Culinary herbs are those whose fresh or dried leaves are used in cooking. This includes, but is not limited to: basil, parsley, French tarragon, chives, rosemary, and thyme.
Tips for growing culinary herbs
Two important things to consider when planting culinary herbs:
- Harvesting your herbs at full flavor
- Never using any fertilizer or pesticide that isn’t labeled for use on edible plants
Herbs that tend to spread like mint or oregano can be grown in containers, then sunk into the ground to incorporate them in a flower bed. (Be careful not to let the tips of the plants hang over and touch the ground or they will root, grow and spread.)
Harvesting culinary herbs
Most annual herbs taste the best before they flower, because once the herbs flower their older leaves begin to decline and their new leaves are smaller and bitter tasting.
If your herbs begin to bloom quickly and vigorously, cut the whole plant back by one third and try to pinch more frequently. Young plants need to be pinched back to encourage them to branch out and become full. Annual herbs, such as basil, can be pinched as soon as they are 3-4 inches tall.
When selecting a planting location consider a southern and western exposure for both a sunny and warm location. A nice visual combination is to include both upright and trailing herbs such as creeping thyme and/or oregano.
Rosemary is a beautiful ornamental herb that is also deer resistant. This herb makes a great substitute for traditional barbecue skewers as it will enhance the flavor of your kabobs!