Herb Gardening For Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth – Mediterranean Herbs
Looking to kick your cooking up a notch? Fresh herbs can make a big difference in any recipe and you can grow many of them in your own backyard! Whether you keep a separate herb garden or scatter them throughout your garden; the bright colors, strong scents, and intense flavors will appeal to all your senses.
Used in savory dishes, these herbs originate in a hot, dry climate and do poorly in overly moist soils. Depending on your location, it may be easier to grow these plants in containers which dry out faster than soil in the ground. Let the soil dry between waterings and do not fertilize heavily.
There are many varieties of thyme but common thyme is typically the best for cooking purposes. This trailing plant can cascade over the edge of a container or creep as a low groundcover in your garden.
Parsley is available in curly and Italian (AKA flat-leaf) varieties. Curly-leaf parsley makes a fancier garnish but is a bit harder to clean and chop than flat-leaf. Try growing both and see which you prefer!
Most Americans associate this herb with Thanksgiving turkey but it can be used other dishes as well. Common sage is typically the way to go although there is also a lovely purple-leaf variety you could try.
Rosemary is fairly low-maintenance and lets out a rich smell when touched. Cut off sprigs of rosemary and pull the needle-like leaves from the stem and use the leaves as directed in your recipe. You can also use a whole sprig as a garnish for your finished dish.
You may occasionally notice a powdery white appearance to the leaves, especially if the air has been humid. This is powdery mildew and is not typically a serious problem. You can rinse it off before cooking and doesn’t affect the flavor. If you notice powdery mildew, try moving your rosemary to a sunnier spot with better airflow and lower humidity.
One of the most commonly used Mediterranean herbs, oregano is also very easy to grow. Give it plenty of sun and refrain from over-watering and this herb will shoot up. It may even put out small purple or pink flowers!
There is also an ornamental variety of oregano that has lovely pink bracts that keep their color all season. Small, bright pink flowers peak out from under the bracts mid-summer.
Want more herbs? Be sure to read our next blog on herbs from other parts of the world!
Thinking of growing herbs in containers this year? Take a look at our article on Container Gardening: DOs and DON’Ts
Looking for fun gardening ideas – not sure where to start? Check out our Pinterest page!
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Thyme: Garitzko, Wikimedia Commons
Parsley: “Krause Petersilie dichtwachsend”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Krause_Petersilie_dichtwachsend.JPG#/media/File:Krause_Petersilie_dichtwachsend.JPG
Sage: Mokkie, Wikimedia Commons
Rosemary: “Rosmarinus officinalis ubt”. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosmarinus_officinalis_ubt.jpeg#/media/File:Rosmarinus_officinalis_ubt.jpeg
Oregano: “Origanum vulgare Prague 2011 2” by Karelj – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Origanum_vulgare_Prague_2011_2.jpg#/media/File:Origanum_vulgare_Prague_2011_2.jpg