Woo hoo, it's that wonderful time of the year once again!...
At least in our hemisphere, it's a glorious time when we see the earth literally bursting with new life, freshness and vibrancy. I love this exhilarating season that compels me to alter my cooking style to accommodate all the wonderful produce that is so abundantly available.
For me, fresh herbs pair beautifully with spring and summer produce and add another layer of delicious flavor to this delightful seasonal cuisine. Although I enjoy cooking with fresh herbs all year long, I have to control myself a bit during the cooler seasons since most of my herbs are taking a long winter's nap and the herbs are expensive at my local grocer, many of them having been imported from who-knows-where.
Come spring and summer though, my heart and my palate are thrilled to be able to utilize an almost endless supply of fresh herbs - growing right on my back deck! There is one slight problem, however, that I used to run into shortly after the lovely baby herb plants began to grow. This "problem" involved my laziness, or maybe it sounds better to call it my busy-ness. Whatever you blame it on, you too may struggle with this problem. It's called "the hot summer sun".
It's usually not long after the first spring whiffs of honeysuckle or lilac for a string of warm, eighty-degree days to creep into our forecast. And all it takes is one or two of these hot sunny days and a busy schedule, on my part, to turn my beautiful potted herb garden into a dismal, wilting mess! Sure, a little water will do a decent job of reviving, but often, it seems that the plants are never quite the same.
A number of years ago my brilliant husband came up with an amazing solution to my problem. It's simple, yet highly effective and now I never worry about my little herb friends, no matter how scorching the weather is. My herbs are as beautiful in the middle of the hot Southern summer as they are in May. I shared this post last spring, but since then, we have had a ton of new visitors to The Café so I thought we'd share it one more time as you get ready to do your spring planting. Oh, and be sure to check back for some fabulous fresh herb recipes this week; Herbed Potato Rolls and a wonderful Herbed Ricotta Tomato Tart - we had both for dinner tonight and they were a huge hit!
Herbed Potato Rolls
Endless Herbs without Endless Watering
This is Scott, Chris' resident photographer and confidante (translated - husband!). If you've followed The Café for a while you might have been wondering; "Where does this girl get all the herbs and flowers that she uses as garnishes and ingredients in her recipes and photos?" Well, today we'll explore the answer - It's called an Herb Rack Drip System.
First - Check the drippers periodically to make sure they're not clogged - If you see a stressed plant, that's a give-away.
Second - Because the plants are in the restricted space of a pot, fertilize them regularly. The daily drip system tends to wash out vital nutrients all plants depend on from the soil. I use regular Miracle Gro and mix it up in a sprinkling can.