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Herb Garden Guide

Updated: May 11



Growing herbs is a fun way to add a little flair to your garden and create some great tastes for your favorite dishes or creating some potpourri. They are as simple as growing flowers and do not require the attention that vegetables need. Herbs grown at home often offer more flavor, scent, and appreciation than store-bought ones. They can also provide beautiful blooms for flower-lovers. Become the herbal envy of friends and family with a relatively low-maintenance gardening hobby.

How to plant herbs:

Plants or seeds?

Plants are recommended over seeds. Seeds take anywhere from 5 days to a full month to germinate. If you do plant seeds, spread them over prepared soil then lightly cover. If planted too deep, the seeds won’t be able to successfully germinate.


Choose the right location:

Herbs can do well in both flower or vegetable beds. Choose the planting location based on the herbs you want and it's specific sun requirement - full sun (majority of herbs), partial shade, or full shade. Full sun plants need 6 to 8 hours of sunshine per day. Partial shade plants need 3 to 4 hours of full sun.


Prepare a bed with good soil drainage:

Most herbs will require very good soil drainage. To achieve this, a raised bed is recommended. The soil in that bed is also important - the ideal soil is a mixture of garden soil, quality topsoil, and organic weed/seed free compost. This will ensure that the nutrients are released to feed the plants, and enough moisture is retained as well. Raised beds can be boxed in with large decorative rock or wood. Boxing-in decreases soil loss and increases water drainage. You can also simply mound the soil, but the one-time effort of boxing-in can save time and labor in the long run. Our recommendation: use flat garden stones spaced among the beds to easily weed and water without having to step on the soil. This keeps the soil well-aerated and makes it easy to cultivate between plants.


Below is a list of some popular annual and perennial herbs that grow in the high country. Good luck!


For cooking:

  • Thyme

  • Oregano

  • Basil

  • Parsley

  • Chives

  • Dill

  • Mint

  • Anise

  • Coriander/Cilantro


For beauty and potpourri:

  • Thyme

  • Lavender

  • Lovage

  • Mint

  • Anise


Thyme:

-Full sun

-height of 1’

-Low-growing woody perennial that spreads slowly

-Tiny pale purple, pink, or white flowers

-Fragrant

-Famous in French cuisine, being used in meat dishes, breads, soups, etc.

-Also very nice in a sachet


Oregano:

-Full sun

-Perennial

-12 to 18 inches height

-Pale to medium green leaves

-Spiky clusters of purple and white flowers


Basil:

-Full sun -Upright annual

-1 to 2 feet height

-Deep green leaves

-Tiny purple flowers grow


Parsley:

-Partial shade

-Biennial (lives for 2 years)

-12 to 18 inches height

-Pale green leaves can be fern-like (plain parsley), curly (curled parsley), or flat (Italian parsley)

-Pale green-to-white flowers grow in an umbel like onion and chive flowers

Lavender

-Full sun

-Woody perennial

-1 to 3 feet Height

-Semi-hardy at altitude: will need protection from early and late frosts

-Pale gray-green leaves

-Aromatic lavender flowers


Lovage

-Full sun

-3 to 4 feet in height

-Dark green, shiny leaves

-Umbels of yellow flowers closely resemble fennel

-Ornamental

-Aromatic


Anise:

-Full sun

-Grows to 1’ to 2’ with lounging, limber branches, somewhat resembling Queen Anne’s lace

-The seeds can be used in confections, and leaves chopped for salads and sauces


Dill:

-Full sun

-Moderately frost hardy

-Can be harvested anytime once established

-Delicious with cheeses, soups, salads, eggs, sauces, and fish


Mint:

-Partial shade

Coriander (the seed) / Cilantro (the leaf):

-Full sun to light shade

-Grows to about 1’ tall with upright white flowers

-Popular in Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Spanish, and Central African cuisines


Catnip:

-Full sun to light shade

-Gray-green leaves with white flowers

-Has been used in salads and teas

-Does have some medicinal uses

-Most often used in cat toys

Chives:

-Full sun

-Grows to 1.5’ in height

-Long slender dark green leaves

-Small, lavender flowers that are also edible

-Has a sweet, mild onion flavor and is popular in almost all types of cooking


Horseradish:

-Full sun

-Grows to a height of 2-3’

-Large coarse leaves

-Harvested for the long, white root which is excellent for seasoning

Sage:

-Full sun

-Grows up to 2’ in height

-Gray-green leaves

-Purple or blue blossoms

-Can be used fresh or dried in a variety of dishes

-Can be used for ornamental and aromatic uses.

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