Class on growing herbs is nearing

On March 5, master gardener Julie Bjorklund will be presenting a class on growing herbs.  The class will be held at the North Branch Senior Center, 6 to 7:30 p.m. and the cost is $5 per person.  Those who would like to attend can call Sue Humble at 651-277-0151 to register or for more information.

It wasn’t until I became a master gardener that I learned to pronounce the word “herb” correctly.  The word herb is pronounced “urb” in the United States and Canada, and “hurb” in England.  If you hear people pronounce the h, they aren’t wrong but are probably British.

Julie will talk about the most common types of herbs grown in our area, what their soil and light requirement are and help class attendees decide if growing herbs in containers or starting herb gardens outdoors is the best option.  While I was writing this article, I realized that some of the herbs for this area are in my own garden.

When we moved to our farm, there was mint on the south side of the house.  The lady who lived there before us was from the south and loved her mint juleps.  Although I loved the smell when I mowed the lawn, we tore it out because it was so invasive that it took over everything including flowers, lawn, etc.  Chives are one of the easiest herbs to raise, and they are one of the first crops we harvest in the spring.  They are a mild substitute for scallions in salads; the flowers are used as a garnish.  The clumps should be divided every three to five years. That’s good for me because by that time the weeds have taken over.

I used to plant lots of dill because we would can many quarts of pickles.  If the seeds are left on the stalk, they will continue to come up as a volunteer plant.  In 1988, our family went to Sweden and my cousin took me to a farmer’s market.  In Sweden, when you order things at the market, they dig it while you wait.  Much of the area is planted in dill, but they never let it go to seed.  They cut it while green, called dill weed, and use it in cooking, especially for the fish and potatoes.  They do several planting so they will always have dill weed for their customers.  We also use it for cooking if I remember to cut it before it goes to seed.  I would like to start an herb garden where I could use more herbs for cooking, and I’m sure Julie will help me March 5.

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