Herbs and Oils
A specialty crop study, led by Dr. Nancy Callan, of over 35 culinary, medicinal, and essential oil producing herbs were evaluated for their potential for production in western Montana. Crops included anise, calendula, biennial and annual caraway, Clary sage, coriander, German chamomile, 'Omega' flax, parsley, sage, summer savory, sweet basil, sweet fennel, thyme, dill, coffee chicory, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, plantain psyllium, skullcap, valerian, annual wormwood and yarrow.
Crop adaptation studies were conducted over a three-year period from 1998 through 2000. Yield and, in some cases, quality was evaluated. Research involving dill, feverfew, valerian, German chamomile, and Echinacea was also conducted at the Northwestern Agricultural Research Center at Kalispell, MT.
The exceptionally long and warm 1998 growing season provided an opportunity to observe these species under excellent conditions for crop maturation, while the 1999 and 2000 seasons were much shorter. Complete weather data for Corvallis may be found at the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation AGRIMET site. The soil is a Burnt Fork Sandy Loam, pH 7.2. All crops were grown under sprinkler irrigation.