Sunday, March 21, 2010

Growing Your Favorite Herbs

Growing Your Favorite Herbs

(Now that spring is here you get that urge to plant things and watch them grow, so growing herbs is a great way to start this new season. Herbs are quite easy to grow and are great for cooking or for magickal workings. I have already started growing Basil from seed last weekend and they have already begun their life. Baby seedlings peaking out of the moist soil and reaching for the sun. Even if you don't have a green thumb planting seeds and watching them sprout is a joy. Get some seeds and sow some love today!)

One of the most pleasant and rewarding gardening hobbies is growing herbs. Most herbs are really easy to grow, and since many are relatively small, you can plant a thriving herb garden in a pot, barrel, or small bed and still come up with a bounty of tasty herbs to use in all your recipes.

Some of the easiest and most versatile herbs to grow in your home garden include:

1. Basil - This spicy staple of most kitchens is surprisingly easy to grow in the home garden. You can grow it from seed or buy a small, starter plant, and it comes in several different varieties, with large or small leaves. Remember, basil won't withstand cold temperatures, so you'll have to plant a new crop every spring in cold climates.

2. Chives - These small relative s of the onion family are quite easy to grow, and they come back in the garden year after year, stronger than ever. You can sow from seed, but small starter plants will give you an instant start in the garden. Try garlic chives for a mix of garlicy onion goodness.

3. Dill - Dill is a beautiful, lacy plant to grow in the herb garden. It grows at least three-feet high, so plant it toward the back of your garden. It's very easy to grow from seed, just make sure you plant it after all danger of frost has passed. Dill is another annual herb, which means you'll have to plant a new crop each spring if you live in a cold climate.

4. Oregano - This is a great Italian herb, but you can use it for all kinds of recipes, from compound butters to bread and spaghetti sauce. Oregano is easy to grow from seed, and it will spread out to make a rather large bush if you don't trim it often, so plant it in an area that gives it some room to grow. Trim it often too, to encourage new growth. This herb is relatively hardy, and should come back each spring as long as temperatures don't get really low during the winter.

5. Parsley - Everyone interested in growing herbs should try parsley. It's a very pretty plant in the garden, and it's called for in so many recipes, it's almost indispensable in the kitchen. It's very easy to grow from seed or a starter plant, and it may come back every spring in some gardens, but in many you'll have to start a new crop each spring.

6. Rosemary - Rosemary is a wonderful, woody, and highly-scented herb that grows into a lovely bush two to three-feet tall. It's so fragrant; you can smell it in the garden on a warm summer day. Growing rosemary from seed is hard, so buy a plant and add it to your garden, or get a cutting from a friend. Once planted, it should grace your garden for years to come.

7. Sage - Growing herbs would not be the same without a patch of sage in the garden. This herb is easy to grow from seed or a starter plant, and it will come back year after year after it's established. It can grow bigger and bushier than rosemary, so give it some room and trim it often for the best results.

8. Thyme - Once you plant thyme, you'll wonder how you got along without this versatile herb. Plant the creeping or upright variety from seed, or start from small plants. Thyme will spread in the garden, so give it room to grow. You can use it in everything from soups and sauces to roasting chicken, so plant a lot and harvest it often.

Growing herbs is so rewarding, especially when you use those newly picked herbs in your kitchen. Nothing matches the satisfaction and freshness of an herb that you pick five minutes before you cook with it, so get growing your favorite herbs today!

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