Are you more of an eater than a grower? A lot of people who appreciate using the finest ingredients and knowing where their food comes from do not necessarily have a green thumb. Let’s face it, gardening can be difficult and not everyone has the time to tend to a food production garden.
With farmers markets and CSA subscription services, foodies may not have a big need for vegetables. But herbs are a different story. Organic herbs can be very expensive and sometimes a trip to the grocery or market just to buy herbs is a waste of time. Save yourself a trip to the store with these 5 easy herbs to grow.
In northern gardens, chives can be the first perennial edible plant that greets the winter-weary garden. The foliage and flowers can both be added to various dishes, especially early spring-salads and soups. As the photo above illustrates, chive flowers even feed pollinators in my community garden.
The inclusion of this plant in lists is almost a cliché at this point, but there really should be room for a rosemary plant in every foodie’s herb garden. Whether you use the leaves fresh or dried, do yourself a favor and grow a few rosemary plants.
Whether you love it, or think it tastes like soap, you have to admit that nothing gives a dish that distinct taste quite like cilantro. Cooking Mexican or Asian dishes? A few cilantro plants will come in handy.
4. Lemon Verbena
This perennial edible can grow like a shrub, and should probably be considered one. But there are few shrubs foodies could plant in their herb garden that have such versatility.
The lemony scent of this aptly named plant can really brighten up your day. Finely minced, the tough leaves of lemon verbena could take the place of lemon zest in recipes. Whole leaves could be used to season just like bay laurel leaves are used. The leaves can be used to flavor just about everything. Steep them to create tea or flavored dairy base for ice cream. Use a few leaves to infuse sugar, vinegar and oils, and in summer drinks and cocktails that require a citrus flavor profile.
This is another herb that may seem like a no-brainer. Sage is such an easy herb to grow, that is is almost criminal that foodie gardeners don’t grow some. I find the best uses for sage can be found when preparing those fall and winter meat dishes like pork and sausages and stuffing meats. Grow some over the summer and harvest before winter hits to have a good amount of freshly dried sage ready for holiday meals.
Where should you plant your foodie garden?
Traditionally, herb gardens are planted near the back door where they are accessible to the cook. The person doing the cooking should be able to dash out into the herb garden to take a few cuttings or pinch a few leaves for the day’s cooking. If your living situation doesn’t allow for a planted herb garden, try growing in containers, on decks, railings, porches or roofs.
While there are only 5 herbs foodie gardeners should grow recommended in this post, there are a lot of other herbs you should look into. Basil, for example, was left out of the post but you could have a garden devoted just to growing basil for cooking.
The great thing about herbs is that they come from dry climates so they don’t mind growing conditions that are too sunny and hot for other plants. Once you learn which herbs to grow, it’s time to learn how to cook with herbs in the kitchen.
What herb can’t you do without in your kitchen?
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