Best Homegrown Culinary Herbs: Growing Tips & Facts

 Welcome to the Herbs and Spices Summer Series, a series put together by Laura @ The Gluten Free Pantry.
If you are looking to incorporate more herbs and spices into your life, then this series is for you.  I’m thrilled to be hosting alongside my dear friends, Laura @ The Gluten Free Pantry, Amber @ The Tasty Alternative, and Vicky@ Gluten Free SCD & Veggie.  Over these next two months we will be sharing a wealth of information with you!  Here is the schedule:
June 18Herbs and Spices to Boost Your Immune System (Laura)
June 22: Herbs and Holistic Healing for Crohn’s Disease (Amber)
June 25: Top Herbs That Are Easy To Grow with Tips for Success (Tessa)
June 29: Child Friendly Herbs for Common Childhood Illnesses (Amber)
July 2Turmeric: The Superstar Spice (Laura)
July 6: Herbs Around The Home-Lavender (Vicky)
July 9: Herbs to Relieve Common Discomfort During Menses  (Amber)
July 13: Oregano: Healing Properties & Health Benefits (Laura)
July 16Herbs That Help Fight Stress & Increase Mental Clarity  (Amber)
July 20: Herbs to Help Treat & Prevent Arthritis (Laura)
July 23: Rosemary: Healing Properties & Health Benefits (Laura)
July 27: How To Use Herbs Around The Home (Vicky)

Like any garden plant, herbs have certain personalities and needs to attend to for maximum success.  While some shy and ‘bolt’ at any real heat, others thrive in those same hot rays.  Come along with me as I share some tips for growing some the easiest and most versatile culinary herbs!

For you rookies out there:

“Perennial” mean a plant will come back year after year unless you manage to kill it!”

Annual” means it it produces and then dies, not to come again

Self-Seeding Annual” means the plant will grow, die, but will leave plenty of seeds behind to grow new plants.

Evergreen” mean it keeps it’s foliage through the winter

My top two tips for any new gardener pertaining to ANY plant you plan to grow:

  1. Right plant, right place.  Seems so simple, but so many rookie gardeners put plants in locations where they will get too big, or not enough light, or enough water, or too much water, or too much light…..you get the drift!  Easiest way avoid this pitfall is read the label!!  It it likes shade, give the plant shade!  Your plant will grow better and be less maintenance if it is in the RIGHT spot.
  2. Happy soil = happy plant.  Kind of like the food we put into our bodies nourishes US, plants need nutritious goodies too!  Organic compost is one of the simplest ways to improve your soil with organic matter.  After that, think organic fertilizers…especially for plants that you want to eat from.

 

  1. Parsley (perennial, tender evergreen). Prefers rich, moist soil and full sun.  If growing, it can be harvested continually, pinch off flowers to encourage more growth!  Although it doesn’t grow vigorously, I can even harvest tidbits through the mild winters here in the NW.
  2. Sage (perennial, evergreen). A hardy plant that stays green all winter, adds a lovely flavor to winter dishes, but looks beautiful all year round!  Purple flowers in Spring/Summer.
  3. Oregano (perennial, tender evergreen): Full sun, sprawling ground cover that is about a foot tall.  Pretty pink  flowers in the summer.
  4. Thyme(perennial): a great Italian herb that prefers hot conditions and dry soil.  A beautiful sprawling ground cover with tiny pink/purple flowers.

    Photo courtesy of Medicinal Plants

  5. Cilantro (annual, sometimes self-seeding) A cool weather annual.  The trickiest of the bunch to grow as it it has a tendency to ‘bolt,’ or go to seed in temperatures much above 72.  It is easy to grow from seed, but plant it an area where it will be protected from extremely hot sun.  Planting in weekly successions is a good idea, as once you harvest, the plant is done.
  6. Basil (annual): a favorite!  This plant likes rich, evenly moist soil and lots of sun.  Don’t even think about planting it outside until temperatures are consistently in the 70’s and up.  This is always the very first plant to succumb to frost in my garden.  As it grows, pinch back flowers to encourage bushy growth!

    Photo Courtesy of Simply Recipes

  7. Chives (perennial, self-seeding): Full sun and well-drained soil.  Cut back to about 2 inches when you harvest pieces.  If allowed to flower, will self-seed readily.  I harvest from mine all winter in the mild NW winters here.  It won’t grow until Spring, but it lives!
  8. Mint (perennial, evergreen); Whatever you do, do not plant this by itself in the ground, it will take over any garden bed!  It is best grown withina pot to contain the sprawling feeders.  Prefers damp, cool spots but will tolerate full sun if it is all you have.  Snip leaves as needed.

    Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

  9. Rosemary (perennial, evergreen): Full sun, well drained soil. I often add sand or gravel to the planting hole to cater to this.  It has beautiful purple flowers in the Spring, and can be continuously harvested,  Snip a piece, and strip the needles for use in your dishes.  This also makes an attractive evergreen shrub for your garden, and grows quite large!!This post was shared on Monday Mania, Better Mom’s Linky, Fat Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Healthy 2 day Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday,These Chicks Cooked, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Thriving on Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday,
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When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

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10 comments on “Best Homegrown Culinary Herbs: Growing Tips & Facts
  1. what a great post!! i really want to grow some basil and cilantro! mmm! thanks for hosting this series!

  2. Vicky says:

    I love your top tips! So true, I think this is why I have to grow most of my herbs in pots!

    Great information Tessa!

  3. amber says:

    Hi Tessa,

    This is such a fantastic post and a wonderful contribution to our series. I like how you geared this post to those who might just be starting out, as not everyone is experienced in growing herbs.

    I love all these herbs! Here are my thoughts on a few of them…

    I don’t have much luck with cilantro. It’s just so darn hot here, and hard to find the right shade in my yard. Think I will try to grow indoors!

    Great tip with the mint. It really can take over, so it’s worth planting in a pot. I need to remember to keep mine in the shade…and something eats up the mint here. I need to create a natural pesticide (a garlic, cayenne mix perhaps).

    And rosemary…I don’t need to plant it or buy it, as my neighbors have a rosemary field in their yard, seriously, it’s everywhere. And I just love just going next door and picking what I need. :-)

    Great post, Tessa!

    Hugs,
    –Amber

  4. Most of these plants are growing in my herb garden. My favorite is Basil, too!

  5. What a fabulous post Tessa! I wish I knew the tip on mint spreading years ago-it has a way of taking over my small garden quickly! I have never planted sage, but now am encouraged to. Thank you for sharing such an informative post!

  6. I’ve been meaning to start growing herbs, I’m just intimidated by my “brown thumb” and searing desert heat here in Arizona. I’ll get there someday. :)

    • You can do it Athena…although desert dwellers would need to find a sheltered location or ask a local nursery for strategies! Perennials practically take care of themselves if they like their home and and the soil is healthy…

  7. Rebecca says:

    What a wonderful herb lover’s resource-thank you for sharing this with us at Seasonal Celebration! Rebecca x

  8. Carole says:

    Great tips, thank you.

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My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!
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