Carolee's Herb Farm

Carolee's Herb Farm

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August E-Newletter Print E-mail

Carolee’s August E-newsletter

 World famous Krider garden

     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.  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 garden’s harvest as I can.   It won’t be long till frost, as the cicada’s song reminds us, so we must enjoy every flower and fragrance while we can.
   Since I talked to you last, we spent a lovely week on Lake Michigan with our “German” family.  Spending quality time with our little grandchildren was a delight, and we were also able to visit some blueberry farms, beaches, wineries and quaint shops.  As a result, I have lots of blueberries in the freezer and dozens of new photos of the kids on my screensaver.  We also had our two granddaughters from Bloomington for a week of fun at the farm. 
     July was cooler and wetter than normal which allowed me to start taking lavender cuttings earlier than usual.  I’ve done over 3200, and am crossing my fingers that they root.  We have had yummy pickings of green beans, peppers, squash, greens, okra and turnips, and gobs of cherry-type tomatoes, but the large ones have been slow to ripen.
     We’ve finished the major lavender harvest, so the beams of the Barn are filled.  There are still a few plants blooming in the field, which we are expanding again.  We’re almost done pruning the lavender, and are harvesting artemisias and other herbs for wreath-making. 
    August has been another busy month so far.  I gave speeches at both the HSCI meeting and the Wabash Herb Fest, and then took a couple of days off to visit some Amish “quilt” gardens this past week as my reward for the long, long days I’ve spent working recently.  Now I need to do lots of planting and to prepare for a busy fall season, collect seeds, take more cuttings re-decorate the barn for autumn……the list goes on and on!

We’re Up-potting Perennials
     We’re going to start up-potting perennials in the sales areas this week, and I’m going to begin major planting in the gardens.  If there are plants you’ve been thinking about purchasing, do it now!  Once we up-pot, of course we also up-price to cover the additional pot size and potting soil, plus labor.  And, once I plant them in the gardens, they are no longer for sale!  So, do your shopping soon so you won’t be disappointed.  As I go through the sales area, I’ll also be adding lots of plants to the “FREE” area, so don’t forget to look. 

It’s PLANTING time!
     August is a great time to plant perennials, and we still have a lovely selection.  I actually do most of my perennial planting in August.  I just don’t have time in spring!  Fix those bare spots in your garden, or beef up an area that lacks color with easy-care perennials or flowering shrubs.  Get them in soon, so they’ll have time to anchor in those roots before the ground freezes.  Keep them watered, mulch them well after the ground freezes, and they will reward you with years of blooms.
     August is also a good time to prepare new beds.  Remove sod, if necessary, spade deeply, work amendments into the soil, and mulch.  The bed is ready when it is time to plant fall bulbs, and ready for planting perennials around the clumps of bulbs next spring.  You’ll have all winter to dream and plan the new plantings.

Garlic Day—Saturday Aug, 29th
The hardneck garlic from our garden is curing.  We’ll put a limited quantity out for sale on Garlic Day,  Saturday, August 29th.  We’ll be selling it by the half-pound for planting in your own gardens in very late August to early September.  Don’t plant it too early, since we really only want an inch or so of green growth before frost.  It will continue to grow a good root system throughout the autumn, and then go dormant for winter.  Come next spring, sturdy stalks and leaves will grow to feed the bulb.  You’ll have green garlic tops to harvest for salads and stir-fry in June, and big bulbs of zesty garlic to harvest in late July or early August!
     On Garlic Day, we’ll have planting demonstrations, cooking with garlic demonstrations, garlic braiding, and special garlic refreshments.  Don’t miss it!

I’ve reluctantly inched forward in the technology age, and joined Facebook, mainly so I can stay in touch with nieces and nephews and other people who only communicate by computer.  So, if you “do” facebook, check out our page and become a “friend.”  I’ll try to post often, but don’t expect any twitter or texting.

New in the Shop & Cottage
      Our resident artist, Lou Rae Rumple has produced several one-of-a-kind hand-painted items with an herbal motif.  Look for beautiful benches, chest of drawers, chairs and other unique items.  She’s also done a terrific new note card in a lovely herbal design and she has done another printing of her wonderful lavender note cards, too.
     We have lots of new herbal printed items…..shower curtains, napkins with new watering can napkin holders, new garden hooks, a pretty watering can candleholder, herbal napkins, and many other great things.  We’ve also restocked the herbal canister sets and cookie jars that sold so quickly.
     Our wonderful seamstress has been sewing up a storm, producing many new aprons from the fabric we bought in France, as well as a new jacket done in herbal fabric.  We constantly work to bring you the best of all herbal and garden-themed items.  It is our pleasure, and we love it!
     As soon as I get back from my mini-garden tour, I’ll be doing lots of fall arrangements for the Barn, so be sure to come see all the new things we’ve found.

The Website Print Size
     We’ve had several calls and e-mails regarding the small print on our website.  For those of you who would prefer larger print, there should be boxes in the bar across the top containing the letter “A”….just click on the bold one to make the print larger on your screen!


     Parsley is one of the most popular herbs, probably because it is so versatile and really brightens the flavor of other ingredients.  It is packed with nutrients, easy to grow, and looks so pretty in the garden.  Plus, it supplies a much-needed food source for many butterfly caterpillars.
     Parsley has a long history of use.  The ancient Greeks always had it in their gardens, usually as a border combined with rue around the entire perimeter.  In fact, the first step in constructing a new garden was to plant the parsley and rue border, which became a common Greek phrase “We are at the parsley and rue,”  which meant one was at the beginning of a project.  Parsley came to England in the 1500’s, where it quickly became extremely popular.  A most common phrase there was “Sow parsley, sow babes” because parsley was thought to boost fertility.  In fact, in the language of flowers, giving a bouquet of parsley meant “I want to make babies with you!”  And, and old belief was that only witches or pregnant women could grow parsley well.
     Parsley is a biennial, which means that seed sown this spring produced a lovely plant that will thrive until freeze.  Then it will go dormant, and as long as it has good drainage, the root will send up new growth next spring.  However, this growth will tend to be more bitter and tough than a first-year plant, and it will quickly send up a seed stalk that will produce flowers, then seed, and then die.  Unless I especially want parsley seed, I usually just harvest my entire crop, and begin with new plants next year.    
     Now is a good time to store away this tasty green leaf for winter dishes.  One can pick parsley and simply hang it to dry.  However, it usually turns an unappetizing beige color and looses much of its flavor.  My favorite method to preserve parsley is drying it in the microwave. Pick the outer stems, allowing the center to continue to produce new growth until winter.  Rinse the stems and remove the leaves, placing them in a single layer on paper toweling.  Place another towel on top and “zap” for about 3 seconds on a medium heat.  Microwaves can vary a lot in their settings.  If you can smell the parsley, reduce the heat level and shorten the time.  You don’t want to rupture the oil sacks and evaporate the flavor!  Flip the towels over and remove the one that was on the bottom, since it will be moist.  Replace it with a dry towel and zap again.  Repeat this process until the parsley is crisp, replacing moist towels and flipping as many times as required.  When it is dry, allow it to cool, and then place it in an airtight jar.  Do not crumble it, but keep the leaves as whole as possible.  Crumbling it will break open oil sacks and reduce flavor.  Wait until you are ready to add the parsley to recipes to crumble or grind it.  Store it in a cool, dark place.

Recipe for August:
     This is a new recipe that I dreamed up while I was picking purple beans.  I made it for our pitch-in luncheon, to say farewell to the summer employees that are off to school.  It makes a big bowlful, so use this recipe when you need to serve a crowd. 
Carolee’s 9-Bean Salad
     Cook 6 strips of bacon until crisp.  Remove from skillet, cool, crumble and set aside. Reserve skillet and drippings for dressing.
     Drain and rinse in a colander one can of each of the following:  Dark Red Kidney Beans, Cut Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, Lima Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, Cannellini Beans, Cut Italian Flat Beans, and Bean Sprouts.  Place in a large bowl.
     Add 1 green bell pepper, chopped; 1 red onion, chopped, ½ c. summer savory finely chopped; ½ c. parsley, chopped, 3 stalks celery, diced. Stir gently to mix.  Place in refrigerator to chill.
     Mix together in small bowl:  ½ c. lt. brown sugar, ¼ c. white sugar, 2 T. flour, ½ tsp. paprika,  ¼ tsp. ground red cayenne pepper.  Stir into bacon drippings in skillet over medium high heat, along with 1 c. apple cider vinegar and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir and cook until mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring, until it is thickened.  Remove from heat and chill.
     Just before serving, pour dressing over salad, add the reserved bacon, and stir gently until the beans are coated.  Makes 20 servings.

Amish Quilt Garden Tour

     My friend Chris and I left after lunch on Sunday, and returned on Tuesday night.  We didn’t have time to do the entire tour, but we saw several gardens planted in traditional quilt designs.  I thought the gardens were at their peak, although the ones we saw Sunday needed rain.  That was not a problem on Monday, as northern Indiana got 6” of rain while we were there!  In addition to the lovely gardens, there were also several quilt murals painted on buildings.  The largest garden used over 7.000 pink alyssum plants, 1600 blue ageratum, over 700 purple salvia and 720 white salvia.  Another used nearly 6,000 pink and white vincas, and one incorporated buckwheat, corn, and alfalfa with flowers!  Our route included Nappanee, Goshen, Middlebury and Shipshewana.  So, there were lots of shops, Amish restaurants, fabric shops, antique shops, and much, much more.  Just driving through the beautiful countryside, seeing the lovely vegetable and flower gardens tended by the Amish, pastures filled with horses, and clothes hanging on the line was a treat.  There were produce stands and bake sales galore.  And, I finally got to see the famous Krider Garden that was first installed at the Chicago World’s Fair, and replanted in Middlebury.  If you are interested in doing the tour, just go to and click on the quilt garden tour.  It was definitely worth going.

Upcoming Events:
Sun., Aug 23  “Herbal Harvest” Workshop
Sat., Aug 29                Garlic Day
Sat., Sept 12  Autumn Harvest Open House—talks, refreshments,  fall decor,
pumpkins and lots more!
Sun., Sept. 13  “Growing & Blending Herbal Teas” Workshop
Sun., Sept 20  “Herbal Wreath” Workshop 

********************** Barn E-Coupon for August*********************
$10 off any $50 purchase, $25 off $100 purchase in the Big Barn Gift Shop!  Can be a single item, or combined items totaling at least $50.  Offer does not include workshop fees, live plants or outdoor items, only items from inside the Barn.   Does not include consignment items and cannot be combined with other discounts. Limit 1 coupon per customer.  Valid through Sept. 16th, 2009

********************Cottage E Coupon for August***************************
20% off any one item in the Cottage….pictures, candles, signs, décor!   Limit 1 coupon per customer.  Cannot be combined with other discounts.  Valid through Sept. 16, 2009

**********************E-Coupon for August*******************************
Buy two tender perennials, get a third one free with coupon (limit 10 free plants per person).  This includes scented geraniums, patchouli, begonias, and many more! Valid till  Sept. 16, 2009