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IN THIS ISSUE:
10 Years of Change
~ Update on the Salmon Recovery Project
Making the Cut
~ Suggestions on Taking Successful Cuttings
Being an Herbal Grandma
~ Keeping healthy with herbal remedies
~ 2012 Thyme Garden Catalog Now Available
~ Pre-Order Hops!
Cooking with Dried Herbs
~ Tips for making dishes pop!
Garden Jump Start
~ What you can be doing now to prepare for spring
Featured Herb: Lavender
~ Growing and enjoying this lovely herb
|♦ If you would like to read past issues of The Thyme Garden Newsletter, go to our archive.
read past issues of The Thyme Garden Newsletter, go to our
10 Years of Change
~ Salmon Recovery Project Update
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the salmon recovery project on The Thyme Garden property. I wish we had been better about taking pictures at regular intervals to document the changes that have occurred, or that I’d been smart and used the stream as part of a graduate project but alas! I did not. If wishes were fishes the sea would overflow . . . so the saying goes. Fortunately, the stream in our stream project was very full of salmon this year – to the point of making us feel like the work of the past ten years has been worth it! In the past weeks the heavy rains that finally made it to our side of the mountain brought up a second run of coho salmon that was the highest we’ve seen yet. At least 30 coho were in the stretch that we monitor, and it’s very likely that more were up and downstream in the harder to view areas. I took a short video of one of the pools in the project that is right between two popular redd building stretches. Check it out here.
So if we had been taking periodic pictures of the stream and documented the changes, what would that progression look like? For starters, the bare ground of the areas that were excavated is rapidly being filled in with gravel and larger rocks, looking like a streambed that has been there for decades. The berm that was built to keep the small stream from converging into the bigger Crooked Creek in high water events has completely naturalized with vegetation reaching down to both banks. Steep waterfalls keep moving up stream, leaving behind gentle sloping riffles. Logs have fallen here and there causing natural barriers for gravel moving downstream to catch and make new spawning habitat. The pond along the route that once dried up each summer is now a perennial home for salmon to fatten up in before making the transition to the ocean. This "before" picture from the project shows the water just starting to reach the newly excavated area. It filled with gravel by the second year and has been the most commonly used stretch for making redds ever since. It continues to get better and better further downstream as more gravel is washed out of the banks and carried down from upstream by high water.
Our project was made possible with help from Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department and our own labor. Each high water event brings changes to the stream and we are constantly reminded of the incredible power of water to morph the landscape it flows through. We feel fortunate that we have been able to help create an additional half mile of spawnable habitat for the coho, but we couldn’t have done it without the natural and dynamic forces of Mother Nature. We feel it is our privilege and responsibility to share our story with others to encourage the preservation of salmon and the conservation and restoration of their habitat.
Making the Cut
- Suggestions on Taking Successful Cuttings
There are many ways to duplicate plants. Some woody stemmed plants like willow and hydrangea just love to grow and will root simply by being stuck in moist soil. Others, like mint and sage, root readily in plain water on the windowsill. The method I describe here is highly effective for herbs with slightly woody stems such as lavender, rosemary, and bay. I also use this technique for thyme and basil. Actually, I use this method on nearly all the cuttings I take at The Thyme Garden with excellent results.
Rooting hormone can be purchased at your local nursery center. It has many brand names, one common one is Rootone, which also contains a fungicide useful in keeping plants from “damping off” which occurs when the plant rots at soil level.
Things you will need:
Sharp scissors, gardening shears or razor blade
Rooting hormone powder and a small dish to put it in
Plug flat with 1” x 1” cells or 4” pots
Sterile seed starter mix (or sifted potting soil)
Mother or stock plant to take cuttings from
To prepare, fill your plug flats or pots with soil mix, pressing soil in firmly with the palms of your hand. Gently soak them with a hose and leave to drain while you take your cuttings.
Choose material for your cutting that most closely resembles the overall appearance of the plant you are trying to duplicate. If the plant is variegated or striped, take the cutting from a growth end that exhibits those traits. If your plant is upright, choose a growing end that is straight.
You don’t have to take a large cutting. Many gardeners make what I consider the mistake of taking a cutting the size of what the grown plant would be in a nursery. It’s been my experience that smaller, more compact cuttings actually fair better because there is less living material the plant is trying to feed while surviving on just water.
Take your cuttings from the growing ends. Do not remove the highest growing tip or leader (if the plant has a columnar growth habit) unless you desire to have a bushier mother plant. I often intentionally cut the leader off of sage, basil, and mint to make them bushier. Take into consideration what you will be leaving behind when you make your cuttings. Also take into consideration the condition that the mother plant is in. Healthier plants make healthier cuttings. If you have an outbreak of pests, you might want to get them under control before using the plant for cuttings (conversely, if you are afraid you are about to lose the plant to a garden intruder, it may be a good idea to make a cutting sooner to insure you don’t lose it all together!)
Use a sharp scissor, gardening shear, or razor blade to make a clean cut. This is the nicest way to treat your mother plant. Remove any leaves from your cutting that will be in the soil. For most cuttings, this will mean removing leaves about an inch up the stem.
For thick stemmed herbs like rosemary and bay, use your cutting implement to make a clean diagonal cut at the base of the stem. For soft stems like basil and thyme this isn’t a worry - just make a clean neat cut. Try not to crush the stem as this will prevent water uptake.
Dump a small amount of rooting hormone powder into a dish or cup. Dip the prepared end in the rooting compound and tamp off excess. You want it lightly coated. Too much powder can actually inhibit root growth.
Stick your powdered cutting into your prepared moist soil medium up to the first set of leaves. Press the soil tightly around the stem to create contact all around the stem and keep it upright. Water your cuttings in.
Keep the cuttings moist and warm - this is vital to successful cuttings! Just one period of allowing developing roots to dry out and your efforts will be for not. We start our cuttings in the greenhouse with bottom heat. If this option isn't available to you, I suggest placing them on a windowsill or sunny location that you will be likely to check for moisture frequently.
Check your cuttings development by carefully removing the cutting from the plug flat – it helps to push up on the soil through the bottom drainage hole. One good sign that they are ready for transplanting is when you see roots growing out the bottom of the plug! You may also notice new leaf growth.
Creating new life is a rewarding experience -enjoy developing your green thumb!
Being an Herbal Grandma
Mom didn’t get a chance to write this before her vacation, so I am going to try to channel her for this segment. Maybe she will add to it in the next issue. I don’t have the Grandma expertise, but I have gotten a lot of my herbal knowledge from her which I will share with you. For all of you out there whoare grandmas and grandpas and prefer to take an alternative route to childhood maladies, I have some suggestions for you. My first suggestion is to have an in-depth herb book on hand. It is very important to know the proper method of use and dosage when using herbs for treatment. Remember that the components in herbs are powerful and the base of many Western medicines and never go giving a little one a homemade remedy all willy-nilly. That said, there are many useful eases for tummy aches, headaches, sore throats and ear infections tucked away in your spice cupboard or growing in your garden. For example, did you know that both thyme and anise are great herbal remedies for colic? I was lucky and my son didn’t suffer from colic, but I know many mom’s would have loved to have known this remedy!
| While I was pregnant, I drank gallons of Pregnancy Tea, which I made from scratch. I found it to keep up my energy levels while I was caffeine-free and also helped calm my nerves.As I said I made it by the gallon and stored it in the fridge. I got my recipe from my midwives, but you can find many more out there in cyber-infoland. The recipe given here is rich in minerals, calcium, and protein and can be drank before and during pregnancy. Nettle alone provides vitamins A, C and K, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium! Mint and chamomile make the tea taste delicious and also ease nausea and frazzled nerves - two common pregnancy complaints.
Pregnancy Tea Recipe:
1 part rosehips
Mix dried ingredients and add 2 Tbsp to a clean quart jar. Stir well and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 15-20 minutes, strain and drink warm or cold.
One of my favorite herbs for healing is comfrey. It grows in almost any condition (read: it can be slightly weedy!) In the same family as borage, it has large, slightly prickly leaves that smell like cucumbers. I can personally attest to the incredible healing power of this herb, also known as knit-bone. Last year I had an unfortunate pruning mishap and clipped off the end of my finger. In all practicality I should have gotten stitches, but our local clinic wasn’t open and I didn’t fancy a trip to town. Instead, I crunched up a piece of comfrey and applied to my finger, wrapping it with a clean gauze. By the next day, the skin had already begun to grow back together to the point where I could use a band aid over the area. I continued applying fresh comfrey leaves for the next couple days and today there is barely a scar. For this reason, comfrey always has a place in my garden, even if it does require a little guidance to keep it where I want it. Comfrey has also been shown to be effective in treating bruises, torn ligaments and fractured bones.
While we are on the topic of bruises, arnica is a must have in the herbal medicine cabinet. You can find it in a cream, gel, salve, or tablet form. It is invaluable in treating bruises and impact injuries and sore muscles. I have even seen it as a component of massage oils. Good thinking! After spending 6 hours in the birth canal, my midwife suggested I give my son dissolvable arnica tablets to help ease the discomfort of having had all that pressure exerted on his head for such a long time. We will have to assume it made him feel better since he can’t tell us himself.
One of the things I worry about, and I know grandma does too, is that I will get the baby sick. It’s a good idea to keep Echinacea on hand so that when the body is starting to feel a little off, a good strong tea can be made to fend off any funky little bug trying to take hold. I use the dried root and make a tea. Try adding honey for an added immune booster. Echinacea works best when taken at the onset of an illness. It has the added benefit of being a stomach settler – it stimulates the liver and digestive enzymes – as well as helping to ease sore throats and toothaches. Probably the best herb for stomach aches is Chamomile. It has a nice sweet apple flavor and is also a calming herb – something some kids might benefit from.
There are many herbs that make great tasting herbal tonics. I’ve listed several here with their uses. Like I said, it is a good idea to get an herb book because there are way too many to make a definitive list here. You may just find that plants you took for weeds are really the treatment for what ails you!
From the Garden:
Catnip – Use dried leaf for flu and colds. Helps ease headaches and relieve restlessness. Tincture used for arthritis.
Chamomile - Use dried flowers as tea for easing stomach aches, sore throats and fraught nerves. Add to bath for sunburns or muscle tension.
Elder - Use dried flowers as an anti-viral to stave of flu and cold. Use externally to treat wrinkles!
Hops – Use dried cones as a relaxant and sleep inducer. Appetite stimulant.
Hibiscus – Use dried flowers to replace electrolytes. Flushes adrenal system.
Lavender – Use dried flowers for nerve relaxant. Good for cramps, stomachache and gassiness.
Lemon Balm – Use dried leaf to fight flu and cold. Reduces anxiety and panic.
From The Spice Cupboard
Coriander – Use seed to aid digestion and sooth stomachaches
Cinnamon - Use ground bark or chips to treat diarrhea and nausea.
Cardamom - Use seeds to ease bowel spasms and stomach disorders.
Fennel – Use seeds, fresh leaves or flowers to sooth coughs and sore throat. Eases digestive upset.
Garlic – Use cloves to fight colds, flu, coughs. Strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
Ginger – Use root to ease nausea, cramping, and diarrhea. Also helpful against cold symptoms and hangovers!
Rosemary – Use dried leaves to relieve headaches and indigestion. Calming and cleansing.
Take a look back at the November 2011 Edition of News from The Thyme Garden to learn about harvesting and drying your own herbs to use in teas.
Sharing Local 'Insights'
~ 23rd Annual Insights into Gardening
Saturday, February 11, 2012,
La Sells Stewart Center, OSU Campus, Corvallis
OSU Benton County Master Gardeners present 'Insights into Gardening', a day-long seminar offering practical hands-on learning for home gardeners and gardeners-to-be. Whether you are an experienced or novice gardener, are new to the area or are an Oregon native, you will find plenty of ideas to make your gardening easier, more enjoyable and more successful. There will be a catered box lunch available, gardening-related exhibits and special discounted selection of books from the Grass Roots Books, as well as raffles to benefit the scholarship fund. View the websitehttp://extension.oregonstate.edu/benton for more details.
The Thyme Garden will have a table there again this year, be sure to stop by and say hello! This would be a great place to pick up a book on how to use herbs - the selection they bring is quite extensive.
2012 Thyme Garden Catalog Now Available
~ Get Your Hands on Some Great Reading Material!
The Thyme Garden 2012 Catalog is available now! Look for it in the mail if you're a regular costumer. If not, click here to order one.
Hop On It!
Now that the snow has melted (with more in the forecast!) and the flood waters have subsided, we are preparing for hop harvest. Place your order now for best selection.
Thanks for Reading and Here's to Spring!
~ The Thyme Garden Crew