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Growing Herbs

Herbs are a great addition to any home. Many are compact and can even be planted on the windowsill.

Herbs can be a lot of fun to grow. Many are aromatic and most don’t need tons of space. In fact, many can be planted in containers.

What Kinds of Herbs?

Deciding what kinds of herbs to grow should be based on individual preference. Different herbs pair well with different types of food. For those individuals with limited space, choosing herbs that will be used most often is the best way to decide. Some enjoy strong flavors, and others prefer a subtler taste. These are all things to consider.

Where to Grow

Herbs are relatively low maintenance when compared to other plants. They don’t need too much to keep them happy. Sun is important, as it is for all plants. Some herbs prefer ground that is moist, and others prefer drier conditions, so it is important to check the requirements of each variety. Examples of this include rosemary and thyme, which prefer drier ground, and basil and chives, which like the wet a little more.

Herbs can be used to supplement rock gardens. The rocks provide a surface over which they can climb, and the herbs add a nice visual (and aromatic) touch.

Many herbs can also be planted inside, on a windowsill or other area that has access to sunlight. This is a great way to grow smaller quantities of herbs, and to have them conveniently on hand. Examples of these include chives, basil, parsley, cilantro and rosemary.

Cultivating

Most herbs have leaves of some kind. One of the exceptions to this is chives, which look somewhat like blades of grass. To use chives, simply take a bunch and cut the length needed with a pair of scissors. Chives are perennial and will flower beginning in their second year. The flowers are also edible.

Other herbs, such as oregano, rosemary and basil, have leaves that are easily accessible, and it is these leaves that impart the most flavor. Simply cut the herbs at the stem. The leaves can then be picked off if desired.

Some herbs are best utilized whole – stem and leaf. These include parsley and cilantro. Parsley is often used as a garnish for the sides of dishes and the tops of soups.

Dill is a unique herb. When using the stem and leaves, it is called ‘dill weed.’ But the seeds of dill are also very flavorful, and are easily cultivated.

Storing

Most herbs can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. Some, such as chives, are best used fresh as they tend to lose much of their flavor otherwise.

Fresh, frozen or dried, herbs make a great contribution to almost any dish.

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