Even if you don’t have a lot of space to garden, there is one category of plants for which most people can carve out some real estate: Herbs.
Herbs are the perfect container plants, so you don’t have to have a full-fledged vegetable garden to accommodate them. A sunny or semi-sunny balcony or patio will do just fine. If you’re an ornamental gardener, herbs also make beautiful ornamentals; so don’t be hesitant to tuck them into your landscape beds.
Are you a budding gardener? No worries…there are many herbs that are very easy to grow. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to step out of your patio door to harvest a bit of thyme for your favorite chicken dish, fresh cilantro for Latin fare or a sprig of mint for the mojitos. When you pull out that fresh pesto you made, your friends will think you’re some kind of culinary genius! The flavors of fresh herbs are so much richer and deeper than dried grocery store herbs and it’s easy to keep a few within handy reach of the kitchen.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Basil is a must have for many dishes. Harvest the leaves fresh regularly for summer salads, then harvest en masse in fall to put up homemade pesto. Basil is super easy to grow and loves a sunny spot in either the garden or containers.
Lemongrass is a beautiful ornamental that is right at home in the sunny landscape with roses and Esparanza. Have an ice cream maker? Simmer some fresh lemongrass shoots with agave nectar to make an infused syrup and combine with fresh basil leaves in your next frozen yogurt. It’s divine!
Thyme is an essential cooking herb and there a many varieties to choose from. Because of its low compact growth, it’s also often used as a landscaping plant or ground cover. Thyme is also perfect for smaller containers.
Sage is a beauty in the garden and containers, but it does prefer a bit of afternoon shade in our Texas summers. Sage offers not only distinct flavors perfect for many cuisines, but also beautiful foliage colors.
Bay Laurel leaves are prized for the flavor they add to stocks, soups and sauces. Bay laurel appreciates some afternoon shade and make lovely evergreen specimens in the landscape or large containers. Plant on a southern exposure or cover plants in winter.
While most herbs prefer the sun, mint is a well-known shade dweller. In fact, if you’re looking for a perennial spreader for a neglected shady location, mint might be the perfect resident! Plants will spread, so be prepared to offer them plenty of space and make lots of mojitos! To keep mint better confined, grow it in containers.
Come see us if you have questions or need help selecting the best herbs for cooking.