When I was growing up in the country we had pit bull dogs. They were good dogs and they loved to play tug o’ war. I would get a stout piece of rope with a knot on each end and the pup would take one knot and I’d take the other and he would nearly pull my arms off trying to get that rope from me.* The single-minded tenacity of that dog, bracing himself with all four feet, walking backwards, tail wagging steadily, yanking his broad head from one side to the other; it was impressive. I would lean back and hang on.
This winter has been a pit bull. It grabbed on early and won’t let go.
I am leaning back and hanging on, but I don’t know how much longer I can take it. We live in a humid subtropical climate zone and we aren’t used to such weather. We’re terrible wimps when it comes to cold, but in our defense, although we don’t have snow chains, etc., our air conditioners can blow the roofs off.
I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve had longer to ponder my spring garden over the long winter, but I’m going to mix it up this year; instead of trying out lots of new vegetables like I usually do, I’m going to plant the basic, tried-and-true veg and plant the rest of the garden in herbs.
I have 27 types of new (to my garden) herbs loaded and ready to go. They are a combination of culinary, medicinal, and tea herbs. Many, if not most, fall into multiple of the above categories. It’s giving me a new excitement and anticipation of this year’s garden.
I’m sure some of them will flop, but I won’t know which ones until I try. Elecampane and winter savory may find it a little too hot here. Rue is probably going to be a mistake, ditto stinging nettle. If they are mistakes, I can’t say I wasn’t warned.
I had great results with tulsi last year, so this year I’m planting three kinds of it. Za’atar oregano looks promising, although I’d love to get my hands on some of the thymbra spicata variety of za’atar. If anyone knows of a source, please let me know. I heart Lebanese food.
In addition to the self-seeding anise basil that usually plants itself, I’m planting four new kinds of basil : Red Rubin, Aromato, Red Ruffles, and Lemon basil.
I’ve started a few of these indoors, but saving a few seeds from each packet in case of a seedling disaster.
Elecampane, for respiratory problems and intestinal worms, its root tastes like peppermint, apparently:
And one of my all-time favorites, lemon balm. I didn’t grow nearly enough last year:
Lemon balm is unbeatable in teas, especially mixed with tulsi and lemongrass. Medicinally it’s used for dementia, cold sores, colic, sleeplessness, and anxiety, among other issues. Smells so good.
I’ve also started lemon mint, which is not exactly a mint, but a monarda; the za’atar oregano I mentioned, german thyme, rosemary (1st time from seed), anise hyssop, winter savory, and sweet marjoram.
To say I can’t wait for spring is an understatement of the first order.
I’m planning to soak some peas (snow and ornamental) ASAP and get those planted. Hope it’s not too late, because when the heat finally hits, it doesn’t miss.
*Apparently they now say you’re not supposed to play tug o’ war with dogs. Please forgive my youthful indiscretion. It was fun.