Rare and Unusual:  Rau Ram – Vietnamese Coriander Summer Salsa Recipe

Rare and Unusual: Rau Ram – Vietnamese Coriander Summer Salsa Recipe

The Growers Exchange prides itself on our large and diverse offerings of plants; we are now selling over 175 different types of herbs and we are adding more each season! In addition to our ‘usual suspects’ we are known as a source for the more hard to find herbs, the rare and unusual. We love introducing our customers to these plants, as you will not find them in your big box garden centers, but they are a must have for gardeners that appreciate and support the broader offerings of the world of herbs.

An herb that we have grown for years, Vietnamese Coriander has been growing in popularity along with our exposure to and demand for more unusual foods from around the world. Also known as Rau Ram, this herb is well known in Vietnamese cooking. Often pronounced as ‘zow-zam’, it is used as a cilantro substitute ~ sort of a ‘citrusy cousin’! The taste is quite similar, but we find it to be more lemony, more peppery with a bit more punch! Actually, it is well known throughout Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, the plant is known as laksa and often served there as a condiment, along with basil. (more…)

A Time to Plant, Fall Herb Gardening

A Time to Plant, Fall Herb Gardening

Spring is such a frenzied time for a gardener, and so many of us, tired of the dreary winter, tend to jump the gun and live to regret it. Yes, even veteran gardeners give into emotion when we see all of those bright annuals luring us into the garden center in March. What we don’t see, however, is their weary staff trying to hustle carts back into the greenhouses in the evening after a snap frost has been forecasted. Or, planting early when the soil is still cold, being frustrated by no growth. Do you expect your cake to bake when the oven is off?

Ah, Spring ~ the fickle season. Bringing us out on a lovely day then slapping us back inside with an unexpected snowstorm. “Cover the      “ – you can fill in the blank! And on the other side of spring, another lovely day followed by a scorcher – “Water the      “ and fill in the blank! (more…)

Advantages of an Herb Spiral

Advantages of an Herb Spiral

If you’re familiar with permaculture principles, you might also be familiar with herb spirals. Herb spirals are essentially highly productive and efficient garden beds and are often considered the crown jewel of any sustainable yard.

Herb spirals are water-efficient, space-efficient, productive, and nice to look at. Spiral patterns are often found in nature, from pea tendrils and fiddleheads to snails and mollusk shells. So why not incorporate a spiral into your garden design? Let’s take a look at the inner workings and many advantages of herb spirals:

How Does an Herb Spiral Work?

Permaculture is all about developing spaces in a way that makes sense and works with the systems of nature that are already in place. Herb spirals follow these principles as well. They’re a great starting point if you’re interested into delving further into the world of permaculture.
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Help Save the Monarch Butterfly with Asclepias Tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed

Help Save the Monarch Butterfly with Asclepias Tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias Tuberosa) is a native plant that creates a wonder area of your garden for monarch butterflies. The Growers Exchange wants to encourage our gardening friends to set aside a sunny space in their gardens to help these majestic butterflies thrive and slow the decline of their population.

The bad news: there can be no question that natural habitats, areas where monarch butterflies live, are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Habitat destruction, defined as changing an area in which a plant, animal or other organism lives to the point where that species can no longer survive. The destruction is generally described as either actual destruction, degradation or fragmentation. In the case of the Monarch butterfly, the major threat to their survival is the loss of milkweed habitat, which is an essential plant in their life cycle. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the counts of Monarch butterflies are trending down sharply, and their migration is now under threat.

The good news: restoration of habitat can be achieved with very little effort on the part of concerned gardeners. You can easily offset this loss of a critical host plant in your own yard by planting milkweed, the vital host plant for Monarch butterflies. (more…)

Tips for Growing Herb Plants Indoors

Tips for Growing Herb Plants Indoors

I’ll be the first to admit it:  growing herbs indoors is not as easy as growing them outdoors.  But, rest assured, it can be done.  Since I have a lot of greenhouse space, plenty of light and water and 24/7 attention, I never felt the need to grow them indoors, at home.  But, over the years, as your questions about indoor growing became more numerous and specific, I began to grow more and more of them in our bright little ‘life of it’ room (named by my then 6 year old son, who on a cold wintery day, proclaimed that our warm sunny haven was ‘the life of it’) – not sure where that came from, but it stuck.  Twenty -three years later, it’s still bright and sunny and filled with herbs ferns, gardenias and a lot of citrus trees and bushes. (more…)

How to Choose the Right Lavender for Your Garden

How to Choose the Right Lavender for Your Garden

Trying to unravel the tangled web of species under the genus Lavandula is a challenge to event the most accomplished horticulturalist. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so dear customer, please note that there is no such thing as English lavender!

There has been a lot of cross breeding that has resulted in a huge number of cultivars, even creating a bunch of sterile plants that are humorously known as ‘mule hybrids’!

The most widely grown lavender, commercially used for cosmetics and scent, is Lavandula Intermedia. This popular variety is a cross between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia; you will find this variety growing commercially throughout France, as well as in the largest producing country, Bulgaria. Commonly referred to as lavandin, these are extremely hardy plants with long flowering periods. (more…)