Friday, 15 April 2016

Growing Herbs

Cooking with herbs is always pleasurable for that wonderful fresh burst of flavour which just cannot be matched with dried herbs. It makes sense to have a go at growing your own herbs as dashing off to the shops to spend $3-$4 on a single bunch of herbs (which you most probably will not completely use up) is not good economic sense. 

Herbs have the added advantage of being fairly adaptable in that they can be grown on a sunny balcony or an unused garden spot - personally I like the idea to have them fairly close to the kitchen for that quick dash to pick as needed.

Listed here are some benefits of growing herbs:

More Flavour
It can be hard to come up with new and inventive meals ideas..... you pause in front of the computer and troll through recipes with just one or two ingredients and get inspiration from that search. By growing your own herbs and having them on hand certainly will widen your options for those meal choices. 

You can also re-invent some trusted tried and true recipes using the added zest of fresh herbs. We certainly have quite a few family recipes which called for dried herbs which we now make with fresh and it is amazing just how flavoursome those dishes are!

Saving hard earned $$
Growing herbs at home could well save you a lot of money in the long term. Think about how many herbs and other flavourings you use in your everyday cooking, then consider how much you could save by growing those ingredients yourself - and share with family and friends too!

Healthier eating
Adding fresh herbs to your dishes is a great way to encourage healthier eating. You'll find yourself wanting to use your fresh produce as much as you can and going out of your way to incorporate them into every meal. Also lets not forget that we can also infuse vinegars and oils with fresh herbs and these make excellent gifts to share.

Educational benefits
Sounds a bit 'dorky' but growing a herb garden is a fantastic way to teach kids about all things 'green'. They can have fun helping to prepare the area, planting seeds, watering, picking and at the end eating the fresh produce. Often this is a really good way to encourage young folk to give something a try as they have watched the progress from seed to beautiful, fresh leafy, verdant growth.

What herbs to have a stab at growing?
There are literally thousands of herbs to choose from however, it might be a really good idea to grow the basics to start off with for example, chives, coriander, dill, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage and mint. Quite a line up but it is amazing the difference to your cooking these 10 herbs can make. Some of these herbs grow better at certain times of the year - for instance, although coriander is just lovely for those summer dishes, this is when it has a tendency to 'bolt' to seed. So it is necessary to have a succession growing plan to have continuance in your cropping. 

Although not a herb, a great idea is to replant bunching onions (or spring onions/shallots whatever you know them as). By planting they will continue to grow and will keep far better than in the your crisper draw.

In conclusion, growing herbs can be one of the more rewarding gardening activities as their inclusion in our gardens is stunning AND to have them on hand to incorporate into our cooking is matchless. Personally there has been the odd occasion where our dinner hosts have been the recipient of a huge bunch of herbs in lieu of flowers - just love them! 

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