Getting Started with Herb Gardening

Late spring/early summer is a great time to start thinking about the herb garden. In my kitchen, herbs are indispensable, and they are best when they’re fresh. And what’s the easiest way to get your hands on fresh herbs? Grow your own, of course. My favorite culinary herbs are thyme, parsley and basil. You can make a variety of amazing dishes with these three, and they’re a great trio to get get started with if you’re new to herb gardening. And if you don’t have a yard or outdoor garden space, don’t worry – herbs are fantastic in pots, provided they receive enough light. And what better way to cook than to just pick something fresh from your kitchen windowsill?

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a great one-stop-shop book available called the Homegrown Herb Garden by Lisa Baker Morgan and Ann McCormick (and yes, I did receive a complimentary review copy). Part growing guide, part cookbook, this book showcases 15 different herbs, discussing how to grow, harvest, preserve and cook with each one. It’s filled with gorgeous color photographs, and is well organized.

There are three stand out recipes in this book that I can’t wait to try, one of which is the basil wraps (page 51). They’re basically little bites of mixed green and herb salad, dressed lightly with balsamic vinaigrette, rolled up in slices of proscuitto with a leaf or two of basil. Doesn’t that just sound amazing? Think of pairing that with some nice marinated olives, tiny dill pickles and some mustard pretzels – an amazing appetizer plate or light lunch.

Duck confit with herb salad (page 62) and lamb chops roasted on thyme (page 150) would also make a great lunch and would certainly put your home grown herbs to good use. And if these tasty-sounded recipes aren’t enough to make you want to get a few pots in your windowsill, I don’t know what is!