We hope you are enjoying the culinary garden so far! Please be mindful that herbs are only open if you see a yellow star next to the labeled sign. All our herbs will have a chance and we ask for your patience. Please cut flowers from the herbs as well, as they are also good to eat! Here is what is now open:
Chives are currently closed to allow for regrowth.
Lovage — pretty much done for the season, though help yourself!
Tarragon * new
Mint * new
Cilantro * new
Dill * new
Parsley * new
Shiso * new pinch tops only at this time for harvesting
Bachelor Buttons (edible flower) * new
When harvesting, pay close attention to how your harvest your herbs. Here is a guideline for those herbs already open. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
Shiso is a member of the mint family, known as Japanese basil or perilla. It has large teardrop-shaped leaves with a slightly prickly texture and pointy, jagged edges. Its flavor is pungent and grassy, containing strong notes of spearmint, basil, anise and cinnamon. Slicing shiso into long skinny strips really brings out these flavors. Use shiso pretty much any way you would use basil or mint. It pairs well with a wide variety of foods and flavors, including rice, noodles and pasta, tofu, avocado, cucumber, mushrooms, tomato, ginger and soy sauce, sesame, fish (it’s great with tuna) and shellfish, pork and many fruits (especially plums). In Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian cuisines, shiso is most often used as a wrapping or to flavor soups and rice. It can also be tossed into a stir-fry, ground up into a pesto sauce, tossed with some sesame seed oil and soba noodles or used in cocktails such as a shiso julep. Try it julienned and sprinkled on a simple citrus or mixed green salad, tossed into a pot of your favorite green tea or in scrambled eggs with a generous spoonful of plain, unsweetened yogurt.
Purslane is a low-lying succulent plant with a lemony flavor. It grows as a weed in the fields and in the culinary herb garden. Pull it up and try it! Look for it near the lovage, and at the ends of the rows where the cilantro, dill and parsley are growing. Low in calories and fat, purslane is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. Fresh leaves contain more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant: 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provide about 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid. Purslane also has one best sources of Vitamin A among all green leafy vegetables. It’s rich in Vitamin C, carotenoids, and some B-complex vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin and pyridoxine. It also has many dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. (Note that purslane also contains oxaclic acid, in case that is a concern). Try juicing fresh, raw leaves; include tender leaves in salads; sauté and gently stew the stems and leaves to serve as a side dish with fish and poultry; add to soup and curry preparations and eat with rice, as in South Indian regional cooking, or stir-fry and mix with vegetables and other leafy greens such as spinach.
Tarragon: This plant is typically used in French cooking. It can be added fresh or dried to season vegetables, chicken, fish and vinegar. Tarragon is high in vitamins, potassium, antioxidants and other nutrients. It can also be used as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid and has been applied traditionally to provide relief from toothaches.
Mint (also open in Penelope’s Garden): This herb can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads and sauces. It also makes delicious beverages like hot and iced teas. Mint has been used to help relieve respiratory issues, aid in digestion and provide relief to sore muscles. And chewing a few leaves makes your breath minty fresh!
How To Harvest Herbs So They Last All Season
If you pick herbs each week, and dry them on your kitchen counter or band together and dry upside down, you will have enough dry herbs for the year! However, harvesting each herb takes some care and attention. Here are essential tips to make sure the herb plants thrive and remain available to all sharers throughout the season:
Harvest the plants evenly: People tend to harvest only from the front of each row, resulting in a few plants becoming over harvested. Walk a few steps further, to the middle or end of each row, and snip your share from the larger plants.
Include the flowers: The flowers on herb plants are always edible and we encourage you to harvest these along with the leaves.
Always use scissors: Using scissors will ensure that the plants are not damaged.
If there are no special directions listed on the chalkboard, use the following guidelines. Please note that some herbs listed here are not yet ready to be picked. Harvest only from beds marked with a yellow star.
- Marjoram, oregano, savory, garlic chives, thyme, cilantro, and dill: cut stems one third of the way from the top of the plant. You can gather a handful of the herbs, and cut a third of the way down, as though giving the herbs a ‘haircut’.
- Tarragon, mint: Cut one or two sprigs at a time, carefully cutting about 2/3 of the way down.
- Shiso, sage: Cut just the top leaf cluster, you will see underneath it that small leaves are growing which will now grow and branch out, making the plant bushy
- Parsley: Take a close look at the plant from which you are harvesting to ensure it is a good size to harvest from. Harvest the outer leaves only and always ensure that at least half the plant is left.
Children and the Herb Gardens
Children must be supervised at all times. Please engage your children to participate with you in cutting the herbs carefully and thoughtfully. You will be offering them a precious education! By following these guidelines, we’ll ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our herbs all season long.
Children’s Garden update:
If you have walked through the Children’s Garden lately, you noticed some big changes and there is more to come. It is currently a work-in-progress so keep your eyes open for a new library and more planting! Please explore the garden with your child(ren) and help them become acquainted with the space together with you. Look for more details and updates in an upcoming post!