Outside of my kitchen I have four wine barrels full of herbs. Just about every night, I harvest a variety of herbs and mix them into my salad, something I love to do.
I grow mint, mustard greens, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, and several other types of herbs that are stunning in color and taste. Nothing dresses up a plate of food like fresh picked herbs; they add excitement to flavor and presentation.
Where Do I Start?
Starting with a good idea of what you like to eat will help to simplify the choices and make your job easier. You must know if the herbs you want to grow will thrive in sunny or shady areas, or maybe a little bit of both. Ask your local independent nursery professional for the best varieties for your garden. You might want to have a couple of herb gardens.
I like to grow all my herbs in containers because it gives me the ability to place them where they will thrive best. Remember that sunlight is energy, so if those sun-loving herbs do not receive the required sunlight, they will not grow to their full potential. Seek the advice of a nursery professional when purchasing your seeds or transplants.
What Should I Grow?
I buy just about all the common varieties of herbs that will grow in my area. If I do not consume the herbs, I can be sure that they will be a beautiful addition to my garden. If you have a favorite herb that you like, focus more on that. If you enjoy mint lemonade once in a while, grow a little mint. If you love Italian food, focus a little more on basil and oregano. Salsa, anyone? Grow a bunch of cilantro! The idea is to grow a variety of herbs that you enjoy using even if it is only once in a while. Also, keep in mind that many herbs have medicinal qualities and may be very good for you, especially if they have been grown organically.
Preparing the Soil
Herbs, like most plants, will need good healthy soil to grow in. Soil rich in organic matter will yield the greatest harvest. If you are growing in containers buy the best quality potting soil you can find such as Dr. Earth®.
Fill the container to about two inches below the top of the pot. That allows enough space to comfortably water your plants as they grow. Use the best quality organic fertilizer, such as Dr. Earth® Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb Fertilizer. This will ensure your soil is packed full of nutrition for your herbs. Remember: you are what you eat! So feed your soil with high-quality nutrients. This way you will consume herbs that are packed full of nutrition for you and your family. The best tasting herbs are grown in rich organic matter.
I grow herbs every year and every year I give a few friends some young herb plants to grow. And every year the herbs I grow always taste better than my friends’ herbs. Last year I gave my neighbor three basil plants, the same exact variety that I was growing, from the same exact source. Even though the plants were grown next door in the same microclimate, they did not taste nearly as good as mine. Could I be biased, or is it the soil? Year after year, I taste different plants grown by friends and neighbors, and consistently my plants outperform theirs. I am convinced that it is Dr. Earth® soil and fertilizer that makes such a huge difference. My herbs taste like they were grown on an organic farm in the country, fresh and full of flavor.
Milo Lou Shammas
Founder and Formulator