12 Fresh Herbs to Grow This Spring
Having fresh herbs at your fingertips will revolutionize your cooking. We can hardly come up with a dish that doesn't taste better when prepared with fresh--versus dried--herbs. Yet while we might hold this knowledge to be true and believe it without reservation, we're often guilty of reaching for the packaged spices.
It's tricky to stock the fridge with the herbs we'll need for a week's worth of cooking in advance, and often it feels like too much trouble to make another stop at the store when we know our spice cabinet has a full jar of oregano. We've tried the moist paper towel method for coercing longevity out of our mint and thyme, but it never works as well as we'd like it to.
Instead of relying on your grocer's produce section, get with the DIY program and grow your own herb garden.
Before you dismiss a windowsill garden because your kitchen is too small or because your thumb is not green, take comfort that growing and maintaining a garden of fresh herbs is surprisingly simple.
The following tips will ensure that you never choose inferior basil flakes over the real thing again:
1. First, decide what herbs you'd like to grow. What are your recipe go-tos? Love the pungency of fresh chopped chives but hate the woodsy aroma of rosemary? Also, keep in mind that some herbs are easier to grow indoors than others, but with a little patience and practice, you'll see results with whatever you choose.
2. Next, decide whether you want to begin with starter plants (easier but less rewarding) or seeds. If you opt for the latter, you'll want to start with peat pots before moving to small plant holders. Spark People provides easy-to-follow instructions. Transferring the starter plants to terracotta vessels with drainage holes is recommended if you're choosing the former option. Don't forget the saucers to catch water.
3. Choose a sunny window. Spark People says that ideally the spot you choose will receive at least five hours of sunlight per day in a home that is between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Not sure if you found the right spot? Bonnie Plants suggests trying this test: "On a sunny to partly sunny day, turn off all lights and periodically check on the natural sunlight. How much sun does the spot get throughout the day?"
4. Be careful not to over-water your growing herbs. Only use your herbs for cooking once you start to see new growth.
5. Lastly, start snipping away and begin adding fresh herbs to your dishes on a daily basis.
The slideshow features twelve of our favorite fresh indoor herbs along with some suggestions for use.