Archive for the ‘Finding herbs’ Category

“Herbs from the Common to the Exotic”

THE THYME GARDEN HERB SEED COMPANY produces an informative and charming catalog. The 2010 edition is current.  A family-owned business in Alsea, Oregon since 1990, the 80-acre farm features one of the largest collections of herbs in the Northwest. The herb seeds packaged for sale are collected at the farm and most herb plants are grown organically. You can view or order the catalog at www.thymegarden.com. The Food Blog offers tempting farm recipes.

The 64-page catalog offers an extensive selection of herb seeds from Adonis to Yellow Dock covering 33 pages. There are three pages of basil varieties alone. You can check online for new varieties that are not listed in the catalog. Although there are no photos in the print catalog, you will find many photos online.

The descriptive information listed for each herb includes the common and botanical names, classification (perennial, tender perennial. biennial, annual), height at maturity, growing conditions (full sun, part shade, shade), hardiness (growing) zone, varied uses, herbal remedies, and interesting history and folklore. Organic seeds are marked. Herb plants that attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are also marked. Since the farm grows most of their herb plants from the seeds they package for sale, we know that these seeds work! They do not ship herb plants. Gift Certificates are available.

Seeds for Everlasting and Exotic Flowers offer plants to dry for bouquets and craft projects. There are also mushrooms, hops, bareroot medicinal herb plants, and beneficial garden bugs for natural insect control.

The farm produces many herbal products – herb and spice culinary blends, herbal tea blends, herbal honey, and dried medicinal and tea herbs from Alfalfa Leaf to Yerba Mate.

The catalog is printed on recycled newsprint and has a color cover in a jigsaw puzzle design of various farm activities. It is easily worth the price of $2. Each seed packet is $1.95 and there is a $3 handling charge (US and Canada) for your order.

The farm is located in the Coast Range Mountains of Oregon, a short drive from Corvallis. On a visit you will find luxuriant display gardens including a Thyme Garden featuring fifty varieties of thyme and a Moon Garden. The nursery offers more than 700 varieties of herb plants for sale at the farm only. You are invited to join them in the summer for an herbal luncheon in their outdoor country restaurant and tour the surrounding fragrant herb gardens.  The cookbook More Good Thymes in the Kitchen is filled with favorite recipes collected over many years. The farm is also available for wedding ceremonies.

I will be sure to place a seed order with the Thyme Garden as a new customer and look forward to a visit on my next trip to the Northwest.

Have you had the good fortune to enjoy a garden tour and herbal luncheon? We would love to hear of your visit.

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Are the winter blues getting you down? Hot off the press the 2011 herb seed catalogs may sweep away those winter doldrums. They are full of growing tips, how-to’s, supplies, books and inspiration. Whether you are gardening in beds or containers these catalogs will speed you on your way.

I prefer real catalogs that you can peruse and compare at your leisure. I also prefer businesses and farms which specialize in herbs. After the holidays I sent off requests for new catalogs. One week later the first catalog arrived and the next six arrived the following week. Now that’s quick service! My favorites are described in separate posts so that you can compare and decide which one(s) is for you. It’s “thyme” to order your catalog now. And the bonus is that most are free. Order today!

Herbs are easy to grow with a little bit of planning, preparation and knowledge of the growing conditions they prefer. Most require at least 6 hours of sunlight a day and grow best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. With a catalog(s) to guide and inspire you, you can bring the magic of herbs to your home and garden and enjoy the luxury of fresh herbs every day. You can choose herbs for flavor, fragrance, herbal remedies, color, texture, crafts, weddings, gifts, insect repellents…to start.

In the catalogs below you will find descriptive information listed for each herb including recommended varieties and tips for growing herbs in garden beds, containers and window boxes; common and botanical names; organic seeds; suggested uses, history and folklore; garden themes; harvesting; garden supplies and tools; and books. Two offer dried culinary, tea and medicinal herbs and other herbal products.

Retail businesses/farms schedule events and workshops and one farm has a restaurant open for luncheons. Gift Certificates are often available.

Here are my favorites so far:

• Johnny’s Selected Seeds www.johnnyseeds.com

• Richters Catalogue www.richters.com

• The Thyme Garden www.thymegarden.com

• Nichols Garden Nursery www.nicholsgardennursery.com

• Territorial Seed Company www.territorialseed.com

You will need to know your plant hardiness or growing zone as well as your average frost dates for planning your herb garden and selecting appropriate herb plants for your geographic location. These zones are useful as a guide only since other factors such as exposure and soil can cause variations and create microclimates within a zone.

Here is my favorite link for finding your plant hardiness zone in your state:

http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html?

Here is my favorite link for finding your average spring and fall frost dates:

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather/2007/02/14/average-frost-dates/

Do you have a favorite catalog for herb seeds that you would like to share with us?

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