I’ve been an avid gardener for many years, owned an herb farm for twenty three years where we raised culinary and medicinal herbs along with an honor system vegetable stand. I’d supply local restaurants daily with fresh culinary herbs, and we’d open up the farm for shoppers and gardeners alike every Spring Our barnyard was a plethora of goats, sheep, chickens and ducks. The work was hard to say the least, but most fulfilling, probably the most joyous time of my life. Nothing gave me more pleasure than firing up the greenhouse in early February so that I could begin my plantings. So, as Memorial Day weekend typically kicks off the gardening season for many, I thought I’d post a few tidbits about growing a Kitchen Herb Garden.
The sensible practice of planting a garden close by the kitchen door for easy accessibility was brought to this country by the European settlers. Herbs in the kitchen garden were both useful and decorative, not to mention the marvelous aroma as you brush them stepping by.
Culinary herbs are my favorites, easy to grow with minimal care and just so versatile. They may be added to salads, soups, sauces, marinades and rubs for meats and poultry, homemade sausages, egg dishes, appetizers, cheeses–and even desserts! These are some of my favorites that work well in their respective categories. But don’t feel limited by this list. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations and varieties, both for cooking and in the kitchen garden itself. Be creative I’d tell my customers–plant a new herbs or two each year. Expand your culinary skills by trying new recipes from one of the many cookbooks dedicated to cooking with herbs. Your choices are limitless.
Herbs For Poultry Dishes
Thyme • Sage • Oregano • Rosemary • Tarragon • Lemon Thyme
Herbs For Fish
Dill • Parsley • Fennel • Garlic • Bay • Lemon Basil
Herbs For Vegetables
Tarragon • Dill • Garlic • Chives • Savory • Thyme • Mint • Basil • Chervil
Herbs For Meat Dishes
Rosemary • Bay • Oregano • Marjoram • Mint • Parsley • Sage • Horseradish
Angelica • Mint • Rose Petals • Rose Hips
Some perennial herbs, such as horseradish and many members of the mint family, are a bit too invasive to plant directly in the soil of your kitchen garden. So instead, plant invasive herbs in attractive containers and place the containers in a appropriate growing spot nearby. I grow many mints: spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, orange mint, chocolate mint, etc…and enjoy drying the chocolate mint leaves and then grinding and adding them to my morning coffee.
Other perennial herbs, such as rosemary, bay and lemon verbena, are not winter hardy here in New England, so grow these and other tender herbs in containers that can be set out in the garden during the frost-free growing season and then overwinter in a sunny indoor location. So there you have it. I hope you’ll consider adding a kitchen garden when you’re planning your garden this year.. you won’t be sorry!
Have fun this Memorial weekend everyone & stay safe.