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Easy Herbs - growing tips

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Basil

Basil grows best from transplants. There are many types of basil, even with purple leaves! Cut leaves for fresh use or for drying just before the flowers open for best results.

Basil loves hot weather. Plant two weeks after last expected frost. Use fresh or dried spicy‐scented basil leaves to flavor tomato dishes. Try quick and easy basil pesto, made from fresh leaves.

Parsley

Harvest parsley, grown from transplants, soon after planting. Choose curly or the Italian flatleaved kind, or both. The curly type grows 10‐ 12”, the Italian about 18” tall.

As soon as the leaves grow to a respectable size, use fresh or dried in just about any thing!

Thyme

Thyme grows only 6 – 10” tall with small purple flowers and fragrant leaves. Grow thyme from transplants. Tuck it along the sunny edges of garden beds or use in a rock garden. Cut leafy tops and flowers when the first blossoms open. Thyme adds its light, aromatic flavor to salad dressings and seafood.

Lavender

The long‐lasting fragrant lavender leaves and flowers are used to make dried sachets, wreaths as well as in cooking. Lavender grows best from transplants planted in a sunny, garden with warm, well‐drained soil. Pick leaves anytime. For the best fragrance, cut flower stems, just as buds start to open.

Rosemary

Young rosemary plants will transplant readily. Rosemary grows best in well‐drained soil, in sunny gardens that have been limed. The narrow leaves have a leathery feel and a spicy fragrance.

Pick leaves anytime. Use finely chopped leaves in soups, sauces, salads and pasta. Rosemary’s flavor complements chicken dishes well.

Many gardeners take rosemary indoors and keep it as a potted plant during the winter.

Chives

Chives grow easily from transplants. Small dainty, onion‐like plants, they grow in clumps reaching about 10 inches high and bear light purple flowers in early summer.

Chives need little care and will survive our winters. Plant as early as the soil can be worked. As the plants get large, divide and share with friends or move to a new place in the garden.

Cut whole spears of chives from the outside of the clump; snip just above the ground level. Renew the clump during the season by cutting back tough leaves and faded flowers.

Use chives for a delicious, light, onion‐like flavor to foods, especially potatoes!

Mint

Mints, ready for transplanting, come in a wide range of scents and flavor, such as spearmint, orange, peppermint, and apple. Mints thrive in moist soil in shade or sun and easily survive our winters. Mint tends to “bully” other plants; it spreads quickly and grows to up to 2’ tall. For this reason, some gardeners plant mint in containers, sunk in the ground, to corral the roots.

Pick mint leaves when young and tender for best aroma and flavor. To keep plants producing leaves, nip off the flower spikes before they open.

Resources

https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-agricultural-resou...
www.massflowergrowers.com/
http://ag.umass.edu/landscape

Topics: 
Home Lawn & Garden
Home Lawn and Garden topics: 
Vegetables