Minutes July 21 Meeting

Dear GEG Members: If you missed this meeting, I’m sorry because it was GREAT! These meetings are one of the High Lights of Life. All issues and problems of our lives are blocked out while we are at our Garden Group meetings. What made this meeting even better was the old familiar faces that were there. It was so good seeing everyone!

Have you ever driven by a house and admired the landscape? Don and Merit’s home is one of those houses. They went all out! The meeting was wonderful in their basement but it would have been GRAND outside. They put up canopies for us to have our meeting under in a setting surrounded by a beautiful landscape that worked with Mother Nature. They have dealt with huge boulders by including them in their gardens. It reminded me of the Lowry’s home that we visited last September. They were right on the highway but you didn’t have the feeling that the road was anywhere near when you were in the yard. It was just wonderful.

Even better was the wonderful hospitality and food. (Allen, Holly—this was not one to miss.) Forget the diet! Marit made Swedish Raisin Bread and others brought warm scones, rice and eggs, figs, watermelon, fresh fruit salad, coffee cakes, sweet rolls, muffins, pineapple cheese cake, and even little tomatoes on tooth picks with a basil leaf and mozzarella cheese. YUM

Peter Yates gave a wonderful talk about herbs, and he even brought them with him.

  • The favorite of all time is basil. It is great in so many things like vinegar and oil, zesty Italian dishes, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers, and , of course, pesto sauce. Chop basil in ice trays with water and freeze for the winter. You can also dehydrate most of the herbs to keep all winter.
  • The next was sage. When you plant sage give it a little shelter and elevate the roots. Most herbs don’t like wet feet. It is great for soups and dressing and best with lima beans, eggplant, onions, or tomatoes.
  • Rosemary—ARP is the best for our area. Plant in a sunny protected area and it can survive our weather. Rosemary is great with lamb, veal, beef, and ham loaf. Use it with peas, spinach, potatoes, and fruit. Virginia said it is a stimulant. Just make a tea with it and it is better than coffee. Put it in the cavity of a roasted chicken and mmm.
  • Calendula has residual effects in the soil. It’s good against bad bugs and goes with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and broccoli. It repels nematodes, beet leaf hoppers and other pests.
  • Nasturtiums are good with broccoli, cucumbers, and tomatoes and good against aphids, cabbage looper, squash bugs, white flies, and cucumber beetles.
  • Caraway is good for strawberries.
  • Dill is good with lettuce, onions, and cucumbers.
  • Stivia – fake sugar. We can grow this. It’s an annual. Dry and crumble it and use it like sugar.
  • Pete makes a hand/body cream with lavender, calendula, and St. John’s Wort, goldenseal root powder, cocoa butter and beeswax to solidify at room temperature. It’s great! My hands felt so soft all day.
  • Goldenseal root powder is an anti-bacteria and anti-viral. It’s a miracle worker that you can buy at GNC or order online. It works wonders on cuts and even pink eye.
    Caster oil – use on your cracked feet.
  • Chives are perennial and easy to grow. Great in all kinds of thing – soup, eggs, and baked potatoes come to mind.
  • Oregano is strong. Marjoram is a close cousin and has better flavor and is sweater. You always find oregano with tomatoes to mask its strong flavor.
  • Parsley is a biannual. Pete’s favorite is Triple Curly.
  • Thyme is another favorite not just for cooking but for the plant.
  • Borage attracts bees.
  • Lovage taste like celery and dries well. It’s a perennial unless it gets really cold.
  • Mint is great in drinks but be careful where you plant it. It’s best kept in pots and even at that, it gets out. It’s best planted in a place where you don’t care if it takes over. It’s better to have than weeds.
  • Cilantro is used in everything Mexican. When the tomatoes come in and you want to make that wonderful salsa, the cilantro has gone to seed. What to do! No one knew!

There are some herbs that are just beautiful to look at and among them is curry with its beautiful little yellow flower that dries. It has gray foliage and so does santalina. Both are worth having in the garden just to look at

If you are interested in expanding your herb garden and want to take a nice drive next spring, try going to DeBaggio’sHerb Farm and Nursery, 43494 Mountain View Drive, Chantilly, Virginia. They are closed now but will be opening up in the spring.

Things that were brought besides the GREAT food:

  • Sherri Garner brought some catalogs from Penzeys Spices. Penzeys has stores in our area (Rockville, Falls Church). They have a wonderful catalog that includes recipes and coupons. She learned about Penzey’s from a GEG member many, many, years ago. Several people raved about this company. Among many other herb products raved about, the cinnamon is excellent.
  • Gary actually brought us some bags of composted horse manure. (I wanted to get some but it was gone in minutes.) We are all welcome to go to his home and get some.
  • Diana brought her wonderful perennial begonias for shady places.
  • Angie brought plumeria. It’s a little leaf ground cover that gets about a foot tall and blooms late. It’s aggressive but the butterflies love it.
  • Mark brought Asian green beans.
  • Ksuasha brought a recipe for Mojitos.
  • Betty brought two recipes for dried tomatoes and talked about pesto sauce.
  • I believe that it was Winston (forgive me if I’m wrong) on Organic Remedies for Pests/Diseases and Beneficial Insects for Pest Control and recipes for Mold & Mealy Bug Wash, Mildew, Mold and Mealy Bug Spray, and a Fungus Stopper. We will soon put them on the web site. He also talked about carrageen which is very unhealthy for us and is in many of our milk products. This information will go on our website as well.

Winston also wanted all of us to know that we can become Master Gardeners just by registering for the 2012 Fall Berkeley/Jefferson County Master Gardener class at the WVU Tree Fruit Research and Education Center in Kearneysville. Complete the application and take it to the extension office at 400 W. Stephen Street at the corner with Raleigh Street (former Dunn Building and Blue Ridge Technical School). The extension office is on the third floor above the county offices. Take the elevator.

Our next meeting will be at the Dillen Farm across the street from Hedgesville High School. It will be a Tomato Tasting Event. More information to come. Keep open the third Saturday in August.

Thanks, Carole