Herb Gardening 101
An herb garden may be a good option if any of the following apply to you:
l you have limited space
l you don’t have a lot of time to devote to gardening
l you’re unable, for physical reasons, to spend a lot of time on your hands and knees
l your garden conditions are less than ideal: poor soil, bad drainage, too much shade or sun (this would require the use of a container garden)
Herbs are much easier to grow and all you need is a sunny, warm place that gets about 4 hours of sun a day. They will grow with less sun, just not as well. They do not require frequent watering, about twice per week. Test to ensure the soil is dry prior to watering and rest assured that even when they do dry out, it will not harm your herbs. Potting mix, not potting soil, is best for your herbs as it is light and provides the aeration that it needs to be happy.
Some of the more popular and easy to grow herbs are listed below:
Basil: An annual plant, these will need to be replanted each year. They love warmth and prefer a 75 degree room temperature. They do have longer roots and require a deeper pot to grow in. Basil pairs well with vegetables, cheese and tomato based recipes.
Chives: This perennial is easy to grow from seed. It is part of the onion family and are a great addition to most dishes. Chives are drought tolerant-so they can survive if you become forgetful with your watering routine.
Dill: The seeds as well as leaves are used for flavoring food, especially mustard and creamy sauces. Dill will grow happily in both poor and rich soil or in damp or dry conditions.
Lavender: This hardy perennial has grayish foliage and fragrant lavender flowers. They are very low maintenance and go well in infused teas, with lamb, chicken and makes a lovely garnish.
Sage: This herb is another hardy perennial with beautiful foliage and blue flowers. This herb is extremely easy to grow, drought tolerant and does well in about any temperature. Sage tastes great with cheeses, stuffing and game meats.
Thyme: Leaves are cut for drying before purple blossoms open (otherwise the flavor is changed). They are a very compact sized plant and do very well in containers. Thyme goes pairs great with poultry, fish and vegetables.
Rosemary: Another compact variety that does very well in containers and tastes great when roasting meats and vegetables. Rosemary is not fussy at all and does well in any type of soil and infrequent watering.
Growing your own herbs can be very rewarding and they bring life, color and fresh aromas to your living space. They require very little space and are easy to maintain. Cooking with fresh herbs brings much more livelier, fresh flavors and will have you never wanting to use dried one again.