Melissa officinalis is a godsend for gourmets who dream to combine the aroma of citrus with a pleasant mint flavor and some honey notes, weakly playing through two such strong aromas.
Therefore, melissa is suitable for many dishes where you want to feel the citrus flavor, but without the acid inherent in many citrus. She can highlight and make many delicate dishes such as soup of tasteless spinach will acquire with melissa’s spicy, bright flavor.
This plant belongs to the family lamiaceae.
Melissa grows in the form of branched bushes from 45 to 125 cm tall. Flowers can be white, pink and yellow. Essential oils are mostly found in the tops of shoots and leaves. This plant is a good honey plant. It belongs to perennials, so it will please more than one year.
For melissa should choose a Sunny or slightly shaded place with fertile, well-drained loose soil (sandy loam, for example). The reaction of the soil may be neutral or slightly acidic.
Under the perennial herbs I usually cook the ground in the autumn. Well dug, free from weeds, which make organic and mineral fertilizers. I don’t have a problem with the outflow of water at the site, but if you have soil acidification, think about drainage. It can be small crushed stone or broken brick. The main thing is that there was no rotting of the roots. I have a little acidic soil in the place where the herbs grow, as evidenced by the presence of mother-and-stepmother. I add wood ash to the soil. My soil is loose and light enough. But if you have clay or lowland on the soil, then dilute the soil with river sand and make high beds when planting Melissa.
In the spring, when the soil warms up, you need to loosen the prepared area, as well as remove weeds. I marked out small ridges, between rows about 45 cm, planted 2 rows. Between plants took about 40 cm, was not mistaken, as the bushes are very overgrown. If I planted this plant again today, I would take the distance between the rows and between the plants more, about 60 cm, for a more aesthetic appearance.
Melissa reproduces by dividing the Bush and seeds. I have root them out immediately and give good flowering. Bushes share is when they begin to grow shoots, it’s somewhere in early May, or you can share the plant in late August. Seeds germinate the weaker. They are small and for germination demanding to light. Sealed them into the soil no deeper than 1 cm.
Melissa can be sown directly into the ground at the end of May, and you can plant seedlings somewhere in late March-early April in May, ready — made seedlings with 4 normal leaves are planted in the ground (the age of the seedlings is about 40 days). Many people dig up part of melissa’s bush for the winter and grow houses on the windowsill. From the seeds you can also grow a pot plant, but melissa loves freedom, so the pot grows bad.
Melissa does not require any specific care.
- Watered several times: the first time, when planted, and a few more times, when there was a severe drought.
- Melissa welcomes loosening the soil and getting rid of weeds, and from the latter also saves mulching. Break still have, but not in such quantity. Mulch also prevents rapid evaporation of moisture.
- In non-Chernozem areas that the plant did not freeze in the winter, it needs to be covered.
Collection and harvesting of melissa
Collect foliage is melissa before flowering, although many gourmets gather in the flowering period. It is best to start collecting in June, young leaves have a delicate aroma and taste.
When melissa began to blossom, her scent and taste will increase and become more stringent. Melissa leaves have essential oils, so they should be dried in the shade, but not more than +35 °C. after drying, gently fold the raw materials in sealed containers. In freezing melissa does not go, because it loses its useful properties.