Friday, August 01, 2014

Advice from a New Herbie

As many of you know I have begun working with my mother and aunt in their businesses. It is a constant learning experience that I am grateful for and I am thankful that it there will always be something new around the corner.

I still consider myself a novice when it comes to all things herbal but I thought that my advice might inspire, encourage, maybe even advise others or at least give you a chuckle.

1.     Always, always, always wear garden gloves.

A well-worn pair of garden gloves.

I know some people are probably rolling their eyes because you can’t truly feel the dirt or the plants as they grow – or you may just think I am a wuss but I do have my reasons.

The obvious reason for wearing gardening gloves is to keep your hands clean. Before I had made a decision about purchasing garden gloves my aunt had told me a story of when she had unknowingly picked up a dead bird while weeding. I had gardening gloves by the end of the day.

I also prefer to wear gloves when working outside because it keeps all of the nettles, prickers, or anything else lurking in your garden beds from stinging. After enough childhood flashbacks of tearing into a jewelweed plant after stepping on nettles or hurriedly gnawing on plantain before slapping it on a mosquito bite, I knew it would be best to take a preventative step and just get the gloves.

And the great thing about gardening gloves is that you can take them off. Want to pinch mint leaves between your fingers? Take your gloves off. Want to feel your tomatoes’ firmness or harvest that pepper? Go ahead and take your gloves off. You can always put them back on when heavy duty planting or weeding is necessary.

2.     Prepare to have personal vendettas against woodland creatures.

Let me start this off with just saying Disney lied to all of us. Woodland creatures won’t help you clean your house or make a dress, they will only eat your entire tulsi crop or the five cherries your tree miraculously grew that year.

And they won’t stop.  Before I had begun studying herbs and gardening, I thought my family was a bit extreme about their gardening practices (see the blueberry cage). But now I understand.

So go ahead and put up the chicken wire around your veggies. Or grow companion plants to keep the insects from munching on your beloved herbs. Grow rue if you must. Whatever you can do to keep your garden growing, because that adorable bunny over there is only thinking about one thing, “I’m so going to eat that entire holy basil plant when you leave.” And it will. It’s a ruthless eating machine.

3.     Weed obsessively.

Now I’m not saying you should weed in the middle of the night if you can’t sleep (it would be nice and cool though) but if it’s a nice day out take some time to clean up one section of your garden. Whenever Mom and I do this we end up getting way more done than what we thought we would do and it always ends up looking amazing.

If your schedule is too busy for even that, simply weed around the plants you're harvesting to make dinner that night. If you make a variety of dishes that week, before you know it your garden will look much better on Friday than it did on Monday.

Don’t be afraid to recruit people as well. Do you have a friend who wants to start gardening but is scared to? Ask them to come over to your house once a week to help you garden. Offer advice and talk them through your garden. They’ll have hands on experience to start and you’ll have a well-weeded garden!

Well, that’s what I have to offer for now. Hopefully it will encourage you try that new recipe you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest, weed away all the clutter in your garden, or harvest all the herbs you can before winter hits!

1 comment:

K said...

This year I found myself in the habit of wearing one glove. I use the other to hang onto the hoe which often becomes a cane awhile I weed with one hand. It has proven very effective.


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