The Canny Gardener

how to be a smart gardener


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feeling summer

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I tried this winter to grow something but thanks to climate change, it was all very unpredictable.  I shall have to think of something to beat this chaotic weather for next year.  I am beginning on an exciting community garden project which I will report another time.

For now, I am using the summer harvest to good use in the chilly winter.  This is my chilli oil.  The ingredients consisted of a base of a neutral oil (I used 100 litres of organic sesame seed oil) which I heated for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Then I added four birds eye chillies, two sprigs of rosemary, a few sage leaves and four peppercorns.  You can adjust the chilli according to your needs- my children seemed to love the chilli taste.  Then leave to infuse in a jar for at least two weeks before using.

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Sage- the ‘wise’ plant

 

Salvia officinalis (sage, also called garden sage, or common sage) is a perennial, evergreen shrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a native of the Mediterranean region, with many medicinal and culinary uses.  It is traditionally used in sage and onion stuffing for turkey or chicken.

Salvia and “sage” are derived from the Latin salvere (to save), referring to the healing properties long attributed to the various Salvia species. It has been used internally (as tea or directly chewed) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and skin.  Other uses are as an antisweating agent, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic.  But most of all, I love it because of its hardiness which means I don’t need to do much for it.  But Sage is a generous plant- with its medicinal and culinary uses and now also for ornamental uses.

sage tea

 

This photo shows sage tea which is traditionally offered in many Mediterranean cultures,  especially in the winter for its great benefit in combatting winter colds and congestions.  You may put some honey in it if you like to sweeten it.  I have also used it in my bath, the hot water releases the beneficial oils.  Make sure you always have some sage growing in your garden (mine grows in a pot)!