Garden Life

by Donna Torrey
Finally, I think the worst of the cold weather is behind us, and I’m beginning to feel the soft touch of a South Florida springtime; are you?
All of a sudden it seems, the birds are chirping away, building nests, courting and full of energy.

The trees are sprouting new growth, and the tomatoes are greening up again and happily producing. This is a fantastic time to be in the garden! It is also the perfect time to plant herbs if you haven’t already.
The basil was miserable during the very cold weather we had, but now would be most content. There are so many varieties to try: purple, spicy globe, Thai, lemon, even holy! They like to be rather moist, so plant them where they can be hand-watered as needed.
If you want to try something new and wonderful, check out culantro, not to be confused with cilantro. Both taste similar, but as anyone knows who has tried to grow cilantro, it never seems happy and bolts all too soon, lasting barely a couple of months. Culantro (Eryngium foetidum), a new world native, is a perennial herb from Mexico and the Caribbean and is a true cilantro impersonator.
If you are using your homegrown tomatoes for fresh salsa, then you know a salsa is worthless without the taste of cilantro. Although they both belong to the same family, culantro has much wider leaves arranged in a basal rosette, making it not only attractive but easy to chop up. If you love the taste of cilantro, then culantro is a must for your herb garden.

The Garden Gate is located at Sears (north side), Pompano Citi Centre, corner of Copans Rd. and US 1, Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-783-1189 and/or visit

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