There is no dried out store bought Herb that can compare to a freshly picked home grown Herb. It can really make an ordinary Summer salsa, or Bruschetta recipe go from bland to absolutely delicious. Whether you choose to pick a place outdoors to plant them or grow them indoors, you will quickly wonder how you ever cooked without using fresh Herbs.
Every spring I pick a spot to plant all my Herbs. Just make sure you pick a place with soil that can easily drain. Even if you have a problem with drainage, you can always dig a 12 inch trench and refill using pebbles and small stones along with the dirt to insure drainage. Also the area that you choose, has to have at least five hours of direct sunlight daily. I find that my Herbs do the best with a bit of shade. Especially in late summer when it has a tendency to be on or around 100 degrees.
I remove the top soil from a square area, and till the soil until all weeds and rocks are removed. Before I plant anything I always mix some manure in for added nutrients. However there are many options when it comes to fertilizer. Next, I water the area completely and let sit for at least a couple of days.You can also prepare way in advance by doing this in the late fall.
I very rarely will plant a seed in my outdoor Herb garden. It is best to start the plant growing indoors. I use yogurt cups or egg shell cartons. I fill them with soil and plant the seeds. Place a hole in the bottom of whatever you’re using for drainage and water thoroughly. It helps to place lightly plastic wrap over the whole thing, until the seed starts to sprout. Place anywhere in the sunshine.
Since some Herbs are larger than others. You will need to plan out where to place them. Herbs like Dill, Rosemary, Oregano and sage should be placed in the back of smaller Herbs. While Basil, Chives and Summer savory should be placed in the front, facing the sun.
Another way to make a Herb garden more pleasant is to plant fragrant herbs around the edge of the garden. I plant Lavender, Geranium and Rose around mine. It not only makes my Herb garden beautiful, but I can also dry out the flowers and use them for pot- pourris later on.
If you do not have a yard to plant in, you can always grow your Herbs indoors. Just get them sprouting, and replant into larger pots. Make sure they get their five hours of direct sunlight a day, and are frequently watered. Place them in an undisturbed area. I chose to put a shelving unit right in front of the window. This keeps my cats from getting into them also.
One of my favorite things to make, along with my home grown tomatoes is Bruschetta. I will only make it in the summer, with my fresh ingredients. Here is the recipe.
2 large tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 half loaf french bread
grated Parmesan cheese
Cut the tomatoes up into little pieces. Place them in a bowl. Put as much fresh Basil as you would like, cut finely. Sprinkle with olive oil, and add salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.
Slice the french bread into sandwich slices and lightly toast. Spread the garlic butter on the toast, and add some shredded provolone cheese on the top. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and put under the broiler until browned.
Spoon the tomato mix over the garlic bread and enjoy.
I could not imagine a summer without my Herb garden. It offers me not only great flavors but something nice to look at. It is well worth the effort. As long as you plan ahead.