Today, with Bill’s help we finished prepping the Rosemary cut branches for plugs, distillation, drying Rosemary for culinary uses, and juicing the apples left by the voracious yellow jackets. Above is the herbs culled for drying and the prepared plugs of Rosemary for growing out. The Rosemary that looks best, is prepared by taking at least l/3rd of the leaves off a fairly straight stalk, leaving the stalks in willow water for a while and then putting them in soil.
Whiskers, Bill’s rescued cat perches on the big red box of composted soil which is the winter beds of some of the lavender plugs which are growing out. I will put some plastic over them Friday as it is predicted that there will be a freeze then. On the bench in the background, the only herb left still out is the parsley and a crock of Rosemary branches to be used for distillation later. They too rest in water doctored with willow leaves and twigs. Willow has aspirin in it and this use to give energy to plugs is one used many many years. I find it works and get about 75% success in making them into new plants.
Because we are planning to move from La Paix Herb Farm due to the threat of fracking nearby, we are trying to devise methods of keeping plants and plugs so that they are both winter hardy and we can take them with us when we leave. So the lavender plugs are sunk up to the top of their pots in soil and they will be heated slightly when the weather is below 32 degrees. So, when we move, we can just pull up the pots, put them in trays and hope they can be planted where we go. There are about 50 pots in the big red box and 25 more or so in the plastic topped box (see extreme right of 2nd photo subsequent photos) and about 25 more here and there under lights in the house. Rosemary will die if kept in a warm dry house. It thrives in the glass greenhouse covered with plastic in the backyard if it gets a little heat when the temperature is below 20 degrees.
I couldn’t resist taking some of the plugs from the Rosemary and doing this experiment. First, the Greenhouse, as you saw yesterday, is full, so that’s out as a winter home. So, I thought there is this small row in the middle of the Plastic Greenhouse in the Kitchen Garden – why can’t I buy window boxes (on sale now) and plant them in the window boxes which Bill will dig in up to their tops in the Plastic Greenhouse.? So, we’re trying that. I may have put too many in this box – I usually just do one plug in each 3 inch pot, but this is an experiment done so that if we move we can take the plugs with us!
Here are the Rosemary plugs in one of the two window boxes in the plastic greenhouse. Lavender plugs in foreground.
You can see all the plugs here – I probably put way too many in the Rosemary plug window box on the left middle. But it is an experiment!
My son, Bill, who did all the heavy lifting and filling of the window boxes with mostly compost from 7 Springs, thinks it will work!
And to continue on our winter lay away plan, Bill fills 5 more window boxes up to the brim with compost and soil for the garlic. I usually plant garlic on Halloween but Halloween is going to be quite cold, so he started today and put 4 cloves each in each of the first two boxes. The cloves are from harvest of this past year and some from the year before. I just can’t bear to leave La Paix without some garlic planted for our new place which I hope will be nice and even gardened organically too. Thirty four years of growing organically here – the soil is so rich – it is so friable – well, if the Universe is telling me (and I’m pretty sure it is) that I have to drop some old ways of thinking and being and start a new journey, I guess I can do it again. But I’m going to take what I can with me.
We will cover the garlic cloves, which will be planted 3 inches deep, with new compost from this year, leaves and wire fencing to keep the leaves from blowing. We have three more boxes to plant tomorrow – that’s 4 cloves in each box for a total of only 20 bulbs – but we can grow from there.
We harvested the butternut squash which I hadn’t known I planted and look forward to that wonderful butternut squash soup this winter (and saving the seeds – we already saved the pumpkin seeds last weekend) and I finally got to steal the fallen apples from the yellow jackets early this morning because they had been rained on and it was still raining a little. I will now go down and cut them up for apple juice. It is the Allegheny Black Twig Apple – delicious but pretty funny looking – they have fire blight and squirrels and birds and bees to contend with.
I guess I look like an old apple too – no bites out of me though – so far……
I wish you all a fine and healthy harvest – not only of food for the table but food for thought and memories of the smells and feel and look of the earth, its plants and trees. Aren’t we blessed?
If anyone would like a Rosemary plug please message me here or on the La Paix Herb Farm Facebook page.