What Are the Best Culinary Herbs For Your Garden?

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What Are the Best Culinary Herbs For Your Garden?

This is a collection of the best culinary herbs for those gardeners who want to know what herbs are most useful and popular for a kitchen herb garden. The herbs are listed in order of popularity and each has a little general information and tips on growing.

Basil
If I could only grow one herb, it would have to be Basil. This is the herb that put herbs on the map in America, and it seems to be gaining in popularity. This annual grows up to 24″ and requires full sun. Make at least two plantings of basil, four to six weeks apart, so that you will have plenty to last through the growing season. Basil does not like cold, so keep it covered until it gets really warm where you live.

Dill
A member of the carrot family, dill has umbrella-shaped flower heads. Dill is an annual that grows from a single stem, 3 to 4 feet tall. It needs plenty of sun, good soil, and good protection from wind. Sow seeds directly where you want the plants. When seedlings are small, thin plants to 1 1/2 feet apart. Dill is delicious in salads, dressings and sauces, soups, and egg dishes; with potatoes, vegetables, fish, poultry, and sour cream.

French Tarragon
Tarragon’s common and species names mean little dragon, because it was once thought to cure the bites of mad dogs and various venomous creatures. French tarragon seeds are sterile, so you have to buy plants. The plant is a hardy perennial. It grows less than 2 feet tall and has a tendency to spread. To keep tarragon growing strong, divide and replant established clumps every 3 or 4 years. Excellent for vegetable and egg dishes; with chicken, lamb, veal, and fish; and in various butter, cream, and cheese sauces.

Mint
Hardy perennial. mint needs to be contained in the garden due to its tendency to spread. If you plant mint in pots, it will require lots of watering, so be aware. Keep your mints separate from one another because they can combine which will change their flavor. Cut them back before they flower for maximum production, and pinch or cut back stems to counteract leggy growth. Mint is wonderful as a tea or used in making jelly, as a garnish in beverages, and great accent for salads and desserts. It is especially popular in recipes from Greece and the Middle East.

Oregano
Oregano was valued in ancient times as an antidote to certain poisons and to convulsions. The best oregano for culinary use is Greek oregano. Qualities that distinguish it from the common purple flowered oregano is that Greek oregano has white flowers and a peppery flavor. It is a hardy perennial that grows about 10″ tall. Oregano is used in many different cuisines and in a variety of dishes.

Sweet Marjoram
Sweet marjoram, as legend has it, was created by Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Sweet marjoram and oregano are closely related, often mixed up, but quite different herbs. Sweet marjoram is less well known, delicious with lamb and often used in French cuisine. It can be distinguished from oregano by its stems of knotted flowers. Less hardy than oregano, sweet marjoram is an annual unless your area does not freeze. Grows 12″ to 18″ tall.

Happy growing!

Mark Perlik
http://www.mygrowingherbs.com is designed to help people discover resources and information for growing and using herbs at home. Information and resources about growing culinary herbs can be found here.

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