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Herbs: The gourmet way to flavor food
So much better than the dried and flash-frozen herbs in the supermarket! Harvest Tip: Pick just before herbs bloom, preferably on a sunny morning before the dew dries. Leaves will be at peak vigor, loaded with essential oils that give each herb its distinctive flavor. Herbs thrive in full sun but most tolerate partial shade. Many do well in soil that's too poor to support other plantings.
BASIL - Annual. Plant in any medium, well-drained soil. May be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill. Cut leaves anytime for fresh use. Cut just before flowering for drying.
CATNIP - Perennial. Plant in any soil with good drainage, prune often to keep from getting weedy. Cut leaves and shoots anytime for aromatic fragrance.
CHAMOMILE - Annual. Plant in dry, sandy soil. Cut foliage anytime for scent, dry flower heads for making tea.
CHIVES & GARLIC CHIVES - Hardy perennial. Plant in light soil high in organic matter. Harvest by cutting the entire leaf, not just the tips.
CORIANDER/CILANTRO - Annual. Plant in any average garden soil with good drainage. Pick the leaves anytime for cooking and harvest the brown seeds for cooking.
GINGER - Plant one rhizome per 10 inch pot. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil, using a quality, well-drained mix. Place in light shade and bring pot indoors when frost threatens. The rhizomes may be harvested anytime the plant begins to outgrow its pot. Remove a small portion to replant and store the remainder in a dry, cool location.
HORSERADISH - Horseradish thrives in sun or shade but can become invasive in rich soil; keep it in an out-of-the-way corner. Plant cuttings 3-4 inches deep and 8 inches apart in rows 16 inches apart. Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season. Your crop will be ready to harvest in 2 years. Harvest large roots after frost, leaving the smaller roots for the next harvest.
LAVENDER - Perennial. Plant in full sun, 18 inches apart. Makes a handsome edging for walks. Hardy. Perfumy flowers and leaves are used in vinegars and jellies.
MINT - Plant 1 foot apart in early spring in moist, compost-enriched soil. Enclose with an underground barrier, as roots spread rapidly. Pick leaves anytime for fresh use. Harvest for drying by cutting the stems above 2 sets of leaves.
OREGANO - Perennial. Plant in light, rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Pick leaves and stems anytime for fresh use and just before blooming for drying.
PARSLEY, ITALIAN - Annual. Can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill or outdoors in deep, rich, well-drained soil. Snip leaves for cooking or as a garnish.
ROSEMARY - Tender perennial. Plant in light, limey, well-drained soil. Very heat tolerant. Can be grown indoors in full sun at 55°F if kept moist. Cut whole leaves for drying or for fresh use.
SAGE - Perennial. Plant in light, rich, sandy, limey soil with good drainage. Cut 6- to 8-inch pieces from the stem tips as buds appear for drying.
SHALLOTS - Plant sets 1-2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart. When foliage starts to wither, dig bulbs and cure 2-3 weeks.
TARRAGON, FRENCH - Perennial. Plant 1 foot apart in early spring in well-drained, slightly sandy soil. Mulch after the ground freezes. Cut leaves at any time or dry for winter use.
THYME - Perennial. Plant in light, well-drained soil. Harvest leaves just before bloom. May be used fresh or dried. Discontinue harvesting in late summer to increase winter hardiness. Cut back by half in early spring to encourage new growth.