From Seed To Harvest

Posts tagged ‘Whitaker Gardens’

Oregano

Oregano is listed as a perennial in warm climates and an annual in areas that experience heavy winters. Our gardens are located in southern New York State and it is a perennial in our plot, so it is safe to say it is reasonably hardy.

Oregano , or wild marjoram as it is sometimes called, is an extremely healthy addition to your cuisine. Believe it or not one fresh gram of this herb has four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries, twelve times that of oranges and an astounding forty-two times the antioxidant activity of apples. It has a very high level of vitamin K and is also an above average source of iron, fiber and calcium.

One of the advantages of growing your kitchen garden close to your back door is that it makes it easy to gather fresh herbs and veggies for your meals. Oregano can be served and stored a number of ways but it goes without saying that fresh from the garden is the recommended method. You can also dry it or freeze as well. Both preservation methods allow one to use this medicinal herb deep into the winter months.

 

Chives

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Chives have been used by man for at least 5,000 years. When researched a bit it is no wonder they have been such an established crop generation after generation when measured by their hardiness, their flavor and their health properties.

Chives are the smallest member of the onion family. They do well in sun or shade and propagate rather easily. Their purple flower heads scatter seed that quickly takes root. Once established it is a good idea to divide the plant every 3 or 4 years. Of course you can give some to family or friends but division also aids the garden in terms of pest control. Chives help keep certain pest such as the pesky Japanese beetle at bay. So consider digging up a small portion of the bulk herb and placing it in key locations in your garden. Of course the opposite holds true as well in that it attracts beneficial such as bees to your garden by way of their large flowers. Another interesting note in regards to its beneficial properties is its ability to protect your apple trees from apple scab disease simply by growing around the trees trunk.

Chives also happen to be similar to garlic in its health benefits, just not as potent. Chives are high in vitamin A & C and also contain calcium and iron. Iron is something a lot of folks lack in their diet.

You can eat chives fresh from the garden, dry them or freeze them, though drying tends to retain the least amount of flavor. They go well with soups and stews, potatoes and even salads. I recently had a great aunt mention that she prefers them to onions because they are gentler on her stomach, certainly something to keep in mind.