My love affair with fresh herbs began at an early age with a Beatrix Potter Book. Peter Rabbit really loved these amazing plants, and while reading aloud, I pronounced the word “herb” with an “h.” My Scottish grandfather announced I said it correctly. However, my father countered that in America, we say “herbs” without the “h.”
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There’s nothing like an adult squabble to fascinate this wonder child, and I wanted to know more. My patriarchs quickly shared how herbs are used for cooking, medicines, soaps, and more. And from then on, I’ve been hooked.
In the early ’90s, I had a large herb garden and opened a small business called Herban Renewal. I concocted teas, potpourris, bath and beauty products, and explored essential oils and Bach flower remedies. In fact, I even created an elixir called “Hangover Helper” and another called “Sleep Easy.” And they really did the jobs they were intended for!
Fast forward a few decades, and I am still captivated by these incredible plants. I still grow them in my garden and in containers in the front and back yards. Most herbs are easy to grow, and some of my plants have been growing for years. However, some herbs (like basil) are annuals and need to be replanted each year.
Fresh herbs are a staple in my garden and in my kitchen and home. Currently, I’m growing rosemary, parsley, sage, chives, tarragon, marjoram, thyme, basil, dill, lemon balm, oregano, mint, lavender, yarrow, and some artemisia. I love cutting sprigs of fresh herbs, using them in recipes, and adding them to flower arrangements. And for a summer treat, try adding a few leaves of mint or basil to your water – it’s so refreshing!
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I especially upped my herb game switching from a junk food diet to a whole-food, plant-based one. Who knew herbs make foods taste better AND are packed with vitamins too! I use herbs daily in any way I can, especially in the kitchen. For example, if you check out my recipes, you’re likely to find one or more herbs listed in the ingredients. And you’ll almost always find them used for a garnish. Fresh herbs always add a finishing touch!
My love of herbs continues to grow, and I’m constantly learning new things about them. In fact, just recently, Mother Earth News and Mountain Rose Herbs offered an amazing virtual conference. I learned even more about making herbal remedies, skincare, flower essences, mead, and how to brew beer with herbs.
I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs and Mother Earth News for herb education as well as products. They are experts at sharing tips for growing fresh herbs. And they have a zillion ways to incorporate them into your home, garden, and beauty routine!
In 2022, I’m upping my fresh herb garden and adding a large dedicated above-ground garden in my backyard. I cannot wait to grab a handful of fresh herbs to go into my latest recipe!
What are some of the easiest herbs to grow? That would depend on where you’re located. Here at my home in Northern California, I find it easy to grow chives, basil, thyme, basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, and oregano.
What are some herbs I can grow for use in the kitchen? There are many but here are 10 popular ones: rosemary, thyme, parsley, mint, oregano, dill, basil, cilantro (coriander), sage, and chives
What exactly is an herb? An herb is a plant whose leaves are used for culinary, household, cosmetic, spiritual, or medicinal purposes.
There’s no shame in buying kits or fresh herb plants that have already been started for you. I started with basil seeds and a mint plant, and look for exciting varieties to add interest to my garden and kitchen. Here are a few ideas to help you start your own love affair with herbs – enjoy!