Herb gardening can be both for fun and for food. Herbs satisfy the senses. They smell good, add flavor to food, and many have pretty flowers. What more can you ask for? Most are also easy to grow and don’t take much space.
Traditionally, herbs were grown in the kitchen or cottage garden of the home. They were used as seasonings and for home remedies. Currently there is a revival in interest in herbs as a natural way to flavor foods.
A small sunny spot with well-drained soil is ideal for an herb garden. Most herbs don’t want a very rich soil. Many of our favorites (thyme and sage) originally grew wild in sandy Mediterranean locations. Choose a few of your favorite herbs and plant them one to two feet apart in a prepared bed. The staples of a small herb garden would be basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, and oregano. All of these are available as small plants at your local nursery. A good selection of herbs is also available in seed packets.
Your herbs don’t have to have their own garden. You can use them in your existing landscape or vegetable garden. Variegated thyme or silver lavender can add year around interest in your flower bed. Cinnamon basil makes a pretty accent in the summer flower garden. The flowers are cinnamon scented and the leaves have a little bit of purple color and taste great on fresh sliced tomatoes. A clump of flowering chives provides an attractive foliage texture in your flower bed and seasoning for your breakfast eggs, lunch soup, or supper salad. Rosemary grown near your grilling area makes it more available to throw a few branches on the coals. Dill and cilantro can be grown in a corner of your vegetable garden. Both are great on baked fish.
If you don’t have room in your yard or garden for herbs, try growing them in pots on your patio. A pretty strawberry pot with several varieties of thyme and oregano in the side pockets and chives and parsley in the top could provide both interest and flavor. Herb pots can be grown outside in all but the coldest weather and it’s easy to bring the pots inside for the few nights that the temperature gets below 30 degrees.
Herbs are worth trying in your garden. They are enchanting plants and have something to offer any landscape and cooking style.
Click here to see a list of great culinary herbs for East Texas and some growing tips.