10 Herbs You Should Include in Your Garden
A small border or bed can provide a surprisingly good selection of herbs. First you need to choose what type of herb garden you want. I always think it’s useful not only to have an herb garden that looks good, but also one that you can eat!
These 10 herbs will give a plentiful variety to meet basic culinary needs. A sunny location is important as the herbs will thrive and produce a better flavour.
1. Sage – Also known as Salvia, this is an evergreen shrub like perennial, and is highly aromatic. It grows in a light, well-drained soil in full sun. It’s best to grow a pot grown specimen in April / May. Sage is kept at it’s best if it is replaced every three years. Leaves are used to flavour Mediterranean dishes and it is also made into stuffing, commonly as sage and onion.
2. Tarragon – More specifically French Tarragon is a superbly flavoured culinary herb. Known also as Artemisia dracunculus. This is a perennial, which can grow to 3 feet high, with tall stems and thin pointy leaves. It prefers a fairly moist but well drained soil, in full sun, and will need protection in winter in colder climates. Tarragon has a very distinct flavour and is well known for its connection with chicken dishes.
3. Parsley – Petroselinum crispum. Parsley requires rich moist, well-drained soil, again in full sun. It is a frost hardy biennial. It has almost triangular leaves that curl. It has a close relative called french or flat-leaved parsley, where the leaves remain uncurled. This is an incredibly popular and versatile culinary herb, both leaves and stems can be used and it can be easily frozen.
4. Mint – Also known as Mentha. There are 25 species of mint in total. There is peppermint, spearmint, bowles mint and gingermint, to name just a few varieties. Mint does tend to invade the garden, so is best planted in a contained area or sunken container. Mint is used in sauces, teas, cakes, rice dishes, as a garnish and most importantly – in the mojito!
5. Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis. This is an evergreen shrub, that stays at it’s best if it’s kept to about 2 feet high, by constant picking and pruning. It thrives on well-drained soil and needs a sunny but sheltered position. The leaves and flowering tops are used fresh or dried for cooking. It’s a classic flavouring for lamb and great added to marinades or dressings.
6. Basil – Ociumum basilicum. This is half-hardy annual, although in warmer climates some may argue that it’s a perennial. It can grow tall with bright green leaves. It is best to keep the plant bushy by pinching out the tips. The leaves are better used fresh as they don’t tend to retain their flavour is dried. It requires well-drained soil in a full sun position.
7. Thyme – Also known as thymus. This again is better to grow from a pot grown plant. Like all the other herbs, it prefers a sunny position in well- drained soil. There are 250 species of thyme, so for culinary uses, choose T. vulgaris or common thyme. If large amounts are required, it’s best not to let the plant flower.
8. Coriander – Coriandrum sativum. Seeds of this herb were actually found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. An annual plant that can grow up to 2 feet tall, with pungent smelling leaves. A versatile herb, leaves can be used for a stronger taste, while seeds are milder and sweeter. It is better to sow from seed, and eventually prefers a well-drained soil, but must be kept moist to start. It likes a warm sunny position.
9. Chives – From the alium or onion family, known as Alium schoenoprasum. A hardy perennial with clumps of cylindrical leaves growing from tiny bulbs. These leaves do not stand cold winters. it has a much milder flavour than the rest of it’s onion family and is used commonly as a garnish.
10. Marjoram – Part of the oregano family. The variety used more for culinary purposes is Origanum marjorana or Sweet marjoram. Again it requires a well-drained soil and full sun. It is best propagated from seed sown after the danger of frost. It has the most delicate flavour of all the marjorams and is especially used in pasta sauces and pizza toppings.
If possible it’s best to have your kitchen herb garden placed near to the kitchen, so that herbs can be harvested on demand, when you want them, without having to trudge too far. Also very convenient for that late night Mojito!
Also check out today’s
http://iwantotknow.blogspot.com/p/i-want-to-know-about-cooking.html”>Daily Recipe – what could it be? Yum Yum!