Suzie Vezza, CNLP
How to Plant and Care for Herbs
Herbs need to be treated as babies, so use a delicate touch when planting and transplanting.
Always be careful not to hurt the roots. Never put an herb into a pot that is too large.
Water is the number killer of herbs! Never use a hose or faucet to water herbs. A small watering can without a diffuser is best. Remember to be gentle.
Using your Herbs:
Herbs are happiest when they are being picked often, it keeps them growing. Herb plants that are not used often get woody and can go to seed.
Herbs need good light to grow. If you don’t have good natural light, invest in a plant light.
You are what you eat! We suggest you use an all-natural organic fertilizer. Be careful to not over-fertilize – it will kill the plant. Following the instructions on the package is best.
Types of Herbs:
Perennial: Comes back every year. Perennial herbs tend to get woody stems over time.
Tender Perennial: May or may not survive winter in our area. Can be put outside in pots in Spring and Summer and brought back inside for Fall and Winter. They can be grown in protected areas or near house and mulched well in winter. Usually if it survives its first winter it is perennial. A lot of tender perennials must be brought inside for winter.
Biennial: Lives and grows for 2 years. The first year it produces foliage. The second year it produces fruit and/or flowers. Then it dies.
Annual: Grow in one season. After the season is over they die. Most herbs will do best indoors if given a well-lit location away from cold drafts and heating vents. Visibility is important too! Placing herbs where you will see them means you will probably use them more often.
If possible keep perennial herbs in pots outside for winter. Place them in garage or near foundation of house and they will probably survive in the pots.
Use your herbs often and when they start looking sickly, discard them and get a new herb. It doesn’t mean you have failed as a gardener.
Fun Uses for Herbs:
Herb Flavored Oils are a great alternative to salad dressing. The key thing to remember is that the herbs must be completely dry before you add them to the oil. Olive oil or safflower oil work great. Add a half cup dried herbs to two cups of oil. Store at room temperature for 2 weeks prior to using.
Herbal Butters. Mince one part herbs (one type or a blend) and mash into two parts softened organic butter. Shape into a log and freeze. Cut off slices of herb-flavored butter as needed to melt over vegetables, meat or fish or to saute with vegetables.
Make Your Own Seasoning Mixes and store them for future use.
Here is one of our favorite mixes for poultry: combine rosemary, marjoram, oregano, onion powder, sage and thyme. Like it spicy? Add red pepper!
Create a Sleep Pillow. Take a 6″x8″ piece of fabric and sew the sides closed. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried, crushed herbs to the pillow and sew up the last side. Place inside your pillowcase near where your head rests. Great for headaches, insomnia and stress.