Growing Herbs

Taking Charge Of Our Food

As a well informed society, we are concerned about our health, and the foods we consume. In an effort to take better control of our diets, many of us have decided to grow our own food. Some of us, with little space or gardening knowledge opt for the basic herbs.

Let' s  look at a few herbs, and the best growing conditions for each of them. While many culinary herbs are hearty, it is prudent to know a bit about optimal growing conditions for each. Sunlight, soil  and plant size can help determine if a particular herb is better suited for the outdoors or the window sill.

Window sills provide a suitable environment for some herbs and a poor one for others.  Air circulation, humidity, soil, sunlight , shade and water each play a  part in your herbs health and production.

 Your herbs can also be effected by the grease and odors in your kitchen. These toxins  invade the pores of the plant.

Basil

 Keep in mind, Honey Bees are naturally attracted to this plant. This perennial is a tropical plant and thrives in hot and dry conditions and is sensitive to the cold. Basil grows from 12"-18" in height and can be potted. It is a sun lover and if kept inside, make sure it gets plenty of light.

Basil should be added at the end of your cooking, rather than at the start. Overcooking destroys it's flavor.

Chives

Just a friendly reminder, chives smell like onions, making them a poor candidate for indoor potting. Unless, of course, you like the constant fragrance. Typically, chives grow up to an 18" height. This perennial prefers full sunlight,  with weeded and well drained soil. With its pretty flowering buds, I think it makes a very attractive border plant.

Cilantro/Coriander

 Performs best in a deep and fertile soil with good drainage. Cilantro is a member of the parsley family. Your intended use of the plant determines its need for light. If you prefer to use the leaves (cilantro), it does well in a shaded area. Should you prefer to use the seed, (coriander) the biennial needs lots of sunshine. The plant will reach a height of 24".

Dill

 Reaching a height of 3 feet, and requiring plenty of sun and water, this plant, also from the parsley family, is best suited to the outdoors. It naturally attracts birds, bees and butterflies. Its more common uses include pickling cucumbers, soups and stews. In other regions it is often found in breads.

Dill makes a pretty presentation when sprinkled on a bowl of mashed potatoes or a platter of creamy noodles.

Fennel

Insects are drawn to fennel. This herb requires lots of sun or it may not flower. It grows best in a deep, rich and fertile soil and  grows rapidly. Unless, the flower heads are kept trimmed, it reseeds itself quickly and can take over the garden. It usually reaches 24" in height and requires good drainage.

The insects drawn to this plant, also bring about birds and butterflies.

Lavender

 Lots of sun and well drained soil and fragrant lavender thrives. This herb is so versatile that it is classed as both a medicinal and a culinary hub. Usually, appearing in upscale dishes and garnishes. It can be difficult to find in most regional grocery stores.

Its very name derives from the Latin word "lavandula", which means 'to wash'. Lavender is a member of the mint family and grows to be 12"-18" in height. It is often used in ornamental gardens.

Lay some lavender in your clothes closet, it natually repels moths.

Marjoram and Oregano

This one is a great herb for the windowsill. It needs only partial sunlight and can tolerate poor soil conditions, though it does require good drainage. It can reach heights of 36", so pay attention to its placement.

Marjoram makes a great substitute for oregano. It has a slightly sweeter taste, making it excellent for lamb and Italian sauces.

The plants are very similar in growing conditions. Oregano is an easy growing herb. It needs only partial sunlight and little maintenance.  With such a flowering top, it  makes a nice edging plant.

Parsley

There are two types of parsley. The Flat Leaf which is flavorful and the one most often used in cooking. The Curly Leaf is bitter and most used as a garnish. Whichever you choose, growing requirements are the same. They like plenty of sun, but during extreme temperatures or very long days , they will need some shade. They are suitable to the windowsill also, as their height reaches 18".  The root system is long, so if keeping your plant in a pot, make it a deep one.

Add parsley at the end of the cooking procedure.

Rosemary

This is a gorgeous plant and an easy one to grow. It towers at 4' in height. With pink, white or lavender flowers, it is oranamental plant. Rosemary loves the heat, needs watering daily and requires good drainage. It does not do well with humidity, it is prone to a powdery mildew. Make sure it has plenty of air circulation, using a fan if necessary.

Sage

 This is another tall growing plant, reaching heights of 36".  Sage likes lots of sunshine, but also may require shade in extreme temperatures and long days.   Take care not to over water sage, and be sure it has good drainage.

The leaves are at their best just before, and just after flowering.  Do not harvest sage during its first year.

Thyme

 Is it a perfume?  A preservative?  An herb?  Thyme is useful in many ways.

It is also a very hearty plant, growing almost anywhere.  With a 6"-10" height and low maintenance, and pretty flowers, it makes an excellent ground cover.  Forget the tulips, tiptoe through the thyme.

Thyme likes a dry and sunny environment, and requires little water or attention.

 

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Good Beginings

When planting your herbs, fresh seed is best. Herbal kits are widely available, but do use caution when buying. Check expiration dates, and buy from a reputable dealer. You can not overcome poor seed quality.

It is normal for plants to have some yellowing of leaves. Simply pick off the dying leaves and discard. A high degree of yellowing, indicates either too much or too little water.

If your plants are growing tall and " spindly", there is too little light available.

( photo taken at Memphis Botanical Gardens )

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Comments 34 comments

scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

Very informative, thanks for the information.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Thank you Scarytaff..

Do also enjoy a little gardening to go along with your cooking?

I get a sense of accomplishment in putting somethng on the table, that was grown by me.


tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 6 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

I bring a pot of chives in every fall. Just potted one yesterday, actually. The smell is only strong when picked.

Coriander and parsley also grow well indoors.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hello there Tmbridgeland,

Glad you enjoy a bit of gardening also.

Most plants can be grown indoors, I just intended to give the novice some considerations before deciding where to place the herbs.

I have never done chives inside, how long does the scent permeate?

Allowing my dog to ride to the store with me once, I noticed an odor in my vehicle. It was similar to anti-freeze, so I checked my hoses and radiator, they were good. The smell persisted, so I thought, I need to get my hubby on this. When we returned home, the dog went back to where he had been laying in the sun, in a bed of wild onions!


mohamedfigo 6 years ago

Cool Hub I like it....

I loved your hubs because most of it about the nature and I love nature.


tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 6 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

I never notice the smell of chives at all unless I am picking them, and for a few minutes after, unless I am actually sticking my face right in them.

Did a bunch of transplanting today, lettuce sprouts, parsley, rocket (arugula), a few onions for green onion cooking plus a few Japanese greens I don't know the English names for.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Tmbridgeland.....

Perhaps I am sensitive to it! Good to know we share some common interests.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

So do I, Mohamedifo.....so do I.

Nature and simplicity.

Glad to have you come by.


Troy C. profile image

Troy C. 6 years ago from Norfolk, VA

We use a lot of herbs in our cooking, all from a jar, but most of the recipes call for fresh herbs. Now that I know we can grow our favorites inside our home; I might give it a try. Thank You


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hi Troy C.

Many herbs are dried before they are used in cooking, just buy the freshest you can get.

Start with one or two of those you use the most. They are simple to grow ( many grow in the wild ). I find gardening to be relaxing as well as useful.


Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

This is very helpful. I use a lot of fresh herbs and spices in place of salt. In fact, i actually enjoy them better than salt especially when i am cooking Italian food. I have always wanted to try growing my own herbs. thanks for this.


Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

This is very helpful. I use a lot of fresh herbs and spices in place of salt. In fact, i actually enjoy them better than salt especially when i am cooking Italian food. I have always wanted to try growing my own herbs. thanks for this.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

You are so welcome Fullerman5000.

I am glad you came by and it was worth the trip for you!


France Travel Inf profile image

France Travel Inf 6 years ago

I enjoyed this! I love herbs but am not very successful with anything but basil & rosemary -needless to say we use fresh basil a bunch in the summer! My rosemary bush provides year round enjoyment and it is getting huge

http://www.france-travel-info.com


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

France Travel Inf

Thank you very much for letting me know. Encouragement is a good thing!

Perhaps you will be inspired to add more?


FloBe profile image

FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I've lived in apartments most of my life and started gardening on my deck...I've grown herbs, vegetables and flowers in tubs and it works great. So, I agree, there is no reason for any of us not to eat something homegrown! Good article.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Hello there FloBe,

Thanks for stopping in, at times, my indoor space has looked like a small jungle!

If we take care of our food, our food takes care of us :)


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Great detailed information. Thanks for sharing...


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Thank you Dallas93444 for dropping in and reading.

I hope you found something useful to you!


DjBryle profile image

DjBryle 6 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

Thanks for sharing this helpful hub. Herbs are really at their best when they are used fresh! Voted up!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Thanks DjBryle,

Good to see you here! Glad you found something useful.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

You a "growing" quite an interesting and informative collection of hubs - glad you joined HubPages. I look forward to reading more.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

RedElf,

Thank you so very much. That is truly a kind thing for you to say to me........

I am glad you came around for a look!


Analana profile image

Analana 6 years ago

Thanks for these tips. We plan on planting an herb garden next spring.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

Analana,

You are so welcome. Good luck with your garden. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do mine.

Thanks to you for reading my hub. I am glad you found something of use.


MimiKat33 profile image

MimiKat33 6 years ago from Northeastern NY State, USA

A very informative HUB with great detail. I plant yearly a "kitchen garden" just outside my back door. It is wonderful to add the fresh herbs to my recipes.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town Author

MimiKat33,

Those little kitchen gardens

are an edible gold mine.

Glad you came by, its good

to find a new reader ~


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

A great summary of some good herbs!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

RTalloni,

Long time , no see......

Thanks for dropping in!


AlmostLola profile image

AlmostLola 5 years ago

Very useful! Thanks!


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

AlmostLola,

Glad you found my hub useful.

Thanks for taking time to read.

New readers are always welcome!


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

i was hoping for info on the herb i'm growing on my widowsill - mint.


onegoodwoman profile image

onegoodwoman 5 years ago from A small southern town Author

Cathylynn99,

thanks for visiting my hub.

Sorry, that I did not have what you

were seaching for. It should be readily

available on the internet. There are many

gardening sites. Good luck in your search.


Rajat 21 months ago

Danielle!I totally utrndsnaed your concern, but just wanted to point out that any idle Hubs you might have were getting very little attention via search engines as it was, so by giving them idle status, we hope to make your portfolio of Hubs on the whole seem more lively (by removing from search engine's sight that which is not very active).Our intention is not to make you feel bad or say that your work is outdated; it's to help your overall traffic and let you know when some of your work is not performing as well as it could be with an update (because it is becoming increasingly important for online content to be regularly updated).Hope that helps!

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