Carolee's Herb Farm

Carolee's Herb Farm

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March E-newsletter Print E-mail

Carolee’s March E-newsletter

     March is rolling right along at a frantic pace!  I was thrilled to see my first crocuses (cheery patches of bright yellow!) when I returned from a speaking trip on March 8.  They were much prettier after I cleared the dead stalks and leaves from the bed and probably happier, too.  Just the sight of them clicked me into high gear, because finally, I could actually FEEL that Opening Day was just around the corner!  The next day I saw robins and the spring peepers began singing, so it truly felt like spring.  Of course, the following day, the temperatures dropped into the teens again.  That’s Indiana weather!  Now the miniature irises are blooming and the hellebores have fat buds that will open soon.  The chives, garlic, sorrel, and chicory are greening up in the Cook’s Garden.
      Indoors, we’re busily getting the Barn and Cottage cleaned and new displays put in order.  Boxes have been opened, cardboard recycled, and windows washed. Here's a photo of one of our pretty new plaques you'll find in a Barn display!


 Thousands of plants have been transplanted and the both the greenhouse and the cold frame are overflowing!  The pansies and violas began blooming this week.  There are still lots to do, but we’ll be ready to welcome you on April 1st!  Please spread the word and bring a friend or two.  Enjoy a cup of tea and relax amid the blooms.  We can’t wait to show you what we’ve grown!

Susan Wittig Albert’s Visit
If you haven’t made your reservation for April 26, or ordered your copy of Susan’s latest book, Wormwood, do it now!  We are ready to place our order for books, and are willing to order any of her many titles for you, but don’t delay.  Susan is an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author, with dozens of books to her credit.  Our favorite is the China Bayles herbal mystery series, but the Beatrix Potter mysteries and the Victorian series she writes with her husband under the pseudonym Robin Paige are also excellent reads.  Susan will be signing books, giving a presentation on “Shakers and Their Herbs” and we’ll be serving a complimentary afternoon tea featuring Shaker recipes.  It will be a lovely afternoon, so don’t miss it!  You can register for this special event on the website easily, or mail a check, but don’t delay.

Upcoming Events You Don’t Want to Miss!
Opening Day is Wednesday, April 1st.  There will be lots of things going on, door prizes, special sales, refreshments, free plants to the first 25 customers, and more, so plan to attend.  You can check for details on the website:


Hedgehog & Hellebore Day is Sat., April 4th.  It will be a fun day, with very special refreshments, a display of the hedgehog items I found in Germany and a sale on one of my favorite plants, Hellebores!  These shade-lovers bloom early in the spring, but their flowers last for weeks and weeks.  They are no-care toughies with blooms in a variety of colors.  Check the website for presentation times and details.

Sore muscle relief
     Gardening time is right around the corner, and we’ll be using some muscles that haven’t seen that kind of action for awhile.  Why not make an herbal muscle rub now so it will be ready when you need it?  Simply fill a glass jar ½ full of fresh herbs or 1/3 full of dried herbs, then fill with unscented rubbing alcohol.  Allow it to steep for two weeks, then strain. Be sure to label “for external use only”.   Some good choices are basil, lavender, mint, scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marjoram, lemon balm, lemon verbena, or crushed coriander seeds.

      There’s still time to register for workshops at the farm. We have a huge line-up of topics this year.  Most still have openings, although the Crockpot Soapmaking is filled and others are getting close to capacity.  Check the website for availability and remember that you can easily register on-line.  We do ask that you pre-register and prepay at least a week in advance, so that we have enough supplies for everyone.

The Spring Newsletter
The printed Spring Newsletter was mailed in early March.  If you did not get a copy in the mail, you can get one at the farm once we open, or e-mail us with your correct mailing address (including your 7 digit zip!) and we’ll be happy to send one off to you.  It contains not only the farm schedule and farm news, but informative articles as well.  We mail a printed newsletter only once a year.  The summer newsletter will be on the website.

HSCI Herb Symposium “A Mediterranean Adventure”, April 18, 9a.m-3p.m.
Carolee’s Herb Farm will be participating in the Herb Society of Central Indiana’s Spring Symposium on Saturday, April 18.  This is a full day of herbal fun, beginning with tea/coffee and herbal goodies at 9, two morning presentations, a gourmet herbal luncheon, a big silent auction that includes dozens of herb and garden items, an afternoon presentation, and lots of door prizes.  There are also member vendors.  Cost is $35.
     Carolee’s presentation will be on “The Mediterranean Garden.”  Beautiful slides of her trips to the south of France and Italy will form the backdrop of this informative talk on growing, using and preserving the cherished plants of the region.
     Registration forms are available at the farm, or by calling 317-575-8005.  Seating is limited.  The event is held at the Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian, Carmel, IN.
Spring Feedings & Tips
      It’s time to begin fertilizing houseplants around March 15.   Check for insects, and pinch the tips or trim back sprawling growth.  The plants will respond to the nourishment and to the longer, sunnier days with new growth and a perky attitude!
      It’s also a good idea to spread a little fertilizer on bulbs, such as crocuses, dwarf iris, tulips, etc. as soon as they finish blooming.  I like to do it on a rainy day, so it is automatically “watered in”.  That feeds the bulbs as they ripen their foliage, and builds up the bulbs so they will bloom even bigger and better next spring.  I try to fertilize each clump as they finish, and stick a colored toothpick there, so I know it’s done.  Otherwise I forget where they were, or if I did them or not.   A warning, if you use granular chemical fertilizers and put it on foliage, it will burn the plants, often killing them.  Use organic food, or you can use a liquid fertilizer mixed with water.
     If you want cannas & dahlias to bloom earlier in the season, now is a good time to pot them and get them started.  Check the bulbs for soft spots or fungus before planting.  They’ll bloom almost a month earlier than if planted directly outdoors after the soil is warm.     

Fairy Days-May 2&3
For the first time in many years, Fairy Days will not be in April.  Please mark your calendar for May 2 & 3. We’ll have lots of fairy activities and crafts, fairy stories and a delicious fairy tea.  More information will be available in upcoming e-newsletters and on the website.  It will be a magical day, so spread your wings and bring your favorite fairy to enjoy the day.

Feb. Survey Question Results
Thanks go to the dozens of folks who responded to our question about the number of cardinals seen this winter.  In general, it seems that there were fewer cardinals in the counties surrounding our area, but reports of increased numbers abounded in the areas Indianapolis and south.  All the responses were put into a basket, and the winner of the $10 gift certificate is:  Sue Arnold, Brownsburg, IN
Three Corn Salad
At a recent buffet luncheon, I sampled a corn salad.  It was too sweet and had no herbs, so obviously, I needed to fix that!  Here’s the result and I think you’ll like it as much as we do!  It’s perfect for this time of year when the chives are ready to use, but there isn’t much else available in the garden.
In a large bowl place:  1 can (approx. 15-16oz.) white corn, drained; 1 can yellow corn, drained; 1 can pickled whole baby corn, drained and each ear broken into two or three pieces.
Add:  ¾ c. chopped green pepper, ¾ c. chopped red bell pepper (optional, but it adds a lot of color and vitamins!), ½ c. finely chopped fresh chives, ½ c. finely chopped fresh parsley.
In a  jar or bowl: 3 T. sugar, 3 T. apple cider vinegar, 5 T. vegetable or olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt, freshly ground pepper.  Shake to mix well.  Pour over corn mixture.
     You can serve this immediately, but we like to refrigerate it for a couple of hours to chill and allow the flavors to blend.  It’s even better the second day, so you can make it ahead.  Serves 4-6.

That’s all for March.  It’s a busy, busy month, but exciting and stimulating, too.  We look forward to welcoming all of you to the farm soon.