Gardening common herbs (Technorati / Herb Gardening)

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Herb Gardening

http://herb-garden-tips.blogspot.com/2007_07_02_archive.html

Monday, 2 July 2007

Herb Gardening – Common Herbs – Basil, Dill, Lavender

Creating an herb garden is fun and practical. The aromas are wonderful, the view is beautiful, and many can be used as medicines or for cooking. Growing them is easy. They’re hardy and thrive well in all kinds of soils. But for optimal results, it’s helpful to keep in mind a few things about each specific one.

BASIL
Commonly grown and greatly appreciated by herb gardeners, this herb loves warm soil and dry air. But it’s sensitive to cold, so be sure to wait until spring is well along and no nighttime frosts are still occurring that will damage the plant.
Then, in about six weeks, you can harvest the leaves and dry them for use in casseroles, bread and a wide variety of other recipes. By mid-summer you’ll see white flowers on 1-2 foot stalks and the plants will have profuse dark green or purple leaves. Keep them separated by about a foot and this delightful herb will make for an excellent addition to your garden.

DILL
Dill is another great herb for recipes, and very easy to grow. Ultimately reaching 2-4 feet in height, it will produce blue-green feathery leaves with small clusters of yellow flowers. It loves a lot of full sun and the seeds don’t require much care at all. Just toss a few dozen out into a small patch of the garden and watch them grow!
You may need to do a bit of thinning in a few weeks. When they’ve reached a couple of inches high, you want to make sure the growing plants are separated by 8-10 inches (20-25 cm), so each will get its full share of soil nutrients and sunlight.
Collect the flower heads in full bloom and use them to decorate or dry for use in cooking. Or, a couple of weeks after the dill has flowered, you can harvest seeds. Cut the flowers and hang them upside down over paper and collect the seeds as they fall. Then crumble the leaves. Great for chip dips, salads, and many other delicious fresh foods.

LAVENDER
Beautiful, fragrant and great ground cover for an herb or flower garden, these easy to grow perennials are a must. Purple or pink flowers appear on tall stems in mid-summer, surrounded by gray-green leaves. They smell lovely, making them a perfect addition to potpourri.
Growing them from seeds requires a bit more work, so pick up some from your local gardening supply as full plants or root stem cuttings. They love sun and dry, alkaline soil with good drainage. Once established, they will fade in winter, but come back strong year after year.
You can cut the small flowers and decorate around the rim of a vase or add them to a sachet. Either way you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of these easy-to-care-for and delightful herbs.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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