edible garden, no. 2, 2011

Borage – I hear it tastes a bit like cucumber and that it’s good in companion planting. I’ve never had it before so this is in my garden mostly for curiosity.

Shiso/perilla/wild sesame/beefsteak – I believe that my shiso is of the Korean variety and not the Japanese one. My mother saw it on sale at Hmart so she brought it over to my house, not knowing what she was buying. Hmart labeled it as “wild sesame” so she thought it was a sesame plant. I am trying to get the Japanese variety to grow from seed but it has been very slow going. The last I checked, I had three baby plants out of the several and several seeds I put out.

I believe this is allium roseum/rosy garlic/rosy chives. My mom and I picked out this plant mostly because it’s pretty and nothing to do with the fact that it’s edible. (I hear that it should be eaten in small quantities though.) But this morning, I just saw someone post fried chives flowers so I may try that out before the flowers go away.

TARRAGON! I must admit that, for no reason, this is my favorite acquisition. I haven’t cooked from my plant yet, but tarragon and eggs are one of my favorite flavor combinations. You must be picky about growing tarragon. French tarragon does not seed. If you see tarragon seeds, that is for Russian tarragon and I hear that it is fairly tasteless. And then, sometimes when you go to buy tarragon plants, they may be mislabeled. Make sure that the latin name on the tag is “Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa .” When in doubt, put a tiny leaf into your mouth. French tarragon is extremely flavorful… so much so that I thought my tongue went a little numb for a moment. haha. Anyway, French tarragon is a perennial so I hope that my plant will be with me for a long time yet. I live in Zone 6, which is supposedly fine for tarragon, but I may bring it inside over the winter for this first year. Maybe when the plant is bigger, I will feel that it’s safe to leave outside when it snows.

Nasturtiums growing in a repurposed cinder block. I planted two seeds and after two weeks of no activity, they are finely growing prettily in the third week. Nasturtiums are also said to be good for companion planting. They are also edible.

Plants not shown: basil, mint, tomato, peppers, rosemary, lemon thyme, and thyme. My mint had been sitting in water for a couple of weeks to grow roots (I bought a handful of mint for $0.98 at Russo’s Market in the herbs area rather than buying a baby plant from the garden center). I just put the mint into dirt on Sunday. I might have made this move a little too early as one of the four stalks now looks wilty, but I know mint is extremely hardy so I am optimistic that I haven’t totally screwed up. My lemon thyme is also from cuttings (from a friend last year). I grabbed a handful of her lemon thyme for cooking, and never cooked with it. I felt bad for the lemon thyme so I put them in water. A small handful of them started to grow roots, so I stuck them in a pot of dirt with my small rosemary plant. Somehow, they survived. I don’t have a lot of it, but lemon thyme is a perennial so I hope that one day it will look more impressive.

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