Carolee's Herb Farm

Carolee's Herb Farm

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Home News Newsletters August 2018 Newsletter
August 2018 Newsletter Print E-mail

August E-Newsletter 2018

     August….when leaves begin to dry and fall from the limbs, the school buses again rumble down the road and birds begin to gather in flocks to fill the trees or line the power lines.  There’s football games to listen to on the radio on perfect Saturday afternoons as I’m out collecting seeds, taking cuttings, weeding, or storing away as much of the potager’s harvest as I can.  Tomatoes have been canned in various forms (juice, diced, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, chutney) as well as many varieties of beans and pickles.  Broccoli, peas, snow peas, aspabroc, black-eyed peas, peppers, okra, and more have been frozen this month to join all the berries and earlier crops of spring.  The freezer & pantry are full, and that’s a good thing.  It won’t be long till frost and freeze, as the cicada’s song reminds us, so we must enjoy every flower and fragrance while we can.

Upcoming Events:
National “More Herbs, Less Salt Day”:  August 29!  Find a way to celebrate!

“An Ozark Herbal Odyssey” the Annual International Herb Assoc. conference:  Sept. 21-22.  Celebrate Music, Crafts and Herbs at the Ozark Folk Center State Park, Mountain View, AR Visit for an overview of the venue. Nature surrounds the air conditioned, native stone buildings. Click on the Stay and Eat page to see the award-winning Skillet Restaurant where there will be herbal meals. Check out the affordable, modern comfort of the Cabins at Dry Creek. Each room has two queen-size beds, a mini-refrigerator, cable television, Wi-Fi, private bath and coffee maker. Deck and pet-friendly room options are available. Reserve lodging today! Availability is limited. Call 870-269-3851. Press 1. Inform the park clerk that you are attending the IHA Conference.  This is a jam-packed conference with speakers, vendors and gardens.  There are pre-and post-conference activities and tours.  Visit for full information.  You do not have to be an IHA member to attend.
Herb to Know:  Garlic Chives
     August is always the month to admire the starry white blooms of garlic chives.  And, I’m not the only one who loves them.  Beneficial wasps visit the flowers, as well as bumblebees and other insects.  When I first saw dozens of honeybees elbowing one another aside to collect pollen and nectar, I thought, “Ugh!  Garlic honey?”  But then I remembered how delicious the little meatballs glazed in garlic jelly taste, and suddenly it didn’t seem like such a bad idea.  Can you spot the honeybee on the photo?
     Like its cousin common chives with the mild onion flavor, garlic chives are extremely easy to grow.  Plant it in average soil, in a sunny location (although it also seems satisfied in light shade) and watch it go!  It’s a hardy perennial and easy to divide.  It’s easier to grow than regular garlic, has leaves available for harvest from early spring to early winter, and adds a lovely mild garlic flavor to any dish, marinade, or salad.  Garlic Chive vinegar is one of our favorites, adding a delicious taste to stir-fry or salad dressings. Harvest by cutting the desired number of leaves at the base and they will quickly regrow.  
     Garlic Chives get taller than common chives and have wider, flat leaves that are easy to cut finely.  The white flower is also edible, which is a good idea, because if left to mature they will produce an amazing number of seeds that all seem to germinate and fill paths, surrounding beds, and even parking lots!  The flower head can also be dried to use in wreaths or bouquets.
 HSA Fall Gathering Was FUN!

      If you didn’t attend the Gathering this month, you missed a fun time with many interesting people, and lots of great information.  One of my favorite things was visiting the Indiana Medicinal Garden, located at 3045 W. Vermont St.  in Indianapolis.  A self-guided tour there would be very informative because the signage is terrific, and the gardens themselves are very well done, containing an impressive number of plants so do take a field trip to visit. 
If you go, you’ll get to see this statue of Asclepias amid the milkweed varieties!  
 We also visited the HSCI herb garden at the White River Botanic Gardens, which were looking especially well under the guidance of Master Gardener Sue Arnold.  There was a full day of speakers, great food, and vendors.  Thanks to all those that made this special event possible.  Now we’re all looking forward to the next big event, the HSA conference next June 13-15 in Madison, WI.  Mark your calendars!

What I’m doing in the gardens:
1.  Cutting out bloom stalks of daylilies and removing dead foliage
2.  Checking irises corms for borers.  Those rascals are nearly 2” long and voracious!
3.  Taking cuttings of scented geraniums, thymes, lemon verbena, lavenders, and dozens more.  Doing them now gives me an opportunity to do more if the first batch doesn’t root!
4.  Sending in bulb orders for tulips, crocuses & other spring treasures.
5.  Weeding each garden and tidying the edges.  Lots of weeds are trying to drop seed now!
6.  Collecting seeds…I put them into envelopes, label them, and put them on a table to finish drying.  Later, when I have time, I’ll alphabetize them into seeding categories (Early perennials; Early annuals; Mid-season perennials, late annuals, etc.) and store them in plastic bins.
7.  Cutting bunches of herbs for drying:  mountain mint, feverfew, tansy, annual statice, mints, thyme, sage, etc.  I’ll be blending some teas, bath herbs, and culinary blends on rainy days.
8.  Deadheading perennials that have finished blooming and those, such as garden phlox that will keep blooming if I clip off faded flowers.
9.  Planting!  I just don’t have time in spring, so August is the month I do most of my perennial planting.  As long as I keep them watered between rains, this is a great time.  They’ll be well-rooted before winter comes.
10.  Pruning old canes from the blackberries and tying up new canes to a horizontal route so they will be more productive.
11.  Checking squash plants for squash bugs, cucumber beetles, etc.
12.  Tending the July-planted fall crops of beans, carrots, Brussel sprouts, late cabbages, various lettuces, radishes, turnips, spinach, Wando peas, etc. for fall harvests.
13.  Prepping a bed to plant hardneck garlic the end of September or early October

Long-time Carolee’s Herb Farm loyal customer, Barb Jackson was the first person to notice that there was no July E-Newsletter!  She’ll receive a gift in the mail this week for being so observant, and for caring enough to ask why!  For the first time in nearly 20 years, I failed to publish.  I could list a bunch of excuses, but I won’t.

Recipe: Lish’s Grilled Veggies
There’s still many warm evenings to grill outdoors and plenty of fresh produce available from the garden or farmers’ markets.  Here’s a recipe from my vegetarian daughter that we have been making often because the flavors are terrific and it’s so easy.  Feel free to experiment with various herbs and veggies!
Slice veggies into slabs at least ½-3/4” thick.  We love zucchini, eggplant, red and green peppers, asparagus, Portobello mushrooms, red onions, and cherry tomatoes (Put the tomatoes after marinating on a skewer to make turning easier).   You’ll need enough veggies to almost fill a gallon-sized zip-lock bag.
     Mix a marinade of: ½ c. finely snipped garlic chives (or 2-4 cloves minced garlic); 3 T. olive oil; 1 T. balsamic vinegar; 1 tsp. salt; ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper.  That’s the basic recipe, but then you’ll need to add herbs.  Lish’s favorite mixture is: 1 T. finely chopped oregano; 2 T. finely chopped basil; 2 tsp. finely chopped mint; 2 T. finely chopped parsley.  Pour into bag and shake until veggies are coated.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, 4 is better.  Gently move bag around occasionally to be sure all sides are coated.  If veggies absorb all the marinade, you may need to add a little more oil.  It will depend upon the veggies chosen.  If I’m using lots of mushrooms and eggplant, I know I need to double the basic recipe because they really soak it up.  Lightly brush the grill with oil (not non-stick spray). Remove veggies from bag and place on hot grill.  Grill about 3 min. per side, just until tender and lightly browned.  Watch carefully to avoid burning.  Place veggies on platter. Pour any remaining marinade over the top.
Suggestions for other herb blends:  French tarragon, lavender mint and winter savory; Sweet marjoram, lemon balm, lemon basil and lime mint; Thyme, rosemary and oregano-thyme mint!

Happy Labor Day Weekend to everyone!  I plan to spend mine laboring in the gardens and listening to lots of college football!   

Herbal blessings, Carolee