This spring, decorate your home and dress up your meals at the same time by heading over to your local farmers’ market for a few fresh herb plants. For about $15, you can grab three or four plants that can add real flavor to your healthful spring and summer dishes.
Choose The Right Plant For You.
Herb selection should start with the question, “What will grow best in my environment?” For example, most herbs thrive with southern exposure. Mediterranean natives like rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and dill enjoy six hours of direct sunlight daily, whereas mint, cilantro, and oregano will thrive with indirect sun. Tarragon is prolific in low light.
Bonus: Herb plants are the gift that keeps on giving.
Know Which Herbs Fit Your Tastes.
Do you make (or take out) lots of Thai or Mexican food? If so, cilantro might be the win. If you’re a pasta lover, oregano will make your red sauces pop with flavor—plus, it spruces up pizza. Fan of fungi? Marjoram accentuates the umami in mushrooms. If your Weber or Foreman grill is your desert island appliance, rosemary will bring muscle to your grilled vegetables, chicken, and red meat. Plus, you’ll love the Tuscan smell of rosemary in a fireplace. If you want herbs that are as versatile as possible, try snippets of chive, dill, mint, and sage in almost anything—even eggs, soup, or greens. Fresh herbs can make even simple dishes seem artisanal.
Channel Your Inner Farmer.
Herbs should be grown in containers with a drainage hole using a light potting mix that will allow easy water drainage. To aid in maintaining proper humidity, put containers in a pan lined with pebbles, or spray plants with water from a misting bottle. This is especially important in dry environments, during the winter, or when the A/C is blasting during the summer months. Although you’ll probably want your garden to grow in one place, don’t overcrowd; plants need to have appropriate air circulation. Every so often, rotate your pots to promote uniform growth.
Inside Tips For The Healthiest Herbs.
Marjoram, oregano, sage, and thyme should dry out slightly between waterings, but never allow the potting mix to dry out completely if you’re growing rosemary or mint. If you want some super growers, you can fertilize your plants with a low dose of water-soluble fertilizer like fish emulsion. Do it for the first time a few months after you first buy them, and continue to do it every couple of weeks.
Feed your herbs properly, and they will return the favor.