Summer fruits, barbeques and fresh herbs, the dynamic and spectacular trio that scream summertime is here. Last week I started on barbeque essentials and marinades (much more to come on that), and seasonal summer fruit and vegetables, are coming soon, so today, I’m sharing a few simple steps and tricks to making an outdoor or indoor herb garden. I love cooking with fresh herbs. They are pungent, fragrant and add tremendous flavor to any dish, from salads, stews, vegetables to even ice cream. They are so easy to grow at home and I love experimenting with different varieties like lemon basil, wild rosemary, and Long Island dill. My basil and rosemary grow wild outside amongst the peonies, petunias, and gerandiums. Here’s a pic.
The best way to start using fresh herbs is to create a garden of herbs, its beautiful and fragrant. Here is what you need:
– fresh herb plants from the nursery or seeds (select varieties that you like, I suggest, basil, parsley, dill, rosemary, tarragon, sage, cilantro, chives…okay anything you like) MOST grow best in full or partial sun
– container with drainage
– potting soil
Select a Container and Provide Drainage
Based on the number of herbs you want to include in the container (plan the tall ones in the back and shorter in the front) and the spacing required, determine the size of the garden’s container. The container needs to have drainage so water won’t collect in the base. Cut or drill a hole in the bottom of the container if it does not have one.
Add Potting Soil
Fill container halfway with potting soil.
Arrange and Plant
Arrange the plants in a pleasing composition according to their spacing requirements — take into consideration their mature size. Place taller plants in the back and shorter varieties in the front.
Top Off the Container
After all the herbs are in place, fill the rest of the container with potting soil to about an inch below the rim.
Pack down the potting soil with the back of the shovel or your fingers.
Water the newly planted herbs liberally.
Add labels to your herb garden so you can keep track of what’s growing. Place the container outside in a sunny spot or in the windowsill with direct sunlight coming through.
Cut your herbs and use them in these great recipes:
Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil Lime Vinaigrette
Chicken Breasts in Rosemary Apricot Sauce
Crunchy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Coffee Rubbed Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce
Herb Marinated Turkey Roast
Salmon with Green Herbs and Lemon
Lemon Basil Sorbet
Chocolate Rosemary Truffles