Table of contents:
Video: Thyme, Mint, Lemon Balm. Spice Planting Patterns
Fragrant garden bed. Part 1
In the spring, when nature wakes up from hibernation, you want to go out in the early May morning to the garden and pick a fragrant mint leaf for making an invigorating tea or a lovage stalk for a spring vitamin salad.
In nature, there are many perennial plants that grow quickly in early spring, which can make up a fragrant garden bed - useful and beautiful even in the Northwest. Experienced gardeners know them well. These are thyme, peppermint, lemon balm, hyssop, lovage, perennial marjoram.
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Unfortunately, some species behave quite aggressively, filling the entire space of the garden with their root system (all types of mint and thyme). To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to plant such plants in containers (old pots, buckets), which are then dug into the garden bed. Due to this, within two to three years, the plants twist their root system along the diameter of the container, maintaining a compact arrangement in the garden.
Perennial onions, which coincide with them in regrowth time in spring, can serve as the best addition to spicy-flavoring plants.
When placing plants on a garden bed (below I gave two approximate schemes), it is necessary to take into account their height, therefore the perimeter of the garden is occupied by crops that have the smallest height - 10-40 cm (chives, thyme, lavender, slug onions, hyssop, perennial marjoram). The central group consists of plants with a height of 40 cm to 1.5 meters (peppermint, lemon balm, lovage, Aflatun onion).
Landing scheme No. 1
Landing scheme number 2
Now let's talk in more detail about the plants that can grow in your fragrant garden.
Melissa officinalis (lemon mint)
A perennial herb of the Clay family with a lemon scent. Its rhizome is strongly branching with underground layers up to 30 cm long. Stems are erect, tetrahedral, branched, soft-pubescent, 50–120 cm high. The lower lateral shoots are creeping. Leaves are opposite, petiolate, ovate, serrate at the edges. Flowers are small, white, yellowish or pink, located 3–10 in one-sided false whorls in the axils of the upper leaves. Melissa blooms in June - August. Fruits are egg-shaped nuts, brown or almost black, 1.5–2 mm long and 0.75–1 mm wide. Ripen in August. The mass of 1000 seeds is 0.5-0.7 g.
Melissa is native to the Mediterranean countries. On the territory of Russia in the wild, it is found in the southern regions of the European part.
Melissa officinalis is a heat-loving plant. In the first year of vegetation during seed propagation, it forms a well-developed rosette of leaves. The plant is light-loving, demanding on soil moisture. Seed germination lasts for two to three years. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 10–12 ° C. The best growth and development is observed in nutrient-rich warm soils located on sunny southern slopes. The winter hardiness of the plant is insignificant; shelter is required for the winter.
Lemon balm is propagated both vegetatively (by dividing old bushes with root cuttings, layering), and by seeds with preliminary cultivation of seedlings. For vegetative propagation, planting material is harvested on plantations 3-4 years old. Plants are planted according to the scheme 60-70x30 cm. The best harvesting time is the budding phase of the plant. When preparing raw materials, drying is carried out in the shade under awnings, at a temperature not higher than 35 ° C.
The aerial part of the plant, mainly in the leaves, contains up to 0.33% of essential oil, which is used in the canning, food industry, in the alcoholic beverage industry to flavor wines, liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Benedictine, and Russian tincture Erofeich. In the medical industry, lemon balm is used as a sedative, antispasmodic, analgesic, calming the nervous system, stimulating appetite.
Lemon balm leaves, in addition to essential oil, contain carotene, ascorbic acid, resin, bitterness and mucus.
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Perennial herbaceous plant from 30 cm to 1 meter in height of the family of lacustrine. Stems are erect, branched, tetrahedral, leafy, glabrous or with sparse short, appressed hairs. The rhizome is horizontal, branched with thin fibrous roots extending from the nodes. Leaves oppositely opposite, short-petiolate, oblong-ovate, pointed, with a cordate and sharp-serrate edge, dark green above, light green below. Flowers are small, collected at the tops of the shoots in half whorls. Corolla slightly irregular, pinkish or pale purple. The fruit consists of nuts. Blooms from late July to September.
Peppermint is usually propagated vegetatively - by planting pieces of rhizomes in the ground. Planting is carried out in early spring. Mint can grow in one place for up to six years. The plant is hygrophilous and demanding on light and soil. The best soils for cultivation are sandy loam and loamy. The best predecessors are root vegetables, legumes and vegetables, and potatoes. Usually, soils are dug up from autumn to a depth of 25-30 cm with simultaneous application of manure (3-4 kg / m²). In early spring, the site is cultivated to a depth of 10 cm and pieces of rhizomes are laid in the cut grooves, sprinkling them with earth. Further care of the plants consists in periodically loosening row spacings and weeding from weeds.
Mint leaves and flowers are used as a spicy seasoning, serving them with cheeses, salads, soups, meat, fish and vegetable dishes. The same components are added to cookies, gingerbread cookies, buns, compotes, jelly, fruit drinks and kvass. Mint leaves prevent sour milk. Its essential oil is widely used in the confectionery, food and chemical-pharmaceutical industries. The medicinal raw material for mint is the entire aerial part collected during the budding period. Dried in the shade, under a canopy or in the attic. Store in glass or wooden containers for two years.
Mint is used for neurosis, insomnia, hyperexcitability and angina pectoris. It is also recommended for inflammation of the gallbladder, inflammatory diseases of the upper respiratory tract. Tea with mint is indicated for high acidity of the stomach and convulsive colitis. Peppermint oil, as a refreshing and antiseptic, is a part of rinses, tooth powders and pastes and is an integral part of the drug Corvalol.
Thyme ordinary (thyme)
Thyme ordinary is a perennial shrub of the lamb family. The plant is 20 to 50 cm in height, has a highly branched stem with hairy pubescence. The leaves are small, oblong-obovate. The flowers are lavender, small, collected in an intermittent inflorescence. The fruit is a nutlet, small, dark brown.
Since ancient times, thyme has been known as a spicy and medicinal plant. His homeland is the Mediterranean; in the wild, thyme is also found in the Caucasus, Crimea, Belarus and throughout temperate Eurasia, like its cousin - creeping thyme.
From time immemorial, thyme has found its use in folk medicine. The Slavs used it as a diaphoretic, as well as in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory system, skin and the treatment of rheumatism, thanks to the thymol contained in it, a substance that has a bactericidal and disinfectant effect. The essential oil obtained from the leaves of this plant is currently used in the pharmaceutical and perfume industries. In ancient times, rooms were fumigated with thyme in order to combat diseases such as consumption. He also helped with insomnia.
Thyme is widely used in cooking as an aromatic spice. It is used for salting cucumbers, pickling fruits, as a seasoning for meat and fish dishes, for game. Dried, it serves as an aroma in the preparation of sausages, vinegar and cocktails. Thyme is often used in making tea, not only as an aromatic substance, but also for medicinal purposes. Here is one of the recipes for tea, used in Russia for a long time: we take a mixture of raspberry leaves, strawberries and currants in a ratio of 2: 2: 1 and add thyme - 20 g per 100 g of the mixture. It is better to dry the leaves of the plants used for making tea.
The best places to grow thyme are in areas with loose, fertile and well-drained soil. If the soil is acidic, then liming is carried out. Seeds can be sown directly into open ground or into a greenhouse to produce seedlings. Seeds are embedded in the soil finely. When thinning seedlings leave a distance between plants 20 cm. Thyme can also be propagated vegetatively - by dividing the bush, lignified and green cuttings. In autumn, the plant is usually covered with spruce branches. In the spring, the row spacings are loosened. The thyme is harvested several times per season by cutting off the tops of the shoots. Shoots are tied in bunches and dried in the shade - in cool ventilated rooms without direct sunlight. Properly dried material retains its aroma for up to three years when stored in a tightly closed container.