Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Harvesting Herbs and Spices

The fairies have been at my garden again. We haven't had any real rain since Friday, but still the mushrooms are growing. I've never seen so many before. We usually get a sprouting or two during the year, but we have had sprouting after sprouting after sprouting. They never stop. I have puff balls growing under my pepper plants. The ones in the photo are near the compost pile. Grass won't grow there, but the moss is having a field day. I can't imagine, but I think I'm going to have to water soon as we have no rain in sight.

Recently I've been putting up my herbs and spices. The English thyme I planted earlier this year has grown quite well and I deemed it big enough to cut back. I didn't get a lot, not nearly enough for the whole year, but my old dried thyme had no scent to it anymore. The newly dehydrated thyme is fabulous.

I usually pick my sage in the spring before it flowers, but this year I never got around to it. I picked quite a bit this week and dehydrated it, then rubbed it through my fingers. My whole house smelled of sage for a while.

I've also been harvesting a lot of dill seed. Some of it I let fall in the garden, but most of it I've been picking. I'm going to have a ton of seed.

And last but not least of the spices I've been harvesting are my chili peppers. I keep adding to the string. I didn't make my string nearly long enough. The peppers have been prolific this year.

As usual I didn't wear gloves while working with them. The needle gets covered in the spice and my fingers get dangerous. I know most people do wear gloves. I just try to be careful whenever cutting or threading them. I don't rub my eyes or touch anything. Afterwards I wash up very throughly. The only trouble I have is when some of the oil gets under my fingernail. Ouch. But even then I can get it out if I get soap under my nails and scrub.


  1. Hi Daphne, So you like to live on the edge when you string peppers, eh? :-) Looking at yours makes me wish I grew some this year. The moss where your mushrooms are popping up is so lush and green! I can just picture little fairies hanging out on them enjoying your thyme. After all thyme is suppose to be a fairy favorite.

  2. I love the smell of fresh herbs. I have to agree with Cynthia about you living on the edge stringing your peppers gloveless. :)

  3. Hi,
    You have reminded me I need to harvest herbs. I want to have them dries so We can give as christmas presents.
    The smell of sage is wonderful!

  4. I was wondering how to string my peppers. Found this post just in time.

  5. Cynthia: Yes this a good year for moss. I always have moss in the garden, but it usually looks a little ragged in August since that is our lowest rainfall month. Not so far. I never knew thyme was a fairy favorite. No wonder it looks like there are so many fairies this year. I have four kinds instead of my usual two.

    perennial garden lover: I know most people wouldn't do it. But I've just never gotten into the glove thing. I paid for it once by rubbing my eyes (years ago). You only make that mistake once. I do lick my fingers after I wash them. If I have any of that oil left on them, I can taste it.

    philip: wow I never thought of drying more than I need and doing the xmas gift thing. I used to do that with jams. I even had my friends and family trained to return the jar when they were done. I could make up fun tea mixtures.

    aunt debbie: glad I could help. I actually use my beading thread (it is stronger than regular thread), though before I started beading I just used the regular stuff. I also use my beading needles now. They are very very thin, but very sharp, so go through the pepper with ease. The regular needles are much harder to pull through. Get the thinnest needle you have. I've strung them both with the thread going through the top green part and the pepper itself. Both work fine. If you go through the red part, don't do it right where it joins the green top. I found that weakens the join and it can come apart, especially if you use a regular needle. Though if you want to take them off one at a time, it is a good thing. I usually end up with two string every year. One that I take apart and grind, one that I hang up to look pretty. So I never take them off one at a time.

  6. lol, I accidentally rubbed my eye last night after cutting up one of my 'fresno' hot peppers. OUCH! You're right ... I won't be forgetting not to do that ever again!

  7. Wow, look at all those mushrooms. Chili peppers are easy to grow, I think, easier than the other types of peppers. They are very nice, and I just love them.

  8. I think chili peppers are so easy compared to sweet peppers. They tend not to rot like the large ones, and can grow in hot, cool, wet or dry weather. I've yet to have a really bad chili year, but I've given up sweet peppers altogether.