Posts Tagged Herb Plants

Theme Herb Gardening for Your Kitchen

I collect cookbooks and love to experiment with interesting dinners from other culture like a Mexican mole. How about you? Like me, you cultivate a lot of the ingredients if you begin your own themed kitchen herb garden.

You can raise the major herb plants in your own garden and have the freshest ingredients to add to your recipes, or experiment on your own.

You don’t need a special place for your themed kitchen herb garden. You can raise them in pots or in your usual garden bed.

These are some recommendations on raising your own themed kitchen garden:

  • Asian: There are so many different cultures and folks in Asia, including Thai, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese, so how could the food be boring? Try growing lemongrass, cayenne pepper, cardamom and anise in your Asian kitchen herb garden. The licorice taste of anise adds a warm sweetness to baked goods, soups and Indian dinners. You can also use it in tea and in baking a savory-sweet cookie. Although it was once pretty popular in American cuisine, it kind of died out, but in the last few years has made a resurgence in the kitchen.
  • Mexican: Not a week goes by when I don’t chow down on a Mexican meal. Some spicy beans and rice or nachos will fast hit the spot. Can you even make a real Mexican meal without Cayenne pepper, Cilantro and Garlic?
  • Italian: Just about everybody I know has their favorite Italian meal. My favorite is lasagna, of course. Among my favorite herbs to try in your Italian dinners are basil, fennel, parsley, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme. The oniony taste of garlic makes it a perfect addition to most Italian meals. Put a little of it on your roasted chicken or add it to your soups and stews. You can even put some chopped garlic in your mashed potatoes. Be warned, the longer you cook garlic, the milder the flavor becomes so do not overcook it!
  • Middle East: If you have not tried any of the exciting and flavorful foods from the Middle East and Northern Africa, you are missing some fantastic meals. The flavors are so varied and the recipe items are so out of the norm for most of what I usually have in my recipes, including chick peas, figs and couscous. Try these herbs to spice up your Middle Eastern dishes: cardamom, garlic, parsley, rosemary and saffron.
  • German: You can have your own Oktoberfest any time you like if you have got all the right German herb plants. For authentic German meals, try these herb plants: chives, dill, horseradish, sage and thyme. As a member of the mustard family, horseradish is a condiment herb that you can use for extra taste. It can also clear up your sinuses! Horseradish is a fabulous addition to your meals. Use it in mayonnaise and potato salad. It will also go well in cream cheese spreads or meat loaf.

Unless you use too much of your plant in cooking, your plant can keep growing and provide you with ingredients for other dinners. When you remove a few leaves from your sage plant, it can grow back. Most herb plants appreciate being cut back from time to time and will likely grow bigger and fuller as a result.

Good luck with your herb gardening. Be sure to let me know how your herb garden grows.

Here is more information on Fresh Herb Gardening. Here is a website with a free mini-course dedicated to Herb Gardens.

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Things to Know about Growing an Herb Garden

When you choose to start your own herb garden, the next step is picking the kind of herb plants you want. There are a lot of different herb plants and many of these herb plants have many types—for example, there are hundreds of varieties of thyme to choose from.

The life cycles or growing periods vary with different herb plants. Understanding your herb’s life cycle can help you make the best decisions. Before you buy your herbs, you’ll want to be aware of their growing season, or life cycle. There are three main types:

  • Annuals: These flowers begin from a seed. They grow, flower and die all in the same growing season. There are a number of good annual herbs: cilantro, chervil, basil, borage and dill.
  • Biennials: This variety of plant will grow for 2 years and will generally bear “fruit” after the first year. Others (like parsley) produce foliage in both years, but go to seed early in the second growing season. Angelica, chicory and Queen Anne’s lace are just a couple of the many biennials to choose from.
  • Perennials: These herb plants generally come back for more than two growing seasons. Whether or not they come back or for how many years they can come back depends on the climate where they grow. Of the many perennials available, some you may like are lemon verbena, rosemary, scented geranium, mints, thyme, yarrow and lady’s mantle.

In my opinion the best herbs are perennials because I only have to purchase and plant them once, but I also have fun raising annuals and biennials. Too much cold can kill your perennials, so beware. Bringing your perennials in during winter is a nice way to extend their growing cycle.

There are many other things you can do to lengthen the life of your herb plants:

  • The garage, basement or cellar is a nice location to store a few perennials that need to be trimmed back and have the bulb, roots or rhizome dug up for the winter.
  • If you are going to bring your herbs inside during winter, try pots instead of growing them in the ground.  If you want to plant these herbs in the ground, a nice trick is to plant them pot and all. This makes it easy to keep them during winter months—just unearth the container at the end of the season.
  • Grow your biennials in middle of the summer so that you can get plenty of flowers in the second summer.
  • Some herbs are self-sowers, which means that they will sow their own seeds for the next growing season. Mustard, borage and catnip are just a few of the herbs that are self-sowers.
  • A fabulous way to boost a short-lived annual’s growing cycle is to remove any flowers that have faded. Depending on your area’s temperatures; your annuals may self-seed if you clip the herb back near the end of the summer.
  • If you get some unexpected cold weather don’t forget to cover your plants with a blanket, towel or sheet which can prevent the frost from killing your plant. If you have your herbs in pots, you can always move them under a covered patio.

I hope that these tips can help you with your herb garden planning. It will be hard sometimes to get it just right. Even I make mistakes after all these years, but just remember that you can take out what does not work and try try again!

Here is more information on Herb Garden Information. Here is a website with a free mini-course dedicated to Herb Gardens.

Good luck with your herb gardening. Be sure to let me know how your herb garden grows.

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Window Herb Garden Tips

If you love gardening but live in a place where there is no room for a garden, you might think that gardening is impossible for you. If you live in an apartment with no yard, you may have all but completely eliminated the idea of growing your own vegetables and herbs. However, do not give up just yet! If you do not have the necessary outdoor space to grow your own vegetables and herbs, you should consider the possibility of window herb gardening. If you have a large windowsill, you have plenty of space to begin a window herb garden.

What Is Window Herb Gardening?

Window herb gardening is when you basically grow a small sized garden in a container on your windowsill. You have to choose window herb garden friendly plants to grow in your windowsill garden because all plants not grow well in window herb garden. All you need to do is get some quality fertilizer, dirt, your plant, and a large enough container to accommodate your plant when it is full grown. Simply plant your plant, water it according to its needs, and watch your plant grow!

Benefits To Window Herb Gardening

Window herb gardening’s greatest advantage is that there is a design to suits every one needs. Whether you want a flowering herb garden that doubles as a flower garden or simply a small garden filled with your favorite fresh herbs, there is a concept out there that can, and will, work for you.

In addition, there are plenty of other benefits to this type of gardening. First, this gardening is great for people with disabilities. If you are elderly or handicap, you might not be able to get outside and get down in the dirt with a traditional garden. Instead, you can place your window garden at a level someplace that is comfortable for you to get to. You can tend it all you need or want to without straining yourself. Second, window herb gardening is great if you are lacking money. Herb seeds are very inexpensive, and you can grow many different types of herbs in your container garden. Instead of buying the fresh herbs at the store, you can simply pick them off of your plants. Finally, window herb gardening can save you time. If you are a busy family where you do not have time to go out and tend to a garden, a window garden is what you need. You will not have problems with weeds or animals eating your labor. Instead, you can simply pick your herbs and enjoy!

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