Drying Lemon BalmTraditional Landscape, Philadelphia
Amy Renea @ A Nest for All Seasons
What Houzz contributors are saying:
The oils in lemon balm, shown here, and other plants naturally repel insects.Beware of pesticides and poisons. Veterinarian Tina Wismer, medical director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center and a master gardener with the American Horticultural Society, says homeowners with pets should be particularly wary of insecticidal lawn treatments and herbicides, which have been linked to higher bladder cancer rates in dogs. “Insecticidal treatments can work for both ticks and fleas, but make sure to follow the label directions,” Wismer says. “There will be instructions for how long to keep your pet off the treated areas.”Natural insect-repelling alternatives, like cedar chips and some garden plants like pet-safe lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), shown here, or even catnip (Nepeta cataria), might deter dangerous bugs as well.
Option 3: Place the herbs in a single layer on a screen, in the same location as for the previous options. You can place the screen on a table or up on bricks to better enable airflow, as that will allow the herbs to dry on both sides. Every two days, turn the herbs over to help promote even drying.Option 4: You can oven-dry them for quick results, but this will result in slightly less flavor than if you allow them to dry naturally. Set the temperature to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the oven door open. Place the herbs on a baking sheet and put into the oven, making sure to still leave the door open. Turn the herbs every 10 minutes until they are they are dry, and remove.Option 5: If you have a dehydrator, you can easily dry herbs in a relatively short amount of time.
Lemon balm is a favorite of my friend Janine Crum, an essential oils specialist. She says that essential oils are more potent medicinally, but fragrances still affect us emotionally. She especially enjoys the scent of lemon balm — which, she says, relaxes, soothes and calms her senses. Here, lemon balm leaves are being dried. As with most fragrant plants, drying the flowers or leaves concentrates the oils so that they can be used later as sachets or perfume for your home.
Dry herbs and flowers. Drying herbs like lemon balm (for tea) and flowers like lavender (for sachets or bath products) can extend the harvest of these fragrant plants. Herbs and flowers also tend to be lower-maintenance than vegetable gardens, making them a good choice for gardeners who want a useful crop but have less time to spend gardening.Are you ready to grow herbs and flowers? Do you have a sunny spot to grow a bed of flowers? Flowers and herbs can do well in pots, too, so you can grow these even on a patio.Do you have space to spread out or hang up herbs and flowers to dry?Don’t forget that you can also cut fresh flowers for bouquets and use fresh herbs in your cooking!
If you get really motivated about your tea garden, you may also want to set up a drying station to preserve the herbs at the peak of flavor so you can use them at other times of the year. A dry, shaded, well-ventilated place is all you need for a rack of drying screens.However, enjoying iced tea in the garden can be an even lower-tech affair. There’s no need to even use a stove. Simply fill a clear glass pitcher with water, macerate the herbs inside, sweeten to taste, add ice and enjoy.See more ways to enjoy teatime
Tisane GardenIf you love sipping herb tisanes, why not have a tisane garden? You can choose your favorite herbs, make your own blends and save money in the process. Use herbs fresh from the garden to make tisanes or dry them.What to plant in a tisane garden: Lemon balm (seen drying here), peppermint, lemon verbena, chamomile, bee balm and yerba buena.