A project designed by Holly Zickler and David Rifkind
Thursday, March 14, 2013
garden, herb edition
We have had great success with herbs, so far. The temperate herbs common in North America do well here, including mint, basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, sage, thyme, sorrel and tarragon. Each of them has grown dramatically over the winter, and our next task is to start separating the really big ones. The only herb we've had trouble with is cilantro, which we'll try again, soon. All the savory bulbs have done well, too, including onions (yellow, white and red), garlic, scallions and leeks.
The exciting addition for us has been tropical plants, like ginger, culantro, lemongrass and turmeric. The picture at left shows two lemongrasses: the one in front is a more typical culinary lemongrass (which ended up in last night's lemonade, along with some mint and a Meyer lemon, all from the garden), while the tall red-stemmed one in back is a citronella grass. They're both in the cymbopogon genus.
The ginger has also been successful; we threw a piece of the rhizome (the root you buy at the supermarket) into one corner of the garden, and it quickly spread into a series of rhizomes, each with a stalk. I just dug them up, loosened the soil and spread them out a bit to encourage more growth. They'll reach up to six feet tall, and have flowers by summer. The turmeric, which looks very similar and also produces an edible rhizome, is dormant during the dry season and should start growing again in a month or two.
Cuban oregano is another one of those plants we'd never heard of before moving to Miami. The enormous variegated leaves are fairly thick, and project out from stems that look like those on a jade plant. The cuttings root easily anywhere in the garden. The texture and fragrance are great: imagine a stuffed animal that smells like pizza.
We had no idea dill got this big. This was one of those cheap plants we picked up from Home Depot, and it has continued to grow and flower. We clipped a bunch of stalks yesterday to use as a flower arrangement, and we'll dig this up, separate the plants and replant them, soon.
Tarragon (left) and chard (right) are two of the stars of the front yard. They're visually beautiful, grow prodigiously and taste great.