News Article

Penn State Extension Service Newsletter for 04.17.17

Women Rooted in Agriculture

Wednesday, May 10 – 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Ag Heritage Building, 185 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg. Guest Speaker: Katie Dotterer-Pyle will speak about promoting a positive image of agriculture through social media, successful farm tours and personal interactions with friends and neighbors. There is no cost to attend; however, pre-registration is required. Please call the Extension Office at 717-263-9226.

Container Gardening for Families

Saturday, May 13 – 9:00-11:00 a.m.- Ag Heritage Building, 185 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg. Create a beautiful container of flowers with the help of Master Gardeners. Fee: $20 per container. To register, please call the Extension Office at 717-263-9226 or register online at

Annual Master Gardener Greenhouse and Perennial Plant Sale Saturday, May 20 – 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m at the Extension grounds (181 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg). Open to the public. Please bring your wagon, lawn cart or boxes to carry your plant purchases. Cash or check only (no credit cards accepted).

Franklin County Dairy Princess Pageant

The public is cordially invited to attend the 50th Annual Franklin County Dairy Princess Pageant on Saturday, May 20, at DuCar Farm, 123 Kauffman Road, Chambersburg.

A reception being called “A Gathering in the Barnyard” begins at 5:00 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. A meal of roast beef and stuffed chicken breasts will be served. The cost for the pageant will be as follows: $15 for adults, $8 per child and free for those under 4 years of age. Anyone interested in attending the pageant should contact Patty Hege at 375-2811 or The deadline to respond is May 13.

Have you Savored Lately?

By Jean Schlecht, Penn State Extension Master Gardener Volunteer

When you hear the word savory (savoury), what is your first thought? A particular memory of a delicious meal or an appetizer? An aroma? An especially delightful dessert? Did you savor a moment? Dictionaries often define the word as “something having savor, pleasant to the mind, like a triumph, piquant, or pleasing to the sense of taste especially by reason of effective seasoning; pungent.” It is the last two phrases I want to explore about savories grown in our area. The annual herb known as Savory (Satureja spp – Labriatas) is a member of the extremely large mint family and generally considered unruly. Although there are many varieties of Savory, there are three common to our growing zone 6B. However, to me especially, the three discussed here are a more reserved category family of herbs.

Savory is one of the historical herbs with records of its use dating back 2,000 years. Prior to the development of the spice trade, it was one of the most pungent herbs available for use in cooking. There are references to it in Roman writings especially by Pliny. The Romans, who most likely gave the herb its Latin name Satureja, are thought to have introduced it to the various countries they conquered including England. The Saxons, who later conquered England, gave it its common name of savory due to its characteristic spiciness.

As a plant, Savory tends not to spread too far and too fast and generally maintains its boundaries. As with most herbs it has many uses in addition to seasoning food. Among other uses in the past and present are as a companion plant to grow near bee hives to sweeten the honey produced. It also proves helpful when planted near beans and tomatoes. Winter savory can be used not only in cooking but as a shrub along a walkway or a wall. In the past, it was used as a medicinal herb. However, today it is most often used in cooking.

Winter Savory (S.montana) is a shrubby, hardy semi-evergreen perennial. Most often used as a border (come see it newly planted in our Herb Demonstration Garden at the Franklin County Extension Office), it is about 18-20 inches in height and width. The dark green glossy, small leaves contrast nicely with the tiny white to pink to lavender flowers that appear in late summer. In winter the leaves of this evergreen shrub will often turn a dark burgundy adding winter interest to the landscape.

It can be clipped for use in cooking until it flowers. Winter Savory can also be harvested during the winter. Due to its pungent aroma it is used in Italian cooking, bean dishes, eggs, soups, and strong tasting vegetables. But beware and only use a pinch as it has a strong piney flavor. It is especially good used with meats, patés and game dishes.

Summer Savory (S.hortensis) is an annual herb in our region. Slender and almost inconspicuous with its sparse leaves, it can grow to 18 inches tall. Harvesting can begin when it reaches 6 inches tall. Just snip the tops of the branches. Its white or pink flowers appear at the tops of the stem. When these appear, stop harvesting the plant. It has a pleasant aroma and, while it can spread its seeds, it is not considered invasive. Its leaves are used in cooking beans, peas, other vegetables and soups. Summer Savory can also be used in teas, mayonnaise, and appetizers.

Creeping Savory (S.montana illyrica) is a low growing form of Savory used mainly as a ground cover. It can be used in cooking much like its upright form although it is less spicy. In addition to use in your garden, it can be planted in containers and will flow over the edge. Just think - another small container herb garden next to your door! This variety will die back in the winter but, as with all perennials, will reappear next year. It, too, can be seen in the Herb section of our Demonstration gardens.

Savories can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Summer Savory can be started either in flats or sown directly in the ground. It needs no special care. Winter Savory is slower growing. It requires less water than Summer Savory. It is best to purchase these plants from a local nursery as the germination rate from seed is quite low. Plant your Savory (and other plants) when all danger of frost is past following the directions either on the seed packet or plant label. The date of the last frost is generally after May 12 in Franklin County. Savories thrive in full sun and can be planted in normal soil.

So again, we ask the question, “Have you savored lately?” As you can see, this herb is one to be truly savored.

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