Friday, February 03, 2012

Friday's Freebie: BHG's Herb Gardening and Encyclopedia

Saffron Crocus
I'll confess ~ the herbs I grow in my garden are more for show than anything else. I'm such a sucker for a pretty flower that I'll plant those vs. the ones I use all of the time.

Which got me wondering what everyone else uses. ALL the time. Come on... Spill! I'll tell if you will.

* If I missed your favorite, please add it in a comment.

I've got herbs and spices on the brain after reading this VERY comprehensive book.

Better Homes & Gardens Herb Gardening is a great read, filled with gorgeous photos, wonderful recipes. It even has an encyclopedia section with the low down on pretty much any herb you'd care to grow.

For instance!

Did you know that most herbs hate wet soil so unglazed terra-cotta planters are best?

That Tuscan Blue Rosemary is the top pick for beauty and fragrance?

And, that no one really needs a lifetime supply of cloves?

Okay, that last one is not in the book. That's my big revelation having done inventory on my own spice rack.

I've never even cooked with cloves!
Which looks pretty impressive until you get up close and discover it's just jar after jar of the same dang thing.
Other ingredients collecting dust? Anise seed, fennel seed and more jars of celery salt than anyone should be allowed to own.

Better Homes & Gardens 
Herb Gardening.
 I'm giving this wonderful book 
2 thumbs up & now I'm giving it to you. 
* Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

After reading this book, I think I'm ready to unload my spice rack altogether and rely on my own freshly harvested aromatic herbs.

Because they seem to have it all ~ gorgeous foliage, stunning flowers, and heady fragrances that make birds, bees and humans go hog wild.

Saffron Autumn Crocus
* BH&G gave me this book to read and review. I give it two thumbs up and now I'm giving it to you. To be completely impartial, my neighbor draws a name out of a hat. Please leave a comment if you'd like to be entered into the drawing.

** The spice, Saffron, is the dried red stamens of this very pretty autumn crocus.

Congratulations to Carly. Winner of last week's freebie ~ the Better Homes & Gardens Orchid Manual. Plz e me your snail mail address!


Yael said...


I had trouble filling out poll. I use all of the herbs except for sage and cumin and to a lesser extent chives.

Yes, the cloves do sit there forever, but they smell so nice. For fun, take an orange and stick some cloves I it and sit it on the counter. It will smell very least until it gets green and fuzzy.


Alison said...

I need to do a major re-organize on my spice shelf, I know I have some there that are about three years old or older. I use thyme too, but your survey only let me pick four.

Shady Gardener said...

I chose my most highly used four. I'd love to learn more about herbs, and I'd love to be entered in your drawing! ;-) Thank you.

growingagardenindavis said...

I have started to get into using more of the herbs I grow...I have found it is not as intimidating as I once thought. And I, too, am moving away from as many purchased herbs as possible. I'd love to read some more ideas about growing and using them!

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

Did you ever go into a Penzy Spice store? I went to one in Birmingham Al. It was just wonderful. Samples of everything to smell. One whole table just for types of cinnamon. But back to your pole. I use basil, basil, basil!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Yael!
That's a wonderful idea. I shall do it today. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi Alison;
I didn't realize I'd set a limit on choices in the poll, sorry. It was kind of fun going through my spices this morning. Haven't organized that mess in quite some time.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Shady;
You probably have a great area for an herb garden! So much of my property is borderline xeriscape.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Leslie;
I got into cooking with garlic scapes last year and just loved the fresh flavor. After reading this book, I am also ready to take the plunge.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Nellie;
I have ALWAYS wanted to visit a Penzy store! Their stuff is amazing.

HolleyGarden said...

The pic of the herbs in the pots is beautiful. I have never grown many herbs, because I don't really want to use that space in my vegetable bed, but this looks like an ideal way to grow them (and have them near the kitchen door). I had to laugh at your clove stash. I do the same thing with sage!


Hi Kate. For some reason I lost you on my Google Reader but I've now remedied the situation. I have to concur. I'm not much of a cook so I'm not interested in the culinary aspects of herbs, except for chives and basil in summer. But I love the looks of herbs in the garden. ... Interesting what you wrote about reading more now that you've got an e-reader. Times are definitely a changin'. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Holley;
I fell in love with that herb container photo, too. I wish those big terra-cotta planters were more affordable. 'Cause I'd love own a couple dozen. :)))

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Grace;
After I left that comment I worried it might come off sounding too depressing for you -- as I know you are trying to get published and I'm a little jaded about the whole publishing industry these days. I think they're playing it too safe! Making it far too difficult for new talent, such as yourself, to get noticed.

Lona said...

I am such a terrible gardener and cook to I guess. I do not grow any herbs and do not use any in cooking. I am one of those silly people who hate spices on their food. My kids are nothing like me. LOL! They like different kinds of foods while I stick to the old country dishes. Now the secret is out. LOL!

Liza said...

Oooh, please enter me in the drawing Kate! I love me some herbs!

Carly said...

Yay! I'm quite shocked an happy right now. I never win anything.

While an herb book would be nice I agree with the previous winner. One is fair :)

Unknown said...

Perhaps you were going to make those orange pomanders? Sometime ago?

Nicole G said...

I appreciate that you taking the time to write this article , it has valuable information.

Marguerite said...

It was a toss up for me on my favourite herb. Rosemary is big here in winter cooking but cilantro is my favourite in summer. I'm finding the more herbs I grow the more uses I find. I never would have thought I would use parsley but I planted it for the butterflies this year. Didn't use it this summer but someone told me I could fresh freeze it and next thing you know I was using it in soups and stews. Now I wish I had frozen far more of it because I found so many uses for it.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Hi Kate, came here by way of the Spring Fling listing. Looking forward to getting to know a lot of new (to me) bloggers.
I use a handful of fresh herbs-- Sage, thyme, oregano, basil,lavender, rosemary, parsley, savory, and salad burnett. Make fresh sauce for pizza over Christmas when the kids were home....used a good number of the herbs (used some pesto as the basil was gone in the winter)- boy was it tasty!

Eds said...

WoW! its nice that you do this kind of thing. Just dropping by from Wordless Wednesday!

Have a nice day! :)

Gail said...

Garlic, you forgot garlic, onions, too. Looks like a great book, and if it is not to late I'd like to enter as well. I love growing herbs and my cats love the catnip that grows in my grass, there is dill there also (have to mow around them). Chives make beautiful flowers and of course can be put into your salad. YUM...
Gail- Wy.