More First Herbs

Beyond the basic herbs

Once you've whetted your appetite for fresh herbs, the following are additions that you'll want to put in your garden.

Common &
Latin names
Planting instructions Notes
Chives
(Allium schoenoprasum)

Soil: Well composted, but needs good drainage
Sun: Full sun
Water: Keep moist for best growth

Undemanding perennial. Will die back to the ground in autumn and reemerge in early spring.

Divide clumps to propagate, or start from seed.

Chives are a member of the Allium family of onions, however instead of the bulbs, it is the grass-like stalks that are harvested. Cut portions of a clump as needed fairly close to the ground several times in a season.

Overwinter a clump inside on a sunny window sill for fresh chives through the winter.

Chives grow well in containers or window boxes and flower from June to July.

Pretty with Russian sage or one of the varigated sages.

Chives are a good companion to carrots. If you have apples trees plant chives nearby. Make a tea of chives to prevent powdery mildew on gooseberries and cucumbers.

Cilantro
(Corinadrum sativum)

Soil: Light, rich soil with good drainage
Sun: Full sun
Water: Ample moisture

Annual plant that prefers cooler temperatures. Look for varieties that will not bolt.

Keep cilantro away from fennel. They don't play well together.

Cilantro plants provide distinctively flavored leaves in early spring that are essential to Mexican and Thai cooking. Ripened coriander seed is a mainstay of Indian cooking.
Dill
(Anethum graveolens)

Soil: Well-composted, rich soil with good drainage
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Moderate moisture

Hardy annual, very easy to grow. Direct sow in spring using 10-inch spacing between plants. Doesn't like being transplanted. Plant separately from fennel and caraway.

It gets very tall. Plant in the back of beds or in the center of deep containers.

Sow seed every 10 days for successive harvest of fresh dill.

Feathery leaves are commonly used to season salads, dressings, potato and fish dishes. Seed heads are used in pickling vegetables particularly cucumbers.

If planting in containers, make sure it's deep. Dill has very long roots.

Dill does well with cabbage but not with carrots.

Mint
(Mentha
)

Soil: Tolerate a variety of soils and conditions
Sun: Full sun
Water: Average

In some climates, is an invasive perennial if not contained so makes a wonderful container plant.

There are dozens of varieties of mint. When choosing plants from a nursery rub a tiny bit of leaf to smell the scent. Peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate mint all make wonderful teas and mix well with citrus for cold drinks.

Hot mint tea is an excellent remedy for upset stomach.

Mint may help repel aphids.

Tarragon, French
(Artemesia dracunclus)

Soil: Well-composted, rich soil with good drainage
Sun: Full sun
Water: Ample moisture

A well-placed perennial plant will die back in winter, but returns year after year. Requires winter chill for optimal health. Reappears in March or April.

Purchase plants. Avoid Russian tarragon as its flavor is much inferior to the French tarragon.

Poor drainage during winter results in root rot. Does well in raised beds.

Tarragon may be dried, pickled, or frozen for winter use.

Tarragon vinegar is especially nice with a homemade vinaigrette.

Excellent with sauces, eggs, in salads, and many vegetables. It is also wonderful with chicken and seafood.

May be grown in window boxes or planters with parsley or thyme. Upright habit and bright light green color provides a pleasing contrast.

Sweet Bay Laurel
(Lauris nobilis)

Soil: Well -composted soil with good drainage
Sun: Prefers full sun
Water: Deep water but allow to dry out between waterings

Hardy in zones 8-10. In other areas, this tender perennial may tolerate a bit of frost but not frost and wind together.

Overwinter inside where it will be dormant until spring. Hold back watering. Will be particularly happy if the indoor temperature is less than 65 degrees.

Don't put out until it is well past danger of frost, especially with very young plants. If frost bitten, cut back to about six inches; it may come back.

In containers, many Europeans create topiaries of their bay laurels, often one on either side of an entry for an elegant look.

Add to soups, stews, and braises for aromatic flavor. Remove leaf before serving.

Bay leaves in flour will deter bugs.

Sweet marjoram
(Origanum marjorana)

Soil: Well composted soil with good drainage
Sun: Prefers full sun
Water: Average

Smallish plant about 8-12 inches with small, very sweet white flowers. Start with small plants unless you want t weed tiny seedlings.

Grown as an annual in all but the mildest climates. Overwinter in a sunny window.

Often confused with other oreganos. Majoram is lighter and more flowery than the more robust Greek and Italian oreganos.

Lovely versatile herb that can be used with almost any vegetable and most meats.

Combine with parsley and thyme in a single large pot or window box. Add a spikey grass in the center and a trailing nasturium for color. Or intersperse with calendulas.

Fresh herbs make the simplest meal a gourmet experience. Almost nothing is nicer for a simple supper than an omelet with fresh eggs (from your chickens of course) cooked in a bit of butter topped with the fresh herb of your choice and a bit of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Additional combinations abound once you get started. Other possibilities include plots or planters with any combination of the following:


To protect your tender herbs or start a spring garden, a qualified contractor at NextStep Remodeling can build a sunroom or solarium for your home.

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