Gail of Green Living


Early Spring Garden–Real Food

Mustard Greens

We are enjoying fresh Mustard Greens at least once a week.  When the leaves are picked before they become the size of a dinner plate, they are so tender and full of flavor.  It’s about 15 minutes from this picture to the dinner table.  Talk about healthy fast-food!

Collard Greens

Collard Greens are also very tender when picked leaf by leaf at an early stage.  They need to cook just a few more minutes, and the flavor is so much better than even the organic greens at the supermarket.  I have experienced no bugs and both kinds of greens have more than paid for themselves already!

Better Bush Tomatoes

Someone finally told me there is no way to control a six-foot tomato plant in a pot!  You are supposed to grow “bush” varieties in pots.  So here we go with Better Bush Tomatoes!  They do have stocky stems and the foliage is more compact.  I planted four of these, and I’ll let you know how the fruit tastes.

Early Girl Bush

Early Girl Bush is the other variety of bush-tomatoes I’m growing.  They don’t seem so stocky, but they have already started showing signs of blooming.  They are early!

More veggies are planted and will be mentioned in the next post.  Get your garden started, Houston!



Early Spring Garden–“Forgotten Herbs”

Peppermint

How could I have forgotten to mention Peppermint in my post on “old” herbs??  I just trimmed it back a couple of weeks ago, and with our recent rains, it is gorgeous again!  It’s not so happy in the summer, but if you have a cool shady spot in your yard, you could have a pretty ground-cover in no time!

Sage

“The Sage in bloom is like perfume, Deep in the Heart of Texas!”  And it is, indeed!  I put sage in poultry recipes.  This plant has been around several years and tolerates temperature extremes well.

Chives

The Chives have been around a long, long time.  Last year I took them out of a pot, and they were very root-bound.  I cut a small portion out and re-potted them, and I put them in a larger pot this year.  The rest I gave to a school that was starting a vegetable garden.  Chives are great in salads and to use when you don’t have any onion and you need one.

You don’t ever need to put chemical fertilizers or bug repellent on these herbs.  Add compost once or twice a year and water when they tell you they need it.



Early Spring Garden- Newer Herbs

Curly Parsley

My last post was about the herbs that have been in pots on the patio for many years.  There are some herbs I’ve had to re-pot or buy new over the years.  One is Curly Parsley.  I think I had one plant for about 10 years, but the present plant I started last year.  It loves the winter cold weather and that makes the curly part very tight.  In the summer, I have to keep it in the shade and try to protect it from the heat and still it gets more flat and “leggy”.  Did you know that eating a sprig of parsley will take care of bad breath?

Flat-Leafed Parsley

Flat-Leafed Parsley or Italian Parsley is an ingredient I need for a new favorite recipe, Turkey Meatloaf.  My cousin has it planted with pansies in a large pot at her front door and it is beautiful!  Mine is new and small and welcome in my garden!

Cilantro

Cilantro is different because the seeds germinate in the dark.  I haven’t figured out a way to grow this herb in the summer in Houston. It quickly goes to seed with the heat.  But in the Fall and Spring, it’s there!  It’s a necessity for cooking Mexican food and is also good in turkey burgers.

Salad Burnet

Salad Burnet is a great plant for a window box or basket.  It has really unusual blooms that are more like buds.  The taste is like cucumber, so if you are not cucumber tolerant, you can put the foliage in salads.  Salad Burnet is light freeze and heat tolerant and just keeps going.  What an easy plant to grow!

I’m open to other new herbs in my garden.  Let me know what I’m missing!



Early Spring Garden–Old Herbs
Thyme

I’ve been learning new things about container gardening; I’ve even signed up for a class with Urban Harvest!  I don’t ever want to stop learning…about organic gardening, real estate, life, etc!  NOTE:  I have never put a chemical fertilizer or bug repellant on my herbs.  They just don’t need it.  A healthy dose of compost a couple of times a year is all they ask!

One thing I know from experience is that herbs are super-duper raised in pots and most last for years!  I have had this pot of Thyme so long, I’m guessing it must be at least 15 years old.  In the winter, the foliage turns reddish, but it tastes the same.  It is a tangled mess, and it just keeps giving!  But having herbs in pots keeps them more contained, because in a garden, they tend to crawl or give out seeds, and they can take over the place!

New Rosemary

The New Rosemary is only about 14 months old at our house, after receiving it as a small Christmas tree last year.

Old Rosemary

The Old Rosemary has been around longer than any other, I think.  It has a wood trunk that has lots of character and the trunk has put out long, flowing fronds full of wonderful fragrance and delicate purple flowers.  These stems don’t even mind the intense heat of the patio in the summer.  We love this herb on chicken and pork roasts and added to garlic new potatoes!

Sweet Marjoram

Sweet Marjoram is from the Oregano family, and this herb is wonderful in stews and soups!  It’s been a part of the herb presence in our yard about 15 years, too.

Oregano

The Oregano bush is about 4′ in diameter and continues to bloom and seed a zillion seeds every year.  I can’t give them all away!  You just can’t make an Italian dish without it!  The Oregano and Sweet Marjoram are way too big to bring in during a freeze, so I just cover them well with a sheet.  They even made it through the 20+ degree freeze we had last winter.

Next time I will post about newer herbs we have added recently.  What herbs have you grown for a long time with success?