Last week I showed you the veggies and tomatoes I'm growing, and promised I'd be back to show the herbs. I've been growing herbs for more years than some of you have been alive, and nothing gets me excited about cooking in the summer like fresh herbs. The bounty of herbs from my garden was how Weekend Herb Blogging got started, and this year I'm growing a few new things, so there should be plenty to blog about for months to come.
Of course basil is one of the best thing about summer. This is lettuce-leaf basil, which produces huge leaves. I grow basil mostly from seeds, but I usually plant a few big plants to get the basil season started. Last year my basil was getting devoured by some kind of pest, so I moved it close to the house, but unfortunately the pests are finding it there too. I still don't know what's eating the basil.
Last year I didn't ever find Thai Basil, so when I found some this year I grabbed a couple of plants. I love this spicy basil variety in stir-fries.
Some of my herbs didn't come back this year because Utah had an unusually cold winter. However, the curly parsley is back with gusto, which is fine with me because I love it, even though the flat kind is more trendy. Parsley is actually a biennial plant, but if you let it go to seed a little at the end of the season it will re-seed in the same spot for years.
No Italian parsley came up this spring, maybe because I trimmed it too well last year, so I planted two new plants to supplement my curly parsley supply.
A new plant for me this year is French Tarragon, and I've already found a great recipe that I'm planning to try with this herb.
Another new plant for me is this Variegated Marjoram. I've been curious about marjoram, and am looking forward to trying it. Anyone who's cooked with it, I'd love to hear from you in the comments about what you've used it for.
I had a long row of mint on one side of my garden, but this year I planted mint in a little triangular-shaped flower bed by my back door. It has the house on one side and the sidewalk on the other two sides to help the mint behave itself.
One of my herbs that didn't seem to mind the cold winter was this huge oregano bush, which I've already trimmed a few times this year. This is Greek Oregano, and I love to use it in Greek Salad or other salad recipes.
The rosemary plant on the right barely survived the winter, and I bought another plant to keep it company. I love to freeze fresh rosemary when it gets to be fall, so you can never have too much of it.
My sage is also healthy and already starting to flower. Sage is the only fresh herb I remember from my childhood; my Grandmother Denny always had a sage plant by her back door.
The thyme I had last year didn't make it through the winter, so I replaced it with these two Silver Thyme plants. Thyme is another herb I love to freeze and use all winter long.
One last plant waiting to get transplanted to the garden is this lovely Golden Oregano, which arrived in the mail courtesy of Bloomscape, a company which sells herbs, vegetables, and indoor plants online, founded by someone who's a reader of Weekend Herb Blogging. When they offered to send me a live plant by mail, I wasn't sure what to expect, but a very large plant arrived in a few days, happy and healthy. If you live where you have a hard time getting herb plants, you might want to check out their selection. (And if you're wondering, they are not paying me to write about their plants, but I was very impressed with the plant they sent.)
You can check the progress of my garden through the season by clicking the label 2007 Garden Updates below. If you're looking for the Recap of Weekend Herb Blogging for this weekend, it will be posted at Kitchen Wench sometime tomorrow.