Time to give it some herbs

WHOEVER doesn’t put fresh mint into their home made potato salad is a psychopath. It should be illegal not to include fresh mint.

In fact, in 1876, it was. One case which is still discussed in gardening circles today told of Milton Sparrowhauser who made a potato salad on the steps of the local courthouse and intentionally left out the mint.

It created an uproar and he was arrested on inciting violence and public misuse of salad ingredients.

He was later institutionalised as criminally insane when, during his prison stay, he picked out the individual mint pieces from a bowl of minted peas.

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Herbs and spices have found a real niche among cookery today. Many kitchens boast windowsill gardens or handy pots on the back porch with leaves ready to be snapped off and thrown into soups, purees, roasts and milkshakes (ever tried an oregano malt?).

They have taken foods to new levels and become very important in advertising, particularly when thrown through the air in slow motion during the creation of fast food.

For those wondering, yes I do know “the Colonel’s” 11 secret herbs and spices; and no, talcum powder is not one of them.

Herbs can be a great way to get into gardening and into the backyard.

Usually, I’m a big fan of thinking outside the box and experimentation. Building an emu perch? That’s great. A patio made from cereal boxes? Go for it. A barbed wire clothesline? Brilliant.

But when it comes to herbs, stick to what you know.

I went through a stage of being a pioneer in herb discovery- I spent 14 weeks in hospital and had my stomach pumped seven times.

Problem was, whenever someone brought a bunch of flowers in, I’d go through the bunch sampling different leaves and petals to see what they tasted like.

This practice kept extending my hospital stay until they banned visitors carrying foliage.

Don’t go by names either, as they can be deceptive. (See Table 1):

Somewhere along the line, someone has had to be the first one to try out a new herb. Someone had to pick the leaf, pop it in their mouth and declare it good or not so good.

Occasionally the declaration would fall to the person standing the closest when the taste tester keeled over. Clearly, that would have been a “not so good” outcome.

I’m all for planting herbs but it comes with a warning as well- be sure you know what you’re planting.

Here is a list of herbs and not herbs:

Herbs

  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Lemon grass
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Not Herbs

  • Blue couch
  • Salt
  • Marijuana
  • Clover
  • Potpourri
  • So get into your herbs. Apart from installing a duckpond in the lounge room, it’s the best way of bringing some of the backyard into the home.

    Tip of the Month: An iPod with speakers playing gunshots and explosions at full volume in the upper branches of a fruit tree will help deter bats and birds. Excelsior!

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    READER COMMENTS

    Rob Roy
    1/04/2013 12:55:38 PM

    Mint in potatoe salad YUK I suppose you will want us to use mayonaise next! A top Scottish pot/sal need nothing more than good quality potatoes, white onions. salt pepper & a good olive oil. And time to brew. My scottish granny would be spinning in her grave
    scrote
    4/04/2013 12:48:54 PM

    Rob Roy, ye canae poot potatoes in. That's noo wae to make porridge.
    ando
    4/04/2013 12:54:15 PM

    Rob Roy your scottish granny would spin in her grave if she read your drivel.
    Better Backyards with Gherkin JarvisSelf-proclaimed gardening expert and carpet enthusiast, Gherkin Jarvis, brings you his thoughts on Australia’s great lifestyle tradition, the backyard.

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