Late last year I discovered The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society. I have yet to conquer this whole gardening thing, and I am always looking for another resource to help me learn a little more. I have attended a couple of meetings and I learned a lot, but l also know that I really need to make more of an effort to truly get involved. In addition to their regular monthly meetings (which always have an interesting “how to” on some topic), they maintain a garden area at the Log Cabin Village. In fact, this was where I was first able to meet some of the members and learn more about the organization.
Here are some pictures taken at Log Cabin Village:
It seems that no matter what the event may be, the GFWHS always has some wonderful handouts with some nifty thing that I want to know. Even on that very first day at the Log Cabin Village, there were handouts. Here is the information they shared with me as it appears in the handouts I received (they gave me their permission to share it):
Spicy Herbal Car Freshener
½ cup Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground or Whole Cloves
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons Ground Thyme
1 Tablespoon Crushed Peppermint or Lemon Balm leaves
1 Tablespoon Dried Rosemary leaves
1 Tablespoon Dried Lavender
Mix ingredients. Pour the freshener into an old sock or muslin bag. Close the sock or bag opening by tying a ribbon around it, place in car or room. You can also use old bandanas instead of muslin. OR use a small jelly jar with the lid band. Fill the jar 2/3 full, place a circular cut of the bandana as a lid, screw on the lid band. Place the jar in your cup holder. Periodically shake the bag/sock or jar to refresh the scent.
May be placed in some vacuum bags to scent while cleaning. Check your vacuum model to make sure this appropriate before using.
Keep away from pets and children.
Herbal Bath Salts
Yield: 16 ounces, enough for four baths
One cup Epsom Salts
One cup Kosher Salt or sea salt or rock table salt
10 drops essential oil, lavender or sweet orange, vanilla, carnation, geranium
Mix Epsom salts, kosher salt and essential oil in large bowl. Pour into container and cover with lid.
To make foaming salts, mix your essential oil into 1/4 cup liquid soap for every 2 cups of salt. Mix the soap/oil mixture into the salts and spread out onto a cookie sheet to dry. Once dry, pour into container with lid.
Lemongrass Glass Cleaner
2 cups Lemongrass Tea (see recipe below)
½ cup Vinegar
Combine in a spray bottle, shake and use just like other window cleaners. If windows are very dirty, 1 Tablespoon of Cream of Tartar can be added to the solution.
Lemongrass Tea: Pour 3 cups of boiling water over 1 Stalk of fresh Lemongrass, or 4 Tablespoons of dried Lemongrass. Steep for 5 minutes then strain.
Credit: Frontier Natural Products Coop http://www.frontiercoop.comjlearn/herbsavvy16.php
Soapwort Cleaning Solution/Shampoo
2 handfuls of Soapwort
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped fresh Rosemary
1 cup water
Put soapwort in a small pan and add 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover and leave to cool. (Will smell like spinach cooking.) Strain the cooled liquid into a bottle.
Put Rosemary in a bowl and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Cover to steep for 20 minutes. After cooling, strain into the bottle with the soapwort solution. (If you prefer a lavender smell, replace the Rosemary with Lavender in the recipe.)
Shake vigorously before using. Use within 4-5 days. Store in the refrigerator.
Can be used as a cleaning solution for delicate fabrics or as a shampoo.
Warning - if using as a shampoo or on skin, first test a small amount on a small area of skin 24 hours before use to test for allergic reaction.
Adapted from a recipe in "Herbal Delights" by Lewis Esson
Greater Fort Worth Herb Society Log Cabin Village "Frontier Fall Fest" October 2011
Good Herbs to Grow in the Fall and Winter
Calendula – Easy to grow from seed. Blooms best in the cool seasons. Flowers are various shades of yellow and orange. If grown organically, flower petals are edible.
Chamomile - Green foliage with small daisy-like flowers that have white petals and yellow centers. Flowers have an apple-like scent. Has a calming effect and is commonly used in tea.
Chives - Onion chives have dark green tubular leaves with pink and purple blooms. Garlic chives have flat green leaves and produce white blooms in late summer. Onion chives produce foliage better during cool seasons. Garlic chives have a milder flavor and with foliage that is available all year, plus they easily multiply by seed.
Cilantro - Sow seeds every couple of weeks during the cool season. The plants bolt (produce flowers) and go to seed quickly when the weather warms. This plant does not grow in the heat of the summer. The seed is more commonly known as coriander.
Dill – Easy to grow from seed, sow in the fall and spring for the best crop. Once weather warms, the plant will quickly flower, produce seed and leaf production will cease. If the winter is mild, dill may survive producing lush foliage in the spring. Swallowtail butterflies like to lay eggs on this plant, and some people grow it just for butterflies.
Fennel- Has an anise or licorice flavor. Lacy leaves can be used in teas. Bulbs are used as vegetables. Bronze fennel adds a dark red or burgundy color to the garden. Flowers are similar to dill, and some butterflies also feed on this plant.
Lemon Balm - A delicate leaf that has a lemony scent and flavor. This plant spreads quite well by seed. Best leaf production is in the cooler seasons. Cut back to the ground in late spring after it flowers and it will produce lush foliage again in the fall. It is a good tea herb. Steep the leaves in hot water and use the base to make lemonade.
Pansies and Violas - A great flower to add color to the fall and winter garden. Looks great planted with parsley. If grown organically, the flowers are edible. Add them to salads or ice rings for beautiful color. Can also be crystallized and makes a great decoration for cakes or cookies. They also attract butterflies.
Parsley - A biennial (flowers and dies in second year); it is full of vitamins and minerals. It enhances the flavor of cooked foods. Can be added to salads and all sorts of dishes. Will wilt and look dead at temperatures below freezing, but will revive as the day warms.
Rosemary - An evergreen shrub in our area that blooms with blue, lavender or white flowers. Good in savory dishes, or in cookies, breads and teas. It has a strong flavor so use sparingly. Needs good drainage.
Sage - A common herb around Thanksgiving, it also adds flavor to roasted vegetables, or can be pan cooked in butter to add to vegetables. Also good in teas. Comes in many varieties that can add color to the garden or bouquets. Some have grey leaves, others purple or variegated with yellow. Needs good drainage.
Thyme - An evergreen low-growing plant that blooms in spring or summer. Commonly used in cooking, and teas. It comes in many varieties including lemon, lavender and coconut.
“Greater Fort Worth Herb Society www.gfwhs.org Log Cabin Village “Frontier Fall Fest" October 2011”
I love herbs because they are easy for me to grow (I would be ashamed to show you my cucumber and tomato plants – they started great but aren’t looking so hot right now). I originally just wanted to grow herbs for some inexpensive, unique, fragrant landscaping; however, the more I learn about herbs, the more I want to learn to use them for so many other things as well. I have more wonderful recipes to share with you in a future post, and I will share the things I learn in upcoming meetings, too.
One of the things that some people do with herbs is to make fantastic soaps out of them. I attended the Herb Festival sponsored by the GFWHS this weekend and there was a vendor there who had the best smelling soap!
I asked the lady what the “Breathe Easy” soap was all about and she said that it has eucalyptus and other ingredients that help people with sinus problems. I am going to try it this week and if it really works, I am going to order a case or so. As for the Rosemary Mint and the Ginger Snap…well, I just bought those because they smell heavenly. If you would like more information, you can visit her website. She was also excited to tell me that some of the Whole Foods stores in our area will soon be carrying her products.
Yep, I’m thinking that I could really learn to love herbs!