Depending on availability of space and garden, decide on the location of your herb garden: it can be outdoors, your kitchen window sill, or any other protected area, like a patio. However, for the sake of convenience, make sure that it is easy to reach and close to your kitchen.
Also bear in mind that herb plants have to be exposed to quite a number of hours of bright daylight or sun for them to sprout plentiful leaves and flowers. Furthermore, be aware of the watering and temperature requirements for herb growing. Herb plants need enough water, without keeping them soaked as they may succumb to root rot and powdery mildew diseases. They do not like severe heat or cold and therefore have to be protected in those cases.
A kitchen herb garden can be grown for many reasons: culinary, medicinal, aromatic or just because you enjoy their unique qualities and beauty. We often use a herb in only one of these areas without considering their other properties, for example, herbs like rosemary, thyme, marjoram and bay leaf were used in the past to preserve food when refrigerators were not as common as today. The more you learn about these amazing plants, the more you want to know about their amazing benefits!
Now comes the good part: you choose the herbs you want to grow. For a kitchen herb garden, you ideally want the herbs you love to use in your cooking for the superb, full flavor they add to your dishes. As we probably favor different herbs, I am providing some details on a number of popular, all-round herbs to grow for your kitchen herb garden.
Basil is one that many people know for its lush green leaves and warm and spicy flavor it adds to sauces, pasta and omelet dishes. The famous Italian pesto sauce, which cannot be made without basil, is one of the most famous sauces in the world. Basil tastes delicious served with any tomato dish and adds flavor to all kinds of meat dishes.
You may not be aware of it but this herb supports the heart and digestive system.
Basil can be grown from seeds or seedlings from springtime onwards, and if you want to start earlier, preferably in a green house or protected, warm spot.
Mint is traditionally added when making a special, fragrant mint sauce to accompany lamb dishes. It is equally good in a relaxing hot tea or in a long, cool drink at the poolside during summertime.
The mint herb can be grown from a couple of inches of the root of the plant. They need to be watered regularly, and importantly, the mint plant needs to be restricted to one area by way of its own pot, or similar, as the roots can spread aggressively.
Parsley is actually not only an appealing and refreshing decorative plant on appetizing food platters. It is even more valuable when added to soups, omelets, stews and salads.
It is advised to soak parsley seeds overnight before sowing them in the spring, and to thin out the seedlings with about a foot of space in between them.
Traditionally the sage herb is one of the prime ingredients in the making of pork sausages and chicken and turkey stuffings. It is equally prized when added to cheese and omelet dishes.
Sage is also grown from seed or seedlings in the spring, with around one foot in between the plants.
This should get you start growing a basic kitchen herb garden. Other popular edible herbs include marjoram, origano, thyme, savory, chives and rosemary, but we will talk about them in another article. In the meantime, enjoy your cooking!