Updated: Nov 18
Our spring gardening series for North Texas continues with Episode 8: "Urban Herbs for Kitchens & Medicine Cabinets." Herbalist Marilyn Buehler takes you on a deep dive into growing herbs. In our video,she presents her vast experience in growing and using herbs for both culinary and medicinal uses. As with our other episodes in this series, we also update you on the overall progress of our demonstration garden.
Click on the image below to watch it now.
Good morning. Today we are talking about herbs. How to grow them. How to use them in your favorite recipes. And even how to make your own homeopathic recipes for health and wellness.
In just a moment I'm going to introduce Marilyn. Or I guess I just introduced Marilyn. Marilyn is a former organic farmer and greenhouse grower. and you specialized in herbs and wild medicinals like ginseng and golden seal.
She is also our resident – or semi resident – expert. Sometimes resident expert on herbs.
Before we get started, I'm going to go over some of the things that's been happening in our demonstration garden and update you on that.
I just want to quickly review what's happening in our garden right now. You can see that our potatoes are doing fantastic. We have finished hilling them and now we're just waiting for the tops to grow and pretty soon we'll be able to harvest the potatoes. We know there are potatoes in there cuz we checked and they're coming along really, really well.
Our garlic is also doing much better. It was looking a little bit yellow after all the rain that we had but right now it's back to being green and healthy looking. You can see that we've harvested our yellow onions that were over on this side here. Those have been harvested and are inside the store drying out right now.
Pretty soon they'll be ready to eat as a bulb onions. Meanwhile the red onions are still growing here. They are growing really well also. They are forming huge bulbs and as you can see some of these stems are starting to fall over, which is an indication that they are almost ready to harvest so we're going to keep an eye on these and then when they start to – when the top starts to look dead and brown that's another indication that they're ready to pull – so we'll be doing that fairly soon also.
Our fennel is still out of control. As we showed you in our herb class, these flowers are actually edible the seeds on these umbrels. They are tasty from what I understand. I've never tried them myself but it smells wonderful. Too bad you can't smell it on camera.
We also have our volunteer squashes is coming up over here.
This tomato is a San Marzano. We're still waiting for this to really start to flower. It's just now barely starting to flower.
Behind it we have some more squash is growing. Oh, I'm sorry. That's okra. And then next to that we have some basil that is struggling to come up. It's actually been a little bit cool for basil and also we've been hit with some grasshoppers. I just killed one this morning on the basil plant where it's been chewing away. But other than that they're doing really well.
The okra is coming up and doing well. You can see that even though we are now into the very middle of May, normally by now most of our greens would have finished because of the weather being warmer than they can tolerate. Right now they are still ready to eat and they look delicious. I'm going to have some in my salad today. They are just getting bigger by the day and I'm looking forward to eating those. Then over here we have another tomato plant. This one here is our Cherokee purple and it is also starting to blossom here and set fruit.
Then we have our carrots, which are still struggling to be carrots. We're not real thrilled about those.
And then our third and final tomato plant here. This one is the Sweet 100 and you can see we've got quite a few flowers on this one. It's doing very well, it's very bushy. We're going to have to remove some of the lower stems on these to help with the airflow and remove the suckers and and that sort of thing to make it fuller and blossom more.
Then finally our squashes replaced the peas and beans that we had growing in our pots here on our teepee and they are doing fantastic. They are starting to bloom. You can see here that we have blooms coming up on this one. Nice bright yellow ones. And because they are flowering I have deployed one of our squash vine borer traps, which I've hung right here to catch the male vine borer moths. That will prevent them from breeding and so we won't have any eggs being laid on any of our squashes. I'm going to deploy another one at the other end of the garden just to make sure that we're well covered there..
Oh, these are watermelons. I'm sorry, these are our watermelons and these are coming up as well. Watermelons take a very long time so it's going to be probably July or August before we are able to harvest any of these fruits off of here but meanwhile they're coming along very very well so that is the update on our garden for the middle of May.
Really quick, because we did not have these in stock when we talked about them before I'm going to show you real quick how to put these together. This is a squash vine borer trap. If you are growing squashes you absolutely need to put these out before or at about the time that your plants start flowering because it's the flower that attracts the vine borer to the squash plant.
They are attracted to that yellow color like we talked about before so these are basically just regular sticky traps with the added benefit of it comes with a special lure that lures the male of the species into the sticky trap. So you catch all the males, they can't breed, so they can't lay their eggs on your squash. It's really simple.
So all you do is, you get two traps in a package. You get two lures and you get little twist tie things to hang them with. So all you're going to do is unpeel – I should probably put this together first. Unpeel the two traps in a package you get to lures and you get little twist tie things to hang them with so all you're going to do is until I can probably put this together first. Unpeel the plastic covering to keep the sticky trap from getting nasty. Then I am going to just pulled these together here, line up these holes and punch him out real quick. So I punched out the holes. It's okay, they just stuck to the inside the trap. That's all right and then we are going to to fold it over we now have a tent with a hole in it.
I'm going to line up my holes and I'm going to thread the wire through the hole here, if it will go for me.
First I'm going to put the lure in and then I'm going to finish folding it up.
So this is the lure. It's a little tiny thing. And you just stick it anywhere in the trap. It's going to stick to the stickiness in there.
And then you were asking about the opening – how big the opening is. This is going to pull down on the side as well so you're going to bend these and fold them inward and that will actually make the entrance smaller so that you're not getting a lot of other critters trying to get in there.
It doesn't have to be perfect either. It just needs to have the lure in there. So you just want to bend these ends inward so that they're –
You can bend them in and you can even put some tape across the bottom to keep the birds out.
Yeah on again it doesn't have to be perfect it just has to be big enough for the moth to get through cuz they're going to go in for that lure.
How big is the what the moth?
The moth? Fairly small.
No bigger than that. And I'm probably exaggerating.
And my squash is over here, so I'm going to fasten it either to a stem of the squash itself or to – even just to our teepee there that we have set up and the vine borers will just be drawn into this trap and you won't have any problems with the vine borers.
You're still going to have squash bugs to deal with because they are not attracted to this. That's a different problem.
All right. That's all I have to talk about. I'm going to turn everything over to Marilyn and have her get started.
Hello Everybody. How are y'all doing today? Since I'm – normally in my classes, I always bring a treat or something to give away. But because of covid-19 – my next one, I'll have something good for you to eat or take home or something.
First of all, I'm going to go by the month by month to give you kind of a general idea of what you should be doing throughout the year.
In January or late December, plan what you want to grow.
You know, do I want to grow – am I going to grow tomatoes? Do I want basil and marigolds? Which are companion plants to keep pests and to help – they are companion plants and they help invigarize each other.
You decide if you want to grow herbs for culinary purposes, decorating, crafting, making your own oils, your own vinegar – there's so much you can do.
But late January or early February I always start my annuals that I want to grow. My annual flowers. My annual herbs.
And you are kind of fooling around with that through early March. Depending on the weather – hopefully we won't have another Valentine's Day snowmageddon. Iif the weather is somewhat cooperating – it's going to be cold in February but not below zero– we hope. You know, just when your plants – which should be about mid-march – they should be big enough for you to start hardening off in March.
Do y'all know what hardening off is? Where where a plant that you've grown indoors – you can't just put it right out in the sun or cold cool cool nights because it will set it back or kill it. You want to gradually get it used to the sun. I put mine out in the early morning about 7am and then I bring them in by 10am. I do that for about a week. Then I start leaving them out for a half a day and depending on how they're doing if they're if they look like they're growing and accepting the sun and the heat well, I leave them out and then after about a week – and it takes easily two weeks, sometimes longer, depending on the plant and the weather. You can put them out in your Gardens and then let them grow.
Okay and in April in late March I plant what I call my cool hardy herbs – your Dill, your fennel your lettuces – you know – your carrots and your beets, your mints. I want to talk a little bit about mint here because I'm from Missouri – Eastern Missouri – St Louis area, where I had my business and everything.
Mint was like – it grew everywhere. You couldn't contain it. But here I've had trouble growing my mint. The heat would kill it. So I've decided – I plant my mint. I usually get my mint here because you don't want to start mint from seed, and if you want to know why, I'll tell you in a minute. I plant them in December or January, depending on the weather, and by March I'm harvesting the mint I want to dry. and I also make mint vinegars which – I use for cleaning. I use it to clean my carpets and you know I used it to clean my windows, and just – you know, mint vinegar is also good to use in your food, but the reason you don't want to start mint from seed – Mint mint notoriously crossbreeds. If there's another mint within a mile or so, a bee or a wasp or a butterfly will visit a plant, a peppermint plant miles away and then fly into your yard where you have, say, a mint julep mint, which is a type of real nice flavorful spearmint. And they will land on those flowers and they'll breed with whatever pollen he brought from across the way.
So you won't get – That's why there's so many mint varieties. Because they cross so easily and some with basils. Your Sweet Basil is the same way, which is why we've got so many different varieties of Basil. The growers have gotten together. I won't go into how you start new varieties, but they pick certain plants with certain features and they baby them and they let them grow and they take cuttings – not seed. After the third generation of that original seed it usually goes to – it'll grow true to what you wanted it to. Like Thai Basil or cinnamon basil which by the way is my very favorite if you never tried it try it.
Okay in May you want to begin harvesting your Dill. You'll be amazed at how much dill you go through and the florets, like what's up here. Sorry, the yellow one that's there, You want to cut those off right below the umbrel (thank you, Joyce) and I bring them in and I'll give them a bath. You know, I soak them in water. Even though I grow organically, I don't like bug poop on my plants. I'm sorry doesn't work for me. I just put them in a water bath and then I take some paper towels and I just set them out like that and let them dry for a day, then I stick them in a brown paper bag, label the bag, and I stick it in the refrigerator. But we'll have another class on that it another time. if you haven't been to my prior classes, that was one of the classes we shared how to dry herbs.
Okay, you can also begin planting your heat loving plants like majorem, oregano, basil, rosemary, lavender, parsley, your peppermints if you haven't already. but by May – Some say they have luck growing mint over the summer here.
Question: When is the best time to grow Mexican tarragon?
Mexican mint marigold? When's the best time to plant Mexican Mint Marigold?
No, Mexican Tarragon.
Okay, I think we also know that as Mexican Mint Marigold. That's the other name for it yeah and it's a grey substance you can play.
Yeah and it's a great substance. you can plant – that's a perennial here in Texas.
I can't grow it for anything. I've tried three years already and –
Mine survived through the snowmageddon.
Let me talk to you later when we have time and I'll see what you're maybe doing or not doing wrong or something.
But y'all Mexican Marigold men are Mexican tarragon they're both the same plant they grow very well here and I've got most of my plants in raised beds and quite a few of them in and they grow really good that way I can I have found by I've got different ecosystems in my yard you can move them around to shade if you want or back out to the Sun. I have them on rollers so it's easy.
Something else. Fennel is just like Dill this time of year. It's all real bushy and most people think the seeds are great. I personally do. I love to go out and eat them fresh. If you like licorice fennel seeds are delicious to you.
The fronds, the fennel fronds, I like to put those and the stem in my salads. They give a really cool flavor, Also I dry the fronds. We'll will talk about what you can do with some of your fresh and dried herbs in a minute here.
In June you continue harvesting and planting as you you need to and your upkeep, weeding fertilizing and so forth. Bug control I don't know about the rest of you but I swear by Neem Oil. It's the best organic control. N E E M. Neem oil. And this is a concentrate.
Okay in June – May or June, depending on your oregano, you – I usually let mine go to grow to right before they start forming buds – you know, flower buds – and then I harvest them. Because if you harvest them after they bloom, you lose a lot of your flavor. Because the plant's energy will go into the (thank you Joyce) will go into the flowers and not the herb itself.
Okay July and August if you're saving seed, you might want to start saving your seeds and you want to dry them too. You want to just harvest them.
I put mine in a little envelope, you know, one of those little coin envelopes and I left the lid open and I kind of put them in a box for a couple of months. You don't have to that long but I'm usually too busy so I will let him dry in there. Then I just take them out and put them in their place for next year to plant them.
September and October, continue harvesting, drying, using your – this is cinnamon basil and I'm going to pass a leave around a leaf or two. This is the most wonderful basil.
Does somebody want to come up here and get a couple of these cuz I don't think my wire is – you can you know, it can be used for lots of things and a sweeter taste and flavor than your Sweet Basil. Now Sweet Basil is good, don't get me wrong. Cinnamon basil is just my personal favorite.
And then you come to November and December. Your garden clean up and you're dreaming about what you're going to plant next month, starting your seeds, if you've grown herbs to make like simmer pot spices, you'll want to get your Christmas stuff. If you want to make oranges with clothes stuck in them or, you know, this is the time you can do your indoor crafts. Sleep pillows with lavender and Bergamot and other – You know the rice packs that you get. You can put dried herbs in them and heat it up in the microwave and it smells good and it just feels so good on your neck or whatever you're putting them.
Now let's let's cover medicinal herbs. Now I want to warn youL I am not licensed to practice medicine. For me to tell you that this herb works and you should use it would get me put in jail. It's not – I tell my family and my close friends but that's a little different.
There are some things that are common knowledge. Ginger.
Ginger is good for upset stomachs. It's good for intestinal, urinary tract infections. It won't clear the infection but it will ease the symptoms until you can get to see a doctor. It's also a blood thinner, so if any of you are on an aspirin-a-day regimen you want to be careful about your using Ginger cuz it's also a blood thinner.
I used to work with the – when I had my business – with the agricultural department at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and I get a lot of my information on medicinal herbs from them. But they have since documented, and they're still working on it, that Ginger promotes improved brain function in middle age to older women. Sso I know I probably need to start taking that myself and my age.
You do – a lot of people – I don't do this, simply because I really don't need it, but you can make a Ginger and lime tea. You know, just just take a bag of Ginger or some ginger you bought at the store. I prefer to get the whole Ginger and just slice off what I need to make my tea and then squeeze half a lemon in it. That will soothe your stomach and make your digestion much easier.
Okay oregano is has antioxidants. It's an antifungal. It's a pain reliever, but only in prepared over the counter – well, it's used in some prescription medicines too. You can use it as a gargle for sore throats. It says it works on toenail fungus but I've heard people they' have tried it and they say it doesn't work that well. I know toenail fungus is something you never get rid of.
Basil. If you get sores in your mouth – the canker sores, gargling with basil and salt – just a little bit of salt – but you want to take about a handful of fresh are a couple of tablespoons of dry basil, make a tea out of it. You can make it as a poultice and a mouth gargle. You can gargle the tea if you've got sores or sore gums. Then you make a poultice, which take a bunch of leaves, and I don't want to ruin any of these plants here so I'm not going to do it. You just either put it in a mortar and pestle or you can just put it in your hands and you want to bruise the leaves to get the juices in the least flowing. And you just lay down and let them sit for about 10 minutes and don't wash it off for about an hour and then you repeat as necessary. Now I know that one works cuz I've had friends that have – depending on the sore, if it's – you know, if you've got some kind of bacterial infection, it will help ease the pain. It won't get rid of the sore itself. But it will help ease the pain. Like in between any medicine your dentist or doctor might have given you. It won't hurt you, though.
Catmint is – I love catmint and catnip. Catmint is my favorite. They're both perennials. Catmint has these real pretty purple flowers and it grows low and it spreads and it's just – the bees and the butterflies love it. So you want to – I always plant quite a bit of that. I dry the catnip and I used it for tea. I love blending my own teas.
Maybe we'll have a class on that. After you harvested all your herbs and you have dried herbs to work with.
Question: There was some confusion about the difference between catmint and and catnip.
The difference is in the growing. Catnip as I said gets tall and big but it makes a delicious tea mixed with mint and other things that you might want. It's easy to harvest. Catmint just a different species of that genus. As I said catmint is low-growing it's a really pretty ground cover and it's got real pretty purple flowers that the bees and the butterflies just love.
Question: Does it attract cats?
but you know what? It hasn't attracted cats in my yard and both of my neighbors have cats. I don't know if it's all the squirrels or what but we I never had any problems.
Cats aren't really attracted to the plant until the leaves are bruised or cut.
I've heard other people that have had it that just won't grow it because the cats –
They know how to scratch that plant and how to bight it off to get what they want so but it's just a really cool herb. And we don't have any here today but standby we've had trouble with plant people providing us with plants this year.
Lavender is my very very favorite. One of my very very favorites. You can cook with lavender. I have enough lavender – I was going to make them today but then we thought with covid that I probably shouldn't bring anything that's going to maybe cause problems. I have a recipe for lavender cookies. I can give it to Joyce and she can maybe put it on the website or something. But it's really easy and it's really good.
The best lavenders to use for cooking is lavandula, which is a species of lavender.
Sage. Sage is a wonderful all around herb. It's easy to grow. It's a biennial but you probably won't know it. Sage spreads by layering. Do you know what I mean by layering?
Okay and you'll see you'll notice when your plant's growing it gets big and bushy and those outer layers kind of lay in the soil. That's how they propagate year after year. If you cut off those bottom of stems, they won't propagate anymore. After two years, they'll flower and die. So you want to make sure – either that or cut some off and stick it in the dirt to grow another one. But it's just easier to layer them.
Okay, we pretty much covered a lot of the mints but I want to go over them. They have volatile oils like soils like Menthol, thymol, citronella. They have antimicrobial actions. And they're –
One thing about catmint also and a lot of your spearmints – not your peppermints – your spearmints – they make a relaxing tea. To just, you know, sit back on the deck in the afternoon in the shade. You just want to wind down after a day of busyness.
I've recently read some research from the U of I on mints that said they're trying out a mint – an organic min insecticide. I don't know the process yet and it's only in the – you know, they're using in the labs at the U of I. But it is showing lots of success. I mention this so that you know there's so many things that you can do with herbs. Or you can just sit back and enjoy their gorgeousness.
I used to make a snuffy puff – I called it. In St. Louis in the 80s they had pharmacies that were organic. They would sell herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies along with filling your regular drugs. And this pharmacist — Jennifer was her name. But I would take Lemon Eucalyptus, mint – several kinds of mint– some catnip and some ground up cinnamon and I put some eucalyptus oil in that. Now this is with dried herbs. I used dried herbs. I put them in a little jar like that. And I had cotton at the top of the jar. And what you would do is, you would up-end the jar and leave – you'd store it upside down so the herbs and the oils were on those cotton balls. And then you would take the plastic lid off the top and it would clear your congestion. It would just really clear your congestion. And we called it a snuffy box.
Seasoning with herbs. Okay, you want to use about a ¼ teaspoon, a fourth to a ½ to 1 pound of meat, poultry, fish, seafood. Two to 3 cups of sauces and vegetables. And soup. In other words, you don't want to put your herbs in it first. You want to cook your potatoes, your carrots. The only ones you want to put them on first are your meats and fish. And then you cook it however your recipe is.
When you're using – Do any of you know the difference between using fresh herbs and using dried herbs?
Dried herbs – most of your dried herbs are twice as flavorful because the oil dries and stays in the dried leaf whereas your fresh herbs, the oil is still there but not in the concentration that it is in the dried herb. So if a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, you only want to use one tablespoon of dried herbs. If you're cooking like a soup or a stew, you want to add your herbs in the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. Otherwise their flavor will cook out. If you cook if for hours and hours.
I use basil for just about everything. My cinnamon basil. You know, I make a cream cheese and butter. You just take some fresh leaves. I use a frozen stick of butter because it's not as messy.
You just wrap several layers around that butter or cream cheese. And then you wrap it real tight in Suran wrap and let it site in your fridge for a couple of days. And you can do that with most any of your fresh herbs.
You can make a cream cheese dip by taking pecans or walnuts, thyme, fennel. I call them fennel feathers. Their leaves, their fronds. Just any herb that you like and wrap them in this cream cheese. Then when you take it out – I usually add a little bit of cream or milk to make it a little – not quite as hard as cream cheese can be.
Parsley. Oh my gosh. I love parsley. I didn't realize how valuable parsley was until last couple of years ago I went to eat at this Lebanese restaurant in Arlington which is really good and I got one of their salads. Their salads were composed of tiny chopped up lettuces and parsley and it was so good, I was amazed. The flavor that parsley added to a salad.
He caters to this club I belong to a lot in Arlington and he brings a lot of different dishes in for us. One time he brought in something with basil and ll sorts of different things in a cream that he put on a piece of pita of bread with cauliflower that had been baked and seasoned. I never thought of myself as a vegetarian but he could make me one.
Something else, this time of year your parsley will have some umbrel that aren't this wilted, but they look like that. They'll – you know parsley is a biennial. It grows lots of leaves one year the next year it goes to seed and dies. I've been cutting these off and drying them because they're sweeter and more flavorful than your parsley leaves. That's what I've found.
So that's something else. And then something else I do – Parsley has a big wide root, almost like a carrot and it goes way down. If you're finished getting all your leave and umbrels off, I'll cut it down to that root. And it will pop up and grow again. That's something I recently discovered about 3 years ago. And I've been doing it ever since with my parsley.
Rosemary, sage, thyme. One class I'd like to have later on this year, depending on the virus of course, is a class where I will bring the herbs and you can bring ones and we'll make herb blends. I've got a lot of them. I think that would be something fun.
Are you implying that when you wrap your butter with basil for example, that it permeated the butter? And then you take the leaf off the butter?
And then you serve it as a buttery basil?
What a lot of people do also is they take their butter softened and they whip it up in a mixer and then they add finely chopped herb leaves like basil. That way it's all the way through. So it's, you know –
But if you wrap it, it still permeates the butter?
You've all heard of putting bayleaf in your flour to keep the bugs away? You haven't heard that? Oh that was something that my grandmother that raised me – we always had bayleaf in the flour and the corn meal and the rice. Of course, she was from Denmark and I guess they had bugs there but I don't know.
So like weevils or something. LIke if you got weevils in your flour?
Yeah, it keeps the weevils out.
Another thing you can do with your flour. I make seasoned flour for gravies. I'll take my flour and if, say, I want to do a chicken, I'll use a little bit of sage, I'll use a little bit of thyme, a little bit of sweet majorem. And I'll mix that with my – oh, and salt and pepper. And I'll mix just enough flour to coat my chicken. I put it in the air fryer and, oh my gosh. It is just so tasty and so juicy and tender. You can do that with any of your meats. You can make a flour blend. I've got a cupboard in the kitchen like I guess or pantry I guess you call it here and it's a big closet one. We keep our canned goods and stuff in the air conditioned garage because my pantry is all full of herb stuff.
Okay, lemon butter with lemon verbena is a wonderful plant. It just gives the butter and your cream cheese – you can also put it in yogurt and fish it out before you eat it. It just imparts a really good flavor.
Herb vinegars and oils – I eat a lot of greens and a lot of vegetables. So I make a lot of – well I don't make a lot of – I make 3 or 4 different herb vinegars that I use in my salad dressings. Herb vinegars are really easy to make. Pretend this is an empty jar – glass jar. You want to fill it. You want to lightly fill it – not pack it. But you want to fill it up with herbs. Loosely filled. You want to pour your vinegar over it and you want to cap it. Nothing metal should touch the vinegar.
Oils. I used to tell you how to make oils and I'll briefly tell you now. But oils are kind of ticky to mix in Texas. Because the fresh herbs, or even dried herbs – will go rancid after about a week in the oils. I've tried putting them in the refrigerator. I only use olive oil. Avocado oil and canola oil, they have – they have a flavor that I personally don't care for. And if you've ever refrigerated olive oil you should know that after a couple of days it turns into a solid. And it just – herb oils are something you should buy unless you have pasteurizing equipment to pasteurize your oil after you've flavored it.
Something else. Storing your herbs. How many of you go to the store and buy a big bunch of Basil or dill or some other herb that they're offering and you only has a little bit of it what do you do with the rest of it?
Freeze it in ice cubes.
Well you can do that or you can take – that would take up room in my freezer. Even if I took them out. You want to do that with chives because chives are – unless you've got a freeze dryer equipment, they're hard to dry.
I just stick him in a paper bag which is another class we've had here. Mark the bag what it is and rubber band it and stick it in the top of the fridge for a couple of weeks. You'll have wonderfully green herbs. That way you can add that bunch that you were either going to throw out – This lady here stores her extra herbs in an ice cube, which is also a good way it's an excellent way to store lemongrass and chives and garlic chives.
A couple of herbs that I prefer over others is sweet marjoram. W e're going to pass this around. This is sweet marjoram. Just gently rub a little bit and smell it enough so you can smell it. I can't go any farther.
Qeustion: Do you eat the leaves?
Oh, you can eat them. I use them a lot. If I don't want a strong oregano flavor, I'll use sweet marjoram. I just love it and summer Savory is another one you won't ever find it a nursery because –
One of our Facebook audience members says that they way they store their herbs is to clip the stems and place them in a jar of water.
That's another way, but that won't – if you're going to – when you get – did you hear the question? Okay, that's another way you can store your herbs but if you're not going to use them, you know, you've use 5 or 10 leaves or whatever – and you've still got this bunch left, you want to stick them in the water when you first get them. True. But they won't last in that water maybe a week. That's a good way to store them if you're going to use them all up in a week. But I never do. You know when when I'm out of basil and I have to buy it, I immediately dry what I don't need. And it's just – everything here has been what my working experience over 50 years has been.
So you would do that with parsley and cilantro?
Oh yes, we have. We'll have. It will dry really, really green. We've had a class here on drying herbs. In fact that's what I'm I'm doing with my dill right now. It's still on the counter drying from yesterday cuz I had to be here early and I'll just put it in bags. The leafy part down in the bag and just a few stems sticking out.
Did you all smell the difference between that and we don't have any oregano here.
It's a milder smelling and it's from the same family. In fact you'll find some majorem that's smell more like oregano in some places
Okay ladies, any questions? Anything I can answer for you? Yes.
I have a nice bush of lemon balm. What are some good things I could use besides like that butter cheese.
Oh, you can – I have a lot of my grandmother's old time that I grew up using and she would grow lemon balm – we didn't mow grass. She didn't have a big yard but we had no grass. It was all gardens. She would take it and you can use it to – you can just put it around your house, you can dry it. It's just something that – you can make a tea out of it but you can also use it for flavorings. You can dry it. You can use it for like flour or corn meal. It will flavor that and give you a kind of a – here's some of our lemon balm here. We've got some and they smell really lemony.
Could you cook it with fish, for example?
Yes, you could, you could. I've never tried it but I've hear people that do. It makes a wonderful, wonderful vinegar.
Okay, any questions, guys?
What is your experience on using comfrey plant. I've used comfrey plant
Oh, yes, the comfrey plant. It's a shade loving plant. It won't grow very well –
I have mine in the sun.
How long have you been growing it there? And it's growing well in the sun?
On the south side of the house.
It's also called bone set. And there's another plant – a wild flower called that because it's good for healing your bones.
I've used it – I've put it with olive oil and make (unintelligible) and it gets rid of the bite like a mosquito. Or the sting of a bee.
Did you hear that? She said she takes her comfrey and rubs it with olive oil and then she puts it on a bee sting or a mosquito bite and it takes the pain away. Thank you. I have to add that to my list of things.
I keep it in a little plastic container.
That's the only thing I know it's good for, is healing broken bones and now you tell me the bug thing.
Thank you, Joyce for having me. I've thoroughly enjoyed being here as usual. Thank you all for coming and I hope to see you at my next session.
About Marilyn Buehler
Marilyn has been gardening and growing and foraging for herbs, veggies, wild flowers for many decades. She was the sole proprietor of the Oakdale Herb Farm in Southern Illinois. In the early 1980’s greenhouses were added and she started selling over 40 different varieties of herbs and wildflowers to the public. Her culinary herbs graced the Illinois State Fair for several years where she won several blue ribbons for them. She was active with the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana in their Specialty Growers Forum to educate and promote the use of herbs for other growers. She was also President of the Illinois Herb Association and a founding member of the International Herb Growers and Marketers group. She has traveled around parts of the country educating and enchanting people with her knowledge of herbs and wildflowers. Her main interest is in culinary herbs and some proprietary medicinals.