Add flavor and make summer recipes even better with herbs grown and picked from your very own garden. Growing your own herbs is simple and rewarding undertaking that does not require a lot of experience or gardening skills. If you can keep alive a houseplant, you can grow a few herbs right in your own backyard or a windowsill pot. A sunny location and a bit of care will turn your patio, doorstep, or window into a scented oasis that will deliver flavor-filled additions to your summer menu.
Here’s a list of six popular herbs that are tasty and easy to grow that no food-loving gardener should be without.
Basil’s lovely green leaves and intense flavorful scent is a must-have for summer cooking. The number of variations can be staggering so do your research before picking the one right for your taste buds. A very enthusiastic grower, basil seedlings are available in most nurseries and grocery stores. Remember to snip off the top of a basil plant instead of removing leaves from the bottom or side of the main stem. It will help to keep the plant healthy and encourage branching.
Broadly categorized as English or French thyme, the plant`s flavor works well in savory dishes such as roasted vegetables, and dry rubs for meat. Thyme is also added to soups, stocks and casseroles. All garden thyme varieties need well-drained soil.
A plant that is both edible and ornamental, rosemary requires sunshine, good drainage and air circulation. If your gardening skills are just starting to bud, you will have an easier time if you choose a mature plant instead of a seedling. Although hardy, rosemary plants won`t survive a temperature below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you live in an area with freezing winters, you`ll need to remember to bring your potted plant indoors once the frosts appear.
Mint, the fragrant and fast-growing plant, is perfect for a whole gamut of different foods. Complementing fruits, vegetables, meats, desserts and of course refreshing teas, mint really is the over-achiever of your herb family. Keep in mind that while easy to grow, mint will quickly take over your garden bed in no time if you aren’t careful. Planting it in a large container or submerged pot will ensure that you will not have to battle its fast-spreading root system.
Lavender has been a well-known and loved herb for centuries. Famous for its scent, lavender also boasts culinary potential, delivering a citrusy bite to both desserts and savory dishes. A drought-hardy plant, lavender does not like high humidity or harsh winters. Even if you live in an area where lavender doesn`t survive the cold temperatures, it is worth treating this plant as an annual just to enjoy the fantastic fragrance on a warm summer`s day.
Perfect for pickling or stirring into dips and marinades, this herb grows quickly and can be easily cultivated from the seeds. Choose well-drained, loamy or sandy soil with plenty of sunshine for best results. Keep in mind that dill is actually two herbs: the seeds and the fresh leaves. The mild flavor of leaves delivers a hint of licorice, adding delicious accent for eggs, fish, and vegetables; the seeds carry a stronger flavor and are associated with the cuisines of Scandinavia and Germany.