Monday, May 9, 2016

Growing #Herbs for #Cooking and #Patio Planting by Karen Rose Smith

German Chamomile
As our diets become healthier, I cook with herbs to give additional flavor. I've always used bay leaves in soup and oregano, thyme and basil in my Italian dishes. I like to garden and for the past few years, I've cared for an herb garden. However, I became aware of the pesticide spraying habits of the garden centers. We had visited our favorite early one morning, only to discover we could hardly breathe in the vicinity of the plants from the spray they'd used. Did I really want to use those herbs in our food? (And pesticides last in the root systems. No amount of washing will clear them.) I've grown heirloom tomatoes from seed for about 6 years now and decided to do the same with herbs...or buy them from an organic farm. was a big help in aiding me in finding organic plants and seeds. The site will also alert you with local farm fresh events. 

Basil Thyme

These are a few different herbs I decided to try this year. I found them at Mountain Valley Growers The healthy plants arrived in excellent condition at just the right time to plant them. 

Trailing Rosemary

Trailing Rosemary was a new herb/plant to me. It can create a fall of green over a pot or stones. I'll see what happens with it this year.

Since we have stray cats wandering in our gardens because of our outside feeder and two siblings who "found" our yard last fall, I decided to grow pesticide free herbs and plants to plant along the patio and in pots for them too. Some of them flower and all give off wonderful scents. This season I've had good luck growing Valerian, Lemon Catmint, Lemon Balm, regular Catmint and Catnip. Lemongrass will grow to about 5 feet tall until the end of the summer. And the Pineapple Sage actually grows to shrub size if given growing room.
Pineapple Sage
If you have outside cats, keep in mind that many flowers are toxic.  Some safe ones to plant are snapdragons, zinnias, cone flowers, petunias, phlox and roses. Consult the ASPCA list.

I hope your garden can be a happy, healthy place for both humans and our furry friends. 



Karen and Paddy
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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Herbal Potpourri