“What’s the big deal with fresh herbs?” Some folks say. “I can get a plethora of the same herbs (and more) at my local grocery or specialty foods store.” Yes, this is true. There are more dried-herb options at stores, and it seems to be much easier for the consumer. But have you considered just how long those herbs have been dried when their being manufactured—not to mention how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf in your local store. Not only do they lose their pungent flavor and aroma in the drying process, they lose their nutritional value as well. This becomes even more apparent when we consider the hot containers they sit in and the jostling they experience when being shipped. Enjoying fresh herbs year-round is a lot easier than one might think and a lot tastier. Here are some basics so you can get started.
As long as you have a window that lets in sunlight or a grow light, you’re ready to start your herb garden no matter what time of year it is! If you are using natural light, avoid a window that faces north, as not enough sun will reach your plants.
Herbs thrive when given good drainage, so provide a saucer or a drain pan depending on your container. And if you live in dry climate, avoid clay pots because they tend to dry-out the soil more rapidly than other containers (try these planters instead). Keep the soil moist. It should feel kind of spongy but not soggy.
Herbs are like people as far as their temperature preference. They prefer an average temperature of 70 degrees. So, be sure to move the growing container away from the window on a particularly cold night and during the autumn and winter months.
Some herbs can be trickier than others so we’ve come up with a list of what we think are the five best herbs to begin with:
Cilantro – Slow Bolt
Basil – Italian Large Leaf
Parsley – Dark Green Italian Flat-leaf
Oregano - Italian
Sage – Broad Leaved