If you’re into fresh herbs you know how costly they are at the store. The fresh herbs are good for just a small amount of time and then have to be thrown away. Only to be bought fresh again for the next recipe. Consider this, grow your own herb garden. Here in Arizona, you can grow herb plants most of the year because of our beautiful weather.
Tips for growing the healthiest fresh herbs
- Plant herbs in spring or fall. Most herbs do well in a sunny location with average to dry soil. Consider a pot you can move indoors when the heat hits.
- Grow herbs easily without fertilizer. Most of our cooking herbs grow fresh all year long.
- Harvest most herbs by cutting whole stems to ground level at regular intervals throughout the plant. In other words, don’t snip off the tips and don’t cut from one spot in the plant.
- Wash herbs by placing cut stems in a large bowl of cold water. Add salt lightly over the herbs. Soak herbs for a few minutes rinse under running water and shake to dry. You can store for a day or two by putting the stems in a jar or vase placing washed cuttings in a glass or vase of room temperature water on your kitchen counter out of direct sunlight. Or simply wrap washed herbs in toweling and store in the refrigerator.
- Dry for use during the few months when fresh herbs are not possible. Simple grab a bunch and tie together, hang upside down in the shade inside or outside. Carefully remove dried leaves from stems and transfer to jar with a lid for storage. or freezer storage, wash fresh herbs.
The most commonly used herbs
- Basil: Plant basil in full sun and keep the soil moist. Cut plant tips after 6 weeks of growth and pinch off flowers to favor leaf growth.
- Chives: When ready to use, cut the outside stems at the roots. Use the Purple chive flowers in salads or as a beautiful garnish. Chives grow well in Arizona most of the year.
- Dill: Be sure to cut at the root when ready to use. The seed heads can be removed when they turn light brown. Simply dry or freeze them for storage.
- Mint: Mint spreads rapidly, so consider planting in a pot by itself. Its known for taking over the garden. Be sure to plant mint in full sun with moist soil.
- Oregano: Most types of oregano will grow throughout the winter in Arizona.
- Parsley: Cut the outermost stems at the ground level when ready to harvest.
- Rosemary: Grows all year here in Arizona. Simply cut single stems several inches from the ground and it will regrow.
- Sage: Another staple that grows all year in Arizona.
- Thyme: Most varieties of thyme will grow throughout the winter here in Arizona. Be sure to cover or bring in if in a pot when it’s cold.
Planting herbs in your climate zone
- National Gardening Association
- Sunset Magazine’s climate zone maps.These maps build on the temperature-based plant hardiness zone maps from the Agriculture Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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