HERB OF THE YEAR BAY LAUREL
Herb of the year for 2009 is a popular culinary herb—bay or Laurus nobilis. Where it's hardy, bay grows into a tree. Here in Zone 6, it's not winter hardy and must be brought inside before frost. Bay is usually the most expensive herb in the greenhouse. It's difficult to propagate, and slow growing when young. However, when they reach a certain maturity, they grow easily and fairly rapidly. My 15 year old bay is about my height. Bay is not difficult to overwinter. Put in a sunny window, water thoroughly when dry and check for scale insects. Check to see if it needs transplanting in spring or summer, but move up only one pot size.
Bay leaves, fresh or dried, are used in many soups and stews. Remove leaves before serving due to sharp edges. Fresh leaves have an almost spicy flavor. We'll feature a bay flavored treat during our spring open house.