There are a few herbs that I find myself constantly buying at the grocery store — basil, parsley, and cilantro, just to name a few. Knowing how easy they are to grow at home, I usually cringe when I have to actually spend the money on them. Now that we are heading into spring, I’ve got my mind on getting my herb garden up and running so that I will be able to enjoy fresh home grown herbs again in no time.
It’s easy to get your very own kitchen herb garden started. All you need is a few inexpensive pots, a big bag of dirt, a sunny spot, and a little patience. You will in turn be rewarded with lots of flavor to add to your cooking, I promise.
—Aggie's Kitchen, Babble
Chives do best in full sun to part shade, so select an area that provides a little of both. Chives are very low-maintenance and can be divided and turned into multiple plants when they get to big for your pot. Keep them harvested to promote growth and always use fresh for best flavor (a subtle combination of onion and garlic!). Add snipped chives to cream cheese, eggs, salad dressings, and marinades.
Basil does best when set out in plenty of sunlight, but make sure it's well-watered during hot spring and summer days. Keep your basil plant productive by always harvesting it — snip away leaves, stems, and flower buds frequently to promote growth. If you wanted, you could let the flower buds grow a bit, then snip those and set out to dry to get seeds for future plants. Basil can be used fresh in marinades, salads, dressings, sauces, and, of course, pesto.
Cilantro is probably my secondmost-used herb (next to basil) that I grow. It is wonderful fresh in salsa and marinades. Cilantro grows best in cooler weather, in full to part sun. Make sure its soil is well drained. Though cilantro is one of my favorite herbs to grow, it's been one of my most challenging ones as well.
When you are selecting your parsley seeds or plants to grow in your herb garden, be sure to look for flat leaf parsley for best flavor. I find parsley to be low-maintenance and easy to grow in sun or part shade. I tend to harvest it frequently by snipping of entire stems and store it in a cup of water on my counter to keep it fresh.
Thyme makes a wonderful addition to any herb garden because it's so easy to take care of and can be used in so many ways in the kitchen. Plant in full sun and keep it well drained for best results. When harvesting, snip entire sprigs and take leaves of stems by gently running your fingers along and removing leaves. Thyme enhances the flavor of vinaigrettes, marinades, and chicken dishes.
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