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Cooking with Herbs

Growing Herb Gardens

Herbs are essential ingredients spicing up recipes all over the world. Without them, Cooking and eating would be pretty bland. They add flavor, character, and uniqueness to recipes. Depending upon the herb, you can use the leaves, flower or seeds. Some, like Cilantro/Coriander, the leaves and seeds are used. Used alone or in combination, they help to make cooking fun and enjoyable, and eating a sheer joy!

Join the fun..... grow your own herb plants. The taste of herbs, especially when used fresh, far exceeds dried, store-bought herbs.

Herb gardening uses very little space. Plant a few of your favorite herb plants, along the side of the house or garage, and you have an ample supply for the kitchen. Try growing them in a container on your balcony or deck. They are very comfortable in windowsill planters, too. Many herbs make good indoor houseplants during the winter months.

Varieties:

There are a wide variety of herbs which you can use. Depending on who is counting, there are 40 to 60 different kinds of herbs. Each one has it's own distinct flavoring. Most are easy to grow. There are annuals, perennials and biennials.

Listed below are the different categories. Note, many fall into two or more categories.

Aromatic- Grown for their scent, aromatics herbs are used in flower vases or dried arrangements. Their oils are used in perfumes, candles, potpourri, and toiletries to name a few. A couple of favorites are Lavender and Mint.

Culinary- We think of this category of herb first, and foremost. Most gardeners grow several varieties. Food would be plain, bland and boring, without culinary herbs. Some of the more popular are Basil, Chives and Dill. Depending upon the herb, the leaves, flowers or seeds are used.

Medicinal - Since ancient times, herbs have been used medicinally, to treat or cure a wide range of ailments. We know many of them are proven to be effective. Others, like garlic, have preventative characteristics. (A garlic a day keeps the Cholesterol away" ...sorry, I couldn't resist!)

In ancient times, many herbs were believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits. We all are too familiar with the belief that Garlic, worn around the neck, wards off vampires and evil spirits. We encourage you to make a necklace of garlic and try it!

Ornamental- They are commonly grown for fresh or dried arrangements. Ornamental herbs also make the flower gardens look nicer. In this sense, they are used like a flower. You probably consider most of these to also fit within another category of herb. If so, you are right!


Planting Herb Gardens:

Herb gardens are fun and easy to grow. They take up little space. Many growers put herb gardens up against their house or garage wall, so they can walk out and pick them as needed, for the day's meal.

Tip: If you are growing perennials or biennials, make sure to plan your Herb garden accordingly, so as not to disturb them the next year.

We encourage you to experiment and try new herbs each year. That way, you will be certain to try new recipes all winter long.

Most herb plants grow best in well drained, fairly fertile soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.0. See pH levels for Herbs

Seeds can be sown indoors or out. Seeds are often very tiny and fine. Make sure not to plant the seeds too deeply. Just barely cover the seeds, and keep the top surface of the soil moist. Thin seedlings according to the instructions on the seed packet.


Insects and Pests:

Few pests affect the herb family. In fact, some herbs, such as garlic, are used in organic pesticide formulas. Occasionally mites and aphids can bother a number of herb varieties. See Organic Sprays.


Disease:

Plant diseases are not too common among the herb family.


Harvesting and Drying :

It is best to harvest herbs in the morning. This is when the oils are the highest concentration. Immediately after harvesting them, wash them in cool water. Then spread them out on a drying rack. Allow good ventilation. They should dry in three to five days. Many culinary herbs can also be frozen for later use.

Did you Know? It is the oil in herbs that gives them aroma and flavor.

More on Harvesting and Drying Herbs


More on Herbs:

Herb Garden Seeds for Sale Buy top quality, brand name flower, vegetable and herb seeds, at discount sale prices. The best quality at the lowest prices...anywhere!

Organic Herbs begin with Certified Organic Herb Seeds

Herb Gardening  - gardening tips from Garden Hobbies

Download Our Garden Seed Catalog

Plant Botanical Names Common name to botanical names cross reference for your favorite herbs.

Compost tumblers quickly make the best dirt!

Buy a Composter now

More on Composters


Food Dehydrator


How to Grow Herbs:
Anise
Balm Lemon
Basil

Borage
Caraway
Catmint
Catnip
Chamomile
Chinese Parsley

Chervil
Chives
Cilantro/Coriander

Corn Salad / Mache
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Garlic
Lavender

Lovage
Marjoram
Mint
Oregano
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage

Savory
Sorrel
St. John's Wort
Stevia
Tarragon
Thyme
Watercress

Drying Herbs

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