There’s nothing better than using fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of your cooking. And, now is the time to start planting and harvesting herbs.
I grow herbs in containers — right outside our kitchen door. It doesn’t take much room — or work, for that matter. I grow parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, cilantro and oregano. I have tried growing dill and tarragon several times, but I haven’t had much luck.
Rosemary (left) is very easy to grow. It needs well-drained soil, not much water and plenty of sunlight. Thyme (below) is also easy to grow and needs very little water. It’s best to grow thyme by potted plant versus starting by seed. Both herbs thrive in Southern California.
Basil (lower, left) needs good drainage and sun. It is very sensitive to cold, so you want to plant basil after the danger of frost has passed. Basil needs to be harvested often by pinching off branches right above where a pair of leaves are growing. You also want to remove the flowers (pinch off) for better flavor in the basil leaves.
Parsley (lower, right) can be grown by seed, but has a slow germination rate (3 weeks or more). Parsley needs full sun to partial shade. I grow both Italian (flat leaf) and curly parsley.
Cilantro (below) doesn’t like hot weather. When it reaches temperatures in the high 70s or 80s, cilantro tends to bolt and go to seed. It’s best to plant cilantro in areas where it gets early morning or late afternoon sun. Replant by seed or potted plant every 4 to 6 weeks to ensure you have a regular supply of cilantro.
Mint and Oregano are two additional herbs that are easy to grow. Mint (lower, left) is especially hardy and should be planted in it’s own container (or in an area that it won’t encroach on other plants), as it spreads readily. When you notice the stems getting longer and the leaves getting shorter, it’s best to cut back your mint by 1/3 to 1/2. This is usually at mid-season. Oregano (lower, right) likes well-drained soil and full sun. When the plant starts to flower, flowers should be pinched back.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some of my fav recipes using fresh herbs…