Start your own Herb Garden and will get Fresh Flavors for Your Food
Whether you want to grow a kitchen herb garden as a hobby or to save money or just for healthier eating, there are plenty of herbs you can grow in your backyard, on your patio, or even on your windowsill. Fresh herbs make recipes taste even better and are great to have around for soups, stews, and salads.
Selecting a planting place to grow your herbs, keep in mind that they need a good bright light daily. There are many herbs that you can grow to enhance your cooking. When you plant a kitchen garden, don’t only plant the herbs you know, take a chance on something else. You might just be surprised.
- Preparing and Potting your Herb Garden
Herbs plants grow well in aerated loosen potting soil mix. You can use red soil, vermicompost, coco peat, and perlite in 2:1:1:1 ratio. For drain out the excess water from planter, keep drainage holes and add some pebbles or small stone gravels at base.
- Caring For Your Herb Garden
Sunlight: Most herbs grow best in a bright sunlight location. Regularly rotate the orientation of your pots with respect to the source of sunlight so that the herbs don’t bend in one direction.
Watering: Water each herb according to its individual needs. Make this easier; to grow herbs together those has similar watering requirements. Avoid overwatering to prevent the root rot diseases.
Spacing: Air movement is necessary for herbs; grown in stuffy conditions often become weak and attract pests.
Clipping/Pruning: Fortunately for your cooking, even young herb plants require frequent pruning to encourage them to branch out and become fuller. So make sure to prune often but don’t cut more than a third off.
- Harvesting your Herbs
The best part about using fresh herbs is that a little goes a long way. Herbs can be harvested when the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth. Try to harvest early in the day after plants dry off and before it gets hot. Herbs are best harvested before they start to flower otherwise leaf production declines. Use a sharp knife or pruners to make clean cuts.
Here are fresh herbs and plants you can grow that are great to have handy in the kitchen.
Each herb has a different aroma and taste. Choose ones you use the most often in your cooking. Here are a few popular herbs you can grow in your garden to enjoy their fresh-from-the-earth taste at your dinner table.
- Holy Basil/Tulsi
A sacred herb that grows in many Indian homes, tulsi requires plenty of sunlight and water. It should be planted right before the monsoon, under intense heat and allowed to grow through the rain and cooler climate.
- Coriander /Dhania
All you need is to sow a row of whole coriander seeds from your kitchen in a pot on a sunny window sill in early spring. Don’t over-water the plant at any point.
- Spear Mint/Pudina
Very easy to grow, once mint takes root it is quite a prolific herb. It is recommended that you grow it in a pot otherwise this invasive herb can take over your green patch.
You can grow lemongrass by rooting a market-bought stalk. First keep it in a jar of water. Change the water every day till the lemongrass grows about 2 inch tall and then transfer it to a sunny pot and keep it hydrated.
- Curry Leaves/ Kadi Patta
The fragrant curry leaf plant needs abundant sunlight. So keep it under direct sunlight for most part of the year except in hot summers. While seeds work well, stem cuttings (about 3 inch long) are the easiest way to plant it.
- Carom/ Ajwain
Growing the ajwain plant is easy. It does not require too much sunlight or water. The beautiful ridged leaves of the ajwain plant are edible and an easy home remedy for tummy upsets.
- Dill/ Sowa Bhaji
The Dill plant likes well-drained, sunny spots and shelter from wind. Use stalks to lend support to the plant that dislikes being transplanted, and is best sown directly in spring. Both, the seeds and the leaves of this herb have a sharp, slightly bitter taste.
Sow the Thyme seeds in early March, with the spacing of six inches between two seeds. Thyme needs light sunshine, grows slowly from seed and should be allowed a few months of growth to become well established, before cutting.
Sow Parsley seeds in mid-spring for a summer harvest of parsley, and mid-summer for a winter harvest. To enhance germination, soak seeds overnight and plant them fairly close together as they thrive on competition.
Rosemary is usually propagated by cuttings as seeds can be difficult to germinate. Once it has taken root, this perennial, woody shrub will thrive for years. It grows well in well-drained alkaline soil and hot sunny climates.
Chives are mostly used for flavoring and are considered one of the fine herbs of French cuisine. Chives work well with eggs, fish, potatoes, salads, shellfish, and soups. Chives are an excellent source of beta carotene and Vitamin C.