Fresh herbs are now more available than ever. The best way to get fresh herbs is to grow your own in either a garden bed or as a container garden. Here are ways to plant, handle, and use fresh herbs from your herb gardens.
In any recipe calling for herbs, use fresh herbs. Preparing the herbs for your dish is easy. The more tender herbs like mint, parsley, basil, and cilantro can be gathered in a bowl and snipped with scissors. This is the fastest and safest way to chop the herbs. If your recipe calls for the more hardy herbs like oregano, rosemary, or thyme you should use the stripping method. Hold a branch of the herb upright in your fingers and run the fingers of your other hand down the stalk stripping the tiny leaves free. The flavor will be more intense if you have gathered the herbs from your herb gardens or container gardens because they will be absolutely the freshest herbs available.
The best way to have fresh herbs is to plant and grow them yourself. No longer is there a designated herb garden. They can be found in your flower beds, along walkways, or in pots on your porch. Many ambitious gardeners are finding new ways to incorporate herbs into their garden beds and their container gardens.
Many gardeners are unaware of the beauty of flowering herbs and never consider planting them within their flower beds. Some herbs that have beautiful flowers are purple coneflower, catmint, bee balm, yarrow, pinks, lavender, pot marigold, borage, feverfew, and nasturtium which is particularly lovely in fresh salads. Many other herbs, such as parsley are excellent next to flowers of all sorts because of their spectacular foliage. When planting red or blue flowers, place purple basil around them for an artful arrangement.
Another area to consider is to use herbs as ground cover. The herbs that are suitable for this are the low growing oregano, chamomile, woolly, and other creeping thyme, mint, and rosemary. Not only will it look pretty but it will be absolutely fragrant. Just be careful of the mint family, they tend to take over everything.
Another way to employ pots in your garden is to plant invasive herbs such as mint into a pot and then plant pot and all into the ground. This is an easy trick to keep those creepers from taking over your garden beds.
Plant a container garden near your door with the cherry pie scented blue flower heliotrope and other fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and basil. Every time you walk by you will be greeted with their delicious scent.
Some herbs that have grown on rocky hillsides over the centuries such as thyme, oregano, and lavender are perfect for cracks in flag stone paths or walls and rock gardens. They thrive in hot dry areas with good drainage. Some believe that those herbs grown in these conditions produce a much better flavor.
Now is the time to plant your herbs, whether it is in a garden bed, a cracked wall, or a container garden. Use your imagination. Consider color height and texture when planting your gardens. Not only will it be visually pleasing, but your cooking will improve too!