I was able to get out and do some garden clean up today, and was very surprised that the snow and ice from last week didn't seem to bother my herb garden at all. In fact, my herbs are way ahead of pretty much everything else. I grew up around herb gardens, and have grown container plants some of the other places I've lived, but this having my own garden thing still makes me jump up and down like a little kid. I transplanted this yarrow last year, from a plant my mom gave me from her garden, that she probably got from my grandmother (yep, we're all plant nerds around here!)
I'm really happy it seems to have settled in over the winter, because at first it was kind of picky.
Another gift from my mom, this lemon balm plant settled in almost immediately. Don't ever feel bad for this stuff if you have to pull it out (and trust me, you will). It really won't care. I've seen it kill day lilies by smothering. Do you know how hard that is? To give you some idea, I have day lilies growing in my front pasture from where there was once an old farmhouse ( I found bits of the old fireplace one day), and they get mowed, stomped on by horses, and generally neglected to fend for themselves among the field weeds. And they do quite well. In other words, this lemon balm stuff is a loveable abomination. I made fresh extract with this same plant last year, and could have made gallons from the thing that grew (in a matter of a few months!!!!!) from the one tiny little bit my mom gave me. Nice to know it's getting a head start. . .
I also started some valerian from seed last summer, and was rewarded with a beautiful plant that went absolutely nuts in my garden once I planted it out. I was quite proud of it, actually. The rest of the seeds didn't do anything ( I will try again this year!), but it had probably a two foot spread by the time the frost finally killed it. I think it was still growing well into November. So it doesn't surprise me that it is already putting out new growth!
I've heard the young leaves can be added to salads, and I'm looking forward to trying that this year.
The roots are pretty nifty looking, too! Of course, this is the part of the plant most people are interested in. A little piece broke off when I was cleaning it up for the photos, and I can tell you that even this early in the year, it still smells pretty strong. Interesting, because most roots will be at their strongest in late fall. If that's true, this stuff will knock my socks off when I harvest this year. Good thing I'm one of those weird people that think it smells delicious! Actually, the fresh root does smell more like something normal people wouldn't mind either. There's less stinky sock, and something that is actually closer to pleasant. Even I don't like the stinky sock part, it's just that I can get past it to the other smells/tastes. The first impression seems to stop most people in their tracks.
Hopefully, I will be able to start this years seeds next weekend, and will share my nifty way of making soil blocks for any one else who is thinking of starting seeds this spring.