More Easy Herbs

February 15, 2015 lawanda Newspaper Columns

One of the most rewarding parts of growing herbs is the pleasure you get from working around them in the garden.  Herbs give off lovely scents and brushing against them releases a delightful fragrance.  Here are some undemanding herbs for your garden.

Parsley can be grown from seed, but it takes up to six weeks to germinate so most gardeners buy it as nursery plants.  Plant it in a sunny spot, water well, and as soon as it is established begin harvesting by snipping leaves from the outside of the plant with a scissors.  At the end of the season, parsley can be potted up, brought inside and placed in a sunny window, for harvest throughout the winter.

Parsley is more than just a garnish to be pushed aside.  It has more vitamin C per volume than an orange, and also provides calcium, iron and some B vitamins.

Cilantro grows and looks much like parsley, but has a much stronger taste and odor.  And you get a two-for-one with cilantro.  Its dried seeds are known as coriander.  Leaves can be harvested all season.  If seeds aren’t collected, they’ll fall to the soil and before you know it, you’ll have tiny little cilantro plants scattered around the original.  Some seeds may survive the winter to produce fresh cilantro plants early next spring.  Cilantro is commonly used in Mexican, Latin American and Far Eastern recipes.

Chives are a perennial plant.  They grow in tidy clumps that spread slowly.  They like a sunny, well-drained location and the only care they need after they are established is protection from encroaching weeds.  Chive seeds are difficult to germinate, so buy nursery plants or get a division from a friend.

Cut chives with a scissors by grasping a handful and cutting about an inch above the soil.  They can be snipped and chopped and used in any dish that calls for a mild onion flavor.  An added bonus with chives is that the pretty purple flowers are also edible.  Toss them on top of a salad or use them to make an herbal vinegar.

Mint may be the easiest herb to grow of them all.  Over the years, it will grow and grow and spread and spread if you aren’t careful!  It’s a good idea to sink it into a pot in the ground.  Cut the bottom off of a large black nursery pot and place it in a hole with an inch of the rim above ground. There are many mints to choose from:  spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, bergamot mint, apple mint and more.  Before buying a mint plant at the nursery, gently rub your fingers on a leaf to make sure you like the fragrance.

Plant mint in a spot where it will get some afternoon shade and plenty of moisture.  No fertilizer is necessary.  Frequent cutting will keep the plants at their best.  Use mint fresh, dried or frozen to flavor teas or baked goods.

Herbs


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