Growing Organic Herbs In Containers
Herbs Are Perfect Plants For A Container Garden
Growing your own herbs organically is a simple process and a rewarding venture. They are perfect plants in a container garden because if they don't like where they are growing they can easily be moved to another spot. They produce aromatic, flavorful leaves and foliage essential to favorite family recipes. They are as pleasing to the eye as they are the taste buds.
The staple herbs are Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, and Parsley, but there are many we could add to this list. Grow your own Onions or Garlic, Cilantro and Marjoram. Tend to these wonderful plants on a regular schedule and produce an organic crop that saves you time and money.
Herbs are expensive in the stores. The fresh ones in the pots run anywhere from $2.95 and higher. Over time this is a large expense out of a grocery budget. That money can be spent in better ways, like organic soil mix and cool gardening pots or harmonica lessons...
Images are property of M Burgess. Please, do not copy, thank you.
Planting And Growing Herbs - The Rusted Garden
Gary Pilarchik of The Rusted Garden discusses the methods and economics of planting and growing herbs at home. The methods he uses are easily replicated and can be done in containers.
There is nothing better to bring out the flavor of the foods you prepare than adding fresh herbs. Simply trim a small handful of the ones you need, like Basil or Oregano. Pull them from the stems by hand and slice them thin and add to your cooking. Please, let the plant get several dozen leaves on it before plucking them off. It is best to let the plants mature before use. Oregano is a bit tedious because the leaves are very small. Basil is easy. The leaves are the size of spinach. Rosemary needs to be plucked from the woody stems and cut into fine sections. It can be added in whole stems to soups or as a garnish for meat.
Herb Drying Rack - For Easy Homegrown Dried Herbs
You have a few options when choosing to dry your homegrown herbs. You can put them in the oven for a short time and heat them at 150 degrees until they are dry or simply let them set for about a day and a half. You can also tie twine to the stems and hang them. This is the best option for keeping the essential oils in the leaves. Store dried herbs in sterilized, glass jars for long term.
Basil Plants - Rescued
These Basil plants were $1 rescues from Trader Joe's. I quickly went to work on them and gave them a nice home. They are returning the favor in kind. As you can see in the picture they are flowering and I intend to let them go completely to seed. I have several small Basil plants in ready to transplant pots that I will replace these others with. I may not have to do anything to them. They seem to be doing great. I do have an issue with a cutting insect of some sort. I think a paper wasp has found my garden as I keep finding the oddest holes cut in the leaves. Some of the leaves are cut in a scalloped edge pattern and others will have a hole punched directly in the center of it. Odd, but creative varmint!
My Oregano is doing quite well nestled between the tomato plants in my full bed garden. I plan on hanging the pots on the side yard gate where it is shady when the summer heat wave start blasting our valley. I have successfully grown Oregano in 18" pots and in smaller containers. It is a fairly easy plant to maintain. Do not forget to water it. It is not a very forgiving plant. Once it has dried out completely, you may as well discard the whole thing. It may or not revive.
Oregano has been a family spice cabinet staple for ages. My great granny used to use it in a macaroni dish similar to the one I prepare. I love it with any tomatoey sauce as well as many recipes it can be slipped into. The look and smell of this plant is very pleasing to me.
My Macaroni Stuff Recipe:
2 cups of prepared macaroni, drained
1 T Butter
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1/2 t Garlic Salt
1/2 t Oregano powder or 1 T fresh Oregano finely chopped
1 pound browned and drained ground beef or turkey
1 medium can of green beans
Salt and Pepper to taste
Melt butter into the macaroni noodles and stir in the seasonings. Add tomato sauce and optional meat and beans. Heat well. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese if desired.
Herb SeedlingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cooking With Rosemary - Add To Stews, Roasts, Soups
Rosemary has a wide range of uses. I have learned to add it to almost everything I cook. The flavor of this herb injects a woody sweetness and compliments beef, chicken, and pork dishes. I add it to steamed kale and spinach. The above image shows it added to a pork roast I put in a crock pot.
When I commence to cook, I select and gather 4 stems off of my rosemary plants that are about 6 inches long. This is generally enough for the meal I am cooking. Strip the small, green sections off the woody stem and chop it up a bit. You may add the whole stem to a soup or stew. Remove the stems before serving unless Euell Gibbons is your dinner guest.
Crazy Herb IdeasClick thumbnail to view full-size
Helpful Gardening Resources - Growing Herbs
When you first start an herb garden anywhere, be it planted in the ground, containers, or window boxes, it may be a bit of a surprise to see what shapes these plants take on. A basil plant for instance will bush out and grow very tall if it is happy. Pinch the flowers back on this herb plant and when you are taking cuttings, pose them upside down when letting them dry or strip the stems out and use them fresh.
Herbs are as essential to your garden as tomatoes and peppers. They not only taste good in your fancy dishes, they help ward off certain insects because of their strong oils and scent. They serve a double purpose. If you have a spot in a container or in your garden that just isn't filling in with the plant that is already there, drop an herb plant in with it and enjoy the mixture.
A growing guide for herbs by a backyard gardener.
Build your herb garden around your recipes!
Growing herbs in a small pot or a large container is a great way to add decorative plants that are cost effective and beautiful. Saving time and money is a concern we all have. Planting herb seeds and growing your own is a great way to accomplish this.