Carolee's Herb Farm

Carolee's Herb Farm

NOTE: To use the advanced features of this site you need javascript turned on.

Home News Newsletters October E-Newsletter 2014
October E-Newsletter 2014 Print E-mail


 October E-Newsletter 2014

Colorful leaves, falling walnuts, football games, apple picking, and carving pumpkins tumble together to enhance our appreciation of the autumn harvest season.  The combines are weaving their way from field to field, changing the landscape.  Frost brings the outdoor growing season to an end.
     Here at the farm, we’ve closed for the season, but work continues to prepare the beds and plants for winter.  We’re working hard to do as many tasks as we can now, knowing that next spring will be as frenetic as usual.  We’re packing up anything that might freeze in the barn, and moving all the remaining potted plants into the cold frame and greenhouse.  I’ve been propagating plants as fast as I can, and giving gardens a final weeding.

    I took the photo above at the IGC conference.  It's a miniature garden planted in a large planter that has been painted with a pumpkin face.  I thought it was adorable, only needing a couple of fairies to make it enchanting.

The Harvest continues…. 
     Until it actually freezes, and brings the season to a final close, continue to harvest the herb garden. Snip and freeze small bags of chives. Make simple syrups with mints, lemon balm, anise hyssop, cinnamon basil, etc. by bringing 1 c. water with 1 c. sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and infusing the herbs in the hot syrup.  Cover until cool, then strain and store in the refrigerator.  These make great toppings over cakes, pancakes, custards or additions to tea and cocktails.  Continue to dry herbs for culinary use, teas and bath mixtures. Make herbal sugars by layering sugar and herbs in a tight container.  After shaking several times a week for two weeks, remove the leaves. (Add those sugared leaves to teas!) Use the flavored sugars in baking tasty cookies, pound cakes, puddings or drinks.  Make herbal salts, herbal butters and vinegars.  Freeze small containers of various pestos.  Snip fresh new growth of dill, rinse, pat dry between paper towels, then put the sprigs into a freezer container.  When you need it, simply snip off the required amount of frozen dill, and return the rest to the freezer immediately.  This winter, you’ll have the flavors of the garden at your fingertips.

Greenfield Herb Garden
    Recently I traveled with David’s MG car club to an event in Ohio.  We began our journey by meeting fellow travelers for a tasty lunch at Soup Herb in Greenfield, IN.  Of course, we arrived a bit early so that I could visit the herb garden at the James Whitcomb Riley Museum.  The garden is lovingly maintained by the dedicated members of the Hancock County Herb Society, and contains an interesting variety of herbs and flowers.  Be sure to visit the garden if you are in the area.
     If you live in that area, consider joining the group, which meets the first Thursday of each month.  Meetings are usually held at the Elmore Center at Riley Park in Greenfield.  For more information, call Teresa Amick at 317-462-7467.
Did you know?
*Mealybugs, those dreaded cottony-white clusters found on the undersides of leaves, can remain viable and hatch for up to 45 days.
*If you drop a phone or other techie gadget in water, the best action is to quickly towel it off and place it in a bag of rice for two days, turning it occasionally.  This usually effective and seems like a miracle!
*There are over 8,000 different species of ants
*Gardeners are generally more optimistic than the general population
*It’s time to plant saffron, which is actually a crocus.  Saffron tea was a common treatment for measles, and was given to moulting poultry (especially canaries, parrots, and tropical pet birds) to restore their feathers.  

Herb to Know:  Pumpkin
Yes, pumpkin can be an herb!  A North and South American native plant, pumpkins were initially harvested mainly for the leaves and seeds, since the pumpkins themselves were too tough and bitter to be palatable.  As agricultural practices became common, continual selection over centuries has resulted in the meaty, tasty pumpkins we have today.
     Although mainly a nutritious food crop, pumpkins do have some medicinal uses.  Besides being very high in vitamin A, many valuable minerals and a good source of fiber, pumpkin seeds were used to eliminate internal parasites and ease constipation.  The pulp was sometimes applied to bee stings, scrapes and minor burns.
     Today’s researchers have found that the oil pressed from pumpkin seeds often reduces testosterone-induced prostate growth, helps postmenopausal symptoms in women, improves some cardiovascular and liver diseases, and eases the pain of arthritis.

Recipe:  Roasted Pumpkin-White Bean Salad with Savory Viniagrette
Roasted Pumpkin & White Bean Salad
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash any dirt from a pie pumpkin.  Cut in half and remove seeds and stringy membrane.   Cut pumpkin into 2-3” strips.   Place on baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake about 25 min.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
     While pumpkin bakes, drain 2 cans cannellini beans and place in large bowl with ½ medium onion chopped, 1 c. chopped green and red bell peppers; 2 stalks celery, diced; 2 T. fresh savory, chopped.  Place in refrigerator.
     Peel pumpkin and dice into 1/2” cubes.   There should be about 4c.   Return to baking sheet.  Place under broiler for about 10-15 min., until edges brown nicely.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
     Make the Savory Viniagrette by combining:  1 c. olive oil; ½ c. savory vinegar; 1-2 T. finely chopped fresh savory; ¼ tsp. salt; 1 clove garlic, minced; several grinds of black pepper.  Place all ingredients in a jar and shake.  Allow to sit at least 30 min. for flavors to blend.
     Add cooled roasted pumpkin to bean mixture.  Pour dressing over top, using only the amount needed, and toss gently.  Refrigerate.  Makes 12 servings. 

Happy Halloween to all.  Enjoy these last beautiful days of autumn, and I’ll be back to talk with you again next month. 

Herbal blessings, Carolee