The romance of caring for a culinary herb garden is appealing to all kinds of people. City dwellers often plant edible herbs in window boxes and flower pots while people surrounded by land may plant and maintain several dozen different culinary and fragrance herbs. Cooking with herbs has always been popular. Herbs enhance the flavor of food and can add new life to old favorites.
All herbs are wonderfully easy to grow, which has long made them a favorite of gardeners everywhere; culinary herb gardens have the added benefit of making a valuable contribution to the kitchen. Instead of paying high prices at the grocery store or farmer’s market, people who grow culinary herbs only have to snip a few leaves from a plant to get the fresh flavors they need for cooking.
Choosing Culinary Herbs
To get the most out of your culinary herb garden, it is important that you choose your plants wisely. While the idea of growing spearmint may sound appealing at first, if you don’t care for the taste of mint then you probably won’t get very much out of growing it. To choose what culinary herbs to grow, think about the kinds of foods you like to prepare. If you like Italian cooking, then you will frequently use oregano, basil, and thyme. Mediterranean cooking makes frequent use of parsley and mint, and meat-based dishes can benefit richly from the addition of rosemary.
Growing Your Herbs
Just about every garden center and nursery has a selection of live herbs available for purchase in the late spring. Spring is also the time to get a good price on seeds; it’s possible to get many seed packets for the price of a single live plant, so people wishing to grow several herbs can save money by purchasing seeds. Herbs are hardy plants that are easy to grow from seed. Simply sow the seeds according the guidelines provided on the package and wait a few weeks.
After purchase, live herbs should be promptly repotted into larger containers. A roomy flower pot gives your herbs space to spread out and grow, so choose a container that will promote a thriving plant. To get the most out of your culinary herbs, consider buying a book of herb growing or borrow one from the library. Learn about the different needs of each herb; you’ll have a much better chance at gardening success if you provide the right kind of soil, light conditions, and amount of water.
Enjoying Your Herbs
Before you know it, your culinary herbs will be ready to use. To harvest, clip leaves or stems from the plant while taking care not to disturb the roots or take too much of the growing plant. This bit of pruning gives you the herbs you need and can stimulate further plant growth.
When using your herbs in recipes, read the instructions carefully. Many recipes were written with the assumption that the cook is using dried herbs; if you use the same amount of fresh herb, you may find that you’ve used too much. It only takes a small amount of fresh herb to deliver a large amount of flavor.
Once you start cooking with herbs, you’re sure to discover many more ways to use them. Your cooking will be more flavorful and enjoyable than ever with the addition of fresh culinary herbs.