Grilling Herb Garden – What Are The Best Herbs For Marinades
Grilling features the freshest of produce and meats at their peak but often relies on dried herbs for flavor. Why not use fresh herbs for grilling instead? A grilling herb garden is easy to grow and can even be grown in a container if garden space is at a premium.
Sure, you can buy fresh herbs for marinades at the grocers, but growing them yourself puts them quickly at your fingertips, and for a fraction of the cost since fresh herbs for meat and veggie dishes can be used throughout the growing season.
About Herbs for Grilling
Many people use a dry rub on their meats to flavor them when grilling. In a pinch, this imparts great flavor, but using fresh herbs for marinades and in a fresh herb dry rub really packs a punch. Fresh herbs exude copious flavinoids from their essential oils that not only increase the flavor and aroma of a dish but also impart health benefits not found in dried herbs.
The flavor, aroma and health benefits of fresh herbs begin to wane as the plant dries. This is why old herbs should be replaced every 1-3 years. Using a fresh herb dry rub for seasoning meats or adding fresh herbs to marinades perks up the flavor of your grilling masterpiece.
Herbs for Meat and for Marinades on the Grill
The most common herbs for grilling are likely rosemary and thyme. These two herbs have intense flavor and stand up to the rigors of a grill. Because they are so robust, they can also be used when smoking, just add whole stems to the smoker. Plus, rosemary’s stiff stems provide an additional bonus. They can be used as grilling skewers for meat and veggies.
Perennial herbs, such as oregano and sage, are also great herb choices for meat, and both pair beautifully with lemon in marinades for chicken.
Tender herbs, such as basil and cilantro, also imbue some ‘je ne sais quoi,’ that extra something that will put your grilled dishes over the top. Both of these herbs can be added to marinades or, to keep their brilliant green color, used as a finishing touch on grilled meats and vegetables.
Dill, tarragon and parsley should also be part of the grilling herb garden. Tarragon has long been paired with delicate fish dishes, grilled or otherwise. The same holds true with fresh dill. Grilled salmon with dill butter will wow your friends and family.
Other herbs such as fennel, lovage and sorrel might also be incorporated in a grilling herb garden. It really comes down to what flavors you like. Oh, and don’t forget the chives. They can be added to marinades for a mild onion flavor or used as a flavorful garnish at the end of cooking.
Fresh Herb Dry Rub
A fresh herb dry rub will really amp up the flavors of your favorite grilled meats. What herbs you choose to include in the rub is up to your taste buds, although there are some general rules:
- Rosemary, parsley, sage or basil go well with beef (and chicken).
- Tarragon, basil, oregano, and cilantro pair well with chicken.
- A sage, rosemary and thyme blend boosts the flavors of pork dishes.
- Oregano, thyme, fennel or dill imparts terrific flavor to grilled fish.
To make your fresh herb dry rub, combine ½ cup of finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice with 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Rub the blend on both sides of your meat or fish, cover with plastic and refrigerate for an hour or overnight to marry the flavors.
A fresh herb dry rub can also be used on grilled vegetables. Toss the veggies with herb rub and a touch of olive oil; don’t go heavy on the oil or it will smoke and burn on the grill. Allow to sit for an hour or so and then grill as usual.
Fresh herbs elevate your culinary game and make your food taste amazing, whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen. And they’re easy to grow and maintain, inside or outside, whether you have a green thumb or not!
How To Grow Herbs Inside
An indoor herb garden will serve you year-round regardless of changing seasons. And with an indoor herb garden kit, the process is as easy as gardening gets. How you tend each herb will vary, but, generally, you’ll want to keep the herbs by a window for as much natural sunlight as possible. Water the plant when the topsoil appears dry. And you may need the help of artificial light in the winter months or if your window has limited sunlight.
How To Grow Herbs Outside
Growing herbs outside mean the forces of nature will do a lot of the work for you. Depending on the herb, be sure to plant it where it’ll get the proper amount of sunlight. The herbs will get water when it rains, but if you live in a dry area, you may also need to water the garden regularly with a watering can.
To get all your planting gear at once, consider investing in an outdoor gardening toolset that comes with a weeding tool, garden fork, and all the other gardening tools you’ll need. A potting bench is another excellent addition, whether your outdoor garden is in your backyard, on your front porch, or your apartment patio. A potting bench gives you an area to complete your gardening tasks and store your gardening tools, and you can keep all your pots right on the bench.
Basil is the supporting character in nearly every Italian dish. It’s flavor upgrades any tomato sauce, and it’s the main ingredient for homemade pesto.
To maintain a basil plant indoors year-round, you will need to place it by a window, so it gets plenty of sun throughout the day, and you may need to supplement with artificial sunlight. Water the plant when the top layer of soil is dry. Outside, basil thrives when planted in late spring, flourishing throughout the summer months. It’ll grow less in the fall and will stop entirely in the winter.
Mexican and Mediterranean dishes often use oregano, and it adds flavor to marinades for chicken, lamb, or beef. Notability, oregano has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Whether your oregano is a permanent indoor plant or you want it outdoors, it’s best to start growing the oregano inside in a small pot at first. Put your oregano plant by a window that gets at least six hours of sunlight. Once you’ve got it growing, you can transplant it outside, if desired. Look for a spot to plant it with full sunlight.
Parsley is a colorful addition to Italian and Greek dishes. If you’re making vegetable soup for a winter night, parsley is a must-have. And it serves well as a garnish on almost anything.
Parsley can be planted outdoors in a pot or directly into the ground. It also does well indoors near sunlight but will need an artificial LED light in the winter months. Regardless of where you plant it, make sure it gets enough water to keep the soil moist.
Sage is a holiday herb, great for making stuffing for Thanksgiving or seasoning chicken for Christmas dinner. Year-round, it can be used when making homemade sausage or as part of a delicious brown butter sauce on the meat.
Sage thrives both inside and outside, as long as it receives enough sunlight. Also, it is a great indoor house plant because a little bit of sage goes a long way — a small sage plant will not take up much space at all.
Step up your homemade cocktail game with fresh mint for the best mojitos or mint juleps. And you can add mint to a variety of dishes to make the flavor burst, including minty soup or grilled chicken.
Mint is an exceptional candidate for your indoor herb garden, as it does best in a pot. If not planted in a container, mint will run rampant, one thing to keep in mind if you decide to plant it outside. Whether indoors or outdoors, mint does best in the shade with partial sunlight.
Cilantro is a part of many Mexican, South American, and Asian dishes. Whether you are making pho, tacos, or homemade salsa, you’ll be happy to have fresh cilantro on hand.
Whether you are growing this herb inside or outside, plant the seedlings and water thoroughly. Water again once the soil is fully dried out. And make sure to place the plant in full sun, for up to six hours each day.
Most dishes taste better with the addition of rosemary. Rosemary goes particularly well with thyme and lemon and can be essential in recipes that include chicken and potatoes.
People tend to overwater rosemary — this herb does not need much water. Whether outside or inside, be sure to prune your rosemary often and keep it in direct sunlight. It needs soil that drains well and remains moist. If you plant your rosemary outside, plant it in the spring and fall.
Elevate Your Culinary Game
Whether you opt for an indoor or outdoor herb garden, having all these herbs at your fingertips will be well worth the minimal effort. And you can be sure your soon-to-be dinner guests will be ready for you to take your cooking to the next level with these easy to grow herbs.
You think grilling with dried herbs has a sort of suppressed flavour to it, don’t you? If only you could grow your herbs, but you don’t have a garden. You also don’t have that much time. If this perfectly describes you, here’s some excellent news for you you no longer have to endure the suppressed flavour of dried herbs anymore. And I’m not talking about buying fresh herbs at the grocery store.
You might not have enough space outdoors to build a herb garden, but you don’t need that much space! Your kitchen is big enough to house a herb garden , especially when you are only growing the herbs for home use. Here are some herbs you could for your next barbeque delicacy.
1. French Tarragon
What It Tastes Like On Grilled Meat
French Tarragon marinade gives your meat that flavor that is just the right mix of basil and licorice. Only that French Tarragon has a more robust flavor than basil, so you should be careful not to use too much. Many use this herb for chicken and fish, but who cares? Get creative!
How To Grow French Tarragon In Your kitchen
Like other perennial herbs, you can plant French Tarragon anytime in the spring and throughout fall. It also doesn’t thrive in too cold or too hot weather so you shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight or leave it out in winter.
You can place it close to a window that doesn’t receive direct sunlight in a room of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. And before you plant it in any pot, make sure the container has a lot of drainage holes.
This is because as much as French tarragon needs water, it could struggle to survive when there is too much water. For the best drainage, use a mix of three-part fertile soil and one-part sand. The pot should also be about 12 to 16 inches deep to allow for the proper growth of the root.
To grow your French Tarragon, buy an established plant. During its first 2-3 weeks of growth, water it daily. After then, you may water it at intervals of two or three days. Regular pruning to avoid flowering, and maintaining an average height of about 24 inches are the optimum caring conditions for the herb. But if you want to extract the best flavor from it, harvest it when it is only about 10 inches tall.
How To Use French Tarragon For Grilling.
Use any type of grill, in this case all the variations are ‘allowed’. Kamado , charcoal , gas , electric … Just about any will do. French Tarragon marinades are unique. While the meat is still on the grill, French Tarragon is already doing some magic in your nose that keeps your mouth watering. Here’s how to make a French Tarragon chicken marinade:
First, you would need to mince two cloves of garlic, one teaspoon of salt, half teaspoon of pepper, half cup each of dry white wine and olive oil, and of course, our french tarragon. Use two tablespoons of it after you strip its leaves from the stems and chop them.
Pour every ingredient apart from the olive oil into a bowl and whisk. And while you whisk, add the olive oil slowly. Store it in the fridge if you want to keep it for later, but don’t leave it for more than a week.
When you want to use it for your chicken, for instance, marinate the chicken for about two hours before the grill. Don’t forget to pre-heat and grease the grill at a medium heat level before you place the chicken in it.
What It Tastes Like In Grilled Meat
Not many other herbs give a flavor that is a perfect mix of spicy and sweet. Its flavor is dominant and could even subdue other flavors in the same bowl. If this is your first time using oregano marinade, go easy with it. But if you are already an Oregano marinade veteran, do as you like!
How to Grow Oregano in Your Kitchen
Oregano needs the sun to thrive. Place it close to the window that receives the most sunlight at a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil that the herb grows in has to be well-drained and has a pH from 6.0 to 7.0. Also, your pot should be about 6 inches deep. If you are growing more than one, plant them about 12 inches apart.
When you want to sow, make sure the seed goes just a quarter of an inch deep. Oregano seed takes about two weeks for it to germinate. At this time, water it regularly. After it grows, you water it at intervals of 2 to 3 days. Better yet, you could wait till the soil dries before you water it again. This is because Oregano loses flavor when the soil is too moist.
Another factor that contributes to less flavor is flowering, so proper pruning to prevent flowering is recommended. And during summer, the plant tends to grow explosively. You may cut it close to the ground so that it grows again during this time.
How to Use Oregano for Grilling
To make oregano marinade, mix dry white wine and fresh orange juice, five tablespoons each, into a container. Add half a cup of extra-virgin olive oil and a quarter cup of fresh oregano herbs. You can add two tablespoons of fresh thyme herbs to make the flavor stronger. Take half of a medium-sized yellow onion and cut it into two pieces. A teaspoon of kosher salt and half of freshly ground black pepper will complete the mix.
Pour your mixture into a food processor or a blender, and blend until you have a smooth paste. Then you have yourself an oregano marinade. If you are keeping it for later, refrigerate it immediately.
If you are using your oregano marinade on chicken, make sure to soak the chicken in the marinade for an hour or two. Let the chicken absorb the flavor before you grill.
Marinades are not the only way to enjoy oregano on the grill. You can also make a sauce out of it. Pour lemon juice in a bowl and add half of a large, finely chopped shallot and half teaspoon of salt. Stir the mixture and leave it for ten minutes. Add a quarter cup for extra-virgin olive oil and two teaspoons of minced oregano leaves. You can enjoy this with your grilled chicken.
What It Tastes Like On Grilled Meat
The flavor of chive is almost similar to those of onions and garlic. Emphasis on almost. Apart from combining those two flavors, chive has the wild flavor that sets it apart. It tastes even better when you use it to marinate your meat.
How to Grow Chive in Your Kitchen
Chive is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. Even beginner gardeners should have no trouble planting, growing, and harvesting it. Unlike many other herbs, the pot you grow it in doesn’t have to be too deep or perforated with holes. Any container that is about 6 inches deep is good enough. However, you still have to ensure that there is proper drainage in the soil. Too wet soil may cause unbalanced growth.
To get the best growth out of chives, place the pot close to a window that’s facing the south where it is exposed to the sun. Chive seeds don’t have to go deep down into the soil. They can grow perfectly just under the surface of the soil.
Water it daily till it sprouts. After the sprouts have grown past an inch, you only need to water it when the soil is almost dry. The plant may grow in dry soil for a short while, but not for long. And just like the other herbs on this list, don’t allow chives to flower, so it doesn’t lose its flavor.
How To Use Chives for Grilling
The onion-like flavor of chives makes them an excellent addition to your grill recipes. But of them all, marinades with chives in them is arguably the tastiest. There are a lot of recipes for making chive flavored marinade. But you can never go wrong with this recipe:
Make a mixture of a teaspoon of smoked paprika, one of honey or two of sugar, two tablespoons of olive oil, 1 of lemon juice or sumac, two of seasoning salt, and of course, a one-eighth cup of fresh chives.
Soak your chicken in this marinade for about 4 hours to give the chicken enough time to absorb as much flavor as possible. After that, preheat the grill to medium heat for a while and place your chicken in it. And after grilling, you could garnish it with fresh chives to give it some more color and flavor.
What Rosemary Tastes Like On Grilled Meat
Rosemary has a unique pungent aroma that sets it apart from other herbs. The flavor that its needlelike leaves produce is close to that of a lemon-pine. Use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or lamb, and you won’t ever want to wash the taste off your mouth.
How To Grow Rosemary in the Kitchen
First, if you want to grow healthy-looking rosemary full of flavor, here are some things you ought to know: Rosemary thrives where there is enough sun but not too much good drainage helps it stay healthy and full of flavor good air circulation is crucial to its survival.
The perfect spot for rosemary indoors is right on the windowpane of the south window. However, too much heat could cause it to grow lopsidedly. Also, the herb doesn’t need a lot of water. Wait for the soil to dry before you water it again, as too much moisture could lead to root rot.
You could grow rosemary from its seed, but that will probably be too much stress for you. Instead, head to the nursery and get a rosemary plant, or you could take a cutting from a neighbor’s garden. The cutting should be from a young growth in an already established plant. Prune out the leaves from the cutting, but be careful not to tear it out. Then dip the cut end into a rooting hormone.
While you wait for the cutting to develop a root, let the container be just out of range of direct sunlight but still warm enough. You may change the water every three to four days for the next three weeks or until roots develop. To know when the cutting has grown roots, gently tug on them to see if it gives you some resistance.
After it develops roots, transplant the cutting into a new pot that already has soil mixed with sand for the best air and water circulation. The container should be at least 6 inches deep and 4 inches in diameter. You don’t have much to do from here than to wait and care for it.
How to Use Chives for Grilling
Making rosemary flavored marinade is easy as long as you have the right ingredients. You need eight cloves of minced garlic, one and a half tablespoons each of Dijon mustard and lemon juice, a quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper, a one-eight teaspoon of kosher salt, three tablespoons of olive oil, and finally, two tablespoons of minced rosemary.
As usual, preheat the grill to about medium heat before you do any grilling. Pour all your ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Pour your marinade in a resealable bag and place your meat in it to soak.
This recipe is for a meal for four people.
What Thyme Tastes Like On the Grill
Thyme has an endearing aroma with minty and lemon tastes. It is useful on the grill as you can make marinades and sauces with it. It doesn’t have a strong flavor that subdues every other flavor in your mixture, but its flavor is unique enough not to get lost among other flavors.
How to Grow Thyme in Your Kitchen
Growing thyme doesn’t take much of your time. All it needs are the right growth conditions and not much effort from you. It grows perfectly with exposure to the sun, and you can set it close to any window that receives enough sun. But if you don’t have such windows, the herb should grow perfectly under bright fluorescent light.
Although thyme can grow with little water, still water it whenever its soil gets dry. Any temperature from 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is good enough for the proper growth of the herb. And the soil must have good drainage.
Except you have the time and the willpower, don’t grow the plant from the seed. Instead, take some cuttings from an established plant. Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone and put that end in vermiculite or sterile sand. After about six weeks, it should have developed enough roots to grow on its own in a pot. But first, put it into a small container to allow it to form a root ball. You may then transfer it into its permanent bowl afterward.
How To Use Thyme on the Grill
Thyme has just so many uses. And like many other herbs, it is perfect for marinades. Thyme marinade recipes usually revolve around four ingredients garlic, olive oil, the meat, and thyme leaves itself.
You could also make a thyme sauce to go with your chicken. Mix it with some lemon juice, sugar, olive oil, red pepper, and whisk. Apply it evenly to your chicken before you grill it.
Sweet basil is one of those heavily perfumed herbs you will recognize in almost all Mediterranean cooking. It seems to go with pasta dishes like almost no other herb! From classic red sauce to homemade pesto dishes, it’s my favorite herb to cook with.
In addition to pasta, it adds a fantastic flavor to salads! You can slice the leaves into thin ribbons (a technique called chiffonade) and toss them right into the salad bowl. Or, you can make Sweet Basil Vinegar and use this to make a savory and flavor-filled vinegarette.
Finally, you can press the leaves, extract the oils, and use the oil to treat your scalp to a stimulating massage.
Sweet basil is a fragrant plant with both culinary and medicinal uses.
6 Herbs That Grow In Sandy Soil
By Matt Gibson & Erin Marissa Russell
If you have a sandy soil type, you may have some trouble trying to grow certain herbs or other plants. You may have already tried to grow an assortment of plants and noticed that not many of them were successful even with plenty of watering and sunlight. Or maybe you’ve been putting off planting crops in your sandy soil beds because you were worried that they wouldn’t grow well due to the quality of soil in your area.
Well, sandy soil is not something that should keep you from gardening. You can always amend the soil with additives to improve the quality and change the soil type, adding in lots of organic materials, like well rotted compost and manure, is great for all soil types, and will improve your soil quality drastically.
Instead of trying to fight against the soil type that you were dealt, consider doing some research on what plants grow well in sandy soil types. There are a wide variety of plants to choose from when planning out your garden. Luckily, there are plants that are well suited to all of the different soil types you might find.
For sandy soil types, look for plants that like dry conditions, as sand is quickly draining, and does not have good moisture retention capability. Sandy soils are also usually very low in nutrients, as nutrients get washed away easily and quickly due to large pore spaces and fast drainage, so you should also look for plants that don’t need a lot of nutrients to grow and thrive. Fortunately, many plants that like dry conditions also don’t require tons of nutrients to perform their best.
Many perennial flowers enjoy a more sandy soil type. Succulents and cacti are also well suited to dry, sandy conditions. For those in areas with sandy soils who want to start an edible garden, there are a handful of mediterranean herbs that enjoy sandy soil conditions as well. The following herbs will grow well in sandy soil types without requiring major amendments to change the soil in especially sandy areas.
Hardy to USDA zones five through nine, thyme is a well known culinary herb with a pleasant clover-like aroma and flavor. Thyme is originally from the Mediterranean region, and is drought tolerant and well suited to sandy soil conditions.
Thyme is available in over fifty different varieties, some of which are grown as ornamental herbs, while others are cultivated for culinary purposes.
Fresh, or English thyme varieties are the thyme cultivars that are most commonly used in cooking. Culinarily, thyme is generally used as a flavoring agent for savory dishes. The flowers, leaves and oil made from the thyme plant have medicinal uses as well. The plant has been used to make herbal remedies to treat inflammation, bronchitis, hair loss, stomach pain, and many other conditions. Thyme plants are also pollinator friendly, so feel free to let a few of them flower to bring bees to your garden.
Thyme plants enjoy full sun and warm weather. Thyme doesn’t appreciate wet feet and will enjoy the fast draining conditions that sandy soils provide. Fertilize your thyme plants by amending your soil with a little bit of organic matter like compost, though just a little will go a long way, as thyme doesn’t require a nutrient-rich environment.
Instead of growing thyme from seeds, which can be next to impossible, purchase a small plant from a nursery or garden center, or take a stem cutting from an already established plant if you have a friend who grows thyme.
Get a head start by planting your cuttings six to ten weeks before last frost indoors and moving them outside after the soils reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Space thyme plants one to two feet apart. Give your thyme plants a deep drink of water only once the soil has completely dried out. Prune back your plants in the spring and summer. In cold climates, add a layer of mulch around your plants when the cold season begins. Divide or replace thyme plants every three to four years, replacing if they lose flavor or become too woody.
For more details, you can read our article on how to grow thyme.
Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen perennial herb that is hardy to USDA zones seven through eleven, which is cultivated for its sweet, resinous flavor and aroma. Rosemary is originally from the Mediterranean, and enjoys warm weather and slight humidity. Rosemary will adapt to dry and nutrient-poor soils, so it is a great choice for gardens with sandy soil conditions. Rosemary is used culinarily to season savory dishes, specifically poultry and lamb dishes, as well as soups and stews. Medicinally, rosemary is used to treat memory loss, indigestion, arthritis pain, and hair loss. Rosemary is also used in aromatherapy.
Plant rosemary seeds or (preferably) cuttings indoors eight to ten weeks before the last spring frost and move into the garden when the soils reach 70 degrees F. Plant in full sun in a well draining soil, and allow plenty of room for each plant to grow. Mature rosemary plants will reach sizes of four feet high and wide. Water rosemary evenly throughout the growing season but be careful not to overwater. Rosemary grows well in containers, which can be brought indoors during the winter. If you planted your rosemary in the ground, do not move it into a container, however, as it does not transplant well. Prune rosemary regularly. Take cuttings to replant the following spring, or, if you have your rosemary growing in pots, bring them indoors to overwinter.
For more details, you can read our article on how to grow rosemary.
Oregano is a perennial herb with a strong, zesty flavor that is used heavily in Italian cuisine. Oregano is well suited to sandy soil types, as it loves warm, dry conditions and does not need a rich substrate to thrive. Oregano is primarily cultivated for culinary use, but it has medicinal value as well, and is used to treat respiratory issues such as coughs, asthma, and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal issues, like heartburn, stomach pain, and bloating.
Plant oregano seeds or cutting in full sun and a well-draining soil anytime after the last spring frost. Space oregano plants eight to ten inches apart in your garden beds. Pinch back or trim lightly regularly once plants reach four inches tall to encourage bushier growth. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Oregano plants will self-seed. Divide plants in late spring if you want to grow one indoors as well. Plant Greek oregano for cooking purposes and common oregano for decoration.
For more details, you can read our article on how to grow oregano.
Gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones four through 11 can grow this evergreen member of the mint family in an indoor garden or outdoors, where it flourishes in sandy soil. You can use sage in the kitchen, where it’s a common ingredient in holiday stuffing, brown butter sauces for ravioli and pasta, and meat marinades. Sage also has a history of medicinal usage for stomach problems, to treat snake bites, and to clear the sinuses. In the garden, sage attracts beneficial insects like pollinators as well as hummingbirds. Most sage plants are native to the Mediterranean or Asia Minor, spreading to Europe during the Middle ages, with a few more types of sage coming from Central America.
To grow sage from seeds, start them out in a rich seed-starting mix and keep evenly moist in a sunny location. Thin the seedlings once they have their true leaves so that one or two of the strongest specimens remain in each five- or six-inch pot. Once the seedlings have grown to stand four inches high, begin providing them with liquid plant food, following the instructions for the plant food you’ve selected. Move them to the outdoor garden if you like once the danger of frost has passed. Once your sage plants are two years old, they’ll start to bloom, with small blue flowers that open at the ends of their branches. If you are growing sage for the leaves and would rather have more leaves than enjoy the flowers, pinch the flowers off when they appear to promote bushy branching. Sage plants are drought-tolerant but perform best with moderate levels of hydration in sunny locations that have well-draining soil, which is why they like sandy spots so much.
For more details, you can read our article on how to grow sage.
Historically, chamomile has been cultivated as a natural remedy full of antioxidants that promotes relaxation, treating conditions such as insomnia, stress, or anxiety and promoting healthy digestion. The flowers are pretty in tea, potpourri, or sachets, and they resemble tiny daisies. Either Roman or German chamomile can be grown for any of these purposes, and the two plants have very similar care preferences.
Roman chamomile is sometimes called Russian or English chamomile. It’s an evergreen perennial that creeps along low to the ground with fine, feathery foliage. German chamomile stands higher off the ground, with flowers atop stems that grow a foot or two in height, and it grows as a self-seeding annual. The German variety is more commonly grown for oils or tea, although you can make tea from the Roman type as well. The vertical growth pattern of German chamomile will give gardeners with small spaces more bang for their buck, though the Roman variety is an attractive groundcover for those who have more room in their gardens. Either plant can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones three through nine. For best results, grow chamomile in partial shade (though it will tolerate full sun). This drought tolerant plant does not need much watering unless conditions are dry, and it prefers dry soil the most.
For more details, you can read our article on how to grow chamomile.
Also called Achillea, yarrow has a long history of medicinal usage for purposes such as stopping the bleeding of wounds, reducing swelling, and relieving the pain of earaches, toothaches, or headaches. It is still called upon to treat hay fever, eczema, or upper respiratory conditions. There are more than 85 species of wild yarrow, with wild varieties that generally grow to around two or three feet high and produce white flowers, while garden yarrows are mounding plants that spread well and tend to grow between 18 and 24 inches tall. There are some garden yarrows that function as ground covers these usually grow to no higher than a foot tall. In addition to yarrows with white blooms, you can find varieties that blossom from summer to fall in shades of coral, pink, purple, red, and yellow. Yarrow is often used in floral arrangements or as a dried flower.
Yarrow is a particularly adaptable plant that will be happy in alkaline soil that is not particularly rich or in more acidic, moist areas. It stands up well to conditions like drought, cold, or hot weather. Yarrow reproduces by seed as well as through the movement of underground rhizomes. It’s suited for gardens in USDA Hardiness zones three through 10. You can grow yarrow in partial shade, but it likes full sun the best. Adding compost to the soil before you plant yarrow will help promote good drainage. It needs plenty of water throughout its first summer while the plant is still developing its root system, but once established, yarrow may not need much hydration from the gardener (especially when it grows close to irrigated gardens or lawns). After the first birth of growth, you may prune yarrow to encourage dense and prolific branching. While the plants do not require fertilizer, you can boost their growth by applying fertilizer in early spring before they wake up and begin their growth period.
For more details, you can read our article on how to grow yarrow.
A small mediterranean herb garden is one of many ways in which you can take advantage of gardening in an area with sandy soils. The eight herbs listed above all enjoy dry soil conditions and low nutrient levels. If you want to expand your herb garden, you will need to amend a bed to do so, or create a raised bed, supplying new soil with a more loamy, humus-rich consistency. In addition to a raised bed or amending your sandy soils, you could also grow additional herbs in containers. Container herbs are especially convenient, as you can grow them indoors when the weather is too cold or too hot for their liking, and set the containers outside when the weather is right.
Not only do herbs give a rich and indulgent flavor to your foods, but they are also low-calorie and vitamin and nutrient-dense. I refer to these plants as “mighty little warriors,” they are tiny but packed with minerals, vitamins, essential oils, dietary fibers, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Not only will there be a noticeable improvement in the quality of your meals, but you will also reap innumerable health benefits.
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