A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

The Magic of Herbs

My son walks up to me to ask about my task. I am thinning plants from a flat that I started. Why he queries. I want some strong, healthy vegetables for the garden, I respond. How do you know which ones are strong? I look at which ones have the best leaf growth, and the thickest stem. You’re pulling a lot of them out. But I will have seventy-two plants when I am done. That’s enough. I am glad that my son has some sense of where his food comes from, but being a teenager, his involvement with the garden of late is sitting in it with a cell phone.

I am focusing more on vegetables this year. I was always producing enough to have three meals a week on average come from my garden plot, but with rising food prices, I thought that I really should make the effort to have most vegetables come from home. It is the more environmentally sound thing to do, but I have always enjoyed the variety at the farmer’s market. Now I just have to recreate that here. I have pulled off getting my asparagus established, which is no mean feat in Houston. We just do not have the climate for it. I cannot wait till next year when I can harvest my own. I think that this will be a good year for my vegetables.

My true love on the culinary side of my yard has been the herbs. I have always lavished my attention on them. I incorporate fresh and dried herbs from my garden into every meal. I have these plants in every conceivable spot. Bay leaves for my sauces, soups, and stews. Kefir lime leaves for a little zing. Marjoram and oregano for the flavor. Oh well, the list goes on, and it would be too much to add here.

I discovered that the new herbs have finally arrived at the Houston garden centers this past week. I went to see if I could make any discoveries. I am thinking of adding a lime thyme to my grass. Would that not be a wonderful smell when I cut the yard? Germander for a small hedge may be nice. I did buy more parsley, since my daughter decided to “help” me with the seeds by broadcasting my saved seeds about the house. I interplanted them with my kale, and I took the garlic bulbs out of the pot to be interspersed there too. I decided to use some excess peas as a ground cover in that bed. Maybe they will grow up the garlic shoots.

If you find those herbs are your local nursery, consider them for your garden. For the most part, the pests leave them alone, and you can add some wonderful flavor to your meals. Not all herbs are culinary, so read the labels for their use. I try to avoid the medicinal herbs, because I do not want the kids self-medicating when they go on a tasting spree. Although, when I did grow them, I found a couple of leaves of feverfew to be the best for my headaches. You may want to find a good herbal to relate to you the history and use of these plants. I like Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs.



  Herbs And Their Importance wrote @

I have read your article and is amazing. Herbs definitely have play vital role in our lives.Though people use pharmaceuticals these days usefulness of herbs cannot be superseded.

  frankschulteladbeck wrote @

When I can, I prefer taking herbs for my cure. My daughter, a one year old, will pull off leaves and flowers from many plants to eat, so I let my medicinal herbal plot go. I am trying to figure out how to safely incorporate these plants into the garden again. I should warn those of you interested in this aspect of herbs, please find a good source of information if you decide to use a medicinal herb.

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