herb gardening

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In my opinion, the most beautiful gardens are also those that are most useful. New York has taught me a thing or two about practicality when it comes to space. 

After a few years of keeping an herb garden, I've learned a few things about which herbs are most useful and how to keep herbs thriving. If you love cooking - here's my list of essential herbs for spring for your garden. These are herbs I use almost weekly and for a variety of different recipes. I find these herbs are best fresh... (and you can't get any fresher than just-picked-from-the-garden eh?!?)

I've shared some of my favorite quick small dishes that use each of these plants. Be sure to check my care notes so you can keep your babies alive and growing so you can use over and over. 

BASIL

Use in...

basil garlic pesto

basil, tomato, mozzarella, + balsamic reduction (caprese salad)

Care by: don't let soil get dry because basil will immediately begin to wilt. Water 1 inch twice a week. To use, cut back above intersections of nodes, never trim to base - leave 3 inches or so to help it continue growing.

 

PARSLEY

Use in...

top of sweet potato fries

in salads or chopped in lemon and olive oil dressing 

bake salmon with lemon and mint

Care by: keep soil moist, cut at base to use. Trip dead leaves and stalks regularly.

 

CILANTRO

Use in...

on top white fish tacos with some lime and red cabbage slaw

guac

add on top of watermelon with balsamic 

add to any green smoothie

Care by: watering often, with the thin leaves - you'll need to monitor soil moisture and leaf wilt

MINT

Use in...

Mojitos

add to greek yogurt and top with berries

Care by: a consistent amount of water & leave in plenty of sun and trim for more bushy growth.

 

ROSEMARY

Use in..

 smudge sticks to burn as incense

on top of salmon with lemon

Care by: prune regularly  and consistently water

THYME

Use in...

thyme raspberry lemonade

Care by: regular pruning and watering and less sunny areas

 

 

SAGE

Use in...

brown with butter to top any meat dish

Care by: regular pruning and watering and less sunny areas

 

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Basic care notes (and lots of don't do what I did notes, too):

-Make sure to get on a schedule with watering. It's so easy to forget, especially if you travel or have a particularly busy weekend. I've had a few longer trips that my plant pals were left un watered and it's hard to bring them back from that. Set and alarm on your phone to give the greens a drink! 

-Be cognizant of how much of the plant you are using. Last year I had a thriving rosemary bush, but after a few too many dinner parties where I used chunks of it, I had reduced it to a few sprigs. Never quite recovered and I had to replace it. 

-This goes without saying, but make sure your plants get enough sunlight! Calculate how many hours each window gets in a day. I can't keep plants in my kitchen window because it's really only sunny a few hours of the day. Whereas my living room window has about 6-7 hours of daylight. (I almost killed my prized lemon tree when I forgot this)

- talk to your plants - acknowledge that you keep each other alive and that's pretty special

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