Summer is here at last! The June gardening calendar kicks off with reaping some early rewards. Yes indeed! Herb picking time is just right. Before many herbs start to flower the leaves are at their best in flavour and tenderness.
Tips. Plants such as sage, lemon verbena, and thyme are best harvested early morning before the heat of the day whether you want them fresh for recipes or to dry and preserve.
Go easy on young plants and give them time to mature before denuding them.
The herb garden is just buzzing with pollinators right now, but only if you allowed a few herbs to flower. The sight and sound of bees and other insects are such a pleasure and make summer feel like summer.
If you are planning on collecting seeds this is an important part of the garden cycle. No flowers, no pollinators, no seeds!
So let some of your plants develop flower buds and bloom, whereas the rest, just keep an eye on them especially this month when many start to bud, and pinch them out.
Some herbs like rosemary, and certain species of sage will have already flowered in the earlier months.
As the flowers fade and fall off, prune the whole plant but not so far back as you would in late Autumn or Spring. Giving them a little trim will encourage new growth and help the plants to fill out a little.
Fancy having fresh parsley on the table this winter? If you sow now, you will! The soil should be warm enough causing germination to happen around 10 days.
Note a reminder in your June gardening “to do” list to buy parsley seed.
Tip. Keep parsley well watered during the hot dry spells to avoid aphid infestations.
Basil can also be sown outdoors in June for a later crop but make sure the minimum temperature at night isn't going to fall below 7℃ (44.6℉) and is 13℃ (55.4℉) or more during the day.
Tip. Try growing Lettuce Basil, a giant leafed variety.
Summer and Winter Purslane can be sow this month for harvesting later in the year and throughout winter.
June gardening includes some preserving. Herbs are full of flavour when they're fresh. To capture that flavour and make it last a few more months use good preserving techniques.
There are 3 ways you can preserve herbs. Dry them, freeze them, or make herbal vinegars and oils.
Tip. When drying herbs look for a warm, dark and airy place like a shed, or room in the house.
Strip off individual leaves and spread them out on a drying rack. Avoid heaping them up. Use dark, air-tight jars or containers and store them in a dark cupboard.
Tip. When freezing herbs, mix and match them for different recipes, place portions in ice cube trays, fill with water, then freeze and put them in a container in the fridge.
When you need fresh herbs just pop a cube or two into the pot or melt in a sieve to drain away the water if you want the herbs for salads and other meals.
Preserving in oil, or vinegar is easy as punch! Instead of preserving the whole herb these methods capture the essential oils, minerals and vitamins for a tasty salad dressing or to add to cooking. Only pickled herbs, seeds, and roots are eaten whole.
Tip. When herbal oils and vinegars are ready to use, put a sprig of the herb in the bottle to identify the herb used.
It's a great alternative for a label and looks very
attractive on the table.
Hint of Herbs is where you will get to know me a whole lot better as I busy about in my daily life. Read short snippets of herb garden related topics. Little interesting things that don`t normally find their way onto my pages.
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