I just love ol’ Herb… He is a good buddy!
Growing your own herbs really is very easy and requires very little effort once they are established. Instead of buying fresh herbs in the grocery store, which are remarkably overpriced I might add, grow your own! I mean who wants to spend $4 on a packet of fresh herbs when you can go clip some right in your own yard?!? Not me! And of course, it’s a renewable resource. Clip, clip and it just keeps a growin’.
This post isn’t going to give you the ins and outs of every herb, their medicinal properties and the optimum PH soil properties for each type. No offense to those blogs that take the time to research that information but I’m just sharing what has worked for me and the types of herbs that I like to grow.
First, I picked a spot that was easy for me to harvest from the kitchen. That is the bed by my front walk/porch and the back porch. I plant herbs in pots as well as the ground. Some can be a really space hog and want to take up the entire bed. Spearmint, lemon balm and oregano are a few of those… all three I have planted in my bed and all three I have to hack back every year so they don’t take over. But I love how they look in the ground.
Most all that I grow I consider a perennial with the exception of Basil and sometimes Parsley. If the pots are protected from the extreme cold and you use the herb enough by clipping and promoting new growth, they will last for ages.
If you are using Heirloom seeds to plant with, you can harvest the seed pods to replant for the next potting.
I have grown most everything from seed with great results. Nurseries now carry a wonderful selection of herbs to choose from. I have also seen them in the grocery stores in the produce section; for transplanting.
The main thing is to get your bum up and start planting some!
The herbs that I’m currently growing are: parsley, basil, marjoram, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, dill, spearmint, lemon balm, borage, savory, chervil. The last three are new to me this year and I’m excited to try them out! There are soooo many more varieties and I hope to add to my bed each year… Or make a new one because this one is getting full!
Here are a few tips:
** Harvest your leaves in the morning before the sun shines on them; essential oils are at their highest for optimum flavor.
** Use soapy water in a spray bottle for pests. Works great; no need for harsh chemicals on these tender plants.. er, or any plants for that matter!
** Epsom Salts and Miracle Gro Organic fertilizer is all I use. I have a gallon jug with holes in the lid, scoop a small amount of Epsom Salts into the jug and fill with water. Swirl around to dissolve the crystals and then water! For the Miracle Gro, I just sprinkle a small amount around the base of the plants once month and then water into the soil.
** Harvest your leaves regularly and your plant will work even harder for you!
** Most are easily transplanted by digging up a section of root. Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Spearmint, Lemon/Bee Balm all transplant easily with a piece of the root.
** Water often! don’t water log but keep soil moist. Don’t throw that dishwater out either! Wash your dishes in a ‘dishpan’ in the sink, when you’re done use that dirty, soapy water to water your plants!
** Clip any flowering heads as the bulk of nutrients from the plant will go to the flowering pod. Leaving the other leaves lacking in flavor or possibly becoming acrid and bitter to taste.
** Dehydrate your leaves and make your own seasoning mixes! Store the leaves in an airtight container/jar and crush or grind just before using as the leaves will loose their potency once they are ground.
** Freeze fresh leaves in ice cube trays for soups and stews. Store in your freezer in a gallon bag and plop a few in when you need some flavor.
** Make pesto with your parsley and basil and freeze the same way; in ice cube trays. Store in your freezer in a gallon bag and use in your favorite tomato sauces… one pesto cube at a time.
** Steep spearmint or peppermint leaves in simple syrup for teas, smoothies and other sweet treats.
What herbs do you like to grow??