Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

More Herbs, Less Salt Day! August 29th, Thyme to Get your Growing On & Food Security!

Basil & I'itoi Onions - Flavor Champions!
Dear Folks,

Tomorrow, Monday, August 29th is More Herbs, Less Salt Day! [Pictured are Sweet Italian Basil and I'itoi Onions - flavor champions in food - who needs salt!!]

FYI the leaves peeking out of the picture are my Roselle bushes.  In about 2 weeks I should start seeing the flower buds forming, yay!!

My favorite less-salt illustration is a baked potato.  The salt and butter are the things that makes it taste great, right?  How about this option.  Split the hot potato open, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and top with a bit of chopped fresh or dried rosemary.  I will bet you may not miss the salt and butter at all.  Why?  Rosemary, like many herbs, "pops" the real flavor of the food, particularly with starchy foods like potato, it just "lifts" the real flavor of what many think of as bland food.  Give it a try.

Today's post is more far reaching than the title.  I am hoping you take away not only the idea of using herbs to flavor your food first, before adding salt, but to also seriously understand why it is import you grow those herbs yourself along with vegetables and fruits.

Food insecurity is a basic challenge not just those who are "poor" or under-educated.  If you loose your job, or are unable to work, you are now confronted with the same challenge.

If you missed my September planting tips post here is the link.

Beet seedlings - 1 week from sowing.
We are right at the perfect time to start or add to your garden.  Sow (wait to transplant until late September and then remember to harden off before transplanting) seeds for all the wonderful cool-weather lovers.  My first sowing of sugar peas, beets, carrots and radishes are already sprouting (sown August 21st). I will sow the next batch in about 2 weeks (I'm sowing about 3 weeks apart this year). [Pictured beet seedlings Sunday morning 1 week after sowing.]

Thyme - we gardeners and writers always love to use the herb name for 'time' because it is funny and a point.  In cooking, blends of herbs and spices frequently use thyme as an anchor flavor.

I have several varieties of thyme growing in my gardens: Lemon thyme - a wonderful fragrant and edible ground cover (pictured), Conehead thyme a gorgeous relative of Syrian Oregano, which does not look at all like the Oregano but has an amazing flavor combo of oregano, savory and thyme, and Spanish Thyme a thick-leaved relative of the house plant "creeping charlie".  The first two are hardy perennials and should be transplanted in fall or winter into full sun locations.  The Spanish Thyme is a tender perennial which needs frost protection in the winter and will do well in a dappled shade spot in the garden

To inspire you, here is a picture of a sample harvest I brought along to a lecture at Boyce Thompson Arboretum in March 2015.  Everything you see in the picture is edible and from my gardens.  Herbs to edible flowers, and even the banana leaf -- great for wrapping fish and meats on the grill - imparts a fruity flavor to the food along with whatever herbs you added to the wrap.

Unsure?  Ask me questions!  I am always happy to help you on your journey to growing some or more of your own food.

Keep A Garden Growing.

Economic jitters, crazy political decisions (crazier politicians) and corporate decisions about jobs can mean many things to many people, but mostly it can frequently mean food insecurity.  Where is the next shoe dropping?  Growing your own food is a win/win for you and your family.

AND here in the Valley we have 365 days of food options from the garden.

"Grow Food Not Lawns" has become a rallying call to ditch the ornamental plants in favor of edibles.

My new meme addition to my writings is:

Mono-Skill-Mentality.  Definition:  The belief and practice of learning only ONE skill/job to get your through life. -- Catherine, The Herb Lady.

I'm sure you know of someone, or have experienced yourself, the heart-breaking realization that your job just disappeared, the one you so thoughtfully went to college or training for, the one (and sometimes second) job that was going to fulfill all the needs of money, security and maybe status.

Along with the idea that you only need one skill set to get you through life, goes the concept that you can always hire/buy the other product or service from someone else.  That falls apart quickly if you have no job and consequently no money.

While you are secure in your current job, seriously, seriously consider a 2nd or 3rd skill set!  Mechanic? Take some business courses on management AND look to expand your vehicle specialties.  Lawyer?  Learn the basics of journeyman electricity.  Carpenter?  Take some cooking/chef courses.  The same precision of cutting wood can be translated to cutting vegetables and meats.  Nurse/Doctor?  Take ups sewing, knitting or crocheting to make things for sale or trade.

AND always, always tend a garden.

My all time favorite quote (with my addition) on why we all need to have more than one skill set.

Unemployment [economy or inflation] is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden. ~Orson Scott Card

From my blog post on the subject of being not only capable but prepared if the bottom falls out of your world.  "While Dealing With Life - Keep On Tending Your Garden."

If you are a doctor, lawyer or chief of some-company it would still behoove you to learn or re-learn a necessary skill or trade (and yes doctors you have a skill, but it would not hurt to learn how to raise chickens so you have eggs to trade).
Carpentry or wood-working
Simple electrical work
Tending livestock

Skills or trade can certainly be high-tech, but consider what else besides high-tech would be tradeable in a difficult situation.  If the power is out knowing how to hook up a computer is useless, but knowing how to provide a sewn or knitted blanket is not.  Knowing how to cook over an open fire or any kind of a grill - and cook anything you need is useful when you do not have electricity.

. . .

NEW!!  A PDF of my 2017 wall calendar with a bonus!

Just released is a PDF of the calendar with all the month-by-month planting times, tips and maintenance AND I added tips on pairing herbs and spices with different foods to maximize the taste and benefits.  More Herbs, Less Salt!

Both the PDF and wall version have early bird pricing, good through Midnight September 14th.  20% discount off of the SRP.

The spiral bound 2017 wall calendar early bird pricing is $15.96 (SRP $19.95)  NOTE:  the Spiral bound calendar does not have the herb/spice pairing tips.  The format, unfortunately does not provide for the 'extras' I would love to include like recipes!

PDF files (Adobe's Portable Document Format) can be read on any device (computer, tablet, smartphone) which has the software - free - on it.  Many of my readers use their smartphones for everything, so why not have the calendar available too!

The PDF 2017 calendar early bird pricing is $7.98 (SRP $9.98).

The next free seed share at the Mesa Farmers Market is September 30th, Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More details to be announced.


My next FREE seasonal lecture at Mesa Urban Garden is October 1st.  Details to be announced.

Watch for more information on these two events when the details are finalized.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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