Grow Your Own: Herbs

by in In Season, June 2, 2010

basil

They’re just tiny sprouts right now, but in a few weeks the herbs in my garden will be flourishing. Growing your own herbs is easy, and you don’ t need loads of space to do it.  Start them now and enjoy them all summer long!  Here are some tips to get you started.

Herbal Options
Over the years I’ve grown everything from spearmint to lemon verbena. This year I’m starting with basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, garlic chives and rosemary. I might plant some quick-growing cilantro later in the season when my newly planted tomatillos and chili peppers are a little further along. I can taste the homemade salsa now!

Grow whatever kinds of herbs you’ll use the most — you’ll save money and time if you can skip a trip to the market every time you need a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary. Not sure where to start? Take a trip to your local herb farm or garden center and see what appeals to you. Most herbs will be available from seeds or small starter plants. To grow either one, you just need some potting soil, water, and a sunny spot. Annual plants like parsley and cilantro will last for one year, while perennials like rosemary and oregano can last several years – my oregano plant is 3 years old!  Bring perennials inside for the winter months, then replant them outside in the spring.

Location, Location
If you have an outdoor garden, plant your herbs near low-lying plants so they’ll get plenty of sunlight throughout the summer months. Think about what else you are planting and make sure tall plants like sweet corn, bean stalks or raspberry bushes won’t end up casting shadows over the herbs when they’re full grown.

My garden is a collection of pots and whiskey barrels on the back deck. We tuck basil plants in with the  tomatoes, then use smaller pots for plants like thyme that tend to grow flat along the soil. If outdoor space is even tighter (or nonexistent),  a sunny windowsill is perfect for a small-scale herb garden.

Tips for Getting Started

  • Decide if you want to use seeds or smaller starter plants; seeds are cheaper but small plants will be full-grown faster.
  • Start modestly –- pick three or four of the herbs you’ll use the most. Starting with too many in the beginning can be overwhelming, and you may end up with more herbs than you need.
  • One plant of each herb is all you need –- they might look small in the beginning but they’ll grow quickly.
  • Once your plants mature trim frequently — they’ll grow back faster.
  • As your herbs grow, keep an eye out for bugs and critters that want to eat them. If you spot squatters, spray plants with homemade organic insecticide:  a few drops of dish soap mixed with water.

Uses for Fresh Herbs
You can make just about anything more flavorful with herbs. Add basil or parsley to pasta, chicken salad or stir-fry, mint in salad mixes and drinks, and rosemary for grilling or roasting potatoes. Make infused oils, pesto, dips, hummus and salad dressings.

After picking, store homegrown herbs by wrapping in paper towels and placing in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; wash and dry well when ready to use. To freeze, rinse and dry very well, then store whole or chopped in a freezer-safe bag for up to 6 months. For best results, add frozen herbs directly to soups, sauces or other cooked dishes.

Recipes to Try:

TELL US: What’s in your herb garden?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Similar Posts

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

It’s the time of year where pumpkin fever sets in. Cans of pureed pumpkin and sugary pumpkin pie filling are flying off store shelves. And while...

Comments (37)

  1. Blue says:

    Regarding "homemade organic insecticide"

    a few drops of dish soap mixed with water is not organic. unless you are buying a truly "natural" soap or making your own from lye and lard, all dish soaps contain a multitude of chemicals that makes 'organic' a completely inappropriate adjective in my opinion.

  2. I’m impressed, have to say. Thats united of incidental greate spider’s spider’s web putting i have in my RSS. All of your articles classify something greate in. Thanks for posting it. Thirst you decidedness care for this.

  3. Jarred Look says:

    I as well as my guys have been reading the best tips and tricks from your web site then all of the sudden I had an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to you for them. Those guys became certainly warmed to learn all of them and already have without a doubt been loving them. Thank you for indeed being so kind and also for considering these kinds of helpful things millions of individuals are really desirous to be aware of. My very own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

  4. You will find incredibly lots of details that adheres to that take into consideration. That is really a amazing denote raise up. I provde the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly you will uncover questions like the 1 you raise up the location that the most crucial factor will likely be working in honest good faith. I don?t determine if guidelines have emerged about items such as that, but I know that a job is clearly recognized as a good game. Both youngsters glance at the impact of a bit moment’s pleasure, by way of out their lives.

  5. Woh I quite like your articles, saved to my bookmarking!.

  6. bild says:

    I observed your connection fascinating do I’ve additional a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

  7. Tracy Scates says:

    You have to waste less time to explore your necessary topic on internet, as nowadays the searching techniques of search engines are fastidious. That’s why I fount this piece of writing at this place.

  8. constantly i used to read smaller posts which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.

  9. followers says:

    In Firefox I normally use right-click > “Open in new tab” when browsing web pages. This can also be done when clicking on a bookmark. . . Is there any way to get Firefox to do this automatically (by default) when left-clicking a bookmark instead of having to do the right click?.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>