Donna Coakley McGowan's Blog
If you're like many busy homeowners, you may not have a lot of time to cultivate a vegetable garden for the purpose of putting food on the family table. However, old-school culinary herb gardens are deceptively easy to grow, and they pull double duty by providing an exceedingly pleasing aesthetic. Not only do they add a flavorful element to any meal, but culinary herb gardens also present a picturesque appearance as well as perfume the surrounding air. If you plant your herb garden near a window, you'll be rewarded by a lovely aroma wafting through your home on warm days when you open the window. If you're thinking of putting your home on the market in the near future, an herb garden may increase its desirability to prospective buyers.
As an added bonus, most culinary herbs require very little maintenance once established. Herbs are typically resilient plants capable of thriving in poor soils. They normally don't require extra summer watering except in times of drought, and their abundance of aromatic plant oils serve as natural insecticides. Here's what you need to do to get the most out of your culinary herb garden.
Consider How You Cook
The first thing to consider is which types of herbs you typically use the most in your kitchen. If you love using Mediterranean-sourced recipes when preparing fare for the family table, be sure to plant lots of thyme, oregano, and rosemary. If herbal tea is popular in your household, you can grow chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, and other herbs used for making teas in your garden. You can dry the herbs with a food dryer, by spreading them out on a cookie sheet and placing them in the oven on low heat, or by hanging them upside down in a cool, dry location.
Choose a Sunny Spot
Most culinary herbs used by modern cooks have their roots in the Mediterranean, which means they've evolved under sunny skies and prefer that kind of environment. Choosing the sunniest available spot in your yard for culinary herb gardens help ensure that they thrive. However, if you've got a few somewhat shady spots in the area you choose for your garden, some herbs, such as parsley and mint, do quite well with a partial sun exposure, especially in warmer climates.
Adding hardscaping such as stepping stones, statuary, birdbaths, arbors, and decorative fencing provides a polished, pulled-together look that keeps the average herb garden from looking unkempt. Water features such as pools and fountains add classic accents, and a comfortable garden bench provides an ideal place to sit and read, dream, or just watch the world go by.
Please feel free to reach out for more information on getting the most from your outdoor living space or other aspects of optimizing your homeowner experience.