Today is National Herbs and Spices Day! Let's celebrate the diversity and quality offered by using both fresh and dried herbs and spices in your cooking. Herbs and spices are essential to cooking. As the weather heats up, cooking with fresh herbs will bring brightness and flavor to your food. They not only add flavor to your meals but herbs and spices also add color bringing a vibrancy to every meal.
How To Start An Herb Garden: Tips from The Tasteful Garden
Herbs are very easy to grow with a little sunshine, soil that drains well, some watering, and a little fertilizer or compost. Herbs can be grown in pots; however, the plants always prefer to be in the ground where they can spread out. Some plants grow quite large (4-6 feet), and when placed in pots they can become stunted and can get stressed, which causes them to be very unhappy.
The main requirement for growing herbs is growing them in the proper location. Most prefer full sun as long as regular summer temperatures don't rise above 90 degrees. If you have very warm summers, then consider planting in and area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade in the summertime, or a place that receives filtered light (such as under a tree that allows some light to pass through). Check the area several times during the day to make sure that there are at least four hours of sun. (e.g., 8 to 12, 12 to 4, or from 9 to 11 and 2 to 4)
For planting herbs, you need approximately 1 to 4 feet in diameter for each plant, depending on the plant. Here are some general guidelines for plant sizes:
Next, you need to prepare the soil. Digging with a large garden fork loosens soil that has become compacted over the years. This allows water to drain and creates space for plant roots to reach down into the soil. This is the most important step--shortcuts here are disastrous for your plants. Adding compost to your soil, about an inch or so on top and then mixing it into the soil, helps prevent drainage problems and adds fertilizer to the garden.
The final step is to plant healthy, strong plants and water them when they become dry. Most herbs like to be watered as soon as the soil located a couple of inches below the surface is dry to the touch. Since temperatures and humidity cause drying times to vary every week, you must check the soil often. Do not over-water. More water is not better and can lead to diseases or just poor growing conditions for your herbs, which will result in reduced growth.
For more information about growing herbs and ordering starter plants , please visit The Tasteful Garden.
The Tasteful Garden, has been in operation since May of 1996. The are located in Heflin, Alabama which is directly between Birmingham and Atlanta, Georgia. They grow all varieties of culinary herbs and many types of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes and other gourmet vegetable and pepper varieties which are sold through via their website and shipped all over the United States. They are certified organic.
Their greenhouses are located on our farm property with cows, horses, dogs, & cats. They stay extremely busy getting plants ready to be shipped all over the country. They are not open to the public for visiting but you are welcome to pick up your plants at their location on specified days in order to save shipping costs. Please order through our online catalog and choose "Will Call" as your shipping method.
We encourage you to support local, buy local!!
HOW TO OBSERVE
Plant an herb garden and start using those herbs to create your own supply of herbs and spices. Some great plants to start with include dill, fennel, basil, sage, thyme, and cilantro.
Another way to participate in the celebration is by reviewing your stock of dried herbs and spices. Over time, their quality degrades. Be sure to store dried herbs and spices in a cool, dark area and in sealed containers. How do you know if your spice or herb has lost its punch? Your nose is your best friend here. Crush or rub some into the palm of your hand and take a sniff. If the fragrance is still pungent, then the quality is still there. However, if you only catch a dull, dusty smell, it’s probably time to replace the herb or spice.
If you’re new to using herbs and spices,