Superb Herbs

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Garden centers and nurseries are full of bedding plants this month. More than ever, herbs are extremely popular. With such an array to choose from it’s a hard decision. I’m often asked to recommend the “best herbs.” As far as herbs are concerned – all of them in my opinion. Here are ten herbs that I would consider superb herbs in the home garden. All are fairly easy to grow, all can be grown in containers, large planters, tucked in the flower beds, just about anywhere as long as they receive 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight.

Summer savory: Annual, [ Satureja hortensis]. Full sun, grows to a height of 18 inches. Space in garden, 12 inches apart. Soil: loves moist and loamy soil, rich in organic matter. Culinary, used in cooking, herb vinegars and marinades. Tall and wispy stems produce tiny lavender flowers in late August. Called the “bean herb” by cooks and chefs, it lends a savory taste to all types of beans and helps repel the bean beetle in the vegetable garden. I like to simmer fresh green beans and during the last few minutes of cooking add a few chopped leaves of the savory.

Roman chamomile: Perennial, [ Chamaemelum nobile]. Full sun, grows to a height of 2 feet. Space in garden, 18 inches apart. Culinary, medicinal, cosmetic, ground cover. This perennial, low growing herb is often used as a fragrant ground cover in place of lawns. Very popular in England where it thrives in  the limey soil and moist climate. A tea made from the leaves may help to calm a queasy stomach. The essential oil in Roman chamomile is used in soap and skin care products. Divide plants every three years when they become overcrowded.

Lovage: Perennial, [ Levisticum officinale ]. Full sun, grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches, space 2 feet apart in the garden. Soil- loves moist soil, rich in organic matter. Culinary and medicinal. Often called the love charm herb by European’s, it is an essential ingredient in bouquets given by suitors to their lady friends. Use the leaves in soups, stews, and salads. Add the seeds to game dishes and meat pies. Use the leaves and seeds when making sweet or dill pickles. Lovage has a mild celery flavor and fragrance.

English thyme: Perennial, [ Thymus vulgaris ]. Full sun, grows to a height 10 inches. Space in garden 12 inches apart. Can also be grown in planters or hanging baskets. Likes dry, sandy soil, do not mulch the plants. Culinary and medicinal. The Vikings brought thyme to England where the English fell in love with it and used it as a flavoring in beef and game dishes, and to treat a variety of ailments. English thyme is a small evergreen shrub with glossy leaves and tiny lavender flowers. English thyme is the most popular of the culinary thymes.

Sage: Perennial, [ Salvia officinalis ] – Berggartin…Sun, prefers afternoon sun. Soil, well drained, and loamy, high in organic matter. Culinary, ornamental, medicinal.  Originally from Germany where “Berggartin” means mountain garden. This beautiful plant has silver- green leaves and produces medium size flower stalks in late June. The flowers are purple and attract the honey bee, so leave the flowers to dry naturally on the stalks. Sage reaches a height of 18 to 24 inches. Harvest leaves sparingly during the first year of growth.

Chervil: Annual, [ Anthriscus cerefoilium ]. Sun, morning is best. Chervil grows to a height of 2 feet, grow the plants close together so they support each other. Flowers in late June. Loves moist soil. Culinary, leaves are used in soups, stews, sauces. The flavor is a cross between anise and parsley.

Chives: Perennial, {Allium schoenoprasum  ] Sun, morning or afternoon. Grows to a height of 16 inches. Plants can be grown close together, but will need dividing every three years. Loves moist soil rich in organic matter. Culinary, mince the mild tasting onion flavor and use in recipes or as a garnish for baked potatoes. Chives do very well when grown in pots or planters.

Dill: Annual, [ Anethum graveleons  ] Full sun, grows to a height of 2 feet. Grow dill close together so that the stalks can support each other. Loves moist soil, high in organic matter. Direct sow dill in the garden as it dislikes being transplanted. Dill is said to enhance the growth of onions, cabbage and lettuce. Use the feathery leaves in sauces, salads, seafood and pickles.

Basil: Annual [ Ocimim Basilicum ]. Full sun, grows to a height of 24 inches. Space 12 inches apart in the garden. Can also be grown in large planters or terra cotta pots. Soil- rich in organic matter, well drained. Sow fresh seed in late April or early May, or buy 4 inch plants to set out after April 25th. Basil must have warm temperatures to grow well. Harvest leaves from the bottom of the plants. Culinary and medicinal, use in sauces, pesto, salads.

Parsley: Annual [ Petroselinum crispin ] Sun- prefers morning sun. Grows to a height 12 inches. Flowers in late summer. Loves moist soil. Direct sow the seeds in late April, early May. Space plants 10 inches apart in the garden, or grow parsley in large containers. Culinary and medicinal, use as a garnish, salads, soups, or brewed as a cleansing tea.

~ Blessed be, sweet ones

Meadow Walker

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6 Comments on Superb Herbs

  1. Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:
    jinxx ♠ xoxo

  2. Reblogged this on Boondoggling with Bojenn and commented:
    Herbs, love them…

  3. The love of herbs…. awe, thanks.

  4. Reblogged this on Mountain Re-Blog and commented:
    Choices for this year’s garden will have to be drought tolerant!

  5. Ch’kara, hocuspocus13, Bojenn, Mountain Republic, thank you so much for re-blogging this article at your own sites. Much appreciated. All the comments are appreciated.

    I must agree, gardens will have to be drought tolerate this year. Now would be a good time to start placing a 3 gallon bucket in the shower to collect water as you shower each day. Use dish pans for rinsing dishes and use this water for small plants. Think of the water we allow to go down the drain, when it could be re-cycled and re-purposed for the garden. I do not toss out any left over coffee, tea, or occasionally a 2 liter flat soda. they’re poured on shrubs or my potted herbs. I have faced water restrictions for several years each summer, so I’ve learned to use water wisely, and to mulch my vegetable garden early in the year. Make friends with 5 gallon buckets, they may come in handy for watering during drought and water restrictions.

    Thanks for your input.

    Blessings,

    Meadow

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