The Nuances of Fresh Herb Gardening

Supplementing fresh herbs to foods is a quick way to transform ordinary cuisines into tantalizing extraordinary cuisines. This is where the nuances of fresh herb gardening comes in picture. Fresh herb gardening provides you with fresh culinary herbs.

Culinary herbs differ from traditional spices, although the two categories overlap. By culinary herbs we generally refer to fresh or dried leaves, while spices are seeds, flowers, fruits, roots and bark from herbs or trees. Spices like red pepper have sharp, strong and pungent flavour whereas culinary herbs generally have a mild flavor. Several common spices like cinnamon sticks, anise seeds and ginger roots are obtained from herbs.

“An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks.”
– Charlemagne
If you are a novice gardener, exercise restraint in planting all herbs at a time. For indoor or patio gardening, watch the sun’s changing pathway through the new, uncharted territory and plan well. Good gardens, like good friendships, don’t happen overnight – both take time, nourishment, and patience.

The Finishing Touches
Although the newly planted herbs look sparse, you can envision it in full and glorious abundance — your own small heaven of fresh herb resource with  fresh herb gardening. And all the herbs, they will grow — even in a postage stamp-sized plot of ground. You need to patiently separate the crowns and pull apart their fuzzy stems and tangled roots if they spread. Tuck needle-thin chives and doilies of parsley between neatly arranged spaces. Next, you can drop in the seeds of “Empress of India” nasturtiums which yield hummingbird-pleasing red flowers.

Finally, pepper the soil with “Window box” basil seeds to finish the whimsical edging. Planting seeds and propagating are two of the closest things to creating magic that a person can do to the “Mother Nature”. Plant the strawberry saplings steadily around the edge of every bed. Very soon, these unpromising looking pip-squeaks will produce offshoots called sisters and form perfect mini-mounds of green flecked with fairy-sized red strawberries.

Border beds with any of the unexpected herb species: chives, alpine strawberries, nasturtiums, sweet woodruff or dwarf basils. Fill vertical spaces with vines and tall creepers. Add pots of edible flowers — viola, borage and calendula necessary ingredients for fresh herb gardening.

First Harvest and the First Culinary Dish from Fresh Herb Gardening
• You’ll be surprised how quickly your herb garden is ready for harvesting. Before your fruits or vegetables are ripe, your borders and beds of herbs will produce fresh ingredients to liven your recipes.
• In early mornings, after the dew has dried, gather the flowers of basil, rosemary, thyme, nasturtiums, dianthus, violas, chives, calendula, sage, arugula and borage.
• Spread flowers on a screen or sheet of paper and dry them in a dark, warm location away from direct sun rays.
• Zest a lemon and dry the zest until leathery in a microwave. Add the zing of lemons to simple dishes.
• When flowers are completely dry, they will feel like paper, mix them with sea salt and dry lemon zest. Pour them into a decorative shaker with large holes such as a grated-cheese or sugar shaker.
• Use your gleanings to add color and fragrance in dressings of salad, soup and dips.
• After being washed and patted dry, green-stemmed herbs such as basil and cilantro can go straight into the food processor.

Landscaping for your Home Herb Garden – Tips and Tricks
My views as an opinionated gardener is that water in a landscape is a must, whether it is a birdbath, basin, or trickling fountain, it is an absolute necessity. A water feature can be the most expensive ingredient in a garden, but it is also the one and only element that infuses a landscape with life. You can place a stone fountain on a barren piece of land and the planted area will suddenly start breathing with life. The sound of the cascading water is ethereal, it can entice many a mocking birds. Water splashing onto the ground will result into an uncompromising beautiful aroma of the soil mixed in water similar to the first-time rain in the monsoon.