Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH LIVING and MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-456-6018 or by email. Stay safe!


Growing Herbs in Texas: Soapwort Plant


| 10/9/2009 2:13:12 PM


C.MeredithCynthia Meredith has been gardening with herbs, reading about herbs, and discussing herb gardening in Texas for more than 20 years. She has owned The Herb Cottage ( www.theherbcottage.com ) for over 10 years, selling herb plants to people all over our state.

The early fall continues with ups and downs in temperatures and humidity. Nothing unusual for this part of Texas this time of year. Today it's very warm and humid with a moist southeast wind right off the gulf. If I didn't have a calendar, I might think it was still summer. That is, if I didn't look outdoors at the herb garden.

With the shorter days and the cooler nights we've had, plus all the rain, the herb plants are growing in leaps and bounds. My Greek oregano, which was pruned heavily in August, is now almost as large as it was before pruning, minus the flower stalks. The garlic chives ,which were looking very puny during the drought with very small clumps and no new growth, are now big and healthy. Some are even starting to put on flower stalks. The ones I dug and potted for sales are looking great, too. Garlic chives are such a hardy herb. It's sometimes called Chinese leeks. In Chinese grocery stores, the budded flower stalks are sold as "Gow Choy". I use the flowers in salads and herbal vinegars and I use the leaves in tuna salad, eggs, soups, green salads, potato salads, and baked potatoes.  

Another herb that is growing profusely is soapwort (Saponaria officinalis). It is a low-growing, ground cover type of plant that runs as vigorously as mint, if not more so. It puts on a pretty pink flower in the late summer most years. This year, I guess the heat was just too much for it because it did not flower much. I did cut it back to the ground in August because it was looking very peaked. Now, the growth is thick and lush green. It spreads by underground runners and is intruding into the salad bed I planted nearby.

10-12-09-1
Original soapwort bed. See it creeping out!!



The leaves and roots of soapwort are not edible, but the leaves and the roots are used to make a mild soap. The roots have the highest concentration of the soap-making component called saponin. The most common method for making soap is to add two handfuls of the plant, with or without the roots, to about 3 cups of water and simmer the mixture for about half an hour; strain out the plant matter. You now have a soapy liquid you can use as shampoo, as soap for the bath or to wash antique linens and lace.



Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Classifieds


click me