Growing Herbs

Herbs are very easy to grow in pots, window boxes, or in the garden — and growing them in a convenient spot near the kitchen is a plus. Once you get used to having fresh herbs on hand for every day use in the kitchen, you’ll readily agree that fresh herbs are a vast improvement over dried herbs in the pantry. Most herbs thrive best in well-drained soil that has been enriched with compost, or a high quality commercial potting mix.   

Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a popular summer annual with large aromatic green leaves on soft branching stems and usually grows 18-24 inches tall. The most popular varieties are Sweet Basil and Genovese. The flavor of Sweet basil is floral and mild, with slightly minty notes, licorice-like aroma with clove-like undertones. Gevovese basil is less temperamental and more pungent (more…)

Catnip

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial ornamental plant also known as catmint or catswort, and is generally believed to have earned its common name due to the strong level of attraction many cats have to it. A member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family, catnip can grow to between 20 and 48 inches tall and just as wide (more…)

Chervil

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), sometimes called French parsley, is a delicate annual herb related to parsley. Its lacy, fern-like folige resembles a flat-leaved parsley, but its leaves are more finely dissected and paler green. Its unique scent and flavor are similar to the flavors of tarragon and fennel, although milder. Chervil is a component of fines herbes, an indispensable blend in French cooking. (more…)

Chives

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is a cold tolerant perennial herb found throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and is a member of the onion family. There are two varieties of chives, onion and garlic. Onion chives have slender, tubular and hollow leaves with a mild onion taste. Garlic chives have fat, blade-like leaves with a distinctive garlic-onion flavor and aroma. (more…)

Cilantro

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is technically an perennial herb but is normally grown as an annual that can reach up to 15 inches in height in a single season. If allowed to continue growing, cilantro can reach five feet in height and produces a small white or pink flower followed by numerous seeds called coriander, that taste nothing at all like cilantro. (more…)

French Tarragon

French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’) is a frost sensitive perennial with dark, slender aromatic leaves on long stems growing 18 to 24 inches tall. Tarragon rarely flowers or produces seed — it slowly spreads roots underground. Cuttings or divisions are used to propagate the plant. Tarragon is prized by chefs for its sweet, delicate anise flavor. (more…)

Italian Parsley

Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a flat leafed plant that at first glance is sometimes confused with cilantro, but tastes nothing like it. The flavor is a combination of tangy, floral and peppery notes and the leaves are a dark green. Freshly cut Italian parsley delivers maximum flavor that dried or even store bought can’t match, and adds a lot of flavor to a variety of dishes. (more…)

Mint

Mint (Mentha) has over 30 different species, but the most common are spearmint (Mentha spicata) or peppermint (Mentha piperita). Mint contains menthol, a volatile oil, which gives mint its cooling, cleansing feeling on the palate. Mint is a hardy, fast growing aromatic perennial that can reach 1 to 3 feet in height and can spread aggressively due to rhizomes below ground (more…)