Monday, February 21, 2011


The mornings have a touch of autumn now, an occasional chill mist thrusting tendrils in through the door as we eat breakfast. The sun gets up after us on school days, surprised to find us already at the table as he beams in blindingly over the cereal boxes. Not to say that summer is over. Hot days still demand sun cream and water bottles filled with ice cubes. We are just getting the first hint that we need to make the most of summer now, as its days are numbered.

In the herb garden I can see a progression. Summer profusion is gradually being supplanted by the need to make seeds, as the herbs, more aware of the harshness of winter than we are, make plans for survival next season. When I planted, I hadn’t really thought of a seed harvest. I was looking for leafy flavour for the kitchen, and gentle herbal remedies for family ailments. The seeds are an unlooked for bonus. Because now I can harvest even more flavour from the garden.

The coriander that bolts to flower all too easily, is now busily working on a harvest of coriander seed, spicy but with an orangey tinge, perfect for curries and vegetable stews.

The fennel plants, so tall and grand, are bowing over as their seeds ripen, sweet aniseed goodness for digestion, also good as a pinch of seed thrown into a veggie casserole.

The dill seeds too, similar but with a slightly less sweet flavour than fennel , are ready to harvest and if I can get round to cleaning them and removing the husks can be sprinkled ion rolls and loaves of bread.

I will keep some seeds over for planting next season and save the rest for eating. The rocket looks like it is busy sowing its own seeds for next season, so maybe my herb garden will be less ordered next year. Fewer neat geometric rows and more profusion of herbs all intertwined where they sowed themselves? I don’t know, but will wait to see, and remain in awe of the abundance that just a few packets of seeds  brings forth in one season. I haven’t even finished up the original seed packets yet, despite having more than enough of everything for a far bigger family than ours.

As a total co-incidence, or auspicious timing, whatever you will, after writing this post I have just looked up my moon gardening calendar for the best time to harvest seeds. A waxing moon in Leo it said. I check the date and guess what! Today and tomorrow the moon is in Leo just before the full moon on Friday so the timing is perfect.(edited to add – this was last week, as I never got round to posting!)  I’ll be cooking with seeds for sure this weekend!


  1. And my mornings have a touch of spring...
    I am determined to keep the pesky snails from my herbs this time around!

  2. Oh, beautiful beautiful photos, wonderful wonderful post - and more auspicious timing.... I just received a packet of baobab tree seeds that I ordered! I'm going to try my hand at growing one bonsai style.

  3. How wonderful to have a garden to harvest. We have dreams of garden but realize that we have black thumbs. Periodically we plant, usually basel, but often forget to properly care for our charges. It is lovely that you have such a bounteous harvest.

  4. Can't think how I found your blog. Ah, malva pudding, that's it. I've been cross referencing recipes...yours looks nice.

    But fennel seeds. I use mine in a rub for pork shoulder, with garlic and red pepper (hot). Cooked long and slow, about 6 hours. Can't believe your mornings are autumnal - how nice. We left Cap Town just two week and it was still boiling.

    Shall try your vinegar and bicarb recipe, too. What sort of vinegar did you use?

  5. @Meredith - good luck with your herbs this year, if I find any good snail remedies I'll let you know. My latest problem is ducks - eating my spinach. They eat the snails too, but no more spinach!

    @Marcheline - let me know how your baobab gets on. Seen some gorgeous pics of baobabs in Namibia - a reserve in the Caprivi strip. Really huge, wizened and old.

    @Lael - keep trying. This is the first year that my garden has been so wonderful, before that it was a bit sad. Compost was the answer, plus regular watering, of course.

    @Marie - Thanks for coming by! I think we've got some more hot weather before we get the real autumn, this is just a taster! I use apple cider vinegar for hair rinses and plain white vinegar for house cleaning purposes.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!