Herbs and Herb Gardens
Herbs are essential ingredients for flavoring and spicing up recipes all over the world. Without them, eating would be pretty bland. Herbs add flavor, character, and uniqueness to recipes. Used alone or in combination, they help to make cooking fun and enjoyable, and eating a sheer joy!
Cooking with fish Basil, bay chives, dill and tarragon.
Cooking with meat Bay, margoram, oragano, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Cooking Italian food Basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary and sage.
To add to salads Bergamot, borage, coriander, lemon balm and mint.
For fragrance Bergamot, lavender, lemon verbena, rosemary and thyme.
For flowers Bergamot, chives, curry plant, feverfew and lavender.
To make drinks Borage, camomile, lavender, lemon balm and mint.
For pot-pourri Bergamot,lavender, lemon balm, mint and rosemary.
There are a wide variety of herbs which you can use. Depending on who is counting, there are 40 to 60 different kinds of herbs. Each one has it's own distinct flavoring. Most are easy to grow. There are annuals, perennials and even biennials.
With that many herbs, there should be lots or uses, right!?! Absolutely! Listed below are the different categories of herbs. Note, many fall into two or more categories.
Aromatic Grown for their scent, aromatics herbs are used in flower vases or dried arrangements. Their oils are used in perfumes, candles, and toiletries to name a few. A couple of favorites are Lavender and Mint.
Culinary We think of this category of herb first and foremost. Most gardeners grow a few or several varieties. Needless to say, food would be plain and boring without this group of herbs. Some of the more popular include Basil, Chives and Dill.
Medicinal Since ancient times, many types of herbs have been used in medicine and believed to have the power to cure a wide range of ailments. We know some of them have been proved to be true. Others, like garlic, have preventative characteristics. (A garlic a day keeps the Cholesterol away" ...sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Also in ancient times, many herbs were believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits. We all are too familiar with the belief that Garlic worn around the neck will ward off vampires.
Ornamental Ornamental herbs are commonly grown for fresh or dried arrangements. Ornamental herbs also make the flower gardens look nicer. That is why herbs are often grown amidst the flowers. In this sense, they are used like a flower. You probably consider most of these to also fit within another category of herb. If so, you are right!
Since ancient times, herbs were, and continue to be used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Some herbs, most notably Garlic, were used to ward off evil spirits.Over the years, some herbs were proven to be effective in the treatment of ailments or injuries.
Herb gardens are fun and easy to grow. They also take up little space. Many growers put herb gardens up against their house or garage wall, so they can walk out and pick the herbs they need for the day's meal.
Tip: If you are growing perennials or biennials, make sure to plan your Herb garden so as not to disturb them the next year.
You can select your own favorites, or buy a package with a wide variety. We encourage you to experiment and try new herbs each year. That way, you will be certain to try new recipes all winter long.
Most herbs grow best in well drained, fairly fertile soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.0.
Seeds can be sown indoors or out. Many seeds are very tiny and fine. Make sure not to plant them deeply. Just barely cover the seed and keep the top surface of the soil moist. Thin seedlings according to the instructions on the seed packet.
Insects and Pests
Few pests affect the herb family. In fact, some herbs, such as garlic, are used in organic pesticide formulas. Occasionally mites and aphids can bother a number of herb varieties.
Disease is not too common among the herb family.
It is best to harvest herbs in the morning. This is when the oils are the highest concentration. Immediately after harvesting them, wash them in cool water. Then spread them out on a drying rack. Allow good ventilation. They should dry in two to three days. Many herbs can also be frozen for later use(culinary herbs)
Did you Know? It is the oil in herbs that gives herbs their aroma and flavor.