Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Herbs in the Garden - Chamomile

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is one of my favourite annual herbs
a little left field for a perennial Nursery
but it performs for so much of the year that it is a worthy addition to 
an integrated and productive garden

Very fine seed can be direct sown (or self seeded) to the garden in late Summer
Do not mulch the soil, but leave it exposed to allow the delicate seed to germinate
Failing that open sow seed in a tray outdoors pressing seed to soil, but not covering

Full frost hardy seedlings will grow gently through Winter
once the days lengthen so will the seedlings
and by mid Spring you will be harvesting flowers

pick flowers constantly to ensure more flower production
dry flowers on a piece of paper towel and store dried flowers in a jar 
place in a dark cupboard
Keep adding dried flowers through the season and you will have plenty for Winter 

Make sure to leave some flowers to set seed at the end of Summer 
to start the process all over again

German Chamomile prefers full sun, well drained soil
Establishing naturally in gravel and poorer soils
but water when the weather heats up or plants will wilt

We pick the freshest flowers for tea with petals still horizontal
Let the boiled water rest a few minutes so as not scald the flowers
and tarnish the sweet flavour

Petals can be sprinkled into salads

German Chamomile, like all herbs, should be consumed in moderation
any potential health effects researched for implications in their application
(e.g. consumption during pregnancy, other existing health issues)

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