I have just finished watering my little seedlings of basil, cilantro,anise hyssop and will be transplanting them this week. Will let the small tomato and pepper plants stay in the house for awhile longer, they do not do well in strong wind and cold.
All of the new leaves of lemon balm are coming up very green and pretty. The little heart shaped leaves are very romantic looking and oh so fragrant.
I think nothing is as beautiful as the first flush of lemon balm and basil. This year I may try to do some water colors of these beautiful herbs.
The comfrey, yarrow, mints, oreganos, thymes are all doing very well, covering the ground with their new growths. Our Sassafras tree is budding out very nicely and never fails to amaze me when it begins to put on it's little leaves. I thought I saw the Pineapple sage and St. John's Wort peeking out from the mulch, tomorrow I will pull it back and see for sure.
If you are a novice and wish to plant, please remember that April and May are very windy months in Louisiana, plant only things that will be out of the wind for now. Some herbs have tender stalks and will not be able to withstand these windy months. It feels like spring, but I have been fooled many times.
It's time to spruce up your garden area, turn over the soil, add manure,mulch and new soil in beds. The ground is just warming up, do not plant anything that needs 7 or 8 hours of sun.
Cilantro, dill, chervil all love the cool temperatures and can be planted now. Mints can be planted, they are very hardy and do not mind cool temperatures.
What to do while you wait for the season to really begin in earnest?
Sharpen and oil your tools. Dust off the old pots, cleaning them well with a little bleach and a lot of water. Get an unusual seed catalog and order something that you have never planted. (some of my best herbs have come from this idea) Find a pretty pair of gardening gloves and get a great hat. This year I plan to get a new toolbelt and hang all my favorite gardening tools around my waist.
If you like to wildcraft, (forage in the wild) look for nettles, dandelion, cleavers, coltsfoot, docks, chickweed. They are all in abundance now.
Be sure that you are harvest responsibly, do not take all that you see. We must leave enough for growth next year. A good herbalist respects the earth, taking only what he or she needs. Many American herbs have been wildcrafted into near extinction by over zealist amatuers. A true, nuturing herbalist will remember this and let that small patch of red clover live to be picked another year.
If you are unsure of what are foraging for, take an identification guidebook with you. I made many mistakes my first few years of foraging. Identify your plants with more than one point. Look at the shape of the leaves, the color of the stalks, the roots, the type of flower it produces. These points will give you correct identifications and keep you safe. Many plants look alike but are not what you believe them to be. Never eat or make medicine with what you are not 100% sure of what it is. A good book to refer to is "A Modern Herbal", by Margaret Grieve. There are many pictures and the plants are all thoughly described. It is an online site also.
Will be doing some light weight lifting to get my back and arm muscles into shape. I often lift big bags of dirt, manure and mulch over my back, forgetting to use the wheelbarrow!
It must be spring, I am dreaming of chervil omlets.......