Spice Up Your Recipes with an Easy-to-Create Herb Garden
There’s nothing better to improve the flavour of your culinary masterpieces than fresh herbs. The added zest is worth the expense, right?
What if I told you that it’s easy to grow your own herbs either indoors or out and you can enjoy the benefits of freshly-clipped herbs in your favorite dishes? How? Read on.
If you decide to plant from seeds, you’ll need a lot of patience. Most of us will want to begin with plants already several inches tall. Select containers that fit your growing space. If you are using windowsills, you’ll need smaller pots. Transplant the herbs using potting soil containing either perlite or vermiculite for good drainage.
Most culinary herb plants originated in the Mediterranean area and need as much sunlight as you can provide them—four to six hours at least. If you can’t provide that, you might place the plants in rooms with skylights or keep them under fluorescent or halide lights part of the day. Herbs like moderate temperatures, no greater than 75 degrees.
Herbs that do well indoors include mint, parsley, chives and cilantro. Others are basil, bay laurel, chervil (also known as French parsley), dill, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. Plants should be watered sparingly to prevent damping off at the soil line. Using a liquid fertilizer once a month will ensure a healthy plant that will last through the winter months.
Some say that harvesting the herbs in the morning hours produces the strongest flavors.
An outdoor herb garden is a joy. And, you need a remarkably small space to include all the varieties of herbs you desire. A space 12 feet square is more than enough to grow all the herbs you love. You’ll want the garden to be as near to your kitchen door as possible while getting as much sunlight as possible. Herbs can grow well in nearly any soil as long as there is adequate drainage.
In medieval days, kitchen herb gardens were things of beauty, grown in monasteries in geometric shapes and tended with loving care. You’ll want to arrange your plantings with a variety of colors, textures and heights in mind. Sage, mint and thyme come in variegated versions for some added color interest. If you want to start mint, oregano or marjoram from rooted cuttings, just pinch off a stalk with three to four leaves, pot in soil and leave covered by plastic or a pot for a week and your plant will take root.
Fresh herbs in your next pot of soup or vegetable salad will give it that special flair that good cooks know and love.
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