Grow A Kitchen Herb Garden: Good Moods & Great Foods
Nothing completes a dish like the addition of fresh herbs. And not only do they add flavor to your meals, but herbs also add essential nutrients. But why use store bought or dried herbs in your cooking when you can grow your own? Even if you lack space or live in a cold climate, it’s easy to grow herbs in your kitchen. The key is creativity.
Planning Your Herb Kitchen Herb Garden
Which herbs do you use most? Space is of importance when planting a kitchen garden. So think about your go-to recipes when deciding which herbs to plant. If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine then you’ll want to include cilantro. Italian foodies will definitely need to grow basil.
How’s the natural lighting in your kitchen? Most herbs require four to six hours of sunlight a day in order to thrive. Look for ways to utilize the light your kitchen receives. If necessary, add a growth light to give your herbs the light they need. And keep in mind that some herbs require more light than others. Rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme love the sun. But others – such as cilantro, mint, and parsley – like a little shade.
What are your space options? Counter space and window sills are optimal. But think out of the box. Think vertical. Maybe you have a wall that’s in need of some decoration. Why not go green? Find fun and creative ways to include a garden in your kitchen.
Which Herbs Are Best for Your Herb Garden?
Basil. This easy-to-grow herb is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is a staple in Italian cooking. It pairs great with salads, soups, tomato dishes, and is the base for most pesto sauces.
Cilantro. The lacy herb is loaded with vitamin C. It aids with digestion and helps soothe inflammation. Cilantro is associated with Mexican and Caribbean dishes. And it’s especially delicious when added to guacamole.
Mint. Use this herb to calm headaches or an upset stomach. Add mint to berries, fresh melon, or to drinks. Company coming over? Whip up a pitcher of refreshing mojitos!
Parsley. More than just a garnish, this herb has anti-inflammatory properties and is full of antioxidants. Add parsley to seafood dishes as well as salad dressings, pesto, soups, and vegetables.
Rosemary. This hearty herb is known to neutralize bad breath. Rosemary is extremely fragrant and will leave your house smelling heavenly after you add it to lamb, chicken, or roasted potatoes.
Sage. Known for calming fevers and nerves, sage is excellent in poultry dressings, sauces, and in sausage dishes.
Thyme. This herb is loaded with vitamin A which aids in skin, nail, and eye health. Thyme is wonderful in poultry dishes, soups, and stocks.
Time to Plant
So you’ve selected the starting line-up for your kitchen garden, and the space and lighting options have been determined. Now it’s time to plant your herbs!
Can some of these herbs be planted together in a larger container? Keep in mind the requirements of each herb. Rosemary likes drier soil. Mint likes to take over and crowd out other plants. So do your research before you start planting.
Good Drainage Is Essential
Wet roots will rot. So make sure your herbs are planted in containers with drains and saucers underneath. If using a sealed pot, then you’ll need a layer of pebbles or small glass stones along the bottom of the planter to aid drainage.
When to Water
The biggest mistake people make in their kitchen garden is over-watering. We get so enthusiastic that we get carried away. Easy watering trick: Take your index finger and insert up to your first knuckle. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water. If the soil feels wet, then resist the urge to water, and step away. Signs of over-watering include yellowing leaves, a white crust around the edges of the container or the loss of leaves.
Don’t be tempted to harvest until the plants are of mature size. Then only take a little at a time. Never take more than ⅓ of the plant at once. As your herbs flower, be sure to prune them to ensure the best growth. With careful clipping, each plant can live several months before needing to be replaced.
Whichever herbs you select for your kitchen garden, be creative and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Find new recipes and improve on family favorites. And after your meal, sit back and enjoy the heavenly aromas of fresh rosemary or basil still lingering in the air.
Which herbs will you plant in your indoor garden?
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