Monday, July 08, 2013

Grow Your Own Herbs

I live in Florida, which means I have a long growing season for my herbs. I have an outdoor herb garden plus a few indoor pots. But growing herbs can be tricky and I've learned a few things the difficult way.

Cilantro with seeds.
First, some herbs have a short growing season. No matter how much care you take, you will lose some plants. Replant or replace plants like cilantro and parsley about every other month. Harvest the seeds off older cilantro plants and save. These are coriander.

Next, some plants need plenty of water while others prefer drier soil. Don't overwater thyme, Rosemary, and sage. Mints, basil, lavender, cilantro, and dill need daily watering. I don't know about tarragon. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs yet I have yet to master growing it. I tried Mexican tarragon, thinking it might do better in a hot climate, and it was the first casualty of this year's herb garden.

Some herbs prefer partial shade.

Finally, all herbs need pruning. The best method is to use some daily in your cooking! Yum! Fresh herbs can turn any dish into a gourmet treat. Experiment with different herb combinations. My family loves spearmint and lavender in steamed carrots. I've not seen that in a cookbook, but I tried it (based on fragrance). A sprig of Rosemary and a few sprigs of thyme go into the pan with all my roasts: poultry, pork, or beef. I add sage leaves to poultry. Basil is delicious when added just before serving to pasta dishes or tomato sauces. And don't forget basil for fresh pesto.

Don't be afraid to try growing herbs. Even if you lose some plants, you are dollars ahead of buying fresh herbs at a supermarket.

1 comment:

Iola said...