With the warmer months upon us it is time to start thinking about planting your flower and vegetable gardens, if you have not done so already. Herb gardens follow a similar schedule.
Th benefits of an herb garden are similar to a vegetable garden. The fresh herbs will be used in your cooking and make your cooking even better.
When deciding to start a herb garden, the location is something you need to consider. Are you going to plant your herbs in the ground? Or grow them in a container? Both options have their benefits.
When planting herbs in the ground it is convenient to plant it near the kitchen so you have easy access when cooking. Other factors to consider are the type of soil and the amount of sun your location will have. Drainage is very important when growing herbs so you will want to use a looser soil. Most herbs also do well in full sunlight – so keep this in mind when choosing a location.
If you choose to grow your herbs in a container, the most important thing to remember is choosing the appropriate sized container. A container with a minimum of one gallon capacity is ideal for each herb. If you are planting more than one herb in a container make sure they are spaced out.
One benefit to container gardening is the mobility of the plants. You can move the container easily to make sure the plants are getting an adequate amount of sunlight.
Some of the more commonly grown herbs are:
Dill: the seeds are used for pickling and are usually harvested in late summer.
Thyme: the fresh leaves can be used at any time. It is often used in soups, salads and even in pizza.
Oregano: this plant spreads quickly so be aware of this when choosing a location to plant. Harvest only when you are ready to use the leaf immediately after. The oregano leaves are also used to top pizza, in stir fry and can be used in a grilled cheese.
Parsley: this plant is very rich in vitamins and is best to eat fresh instead of dried. Parsley is often used in dressings, on fish and in salsa.
Rosemary: the plant can be used fresh or dried. If used fresh be sure to remove the stems before serving the dish or chop very finely. It is often used with lamb, to make shish kabobs and in Red Stew.
Sage: the sage leaves are used dried and fresh. The purple blooms from the plants are often used in flower arrangements or as a garnish. It is often used when cooking stuffing, meats and fruits with vinegar.
Basil: when the plant is about a foot tall the first harvest can usually take place. Basil is used when making pesto, bruschetta and different pasta dishes.