The Herb Blurb – June 2022

Summer is finally here! Festivals, road trips, outdoor concerts, camping, hiking, and all sorts of activities abound. Though covid is definitely still in the picture, take precautions where necessary and go have some fun. Peruse your calendar and cross out dates to camp and picnic, attend a food festival, hike a mountain, and see a concert in the park. You won’t have memories of the extra work you did or the TV series you binged on. Make some plans now to celebrate this favorite season as we emerge back out into the world.

Upcoming Classes!

Classes this month are sold out. Check the website schedule for future classes.

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival,  July 9 – 18

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

A week of glorious wildflowers in the mountains. Classes are offered on a variety of topics from hikes, botany, crafts, history, and more. I will be teaching classes on foraging, cooking, herbs, and crafting. My classes are sold out, but there are plenty of art, botany, and hiking classes still available. Classes aside, it is a lovely time in Crested Butte with the abundance and variety of peak wildflower viewing, great hiking, and lots of things to see and do.

https://crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.org

Fun Things to Do!

Free days – remember for most of these you still have to reserve a time online.
Denver Art Museum, Sunday, June 5 and Tuesday, 14
Denver Botanic Gardens, Tuesday, June 7th
Four Mile Historic Park, Friday, June 10

Fun Things To Do in ColoradoManitou Springs Wine Festival,  June 4, 2022 in Memorial Park, wine tastings, food trucks, and music. https://manitousprings.org/manitou-springs-colorado-wine-festival/

Parker Days Festival, June 10 – 12, Live music, food, and carnival rides. https://parkerdaysfestival.com/

Denver BBQ Festival, June 17 – 19, BBQ, bands, and beer. https://denverbbqfest.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkazI-P_19wIVBBx9Ch1dgQU4EAAYASAAEgJKfvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Strawberry Days Festival. Glenwood Springs, June 17-19. Hometown parade, entertainment, arts and crafts festival, food, Family Fest, free strawberries and ice cream. https://www.glenwoodchamber.com/strawberry-days/

Denver Pridefest, June 25 and 26, 5K run, parade, music, performances, food, and fun.
https://denverpride.org/fest/

For more ideas check out:
https://scfd.org/find-culture/free days/https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/, and https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/colorado 
Before another summer goes by in a blur, take time now to mark off some dates to get out and have fun.

Gardens

gardening in coloradoThis is a great month for garden tours and plant salesTake a look at Colorado Gardener Monthly Magazine,  https://www.coloradogardener.com for lots of local events and good articles on gardening in Colorado.
The recent rain and snow have been a blessing for gardeners. With global warming, record temps, and drier summers it’s time to rethink our water-guzzling, high-maintenance lawns and consider the beauty, resilience, and low maintenance of xeriscape gardening. I am not talking colored rock here. Check out https://www.denverwater.org/residential/rebates-and-conservation-tips/remodel-your-yard/xeriscape-plans#n and take a look at the low water gardens at Denver Botanic Gardens and around Colorado. https://coloradowaterwise.org/Demo-Gardens for inspiration.

Time to finally put in all those tender annuals and vegetables, but keep an eye on nighttime temps. Keep control over weeds and retain moisture in your gardens by adding a generous layer of mulch. Pine needles, straw, bark, cocoa hulls, and other possibilities are available at your garden center. If you are using bark, it will leach nitrogen out of the soil as it breaks down so you will need to fertilize.

Start deadheading (removing dead blooms) so you have healthy, bushy plants all summer long, full of flowers. Pinch flower buds off of your herb plants to preserve taste. You can start clipping back your herbs once they have reached a decent size and dry them for your winter pantry.

Garden Centers still have a great assortment of plants which often go on clearance as the heat escalates. Don’t have room or time for a garden? Go with containers. You can grow everything from vegetables and herbs to fragrant flowers and stunning foliage. Try some gallon size sweet 100’s, a few basil plants, and some edible flowers like nasturtiums. I like to buy larger pots of annuals and plant them in interesting combinations in a large container. Voila! Instant garden. Container gardens don’t take a lot of time, planning, or weeding; just make sure you have good drainage and quality potting soil.

For your rusty garden tools, spray them down with white vinegar, cover them loosely and let them sit overnight. Scrub them down with steel wool, oil them, and voila! Like new.

Herb of the Month – Prickly Pear

Herb of the Month – Prickly PearPrickly pear, Opuntia spp., is a great plant for dry climates. With its multiple spines it can be very forbidding but actually has many medicinal and edible qualities.

The pulp of this cactus is similar to aloe vera in its ability to soothe and heal inflammation for skin burns, bites, and rashes. Prickly pear pulp is very demulcent and mucilaginous and can help to coat and soothe mucous membranes and damaged gut tissue. It has a long history in Mexico and the desert southwest of use in the treatment of diabetes and stabilizing blood sugar. The pads, fruits, and flowers are edible. You can go to many Mexican markets and buy the pads intact or already de-spined and cut up. I still go through these pieces to make sure everything is off. To prepare a whole cactus pad for eating check out this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-yR3pYw9fM  You can also grill, boil, or pickle.

I use the prepared strips fresh in smoothies. The cooked pads can be sliced and used in tacos, egg dishes, pizza toppings, soups, and more. One of my favorite vegetarian tacos is black beans, cherry tomatoes, and cooked cactus strips warmed through in a sauté pan then served in corn tortillas with grated cheese, avocado, and sriracha mayo. Yum! Sriracha mayo is just mayonnaise blended with sriracha hot sauce to taste.

Recipes of the Month

The season for salad greens, asparagus, radishes, rhubarb, cherries, sugar snap peas, strawberries, and more has begun. With hot weather returning it’s time for refreshing salads and lots of hydration.

The Herbalists Happy Hour

The Herbalist’s Happy Hour – Crafted Cocktails and Tapas from the Garden is the perfect book for summer. A great reference for cooking up easy, fresh, delicious drinks, cocktails and appetizers for entertaining and enjoying. Get it  here 

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time."

- John Lubbock

 

  Rest is not idleness

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