Herb season, growing season

It’s cleanup herb season in my house, all the pots need redoing, fresh soil, dividing herbs for another garden. Ongoing for last few weeks, due to bad weather actually took time to do some reading about herbs.

Divisions for other garden and friends

Now I started with four herbs originally, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Adding herbs, knowing their uses, side effects of any herb is vital. Growing herbs is an easy place to start. In my garden I have wild herbs such as wild garlic and sweet cicely.

Beautiful sweet tasting sweet cicely My first plant was from the kind gardener in Rothe house, the only surviving Tudor town house in Ireland. It has seriously great kitchen garden

I really wanted sweet cicely to grow in pots so I can experiment with it as a sweetener to the sour fruits and maybe as a replacement to sugar and honey for people who are diabetic in some of my medieval recipes.

Adding to oatcakes, flatbreads, biscuits, , custards,pancakes and even breads
Flat leaf parsley

For those who are just beginning, parsley is used in many recipes, I will take cookbooks and list recipes that include parsley.

Bucknade a pottage, two fifteenth century cookbook

Lamb or veal or mutton stew Curye on Inglysch

Parsley sauce The Culinary recipe of Medieval England

Menadach is a mixture of fat like dripping, butter,suet, mixed with fine oats which can be flavoured with any chopped herbs in earthenware jars

Parsley butter or parsley stored in melted lard

Will make a menadach out of wild garlic, lard and oats as an experiment to see how it works

The use of herbs add flavours that brings different element to simple dishes, flavour base for pottages, bring out flavours to pulses like savory, lovage replaces the flavour of celery, three leaves for a dish for 5 people. Now you may wonder why celery flavours, so allium, leeks, onions , green onions and celery had its place in any medieval kitchen garden, lubswort, so my kitchen garden entails pots at the moment and some plants in the ground along with raised beds

The pots awaiting the new herb seedlings that are growing under my evergreen hedge which acts as the green house
Parsley seedlings, growing on under the walled hedge

It’s also time to plant some edibles, my granny was a firm believer in using what ever space available to grow lettuce, bunched onions etc so whether it is in a pot, garden flower bed, patio, window box give it a go

Lettuce, bunched onions or spring onions, kale, beans, have pea seedlings nearly ready to plant along with some beets.
Todays dinner includes steamed kale, saute wild garlic and spring onions, sorting menus for pescatarians and others on restrictive foods

In my other garden sorrel and spinach are going well, more seeds sown for edibles,herbs and flowers, experimenting to see what seeds grow well and where

So the other garden has a lot more edibles as of this morning including lettuce, beets, kale, parsnips, some more herbs, intend sowing lots of spring onions, hyssop, tarragon,awaiting seeds to grow in some cases.

Edibles bed
Sorrel in full growth

In fairness the herbs sown last year in garden two are doing well, these include tansy, Angelica, rosemary, sweet cicely, thyme, lovage, hyssop

Last years herbs beginning to all throw out shoots

The other garden is an old garden, long and narrow, the plan going forward is to sow Irish native trees that provide fruit, wild flowers and wild herbs in the majority of the garden, low maintenance, natural and appealing to the birds and insect life

Remember if you must weed that the Dandelion is the first decent nectar that the honeybee needs to make beautiful honey , the nettle and wild garlic make a serious healthy pottage/soup

However from an Irish perspective getting my hands on proper documentation regarding what herbs were grown is improving. Archaeology and science have come a long way, more and more information with some archaeological reports containing archaeobotanical reports, I have a fondness for a paper by Susan Lyons which discusses Food plants, fruits and foreign foodstuffs . My first archaeobotany paper in Food and Drink in Ireland

Foraging wild garlic on way home intend making garlic salt for an investiture feast Wild garlic gets a mention in our Brehon laws and considered an important plant and food

UCC has an Irish Meteria Medicia translated by Tadhg O Cuinn is worth a look at regarding medicinal uses of herbs. The list of herbs is long.

It has been a busy month, but a lot done herb wise, so hoping the seeds for the herbs will sprout and I can share the love of herbs with my friends.

John Gerard gives descriptions of onions, lettuce,beets,hyssop,lavender,mint, marigolds, borage,violets, strawberries,fennel, chervil,valerian,sorrel, rue, roses, blackberry bush, rosemary, the Dandelion and nettle also earns a mention, all the above visible Gerard’s Herbal was first published in 1597

A good starting point , the curator of Rothe house advised this one.

However I was advised to get this book for Irish context, it is modern with historical information,good for reference on the expensive side.

Just brilliant

So now I want a Jerusalem artichoke and aspargus, I think my garden is now moving towards edibles that are historical, I now have an aspargus plant and globe artichoke in my poccession which will take between seven years and five years respectively to mature as plants, definitely another story for another day.

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