No matter where in the world you live you’ll find that most cultures use herbs in their cooking to provide flavor. With the spread in popularity of gourmet cooking and lifestyle shows on television we are encouraged to expand our culinary tastes to include dishes from around the world. As any professional chef will tell you, fresh herbs offer much more flavor than the dried variety so why not follow these simple steps and grow your own herbs at home.
It is quite easy to put in a basic herb garden to grow the herbs you’ll use the most. Most of the common herbs used in cooking can be successfully grown in average soil although some, like oregano, require a richer soil.
Also, some herbs such as parsley are biennial in nature. This means the first year they are grown they will not be useful for seasoning. It is during the second year that the crop can be used. Ideally, with parsley, plant a new crop of seeds one year after planting your first parsley plants so that in a couple of years they will overlap, providing you with stable seasoning every year.
Most of the herbs grown in a simple herb garden such as parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil require full sunlight and regular watering to survive. You can harvest leaves and sprigs directly from your garden to add instant impact to your cooking.
Some plants, thyme for example, are very forgiving and will survive with little water. Since some have different soil requirements and can grow under slightly different conditions, having them separated by variety can help get them started and keep them growing strongly throughout their life.
Plant Herbs Close To Where They Will Be Used
In most cases it is easier on the grower to plant a basic herb garden close to the kitchen for easy harvesting of the fresh crop. Remember, the entire growth does not have to be cut and used at once. With the right care, your herbs will continue to grow and be usable during the entire season. Drying or freezing the extra cuttings at the end of the season can possibly supply the spice throughout the winter, often lasting until the next crop produces the following year. In milder climates some herbs like parsley and sage will continue growing through the winter months.
If you are little short on space why not consider companion growing? Herbs can be planted amongst flowers and vegetables and can be useful in keeping away garden pests from these other plants. For example, try planting basil amongst tomatoes, and grow rosemary among broccoli and cauliflower. Herbs will also do well in pots and hanging baskets.
The only problem with planting herbs among other plants is that they can be mistaken and trampled on inadvertently when weeding, pruning and maintaining the other plants in your mixed garden bed. A herb garden is a valuable addition to your kitchen and your cooking, it will be easy to look after and provide great joy.