This Mothers Day weekend has been beautiful weather. Some years, I spend it planting in my garden. This year, it still feels too cool for most plantings, but I am just dying to play in the dirt. Who doesn’t love a sun ripened tomato? Or sweet watermelon fresh from the vine? My favorite part of my gardening though are the herbs.
My food philosophy is fresh is best and always add an herb to every dish. Some days that herb is simply parsley other days there can be a lots of different herbs involved. Fresh herbs add so much flavor to food and really bump up your home cooking to another level. Herbs in your ice water or teas are great for flavor.
Herbs are also great in skin care. I dry herbs to add to bath salts, infuse them in oils for making salves and for making other skin care items. Yes, rosemary in your Epsom salt bath… Or thyme and lavender are a great combination too.
What to plant…
For many just starting out with an herb garden start simple. Parsley can go in any dish you plan to make. Thyme is lemony and can brighten most dishes. Lavender is always handy to have around. I am a big fan of cilantro, but not everyone is. These can all be grown in small container gardens or incorporated throughout your yard. I plant lavender everywhere.
In my herb garden, I plant a variety or perennials and annuals. My annuals I start indoors and then transplant them into my herb garden.
Perennial herbs to grow, ones that will live longer than a couple growing seasons are:
- Lemon Balm – One of my favorites
- Tarragon – in some warmer climates. Not so much for me in my chillier zone 6a
Annuals are the fleeting wonder that really only grow for a season or many two. You can usually grow them indoors on a window sill or other bright and sunny place too.
Where to plant your herbs. Your herbs do like sun. Most are sun loving and will require full sun. Some, like mint and chives will tolerate partial shade in the afternoon and still grow well. I like to plant my herbs close to the backdoor of my house for easy access when cooking. I simple step off my back porch and pluck a few leaves or stems and harvest all summer long. I also like to plant lavender under bedroom windows. On a warm sunny day, the sent will fill your rooms. Herbs can also be planted in your vegetable garden too.
Harvesting. I will harvest leaves and stems daily in my cooking. Only taking what I need each day. At the end of the growing season, I harvest the annuals and dry their leaves then store in mason jars to use throughout the winter. The perennials I like to harvest some leaves and stems, but leaving enough so the plant survives, and dry these as well for storage.
So get out there, maybe not this weekend, but sometime this summer, and plant yourself some herbs. These tiny aromatics are all the way around awesome and beneficial to your yard and you.