San Antonio.- Get ready for one of San Antonio’s favorite events – the SA Herb Market set to take center stage at the Pearl Brewery on Oct 15. The market is the best place to get locally grown and healthy plants plus cutting edge tips for successful gardening, and at the best prices. Buying direct from the growers gives fledgling and even more seasoned gardeners the best shot at happy gardening with tried-and-true advice not generally available. LP presents the first of a special two-part herb series this weekend to help make sure you are ready to make the most of the one-day-only event.
By Angela Covo
It may be dry in SA, but according to Juan Soulas, Master Gardener and SAWS planner, there are a dozen great herbs that love our dry conditions and will thrive once established in the ground.
“There are least 12 herbs that will work well in San Antonio in these conditions,” Soulas explained.
Among the not-so-thirsty edible plants, culinary aficionados will find cilantro, basil, chives, dill, lemon balm, Mexican marigold mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
And Soulas offers some sage advice about Mexican marigold, one of his favorites.
“Mexican marigold is a great herb that is being used more and more in cutting-edge culinary arts,” Soulas said. “It’s also known as Mexican mint for the subtle flavoring it adds to dishes,” he added.
Regarding basil, Soulas explains it’s all in the pinch.
“Basil is easy to grow in full sun, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to harvest the herb,” he shared. “It’s very important to do this right to stimulate plant growth.”
So to make sure your basil is hearty and grows strong, use it regularly, but remember to pinch the top leaves from the crown to the base of the next set of leaves underneath to foster growth.
Of the dozen select herbs, Soulas said all except the mint and lemon balm prefer full sun.“It’s best to give the mint and lemon balm partial shade.”
Rosemary is one of the most diverse herbs in the roster, according to Soulas. Not only does it serve as an herb, but it’s a fabulous hedge and very popular in local landscaping.
“When you bring your new rosemary plant home, remember it needs to be moved immediately to a larger pot – don’t wait. In two or three weeks, the herb will be established and you can plant it in the ground in full sun – rosemary truly prefers to be dry,” Soulas said.
Your best bet for picking up the healthiest herb plants is the upcoming San Antonio Herb Market, an Alamo City tradition for 20 years. Experts and growers will be available, edifying everyone interested in gardening on Saturday, Oct 15 at Pearl Brewery from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking and admission is free.
Nationally-recognized herbalist Susan Belsinger will be the guest speaker at one of the Herb Market seminars. Most of the herb plants for sale will be ready to grow for South Texas winter, and certainly Solas’ dozen herbs for drought will be available. The Market will also present healthy living and culinary seminars which will occur throughout the day.
This year’s theme is "20 Herbs to Remember" to celebrate the 20th anniversary. The SA Herb Market is a GoTexan event, affiliated with the Texas Dept of Agriculture, sponsored by San Antonio Water System and presented by the San Antonio Herb Market Association.
For more information, visit www.sanantonioherbmarket.org.
Photograph : Master Gardener and SAWS Planner Juan Soulas. (courtesy SAWS)