The herb bed

herb bed may

A couple of new additions have been made to the herb bed. Typically, I went to the garden centre to buy netting and twine, and came back with 2 large pots of herbs as well.

Firstly garlic chives, which I’ve been trying to get going from seed for the last couple of years, and not having any luck. I’m not sure why, but I sow a whole pots worth, and end up with a couple of very pathetic looking wisps of green that then never grow on any more. So when I saw big tubs of them which I knew could be split up into 3 or 4 good sized clumps I decided it was a better option than wasting money on more seed.

I already have the more standard chives growing here and in my garden, but I like the idea of some slightly garlicky flavoured ones, and they have white flowers instead of pink, so you know which is which – handy!

And then (only because it was a special offer for 2 pots, and I can’t resist an offer) I bought a tub of Welsh onions. Now I’d wrongly assumed in the past that Welsh onion are just the larger, beefier spring onions that you can sometimes buy in the shops. But no. They are otherwise known as Japanese bunching onions (got to know your onions!) and they are sort of a cross between chives and spring onions, and they have absolutely nothing at all to do with Wales! Of course.

They are hollow stemmed like chives, and you can cut the stalks like you would chives, which then regrow, or, when they have bunched enough, you can take out the entire onion like you would a spring (or salad) onion. Clear? Well, I’ve learnt something new.

welsh onions

Of all the different plant groups that we grow, the allium family is by far our favourite. We now have regular onions, garlic, leeks, spring onions, chives (reg and garlic) and now Welsh onions. We’re on a mission to grow every type there is, so I need to investigate whether we’re missing anything else.

oregano for drying2

While weeding out the herb bed to make space for the newbies, I realised the oregano and thyme are at their peak right now, and if I want to dry any, I’d better do so now before they start to flower. A carrier bag was quickly filled with oregano from 3 established bushes (you can’t even tell I’ve picked any) and a large flowerpot full of thyme.

You can tie bunches of herbs up in order to dry them, but I mostly pinched out the tips from the bushes, so didn’t have enough sturdy stems for doing this. So my method is to strip the leaves from their stalks, and spread them out on my trusty wooden tray. Anything will do, so long as they’re kept dry and spread out as much as possible. I’ll leave these alone now to completely dry out before chopping up and storing in a jar. I’ve only just used the last bit of oregano that I stored from last year, so it’s perfect timing. I’ll be doing exactly the same with the thyme.

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