When we look at our garden, we feel a little bit like our grandparents who tousle their grandchild’s hair and say: you’ve grown so much! There is pride, an enormous fascination for nature, her small and big changes, and also bliss.
Before we give insight in what we’ve been doing the last weeks here, we want to show you a most notably enrichment to our vegetable garden.
As you already know, we planted a few hundred edible perennials on over 40m² around our green house in spring. We hoped to improve our garden visually and culinarily, but also to provide a playground for all kinds of insects. However, to look a lush blooming beauty after only a few weeks we never dared to dream. The perennials look like garden veterans already. And when we watch the busy activities of wild and honey bees, bumble bees and other insects, it was one of the best decisions we made for the relocation of our vegetable garden. We did not even had to research or plan, we only discovered the already composed perennial sets by durchgeblueht.de. It is a cooperation by Michael Simonsen and Olaf Schnelle. We decided on „Gruß aus der Lausitz“, „Kräutermischung Halbschatten“, „Mediterrane Kräuter“, „Essbare Blüten blau-weiss-rot“ and „Pizza“. The biggest patch was reserved for the beautiful „Teemischung Blütenelixier“.
We always harvested the herbs fresh for our daily need. Especially the tea herbs grew rampant and needed a first pruning back. We used this opportunity to dry huge share of anise-hyssop, lady’s mantle, java apple, various mints and melissa, sage, lavender, and thyme.
On a warm, sunny midmorning we harvested the herbs in whole sprouts. Before noon, the herbs have the most essential oils. Since we wanted to conserve these with easy air drying, we did not wash the herbs. Shortly shaking them out is enough. By doing this, the drying process is kept short and the flavour is the strongest.
Depending on the herbs, we loosely bound ten sprouts maximum to two dozen bouquets with yarn and hung them on our attic heads down. What a scent! The optimal temperature for drying is about 35°C. When it’s over 45°, some of the essential oils already get lost. Who wants to dry the herbs in a dehydrator or in the oven should not exceed this temperature. When the herbs rustle and brittle easily between the fingers, they are ready. Depending on the temperature, this can take days or weeks. Pluck the leaves as a whole, if possible, from the stems, fill them in dry, airtight glasses and store them light protected. This way you can conserve the summer feeling all year round.