Today on our herb garden series I talk about how to maintain your herbs so you reap the benefits of fresh aromatic cooking all season long!
- Use a spouted can or a hose (for big pots), and add enough so that the water starts to drain through the holes.
- Container plants are thirstier than plants in the ground, and those in porous pots, such as terracotta or wood, are even more so.
- The smaller the pot, the more watering it will require.
- Keep the soil moist but not damp.
- Always water in the morning or the early part of the day, never at night
Plant On the Sunny Side:
Herbs will need at least 5-6 hours of good, hot sun each day. Those long hours of sunlight force herbs to produce the oils that give them their unique aromas and flavors in the first place. So…the more sun, the better!
Generally, the more you trim them, the more flavorful and abundant the plants become. Frequent cutting will also encourage new leaf growth. Don’t forget that herbs flourish super quickly, so you’re going to want to make sure to snip them early, before they start to flower.
Don’t Waste a Thing
There are so many easy ways to save herbs, so there’s no need to throw any away. You can puree basil, for instance, and freeze it in ice-cube trays for future use. And you can dry thyme, rosemary and sage so you can sprinkle them onto dishes all year round. (Quick tip on the best way to dry herbs: After cleaning them, put them between paper towels and keep out of light to retain color and flavor.)
Stay tuned tomorrow where we share recipes to prepare using your new herb garden!
Sandra Thomasian, MD