Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spa Girl says Grow Your Own...

The sun is out and the weather is finally starting to warm up, it's time to head to the garden.

This is the second summer I am growing a dedicated kitchen herb garden, a small wonderful plot just outside my back door.  I have always grown herbs as it is an easy way to incorporate fresh, nutritional goodies to my diet.  I use herbs in everything, from salad's to soups.  

The wonderful thing about herbs is that you can grow them anywhere, in pots on your balcony, in window boxes, your local community garden or like me in a small neat plot just outside my back door. And Herbs can be used not only for culinary delights, but for aromatic, ornamental and medicinal purposes.

I generally plant herbs I use everyday such as chives, mint, parsley, sage, cilantro, dill, thyme, basil, oregano and of course my favourite, rosemary. My sage plant is now many years old and is fabulous, I use it in all my cooking, and by the branch in the BBQ when grilling salmon.  I also dry it and use it throughout the winter.  Each year I grow one new herb and experiment with its many fascinating uses, not only in my cooking, but making wonderful herbal tinctures and teas and many other herbal remedies. It's like having your own apothecary!

Herbs can be annual, biennials or perennials. Annuals are good for one season only and include anise, basil, chervil, coriander, dill, summer savory; biennials live for two seasons and include caraway and parsley and perennials bloom each season, once established, and include chives, fennel, lovage, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme, sage and winter savory.

The most useful tips when deciding to where and how to plant your herb garden is to plant it close to the kitchen, in full, hot sunshine with good drainage and organic soil with little or no fertilizer. And water only when dry, that's it!

Over the last few years I have been transitioning my garden to a totally edible one.  I have collected a number of excellent books on edible flowers and last year counted over 25 edibles flowers that I use to flavour and add wonderful colour to my salads and soups and a hundred other dishes.

There are so many delightful and delectable rewards in planting a herb garden.  So check out the sites below, put on the gardening gloves, and get planting.

Growing Herbs and Edible Flowers

Selecting Herbs to Grow
Canadian Chefs and their Herb Gardens
Growing Herbs Outdoors
Canada's Medicinal Plant Industry
Medicinal Herbs Guide

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