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September 03, 2015

Herbs

Herbs are a great addition to any household. Requiring just sunshine and well-drained soil, herbs are easy to grow in the garden, a pot on the patio or on your windowsill in the kitchen. Herbs can be annuals, perennials and even biennials, and they are grown for many uses: culinary, medicinal, or ornamental. With such diversity everyone can find a place for one or many.

Culinary herbs may be the most popular. Every dish tastes better with fresh herbs. They can be added to salads, salsa, sauces, soups, meats, vegetables, fruits and even cocktails. Simple foods can take on whole new flavors when fresh herbs are added. Some of the more popular culinary herbs are basil, rosemary, thyme, mints, oregano, sage, parsley, lavender, dill, cilantro, chives and catnip. Some herbs, like Chamomile, play a role in traditional medicine and it is used in teas to help with indigestion, anxiety and host of other things.

Depending on the variety, potted herbs can start to be planted outside as early as March. Many people may want to buy herbs in early spring and keep them on their windowsill to harvest even before they are able to plant them in the garden.

The best way to keep your herbs healthy and lush is to continuously harvest them. Once you harvest your herbs it is best to use them as soon as possible. If you are unable to use them immediately, store them in the refrigerator in a plastic perforated bag. Freezing is another alternative and an easy way to store them for long periods of time. Once they are cleaned, dried and removed from their stalks they can be frozen chopped or whole.

Ornamental herbs are excellent in all types of gardens. Many of them are not edible, while others have been developed to be the “showy” version of the herb.  Santolina is an annual ornamental herb that is a great border in an herb garden, while ornamental thymes are perfect perennials to go in between stones on a path.

Herbs are so diverse and easy to care for they are an excellent fit for any gardener. From the novice kitchen gardener who is just learning, to the long time experienced gardener who wants to try all the different varieties out there!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us. And, recommendations for new plant varieties are always welcome.