Herb

The important thing to remember about growing herbs is that they are relatively easy to cultivate and will do well as long as they have good drainage and ample sun. Culinary herbs add great beauty to the landscape and provide variety and flavor to any recipe in which they are used.

Parsley

ParsleyHighly nutritious, parsley is much more than a common table garnish.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 65-90 days from seed
Height: 10 to 20 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart, 1 to 2 feet between rows

When growing parsley, home gardeners often select between two common varieties; flat leaf and curly-leaf. Which type you choose depends on your taste:

  • Flat leaf or Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) is similar in appearance to cilantro and offers a robust, full flavor. It is the preferred variety for cooking and is often used to add flavor to soups and stews.
  • Curly-leaf (Petroselinum crispum) is coarse with a dark-green flavor and chlorophyll kick. It is often used as a garnish or chopped and added to salads.

This popular culinary herb is an excellent source of vitamins A, E and C, and includes many minerals like iron and calcium. Parsley is also used as a natural breath freshener. Hardy plants grow 10-20 inches tall and make a remarkable border around gardens. (more…)

Oregano

OreganoBoth culinary and decorative, oregano is one of the most rewarding herbs to grow.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 80-95 days from seed
Height: 18 to 30 inches
Spacing: 12 to 18 inches apart, 1 to 2 feet between rows

Available in several varieties and cultivars – with each offering its own unique flavor – growing oregano (Origanum) is popular with many home gardeners. Native to the Mediterranean, these attractive plants do well tucked in rock gardens and terraces and thrive in containers or pots.

Culinary oregano has a nice earthy flavor that makes it the perfect addition to many Italian, Spanish and Mexican dishes. Perennial plants grow 18-30 inches tall and are hardy to zone 5. (more…)

Mint

MintCool and refreshing, mint is a hardy perennial with a multitude of uses.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 75-90 days from seed
Height: 12 to 30 inches
Spacing: 12 to 24 inches apart, 1 to 2 feet between rows

Stand back! Mint (Mentha) produces quickly and can take over in ideal conditions. As a result, many home gardeners prefer growing mint in containers to keep it… well, contained. The plant is easy to grow and perfect for the beginning gardener.

One of the most popular of all herbs, mint — spearmint and peppermint – is known by its square stems, aromatic leaves and refreshing flavor. Plants are hardy perennials often attaining 3 feet in height.

Fact: The US produces 70% of the World’s peppermint and spearmint supply with almost half of the mint oil production being used for flavoring chewing gum. (more…)

Marjoram

MarjoramMagnificient marjoram, with its aromatic leaves and warm flavor, is available in many varieties.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 70-90 days from seed
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart, 8 to 12 inches between rows

Herb gardeners growing marjoram (Origanum majoricum) enjoy its fragrant and flavorful leaves which are highly esteemed for seasoning. The aroma and flavor is similar to mild oregano, but noticeably sweeter.

Marjoram grows 1-2 feet tall and has square stems, gray-green leaves and small white flowers borne in clusters. Plants make an attractive ground-cover in the summer and do well indoors during winter months. Tender perennial, often grown as an annual. (more…)

Lovage

LovageA hardy perennial with dark green shoots and a big, bold flavor — tastes like celery!

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 85-95 days from seed
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Spacing: 24 to 36 inches apart, 3 to 5 feet between rows

Native to southern Europe, growing lovage (Levisticum officinale) is easy! The leaves, stems, roots and seeds of this old-time herb are all edible and taste a lot like celery, but stronger. Perennial plants are large — up to 7 feet tall — and very hardy, no trouble to maintain.

Beloved during the Middle Ages, lovage could be found in almost every kitchen garden where it was cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes. Today, the herb’s most popular usage is in soups, stews and salads, similar to celery. Lovage may also be useful for relieving abdominal pains due to gastrointestinal gas when consumed as a tea. (more…)

Hyssop

HyssopGrown in containers or as a border plant, Hyssop is extremely attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 75-85 days from seed
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 12 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 4 feet between rows

Home herb gardeners are growing hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) for its dark green leaves which are used to flavor salads, soups, liqueurs and stews. Attractive plants have woody stems, small pointed leaves and spikes of pink, red, white and blue-purple flowers. Hardy perennial grows 2-3 feet tall.

Native to southern Europe, Hyssop was used as early as the seventh century as a purifying tea and for medicine. The ancient herb is said to cure all manner of ailments from head lice to shortness of breath. (more…)

Dill

DillAttractive and flavorful, dill is an aromatic herb with feathery green leaves and a pleasant, sweet taste.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 40-65 days from seed
Height: 3 to 4 feet
Spacing: 12 to 18 inches apart, 2 to 4 feet between rows

Home herb gardeners are growing dill (Anethum graveolens) for its flat, light-brown seeds and feathery foliage commonly used to flavor fish. Its large fragrant heads add a sweet, citrusy flavor to pickles and are perfect for spicing up many summer salads. Foliage is abundant and long-lasting and can be used in soups, dips and egg dishes. The graceful plant makes a unique filler in cut flower arrangements.

Native to the Mediterranean, culinary dill is a member of the apiaceae family which makes it closely related to carrots, parsley, caraway, anise and coriander. Self-seeding annual grows 3-4 feet tall. (more…)

Cilantro

CilantroNothing brightens up a Mexican dish like the fresh green leaves of cilantro grown right outside your kitchen door.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 60-75 days (leaves), 100+ days (seed)
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spacing: 8 to 18 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows

Native to the Mediterranean and popular in Mexican and Asian cuisine, kitchen gardeners across the country are growing cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) for it’s fresh, bright green and aromatic leaves. The annual’s pungent seeds — known as coriander — are dried and used, whole or ground, as a spice. Temperamental plants grow 1-3 feet tall and self-sow readily. (more…)

Chives

ChivesEasy to grow, chives are perfect in pots and make an attractive border around gardens.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 60-75 days
Height: 6 to 18 inches
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart, 6 to 12 inches between rows

Home gardeners are growing chives for their bright green leaves and attractive purple flowers. The cool-season, compact plants produce grass-like, hollow leaves that add a mild onion-flavor to potatoes, salads, soups and egg dishes. In spring, showy flowers are popular in salads or as an edible garnish. Grows well in containers both indoors and out. (more…)

Borage

BorageAn easy to grow annual, borage leaves and flowers have a mild cucuber-like flavor.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-80 days
Height: 18 to 36 inches
Spacing: 12 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 4 feet between rows

Beautiful blue star-shaped flowers hang in clusters. The leaves are covered with fuzzy white hairs and appear to be almost woolly. Bees love the bright flowers and rely on borage (Borago officinalis) as a nectar source, literally covering the plants some days.

Borage flowers are great for floating in cool drinks at summer parties. Plants grow 2-3 feet tall and self-sow readily. Annual.

Site Preparation:

Container gardens, herb gardens and organic gardens all work well for growing borage. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade, and rich, moist soil. Choose a site that is well protected from wind as it is easily blown over and work in plenty of organic matter prior to planting.

How to Plant:

Easily grown from seed. Borage can be started indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost or direct seeded just after the danger of frost has passed. Plant seeds just beneath the surface of the soil and thin seedlings to at least one foot apart. Trim back occasionally to keep them tidy and more upright. (more…)

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