Lemongrass, comfrey, lemon verbena harvest and preservation

Kale towers

Kale towers

My November garden still produces kale and Swiss chard, so lots of smoothies are happening in addition to blanching and freezing kale for the winter. I have harvested more tomatoes, my huge lemongrass and lemon verbena plants, comfrey, and butternut squash. Below are some resources I have found useful in the process.

Lemon verbena and lemongrass

Lemon verbena and lemongrass plants before harvest

Lemongrass

I have harvested lemongrass, peeled and froze the stems chopped into 2-3 inch pieces. The leaves I have hung out to dry and then cut them with scissors into smaller pieces to preserve them for making tea. I have transplanted the remaining plant into a pot, from which it was even growing new shoots for a few days. It seems to have gone dormant, however, so I’ll see whether it will survive the winter.

Lemon Verbena

I have collected lots of lemon verbena leaves – the plant has grown huge. I’ve frozen quite a few leaves and hung the remaining ones to dry for a week or so, at which point I have collected the leaves and stored them crushed to make tea in winter. I have transplanted the verbena into a pot as well. It instantly went into a defensive state and dropped all the remaining leaves which I have also collected for tea. A few days later young leaves have appeared in few places, but then dried off again. I shall see what happens with it over the winter. There is an interesting recipe for a glass cleaner that I might want to try next year.

Comfrey

In the manner similar to drying lemon verbena and lemongrass, I have hung the comfrey leaves up to dry as well. After about a week, I’ve collected and crushed them. Comfrey can be used in poultices and perineum baths.

Tomato

I have collected a few tomatoes for seeds and have followed the GardenWeb directions. The seeds are now dry and stored in small envelopes with a moisture-whisking packet.

Butternut squash

Only one squash has matured in the shade of my tomato forest, but it has made a delicious curried butternut soup. I have washed and dried the seeds to save them for next year.

Butternut squash

Butternut squash

Basil and hot Thai peppers

The other two plants I have moved into pots and brought inside were basil and hot Thai peppers. Unfortunately, both of them are rather unhappy about it. The basil plant promptly dried up (which always happens with basil in my house) and I’ve collected the leaves for cooking. The Thai pepper plant went into shock ripening many of the little peppers that were previously green and drying up the leaves. I’m unsure whether it will survive.

The birds are loving the bird feeder – it seems there’s little else for them to eat but our sunflower seeds. My son and I refill the feeder at least once a week, and the birds make quite a flurry of activity in the garden, which our cat intently watches. It has been fun gardening this year. I shall probably harvest another large batch of kale to blanch and freeze, collect the green tomatoes to be ripened inside, cover the grape vines, and will leave the towers standing for the winter. More permaculture adventures next year.

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