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First Herb Harvest

fresh-cut chives, catnip and thyme

I might deny I said this come the rose blossom days of sun-filled June, but I love Spring the best.

(Wait, I already have to take it back. The rushing in of summertime in the weeks around Summer Solstice is what I really love. Spring is just thrilling in a different way.)

The garden is jumping up fast and we we were able to start cutting some herbs today. Chives are always the first to fully grow out, but our well-loved Sorrel isn’t far behind. We hope to be cutting Sorrel and Garlic Chives next week, so wish us some rain 🙂

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Can’t find Spring? Make it yourself

forsythia flowers

If you have access to a forsythia bush, you can make your own Spring a little ahead of the calendar.

Forsythia flowers will bloom early if you cut some stems and bring them inside. They’ve lasted over a week on my kitchen table and have been such a treat to have as we’ve just gotten another foot of snow!

It’s really easy- Here’s how:

Cut forsythia stems on a mild day when the temperature is above freezing and put them in a bucket of warm water.

Once inside, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot get in, will promote water uptake.

Keep them in a bright spot and you’ll start to see flowers in about 6 days.

Happy Early Spring!

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Signs of Spring

spinach and chickweed

We have a big patch of green in the middle of the foot of snow in the backyard- a bumper crop of chickweed growing in our cold frame with the spinach I planted last Fall.

Hawkeye still kindof thinks of chickweed as a nuisance, but for me, it’s a favorite!

One of the first plants to appear in Spring, you can eat it like spinach and it’s a very helpful medicinal. Awesome in bodycare too, I love using soothing chickweed in oils and salves for irritated skin.

Learn more about chickweed the way I first did, from herbalist Susun Weed: “Chickweed Is A Star

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Purple Basils have more fun

basil

 

Somebody has been chewing the Genovese basil, but not the Dark Opal. That somebody is missing out!

Dark Opal basil is totally delicious. It’s said to have a stronger anisey taste, but I don’t notice a difference. Of course, I pile basil leaves on sandwiches like other people do lettuce so maybe an overwhelmingly-strong basil flavor is my kind of thing.

You can substitute Dark Opal basil in any recipe that calls for green sweet basil. Try pesto for fun– it turns your mouth purple.

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The Solstice Tide

Rosa mundi

Summer Solstice is on June 20th this year, but you can already feel it in the air! The sky is still light at 9:00 at night and the garden is overflowing with roses.

Heirloom roses are better than gold to me– they smell incredible (seriously, better than any rose scent you’ve ever smelled) and are really useful in herbal medicine.

(yes, yes, you can eat them too)

Today I’m using rose petals to make a richly moisturizing skin salve for my dry, cracked, achy gardening hands. Combined with red clover, violet, marshmallow, and meadowsweet, this salve will be exactly what my summertime skin needs.

Happy Solstice! And remember, it’s always a good idea to salve up after all that sun 🙂