Friday, June 15, 2012

My Herb Garden


herb garden

This is the first year for this herb garden setup. I have been growing herbs for a long time. Basil is always been a staple in my garden. This year I wanted to make it more convenient for us to pick and use the herbs. We have this gravel area that used to contain some trees that we had to cut down. Last year we had a gazebo here but it fell apart in the fall so we needed a new solution. Notice the fence surrounding the pots. This is too keep our pup Abby out. If we didn’t have the fence she would have jumped in all the pots and dug up the plants by now.

Most of my perennial herbs were on the front side of the house. I dug up my chives, garlic chives, oregano, sage and thyme and planted them in pots.  I already had my mint, tarragon and catnip in pots. I added another perennial, lemon thyme. I also added a sweet basil and Thai basil and planted some cilantro seeds that are just starting to pop up. The only thing I’m missing is a rosemary plant. That will round out my herb garden.

I think we are going to get a lot more use out of our herbs this year. I love using them fresh but they also are wonderful dried. Eating herbs you have dried yourself is nothing like the stuff you get from the store. They are more flavorful and you can tell the are fresher because they are green instead of a brownish green color.


Here is my sweet basil and lemon thyme. I just gave the basil a haircut so it’s looking a little small right now. Pinching back your basil is a must! It make the basil bushier and produces more leaves. You pinch right above two leaf shoots. This produces two more stems. Repeat, repeat, repeat! The more you pinch the bushier it gets. You also want to pinch off any flowers because that will stop the basil from growing.

The lemon thyme is new this year. I love the way it smells and I am hoping it will flavor some great dishes.

basil - lemon thyme

This is Thai basil. This is the first time I’ve tried it. The leaves are much smaller than the traditional sweet basil but I think it’s a fun new addition. There are a couple of cilantro seedlings in the bottom left of the basil and the yellow/green looking seedling is creeping jenny. I had it in this pot last year and I thought our pup Abby had killed it with her digging but it looks like it sprung back up.

Thai basil

This is one of my favorites, garlic chives. They are similar to chives but have a light garlicky flavor. They are especially good on baked potatoes or in salads.

garlic chives

Here is my regular chive plant. It isn’t at it’s greatest point right now since all its blooms are starting to fade. I need to trim them off or I will have chive seedlings popping up all over the place.

chives

The sage was actually a little volunteer seedling that popped up from a larger sage plant I pulled out because it was getting too woody. I thought I was going to have to buy a plant but I was lucky to find one already growing for me! We have yet to find another use for it besides at Thanksgiving so it should be the perfect size by then.

sage

This is oregano. This one is really great to dry and it produces a ton. It’s getting ready to flower so I will chop it down soon to dry it.

Oregano

Here is my thyme. It has really gotten enormous! It’s blooms have mostly faded so it’s not looking it’s best. It can be challenging to harvest since the leaves are so tiny. It makes a great dried seasoning when mixed with the oregano.

thyme

This one is mint. I started this guy from seed and it was a slow grower in the beginning. I was always afraid to plant it in the garden because it’s an aggressive spreader. We haven’t found much use for it in the past but I’m hoping we so more with it this year.

mint

This unattractive guy is Tarragon. I started it from seed last year and it didn’t get very big. This year it’s a monstrosity. I was googling when to harvest tarragon and I learned that I was growing the Russian kind which is not the good kind. The kind you want to grow is French tarragon and it can’t be grown from seed. I’m not really a fan of it anyway since it’s so big so I figure we will try and find something to make with it this year and not bring it back next year. If we find we love it I will get a French tarragon plant from the garden center next year.

tarragon

Lastly is my catnip. I grow it in a hanging basket to keep it away from my kitty. This is its third year and I need to divide it. I can tell it’s unhappy and has outgrown its tiny pot. I dry it every year but my kitty loves eating it fresh the best. I think it’s less potent when it’s fresh. She cries every time I am near it and I always break her off a few leaves to munch on. I had it sitting on a table this spring and she was nibbling on it. She was really good with it though and didn’t destroy the whole thing.

catnip

Do you love this little guy? I just got him at Target this past weekend. I was wandering through the garden section looking for something and I saw him and had to buy him. I think he adds a bit of color and fun to the herb garden :)

garden owl


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