Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going Greek for Easter and Celebrating Earth Week in a Big Organic Way

I'm Giving Away a $520 Earth Dinner Package!

Greek Oregano in the Greenhouse - In My Kitchen Garden
Greek oregano going gangbusters in the greenhouse (the left side is shorter from harvesting).

Realization of the Day:
I think this just might be the Year of the Herbs in my garden.

The oregano, chives, lemon thyme, English thyme, sage, purple sage, and lemon balm are all doing great. My two little rosemary plants are a looking a little scrawny—no doubt due to my snipping them to within an inch of their life last fall in order to make just one more batch of White Bean Artichoke Dip with Rosemary, Romano, and Kalamata Olives—but I have high hopes for them. (You can read more about growing and using rosemary here.)

Fresh herbs from the garden are a low cost, low maintenance luxury. This time of year you can often find sturdy little herb seedlings for sale at nurseries and farmers' markets for about the price of those tiny packets of 'fresh' herbs at the supermarket. No garden space? No problem. Many herbs will thrive when grown in pots.

More below, including details on my biggest giveaway ever. . .

I've had this pot of Greek oregano for years, and all I do is water it, mulch it once or twice a year with sheep manure (which gives it a slow dose of organic fertilizer every time it's watered), and trim it back when it starts to flower. Whether it's overwintering in the greenhouse or soaking up sun out in the garden, I don't remember it ever being bothered by pests or disease. I should really divide it up and repot it, but in the meantime it appears to be quite happy.

One of my favorite ways to use fresh oregano is in this Slow Roasted Greek Style Leg of Lamb with Lemony Potatoes and Braised Swiss Chard (which is so easy to grow from seed, even in containers!). It's a simple yet elegant, one pan meal that would be perfect for Easter dinner, although I made it last Saturday 'just because.' The leftovers, if you have any, are really good.

More Farmgirl Fare recipes that call for fresh oregano:
Easy Homemade Italian Sausage (awesome on pizza—no casings required!)
Italian Beer Bread (scroll down for the Italian version)

You can read more about growing oregano and other herbs in my previous post, Perennial Herbs in Pots and Another Reason to Grow Your Own Greek Oregano.

Happy Earth Week! Even if you don't celebrate Easter, Earth Week is for everybody, and a perfect way to honor our amazing planet is by hosting or attending an Earth Dinner.

In honor of Earth Week, I'm giving away a $520 Organic Valley Earth Dinner Package to one Farmgirl Fare reader! You'll find all the details here. But hurry—the contest ends Friday, April 22nd at 8:00pm EST!

©, where one day it's 86 degrees, and the next morning there's frost on everything (after our official last frost date). The other day I was sweating in shorts, and last night we built a fire in the wood stove to take the chill off The Shack. Spring in Missouri is beautiful—and always full of challenging weather surprises!


  1. All your pics of Swiss Chard make my mouth water! Just beautiful:) My oregano didn't fare as well as yours certainly has, but I might try again - fresh herbs are certainly a luxury. Basil and cilantro are so much easier for me to grow than oregano though! (at least from seed).

  2. I'm currently getting ready to plant my garden, and I just have to say that your blog(s) are such an inspiration. I've learned so much from you! I hope my herbs do as well as yours.

  3. That's funny--rosemary seems to be the one plant we can't kill. Or control. Probably because I find it to be somewhat overpowering and don't really cook with it all that much.

  4. My oregano stays out year round. I have it in a raised bed. I've just discovered swiss chard. I'll late the the party, but on board now.

  5. I love the sounds of all the herbs! I'm just starting my garden, but I have parsley, oregano, basil, lavender, and cilantro already.

  6. Ohh why didn't I read this post on Friday!?! My husband and I are just starting to go organic and that would have been so helpful!!

    I've been trying to get some herbs started at our house this year. I've killed my rosemary in previous years and haven't gotten more. And I can never have enough fresh basil to eat with my fresh tomatoes and maybe a little fresh mozzarella!

  7. Yep - sounds like our oregano. Nutso that plant! Well, I guess the parsley, rosemary, lemon thyme and lavender are all doing the same things. Gotta love herbs, they just live on with or without you. Until, of course, I make that lamb recipe. I imagine that will be curtains for the oregano.

  8. What a lovely blog. Your pictures are great, and your tips very helpful. I am trying to grow and create as much as I can on my little suburban plot, and am writing about it at See if you like it!


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!