Starting an Herb Garden
Starting an herb garden can be easy to do and with some simple
research and a little gardening knowledge you will have a thriving
garden that can add spice and flavor to your cooking. Growing
herbs is easier than you may think, and once your herb garden is
established then you may never buy herbs from a shop again.
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Where to Grow an Herb Garden
You will need to decide the location for your herbs and then
consider which ones you are wanting to grow. Some herbs grow very
well together and others have to have more sunlight and growing
space. Herbs thrive in the sunlight and choosing a sunny spot is
essential, as they need six hours of sun a day.
If you'd like an indoor herb garden, placing and starting an herb
garden near your kitchen door will remind you to use your herbs
daily. For some people this is more convenient as you can have
herbs grow year round. Starting an herb garden indoors is
also ideal for first time growers and people with very little
space as they can be placed on windowsills to allow the most
sunlight to your herbs. Unfortunately, you will be limited to the
amount of herbs you can
Having an indoor or a small patch of ground outside makes a great
herb garden for children.
What Herbs to Grow
There are so many different varieties of herbs now available that
it can be difficult to decide which ones are the best to grow. If
you are a cook that likes to experiment and try different flavors
then starting an herb garden is a great idea.
There are several herbs, which are very popular and work well
when starting herb garden. Experiment by growing different herbs
and see which becomes a favorite. Here are a few common herbs you
- Basil is one of the
favorite herbs to use; it grows very easily and can be used in
many dishes or as a great garnish. Basil needs a lot of sunlight
to flourish so pick a very sunny spot away from the cold.
- Another great herb is parsley
it is one of the most nutritious herbs and can be used in
virtually every recipe. It has a mild and savory taste and is
excellent for digestion problems; parsley grows very well
indoors and likes to be sheltered in very sunny areas.
- Dill is a popular
herb, which has aromatic spice with a slightly sour flavor. It
is suited to dishes that require savory yet subtle spice, dill
grows well in sunny sheltered positions. It is fast growing and
very easy to cultivate.
- Mint is a fantastic
herb to grow it can be used in several different dishes and
drinks and is very easy to grow. It looks after itself and
doesn't need much care or attention to make it flourish.
- Chives are very
similar to onions in taste and they are a great substitute for
your cooking, you can use every part of this herb making them
very versatile. Chives grow well in full sunlight and in
You can buy an herb garden kit to make
it easier to start your herbs.
Caring for an Herb Garden
Wherever you decide to have your herb garden you will need to
care for it to enable the herbs to grow well. The herbs will
require just the right amount of water and must not be over
watered; the soil should be moist and not damp.
Timing is everything when it comes to picking
herbs; you need to ensure that you do this at the correct
time. If you pick them too early then they won't be at their
prime, and too late and they would have spoiled.
Picking herbs when you need them is great and one of the main
reasons for starting herb garden. You can decide which ones you
need and simply pick off however much you need for your
Drying Fresh Herbs
If you wish to dry the herbs
then they will need to be picked when they are freshest, this will
lock the most amount of flavor into the leaves. It is better to pick
the young leaves several times throughout the season, rather than
wait for them all to be mature. Pick your herbs before they flower,
bundle bunches of herbs together and allow to dry upside down or
flat for several weeks. Herbs are dry when the leaves are brittle
and easily break to pieces. If drying flat, turn every few days to
ensure all leaves are drying equally.
When ready to use your dried herbs, crush herbs with a mortar or
pestle or place them in a baggie and crush with a rolling pin.
Store in a cool, dry place-not next to the stove.
You can also freeze fresh herbs.
Using Fresh Herbs and Recipes to Try
When replacing fresh herbs with dried herbs, 1/4 teaspoon dried
herbs is equal to 2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh.
- 1 Cup butter, softened
- 3-5 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley,
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Blend together soft butter, lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs.
Stir together until well combined. Lay mixture on top of waxed
paper. Roll up ends of waxed paper and form into a log or rope. Wrap
in plastic wrap and refrigerate. To freeze cut into small cubes or
rounds and flash freeze.
In a glass jar, add bunch of fresh herb sprigs and whole spices. For
fresh herbs try parsley, basil, lavender, lemon verbena, rosemary or
thyme for great tasting vinegar. Whole spices can be peppercorns,
chili peppers (for hot) or mustard seeds.
You can also add whole garlic, peppercorns or lemon slices. Add 2
Cups white or apple cider vinegar. Put lid on and place in the
sun. Let sit 2-3 weeks. Strain and store in glass bottle. Add
more fresh sprigs in bottle for a pretty looking bottle and use for
making salad dressings, marinades, potato salad, soups, etc.
- 2 Cups fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Cup chopped almonds, walnuts or pine nuts
- 3/4 Cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano or 4-5 fresh leaves
- small bunch of fresh parsley
- 1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons pepper
- pinch of salt
In blender, add basil, garlic cloves and lemon juice. Puree and add
in oil, oregano, parsley, cheese, pepper and salt. Continue to puree
until smooth. Use pesto tossed with noodles, spread on tomatoes, on
Eggs with Chives
Scramble 1-2 eggs per person in a bowl. Add shredded cheese, ham or
chopped vegetables you like in your eggs. Season with salt and
pepper. Add 1-2 Tablespoons chopped chives. Cook in skillet until
eggs are done.
~ Chives taste great with egg dishes so try them in quiches, egg
casseroles and even just sprinkle top cooked eggs.
Starting an herb garden can be a very rewarding a beautiful hobby
that will add flavor and spice to your home cooking!
Learn more about how to
cook with herbs and spices.
More ideas for planning and growing your own food
Growing an Italian Pizza Garden
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14 Plants for Kids To
Grow in a Garden
Grow and Cook Kids Cooking Camp
Unlike other summer camp curriculum this one is designed to plant
your seeds and watch them grow, then harvest them and try the
Do you have a gardening tip or recipe?
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Basic Cooking Lesson Pages:
~ Basic Cooking Lessons,
~ Stock and soups,
~ 5 mother sauces,
~ Yeast and baking breads,
~ Herbs and spices,
~ Dry beans,
~ Different cooking methods,
~ Growing an herb garden,
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