The Kitchen Garden: Grow Your Own Fresh Herbs
Do yourself a favor and plant some fresh herbs for your kitchen. Fresh herbs are such a great addition to so many dishes and recipes. Growing some of your own takes away the hassle of searching herbs out at the farmers market or paying too much for large bundles of herbs from the grocery store that you will end up throwing away. It also means always having fresh herbs on hand, never wasting what you don’t use right away, and its cheap and easy to do!
I am really excited to share this newest collection of blog posts with you! I am calling this collection: The Kitchen Garden, because that is exactly what it is! Some very easy gardening steps, tips, and tricks, to generate great produce and herbs that you can utilize in the kitchen. My goal is to include recipes throughout the season that show how I utilize the fresh produce that springs up right in my back yard and cost just a fraction of what we would pay at the produce market (minus a little additional love and labor to tend our plants).
Keeping a kitchen garden is something that I love, and it is not something that is not complicated to do. To start I’m going to share with you about growing fresh herbs, and even a quick recipe (see below) where you can start using your fresh herbs right away! In another post coming soon I am going to fill you in on what I grow in my big kitchen garden (mostly vegetables) and what could work for you (even if you are limited on space or don’t have a yard).
Fresh herbs are a great way to start experimenting with your green thumb.
Generally herbs are pretty hearty, and can survive almost anywhere. You can start the plants from seeds. For example this year I picked up some packets for sage and lavender. But for instant gratification and a greater guarantee of success, I like to buy some started plants too. Another bonus to buying plants over seeds it that you can begin using the herbs right away without have to wait for them to sprout.
If you do decide to start your herbs from seeds (which is cheaper, I paid about $3 per plant, but could have bought a whole packet of seeds for about $2). I would suggest starting them in the house in the early spring, then moving them outside later in the season.
For this year’s fresh herb collection I decide on rosemary, purple basil, and lemon thyme. My reasoning was that I know rosemary and basil are super versatile in regards to what I can put them in, smell amazing, and look beautiful. I picked the lemon thyme because I liked the aesthetic appeal and it smelled really good.
Where to plant your fresh herbs?
For my fresh herbs I decide that I wanted to stick with planters, pots, or containers rather than find space in the garden. I have a couple reasons for this:
- That way I can move the pots around to find their ideal location for the best sun/shade combo. Or set them out in the yard to be “watered” by the rain.
- I can bring my pots in the house if there is fear of a frost or to extend their growing season (this can be a tad short in the northern midwest).
- They look pretty and I can use them to add curb appeal to my front porch or back deck.
I planted all three of these fresh herbs into one planter to create a layered look. Since the basil and rosemary both need full sun, I knew they would live well together. The only risk was the lemon thyme that needs partial shade, so I may have to move the planter now and then if it starts to look weak.
I already had a large planter at home that would accommodate all three plants and left some room for growth. If you are looking for a planter these ones from Amazon are attractive options: stone, rustic wood, pottery (the stone and pottery planters are actually made from resin which makes them weather resistant and light enough to move easily).
Other planting options:
Many herbs are also perennials which means they will keep coming back year after year. So if you have a space in your yard or flowerbed that gets lots of sun, you can plant the herbs right in the ground.
Another option would be to plant them in small pots indoors. My house is almost completely shaded by maple trees (which keeps us cool in the summer so I’m not complaining). But I just know that indoor sun loving plants don’t thrive in my house. If you have some great natural light shining through your panes for 6-8 hours a day, then absolutely bring your planters inside. The only draw back to this is that you will have to remember to water more, because of the lack of rain, and you lose to curb appeal option.
Now to the fun part: using your fresh herbs! To be completely honest I typically don’t like infused water, if often tastes like watered down juice to me and I’d rather just have plain water. But I went out on a limb and experiment with some fresh rosemary and sliced strawberries. The result? Delicious! I loved it! And pretty much drank the whole gallon on my own before my hubby even made it home from work. And isn’t it a beautiful combination?
So go spend some time at your local greenhouse, smell the herbs, pick your favorites, and start your own kitchen garden with some fresh herbs! And if you try the water and love it let me know in the comments!
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Fresh Rosemary, Strawberry Infused Water
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
- 1 gallon water
Wash and slice strawberries. Add to empty one gallon pitcher.
Rinse rosemary leaves, crush on cutting board with the back of a spoon to release oils. Add to pitcher.
Fill pitcher with water and refrigerate for 15 minutes to 1 hour before serving.