiritual/Sacred/Mystical
    20. 20. Choosing Herbs to Grow Ornamental Culinary Aromatic Cosmetic Medicinal Spiritual/sacred/symbolic
    21. 21. Choosing Herbs to Grow (cont.)  Annual • Perennial • Biennial  Hardiness  Sun/shade tolerance
    22. 22. Annual herbs… Anise Arugula Basil Burnet Borage Chervil Cilantro Dill Summer savory Sweet cicely
    23. 23. Perennial herbs… Bay laurel Bee balm Catnip Chives Fennel Hyssop Lavender Lemon balm Lovage Marjoram/oregano
    24. 24. Perennial herbs… (cont) Mint Rosemary* Tarragon Thyme Winter savory Sweet Woodruff Scented geranium* Yarrow
    25. 25. Biennial herbs… Parsley Caraway
    26. 26. Site Considerations Space available Sunlight Drainage Soil fertility pH
    27. 27. Shade tolerant Chervil Chives Lemon balm Parsley Mint St. John’s Wort Sweet woodruff
    28. 28. Growing Herbs in Containers
    29. 29. Where to get your herbs? Start from seed Buy seedlings Make stem cuttings or root divisions
    30. 30. Starting Seedlings…
    31. 31. Favorite seed sources Seed-saving and sharing Local nurseries Online sources:
    32. 32. Online seed sources: Seed Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Nichols’ Garden Nursery Territorial Seed Company Johnny’s Selected Seeds John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds
    33. 33. Start early from seeds… Anise hyssop Basil Catnip Chamomile Chives Feverfew Lemon balm Marjoram Sorrel Thyme Parsley Savory – summer and winter
    34. 34. Sow directly in theground… Anise Borage Caraway Chervil Cilantro Dill Fennel
    35. 35. Buy seedlings and plantafter last frost date… Germander Lavender Rosemary Santolina
    36. 36. Grow from stem cuttings Chamomile Scented geraniums Germander Horehound Hyssop Lemon balm Lemon verbena Marjoram Oregano Mint Rue Sage Santolina Winter savory
    37. 37. Grow from root division Anise hyssop Bee balm Catnip Chives Echinacea Feverfew Germander Horehound Hyssop Lemon balm Lovage Marjoram/oregano
    38. 38. Grow from root division (cont.) Rosemary Rue Sage Santolina Sweet woodruff Tansy Tarragon Thyme Valerian Yarrow
    39. 39. Culture Adequate water Tailor fertilizer: Chervil, fennel, lovage, summer savory Remove flower heads to prolong leaf use
    40. 40. Harvesting Start as soon as plant has enough leaves Pick leaves before the heat of the day Pick before flower buds open
    41. 41. Uses for Fresh Herbs Garnish salads and hot foods Fruit and fruit salads Baked goods – sweet and savory Add to simmered foods prior to serving Flavored vinegars, sugar or salt, liqueurs, jellies and jams In flower arrangements
    42. 42. Making herb sugar orsalt
    43. 43. Edible Flowers Herb Flowers Bachelor’s buttons Calendulas Carnations, dianthus Daylily* Marigold Nasturtiums Rose petals Squash blossoms Stock Pansies/violas
    44. 44. How do I Preserve myherbs?  Wash in cool running water  Pat dry  Choose whether to freeze or dry  Do not preserve in oil
    45. 45. Preserve by Freezing
    46. 46. Preserve by Drying
    47. 47. Winter protection Over-winter tender herbs inside Mulch outdoor perennial herbs
    48. 48. Books The Complete Book of Herbs – L. Bremness The Cook’s Herb Garden – J. Cox The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices – A. Clevely, et al Homegrown Herbs – T. Hartung
    49. 49. Resources p/med-aro/seedsources.html http://www. The Herb Quarterly magazine ry/weekly/blflowers.htm
    50. 50. Questions?
    51. 51. Contact Information Kerry Seymour, MS, RDEmail: Phone: (775) 784-4848
    52. 52. Thank You!