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Texas and other mild winter climates.


Mediterranean Flavors Rosemary is the most adaptable and heat tolerant of Mediterranean herbs; it can be grown as a perennial where soil doesn’t freeze hard in winter. “My top herb garden choice for the hot, humid conditions in the


is Tuscan blue rosemary, because it is beautiful, easy to grow and is wonderful in all kinds of foods and products,” Kessler says. “It blooms in several seasons and provides bees with off-season food.” Thyme is a top


cooking herb, although too much summer rain can lead to mildew and leaf blight. This rarely happens with Summer savory, which has a punchy flavor that Spindler describes as “a peppery cross between oregano and thyme that’s perfect on all of the classic summer veggies—squash, green beans, tomatoes and corn.” Kessler recommends oregano as


part of our summer planting list. “Let your kids or grandkids have the expe- rience of putting it in the pasta sauce. It’s easy to grow in a small herb garden and will last through the winter in most parts of the South.” An unrelated tropical plant from


Africa with strong oregano flavor, the leaves of variegated Cuban oregano are pretty enough to grow alongside flowers, and the plants thrive in humid heat. Cuban oregano readily grows through hot summers, and the plants produce more leaves each time leaf tips are harvested.


Tempting Tropicals In Central Florida, Anderson recom- mends culantro, aka Mexican corian- der, as a summer herb different from the better-known cilantro. “Culantro equals the flavor of cilantro, but with no bitter or medicinal aftertaste.” A great long-term performer, it continues producing flavorful new leaves even


after the plant starts blooming. Anderson also suggests growing


South


West Indian lemongrass for its fragrant leaves and thick stalks. A vigorous, clump-forming grass, lemongrass can be grown in containers anywhere or served as an edible ornamental in landscapes where summers are hot. “Lemongrass enjoys a sunny and moist environment, so it benefits from being near an air conditioner drain or downspout,” she advises.


Growing Tips


Herbs always need watering in hot weather, and pouring from a watering can at the base is far better than bathing the leaves with a hose. Should containers become so dry that they refuse to take up water, place them in a broad dish or pail filled with three inches of water for 30 minutes to rehydrate the roots. Always grow herbs in pots with large


drainage holes, so excess water can drain quickly. Make a habit of pinching


off a few herbal leaves, crushing them between the


fingers and inhaling their fresh aromas. For maximum benefit, repeat daily.


Author Barbara Pleasant’s new book, Homegrown Pantry: A Gardener’s Guide to Selecting the Best Varieties & Planting the Perfect Amounts for What You Want to Eat Year Round, is now available (Storey Publish- ing). Connect at BarbaraPleasant.com.


Almost Too Good to be True


The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,286 groups with 9,128,142 members


around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people


who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Apex, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh each have groups moderated by local volun-


teers and membership is free. There are some rules such as no alcohol, tobacco, firearms, weapons, profanity, sexual content, and medications of any kind,


including over-the-counter supplements. groups.freecycle.org/group/ApexNC/posts/all


groups.freecycle.org/group/ChapelHillNC/posts/all


groups.freecycle.org/group/FreecycleDurhamNC/posts/all groups.freecycle.org/group/RaleighNC/posts/all


CHANGE YOUR LIFE with Coaching and Bodywork that truly unifies


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natural awakenings May 2017 41


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