Eleven Culinary Herbs Aesthetically Pleasing to Your Garden {Saturday Inspiration & Ideas}

Growing your own herbs is not only easy but very rewarding too. This year I am so thrilled that I actually started all my plants by seed. While herbs are primarily used for cooking – many of the plants are worth adding to your garden simply for the wonderful aromatic smells they can bring to your space. {some even flower too}


The New York Botanical Garden historical Edible Herb Garden Designed by Martha Stewart

This week’s Saturday Inspiration & Ideas highlights eleven common herbs that not only serve their culinary purposes but are great additions to your garden aesthetics – not to mention the sweet fragrance you’ll be enjoying as well. I think there is nothing more fascinating than walking just a few steps out side to harvest the herbs you grew yourself for your daily menu dishes.


~Basil~
Growing:
Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions.
Although basil grows best outdoors, it can also be grown indoors as well.
Picking the leaves off the plant helps promote growth.
If its leaves have wilted from lack of water, it will recover if watered thoroughly and placed in a sunny spot.
Yellow leaves near the bottom of the plant indicates that the plant is under stress – {it may need less water or more/less fertilizer}.
Once a stem produces flowers, foliage production stops on that stem – to prevent this pinch off the flower stems before they are fully mature.
If the plant is allowed to flower, it may produce seed pods which can be saved and planted the following year.

Culinary Use:
Commonly used fresh in cooked recipes – Generally added at the last minute as cooking destroys it’s flavor. Basil is one of main ingredients in pesto.


~Chives~
Growing:
Chives thrive in well drained soil and full sun.
Chives starting to look old should be cut back.
When Harvesting the chives should be cut back to the base.
During the growing season, the plant will continually regrow leaves producing a continuous harvest.

Culinary Use:
Chives are commonly shredded for use as a condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. Chives have natural insect-repelling properties which is why they can be found in many gardens to control pests.


~Cilantro~
Growing:
Cilantro can be one of the most difficult herb to grow as it requires cooler temperatures to thrive and is very short lived.
Cilantro will only last about 8-10 weeks before flowering.
Once it does flower it will produce seeds which can be harvested as Coriander seeds or they can be replanted to grow more plants.
Begin cutting as soon as the plant is about 6″ tall by removing the outer leaves and leaving the growing point intact for the new leaves to grow from.

Culinary Use:
In American culinary usage, the seeds are generally referred to as coriander, and the leaves as cilantro. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and dried seeds are most commonly used in cooking. Since heat diminishes the flavor coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish before serving. The leaves spoil quickly once removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen. The seeds can be roasted or heated in a dry pan briefly before grinding to enhance the aroma. Ground coriander seed loses flavor quickly in storage and is best ground fresh.


~Dill~
Growing:
Successful growing requires high levels of sunshine and warm to hot temperatures and well drained soil.
The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen.
Place the seed heads in a paper bag, up side down, and leave in a warm spot for about a week.

Culinary Use:
Fresh and dried dill leaves are used as herbs – the term dill weed distinguishes the leaves from seeds. Dill is best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried. Freeze-drying the dill leaves can preserve their flavor though for a few months. The dill seed is generally used as a spice.


~Mint~
Growing:
Mint prefers to thrive in, cool, moist spots in partial shade though can be grown in full sun.
Mint is very fast growing and one plant can typically produce more than enough mint for an entire household.
Mint repels pest insects and attracting beneficial ones though are susceptible to whitefly and aphids.
Mint leaves can be harvested at any time.
Fresh leaves should be used immediately and can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of days.
Mint can also be froze in ice cube trays for later use.

Culinary Use:
Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint, though both fresh and dried can be used in recipes and as garnishes.


~Oregano~
Growing:
Oregano prefers full sun.
The leaves taste best before the plant actually flowers.
The plant can be harvested when grow to 4-5 inches in height.
Cutting the stems all the way back to the ground will encourage more stems to grow and a fuller plant.

Culinary Use:
Oregano is the staple herb of Italian-American cuisine. The leaves are generally more flavorful when dried than fresh.


~Parsley~
Growing:
Parsley grows best in moist, well drained soil, with full sun.
Parsley attracts swallowtail butterflies, bees and other nectar-feeding insects and seed eaters such as the goldfinch.
Curly Leaf, Italian and Flat Leaf varieties are typically used as herbs.

Culinary Use:
Green parsley is often used as a garnish.


~Rosemary~
Growing:
Rosemary is very easy to grow making it perfect for beginner gardeners.
It is pest-resistant and tolerate to drought making it perfect to use in regular landscaping.
It prefers well drained soil and will not withstand water logging.
Rosemary is easily pruned into shapes and can be used for topiaries.

Culinary Use:
The fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine. When burned the leaves smell similar to that of pine wood, which is typically used to flavor foods while roasting or barbecuing.


~Sage~
Growing:
Sage will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions as long as they are well drained.
The leaves should be harvested prior to the plant blooming.
Sage is known to attract bees, butterflies and birds.

Culinary Use:
Sage has a strong distinctive flavor and aroma and should not be overdone. It is very commonly used in stuffing. The dried herb is most used cooking though the herb also freezes pretty well.


~Tarragon~
Growing:
Tarragon likes a hot, sunny spot, without excessive watering.
The scent and taste of tarragon is disliked by many garden pests.

Culinary Use:
Tarragon is one of the four fines herbs of French cooking. It is a very unique and flavorful, with a peppery and vinegary flavor, and can be used in a variety of dishes.


~Thyme~
Growing:
Thyme thrives in a hot sunny location with well drained soil.
It can generally tolerate deep freezes.
Thyme retains its flavor when dried better than many other herbs

Culinary Use:
Thyme is a good source of iron and is widely used in cooking. Thyme, while flavorful, does not overpower and blends well with other herbs and spices. Thyme is used both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavorful however, storage life is typically less than a week. Thyme is slow to release its flavors so it is usually added early in the cooking process.

Though I would love to have a huge herb garden, this year all my plants are in containers…but thriving and doing well. Do you have an herb garden this year? If so, what are you growing?

The Sunday Showcase Party begins tonight! Hope you’ll swing by and join in the fun – there is a great giveaway planned!

Have a wonderful Saturday ~ Enjoy!

{original photo sources can be found by clicking on each individual picture above}

                  

Comments

  1. I grow all of the above except for the dill. I can’t get it to grow for some reason. I also grow Bronze Fennel and it gets 6 feet tall. I plant it in my flower beds and it is gorgeous.
    Make sure with Tarragon that you only buy the French Tarragon or it will have no taste. You can be sure by rubbing a leaf gently between your fingers and then smelling your fingers for that tell tale anise scent.

  2. Hi Lori – Thanks for the Tarragon tip! I need to check out the Bronze Fennel – is it pretty hardy and do you know if it comes back every year?

  3. looks good and tasts good !

  4. Great info. I have tried and tried to grow cilantro and it never works out. Good to know it is a difficult herb to grow and it’s not just me!

  5. definitely making a note of which are pest repellants for next year’s garden, thanks!

    i have rosemary and basil this year, but cilantro continues to elude me. maybe it’s just too darn hot here. i’ll try planting earlier next year and see how it goes.

  6. I love herbs in a garden (and in cooking). I have all of these except for the dill and basil. I’m planning to get some basil from the nursery and put it into the garden this week. It’s not been very warm here.

    I have a couple of thyme varieties – lemon thyme adds quite a different flavor to food than regular thyme. I also have lavender – lots of it, since the deer don’t like it!

  7. What a great post! I’m growing all of these in the garden except the dill, although I should get some since I just planted pickling cucumber starts! My mint is contained since it spreads like wildfire in the Northwest…

  8. Your garden looks great!

        

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