Every great cook knows the importance of using fresh ingredients for the best dishes; using fresh herbs are just as important as using fresh vegetables. Whether you have an entire garden to dedicate to growing herbs or just a small space out your apartment window, you can create an herb garden for all of your cooking needs.
Herbs can be grown in small pots, or right in your garden; keep in mind that herbs do not grow to be big plants, so if you are putting them in your garden with other plants, keep them away from the larger ones where they may get overtaken. It may be a good idea to start the herbs in small pots and then transfer them to your garden when they get bigger. Many people like to grow herbs right outside their kitchen window, where they are easily accessible. What could be more convenient than picking the herbs as you need them, right outside your window?
You will need to decide on which herbs you want to grow depending on your likes and taste buds. A good start would be to plant some rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and mint. Also, decide on whether you want to use seeds and grow your herbs from scratch, or if you want to purchase seedlings that have already been started. If you are a novice gardener, seedlings may be a better choice.
Once you have planted your herbs, you will want them to reach their full potential by using fertilizer or compost. This will give the soil the nutrients it needs in order to grow your herbs to perfection, in both size, and taste!
If you live in a climate that has four seasons, you may want to consider bringing your plants indoors for the winter; or you can dry your herbs. Air drying your herbs will maintain the nutrients and essential oils and are as good as using fresh. It will also give a nice fresh scent in your home!
To air dry your herbs so you can ensure an ample supply for winter, it’s best to pick the leaves in late summer or early fall. Let the leaves dry completely and place in a paper bag that you have punched holes in. Don’t forget to label the bag with the name of the herb. Hang upside down in bundles of 4 or 5 branches. Your herbs should be completely dried in two or three weeks. You can then take them and store them in airtight containers or Ziploc bags.