Bay

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Laurus nobilis

 

History

Bay trees are aromatic evergreen large shrubs. the fresh or dried leaves are used in a range of both savoury and sweet cooking. Common names are: Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, Bay Tree, Laurel, or Grecian Laurel.

Growing

Bay trees can reach over 7 metres but do take well to being clipped or trained as a standard. One bay tree would easily provide for your families Bay leaf requirements. Bay grows well in sun or light shade. It is wind hardy and frost hardy in Hawke’s Bay conditions. It can handle a range of soil conditions. Bay is best grown from semi ripe cuttings taken from mid summer to early autumn. These are best with a heel planted in gritty moist compost, and left to root over winter in a shady moist spot. Seed is difficult and not recommended.

Young leaves can be harvested for use throughout the year. They can be easily dried but have a much better flavour if fresh.

Maintenance

Bay thrives on being pruned, and can be cut back hard if needed.

Feeding: Not nutrient Hungry

Problems and Pests

Few problems. Occasionally scale insects which create sooty moulds.

Uses

Can repel flies and Bugs – Keep a few leaves in the pantry, linen closet, animal bedding.  If grown in pairs will pollinate and produce purple/black berries – these yield an oil that repels biting insects such as fleas.