• Bay Leaves: This is a herb that is better DRIED than fresh! The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying. Bay leaves can be scattered in a pantry to repel meal moths, flies and roaches.
• Saffron purchased at retail is monstrously expensive: around $44 for a quarter-ounce. But, amazingly, it’s easy to grow in the home garden. (What makes it expensive at retail is not any difficulty in growing the plant–it’s just a variety of autumn crocus–but the hand labor required to harvest the spice itself in quantity; but in quantities suited for household consumption, and for occasional much-appreciated gifts, it’s no big deal.)
Saffron crocus bulbs are now available from several well-known home-garden seedsmen, who usually ship at the right time of year for planting. The bulbs you receive should be about the size of a healthy garlic clove.
There are only two easy “secrets” to readily growing your own saffron: 1) do not let dormant bulbs get materially wet, much less sit in wet ground; and 2) harvest timely. (We’ll elaborate below.) A Spanish commercial saffron-grower’s web site says “The cultivation of saffron needs an extreme climate; hot and dry weather in summer and cold in winter.” Sound like any place we know?
• When cleaning out your herb beds, make certain to place all herbal debris in your compost pile. Herbs stimulate decomposition and provide minerals.
• Cilantro was one of the first herbs (along with dandelions) to be brought to the Americas from Europe. It was introduced into Mexico by the conquistadors in the 1500s.
• Chives when planted among chrysanthemums, roses, and vegetables will repel aphids.
♥ Just a reminder the Botanicals Beauties& Beasties take the weekend off – They need their environmental rest.. some zzz’s…and hopefully some fun too. See you all on Monday.
However, they are likely to do some tweeting! @BotanicalB_B
•REUSE your energy •REDUCE your waste •RECYLE your stuff •ReThink your actions