What herbs to include in a healthy herb garden?

What herbs to include in a healthy herb garden?

People grow herbs primarily for culinary purposes, but also for cosmetic, household, and medicinal uses. If you’d like to grow edible herbs for your health, think about which herbs you would use in cooking and baking. Maybe you’d like to brew mint tea, or you enjoy Mexican food with plenty of cilantro. How about parsley potatoes? Dilled cucumbers? Tomatoes sprinkled with fresh basil?      

As with any new garden, start small, then expand by adding new herbs each year. Some herbs are annuals and must be replaced each year, and others are perennial. A few perennials may become a nuisance if they’re not contained. (Mints are notorious for this.) Most herb gardens contain both types. Check to see which perennial herbs are appropriate for your hardiness zone. If your favourite herb isn’t hardy in your region, grow it as an annual and replace it each year. You could also dig it up at the end of the season, plant it in a container, keep it in a sunny window all winter, and plant it outdoors again the following spring.  Some popular annual herbs for gardens are basil, cilantro/coriander, dill, and parsley (technically a biennial). Favourite perennials include chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and French tarragon.

herbs pot

herbs pot

Basil bounty

I love basil for its fragrance and versatility. I cook with it and use it fresh as a garnish and in salads and drinks. Basil also makes a great tea for a tummy ache. Too bad it’s not a perennial.

Time for thyme

My favourite herb is thyme. It’s very useful in the kitchen, comes in several flavours, and makes a nice ground cover in a rock garden. I love to walk through the garden, brush through the thyme, and fill the air with its aroma.

Rosemary rave

I grow a large rosemary plant in a container on my patio. I use this herb often in cooking, especially on salmon. I also use rosemary water on my long hair to make it more shiny. I put a few sprigs in a cup of hot water and let it steep. When it cools, I put the water in a spray bottle and use it in the shower when I wash my hair.

Chive champion

I enjoy chives because they are easy to grow, the plants last for years, and I can use them in a variety of recipes.

Lovely lavender

I plant lavender everywhere because it’s very drought tolerant and it smells delicious when you brush against it.

Kitty’s choice

My favourite herb to grow is catnip. I like the way it smells, and I use it in tea. It’s a little taste of the garden for my three indoor cats‹they can’t resist it.

Mighty mint

I plant chocolate mint in its own garden bed so it can spread at will. I use it to brew coffee: I add 1 to 2 teaspoon of dried mint to my two scoops of coffee for a wonderfully flavoured and scented cup of coffee every morning. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t have any added calories!

Favourtire health herbs - Dill

Favourtire health herbs – Dill

What you need to know about Dill

Dill is almost too good to be true: It’s pretty, it smells good, it tastes good, it’s pleasant to the touch, and it’s useful in the kitchen and the garden. The lacy blue-green foliage is elegant, the bright yellow flower clusters hold their own in a vase, and it’s lightly aromatic. The annual herb is cook’s choice not just in pickles, but also in breads, salads, flavored vinegars, and vegetable and fish dishes. Dill attracts beneficial insects to the garden, and is larval food for at least one butterfly. The International Herb Association has slated dill to be the herb of the year in 2010.

Common name: Dill

Botanical name: Anethum graveolens

Plant type: Annual

Zones: Annual in all zones

Height: 2 to 4 feet

Family: Apiaceae

Growing conditions

· Sun: Full sun

· Soil: Average, well-drained

· Moisture: Average to moist

Care

· Mulch: Mulch as you would a vegetable garden: a few inches thick, using straw, grass clippings, leaves, or other organic materials.

· Pruning: None needed.

· Fertiliser: If desired, apply a bit of 5-10-5 fertiliser in the spring.

Propagation

· By seed

Pests and diseases

· Leaf spot and other fungal diseases

· Food source for the caterpillar of the black swallowtail butterfly

What you need to know about Dill

What you need to know about Dill

Garden notes

· In addition to providing food for the black swallowtail caterpillar (also called the parsleyworm), dill attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs, bees, spiders, and wasps.

· To grow dill in a container, choose a pot that’s at least 10 inches deep with holes for drainage. Don’t let the container dry out—keep the soil moist.

· Cut the bright yellow umbrella-shaped flower clusters for an indoor display.

· Both dill leaves (called dill weed) and the seed (technically, fruit) of dill plants are used as seasonings. Fresh leaves are more potent than dried leaves. Cut leaves just before the flowers open and use or freeze as soon as possible.

Cultivars

· ‘Long Island Mammoth’ is the standard. It’s the cultivar you’re most likely to find in a seed catalog; commercial growers also use it.

· ‘Dukat’ (also called ‘Tetra’) has lush foliage.

· ‘Bouquet’ has blue-green leaves and blooms early.

All in the family

· Carrots, parsley, fennel, cumin, and caraway are also members of the Apiaceae family (also known as the Umbelliferae family), as is the wildflower Queen Anne’s lace.

· Dill is native to Asia and the Mediterranean