Getting a summer herb garden started in your backyard
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Whether you enjoy sprinkling parsley and basil in Italian dishes or prefer fragrant herbs, such as lavender and thyme, planting herbs can add a lot of joy to your garden at very little cost. The Home Depot's Joe Autry and Samantha Walker say growing herbs is very affordable and annual herbs grow quickly. The easiest method is to buy young herb plants and grow them in containers or plant them in the garden. Once they have grown and matured, you can harvest and preserve your herbs for use in the kitchen or in craft projects for months afterwards.
Types, Growing Tips, Harvest, Preservation and Selection
Before buying herbs, it's good to familiarize yourself with the different types of herbs and what they are used for. The most common use of herbs is in cooking, although certain herbs are used to create aromatic crafts, such as wreaths or sachets. Like other plants, herbs are also categorized as annuals, biennials or perennials. Each type has advantages and unique requirements for planting and growing. Regardless of which types of herbs you decide upon, you will need to learn about planting requirements and determine if you need to start seeds indoors, sow them directly into your garden or buy plants in containers.
Types: Herbs are used most often in the kitchen, although aromatic herbs have other uses, such as potpourri. Herbs also play an important part in flower and vegetable gardens by keeping pests away and providing a beautiful backdrop to other plants. Some people plant entire gardens composed of herbs, such as the age-old knot garden, which has been around since medieval times. Herbs are classified as annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals only last one season and perennials return every year, often forming the backbone of an herb garden.
Harvest and Preservation: Some gardeners locate herb gardens right next to the kitchen so they can easily snip a few leaves for whatever is bubbling on the stove. You can also keep fresh herbs in the refrigerator for a week or so. To keep harvested herbs for later use, dry or freeze them. To dry herbs, remove and wash the leaves, tie the stems together and hang them to dry. You can hang them inside a paper bag with the stem ends at the opening of the bag or lay them flat on screens in a warm, dry location in your home. Herbs that are lying out in the open may require 2 to 5 days to dry, whereas it may take up to 2 to 5 weeks for bagged herbs. Keep drying temperatures under 100 degrees for the best flavor.
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