My recent visit to Oakridge Sunday Market had made me wanting to buy all sorts of herbs that are available, albeit I still have some of those growing in my potted garden. My eyes were feasting on "healthy-looking" plants, since still I don't have some of those. The temptation to indulge in buying was strong but, praise heaven, I was in control. The main reasons why I was so ecstatic that Sunday morning were because of the variety of herbs one merchant is selling (there were plenty!), and the price was for me is acceptable compared to the ones in Banilad Town Center. Another thing that prevented me was the fact that I may not need all of those, and the time I should spend in caring and rearing the plants. I hate to say the word 'busy' but that's the reason why I feel so guilty looking at my current state of my garden now, some are not properly nourished, and a few died.
Summer, though literally hot and humid, is still a good time to start your herb garden. All you need to do is assess what herbs you usually need, buy those, and grow them. We can place them under shaded bushes, or from time to time inside your balcony, or windows side. Water them frequently this time, and during rainy season, we can let them out in full sunshine and rain.
Oakridge Sunday Market is by far for me is offering the best selection of herbs, at a very affordable price. Pay a visit one of the Sundays of this month and grab some to grow.
Oregano is easy to grow, cuttings are used to propagate. This variety is a variegated one, so aside from using it in the kitchen, this can be a good ornamental plant. Go Greek or Mediterranean dishes should you intend to use oregano! This can be a good substitute or addition to pasta.
Tarragon has anise-like flavor and is usually used to flavor vinegars for salad dressings. Aside from culinary use, leaves boiled in water and drink as a tea can help calm the digestive tract. It grows easily through cuttings.
Basil is for me the most useful and practical among all the herbs. If you are planning to buy herbs, I suggest you start with Basil. You cant go wrong with Basil. It adds flavor and characteristics to pasta and any tomato-based dishes. You can put it in fresh salads, and use it to garnish any dish. You can make pesto pasta out of this. It can even give 'life' to a cold beverages. Basil grows from seeds, but still can be propagated through cuttings. You can buy one at around 50 bucks.
Rosemary are frequently used for meats and stews. It is the best pair to flavor meats for grilling. As of experience, it grows quite slowly and is very hard to please among all the herbs. This one is approximately within 120-150 price range.
Sage is used in almost all Italian dishes (or Mediterranean). It is used as marinades for meat, fish and even vegetables. It is perfect for poultry, and pasta. I have one of this in my garden but died after a few months because of soil drainage. I think this plant doesn't want to be flooded always with water.
Vietnamese Coriander is an herb usually used in fresh Asian salads. It is eaten fresh. If you are a fan of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, better have this handy in your kitchen. This also grows easily and can be propagated through cuttings. This is worth P75.00.
Personally I considered Stevia not an herb since it is not used to flavor any dish. Stevia is a good source of good sugar. You can pinch 2-3 leaves and used this to sweeten your beverage, or add it in your fresh salads. It is good for diabetics. This is worth P100.00 each.
This is the Thai Coriander or called sawtooth coriander (Eryngium foetidum). It is also known as pointed cilantro, culantro, pointed coriander, Mexican coriander, and long leaf coriander. If you like the flavor of coriander but have trouble growing the annual specie, then switch to sawtooth variety because it is easy to grow and use, and the smell and taste are very similar (www.herbsarespecial.com). Personally I have not used this one in any of my cooking.
These herbs are usually within the 50-150 price range.
Below are not herbs but are worth mentioning to add in your garden:
This is not your usual ‘tanglad’ or lemongrass, but this specie drives away mosquitoes. This is Citronella, a look-a-like of lemongrass because they belong to the same family. Citronella (or Cymbopogon nadusand Cymbopogon winterianus) is primarily grown for its essential oils used in soaps, candles and insect repellent and in aromatherapy (www.wikipedia.org). The tanglad or Lemongrass ( or Cymbophogon citratus) are used primarily in cooking for stews and curries, usually in Asian region. This sapling is around P50.00 each. Better grow a P50.00 worth plant that drives away mosquitoes than using very expensive and not earth-friendly insect sprays. The Dengue cases now is a good reason to buy this very useful plant.
Madre de Agua (or Trichantera Gigantea) is a shrub (but can grow as big as a tree if you wish according to the merchant selling this one) whose leaves are are used as a feed for hogs and pigs. It is a natural feed that contains a big portion of protein, therefore if you are rearing organic pigs (or is there a term as free-range pigs?), this can be used in their diet. Note however that this cannot be planted in just a pot. If you have bigger parcels of land (or if you have a farm) and intends to grow some pigs, this can be planted. I wasnt able to ask for the price of the sapling, but I guess this is affordable.
This is Mulberry. I have this in our home in Gensan and it grows easily and fast. We love to make a tea from the boiled leaves. It is a good diuretic and it washes away toxins inside your body (it makes you pee all the time). During elementary days, we usually climb in mulberry trees and pick the strawberry-like fruits, usually reddish-to-black in colors. This can be grown along with Madre de Agua since this grows big so fast.
Bauhinias are flowering trees, and are distinct because of their butterfly-like leaves and brilliant purple flowers. But have you seen miniature specie of this plant? I was honestly amazed when a merchant of this plant told me that this is Bauhinia, and this specie is endemic in our country (yey, pride!), specifically in Coron,Palawan (hmmmmmnnn, why did it arrived in Cebu?) . If you are interested to grow something endemic (which is I suggest not since you are altering the environment), you can contact The Forest Cover, which is owned by Aldwit Pangapalan (09209431254). His garden is located beside Banilad Town Center. He boasted of some endemic species like: Balayong (red Tugas, a Philippine hardwood), Hunawon, a gray wood used in furniture, and Panantoon, a tree used for fashion jewelries. He also owns 1 hectare Date Palm plantation in Argao (I never thought Date Palms can grow here in our country!)
I also spotted one merchant selling this organic soil. Better to buy this one than use ordinary soil since you are not sure if the garden soil you are using is really that good for your plant. This planting medium is from decayed organic matter, so you are assured that this is the very thing your herbs needed!
Good luck to your new garden!
For these herbs, you can contact the following:
GREEN JAR ENTERPRISES
0918977-0930 or 09228207763 or telefax- (032) 232-2615