Whenever I’m chopping and mincing on my maple cutting board, I love the fresh aroma’s that come from fresh picked herbs! I love to find a unique flavor, or a new recipe to try. But whether I’m trying out something new or dishing up an old family favorite; when it comes to herbs—fresh is always best!
Although they can cost more than dried herbs, especially in the off-season, fresh herbs will make a huge difference in the flavor. Professional chef’s and foodie’s swear by fresh herbs, but do you have to break your budget? I think not! Rather than picking up your herbs at the grocery store, why not grow them right at home?
Now before you run off, let me tell you it’s a lot easier than you think...and it really takes very little space. You can even grow them in an apartment! All you need is a sunny window, preferably a south or south-east facing one, water, pots, soil and some seeds.
Since its summertime, try starting your herbs outside in pots on your balcony or in your garden. When the days start getting cooler and the first frost approaches, move them indoors and continue to enjoy them throughout the winter months. You may need to supplement them with light, but they will continue to produce with some care.
Here are a few tips to avoid some common problems:
Tip #1: If you are growing them inside, choose herbs that don’t grow overly tall or wide like basil, lavender, parsley, mint, rosemary or thyme.
Tip #2: Frequent trimming of your plants (once they are established) will encourage more growth.
Tip #3: Don’t snip off more than 1/3 of your plant’s foliage at a single time...it will shock or kill it!
Tip#4: If you don’t have a sunny window, you can use fluorescent lights, or other growing lamps. But you will need to have them close by, and on for about ten hours per day.
Tip #5: Water sparingly! Never have your herbs sitting in water. Water as needed, and fertilize them in the spring and fall.
If you’re interested in growing your own herbs, take the challenge and go for it! There are tons of resources available online to get you started on the right foot. Keep in mind your region, what zone you are in, common pests or diseases and what flavors your family likes.
Fresh herbs are a great way to introduce kids to gardening as well, and it can be a really fun project to do together with your kids. Just remember, they will probably forget to water them at some point, so make sure you check in on things and see how it’s going!
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Come back later and read our next article all about the different herbs and how to use them!