This year is the first year for my herb garden. I planted Rosemary, Lemon Basil and Oregano. I enjoyed watching my herbs grow but really didn't know much about how to grow an herb garden so I decided to take a class at our local extension office.
Tips for Growing an Herb Garden:
When growing Basil be sure to pinch it back. You do not want flowering or buds. To dry hang your basil. When you pick your basil (or any herb) it best in the early morning and pick no more than ⅓ of your plant. Lemon Basil makes a nice tea. A tip is to plant your basil with your tomatoes. They do very well together. A variety that was recommended was Italian Flat Leaf and Lemon Basil.
There are many varieties of Oregano. Greek Oregano has a stronger flavor. We learned that Dill is a volunteer plant. It will return the next year without being planted from the seeds that fell from the year before. Also, butterflies like Dill plants. Plant them if you want butterflies!
Calendula likes cool weather. Cilantro is full sun plant. Pick and put in a vase in the refrigerator with a bag over it or roll it in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Mint will "run" if you don't pot it. Peppermint makes a good tea.
It is very difficult to winterize your herbs when you live in a climate that is not sunny year round. They did suggest potting your herbs but in the summer to carry your pots to your actual garden so they could enjoy the climate of your garden. Except your basil which they recommend to plant with your tomatoes. I will be doing that next year!
These are just a few of the highlights of the class. We were also able to sample a variety of herb butters and dishes made with herbs. I love making this Gluten Free Rosemary Shortbread with fresh Rosemary from my herb garden.
Recipes Made With Fresh Herbs:
3 cups lightly packed fresh mint
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine mint and almonds; process until finely chopped.
With motor running, gradually pour oil through the feed tube. Season with salt. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Mint Infused "Tea"
1 teaspoon of crushed dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep until infusion has reached desired taste. Add lemon juice for enhanced flavor. Can also be made the same with Lemon Basil!