Gone are the days when only professional chefs had access to exotic herbs and seasonings to make meals that impress. Anyone can cook with fresh herbs if they know what to use and where to get them. Unfortunately, that's where a problem arises. When upgrading your meals to natural, herbal choices, the availability can be limited and the cost can be extraordinary. There is a simple way to remedy that, and it is through growing your own gourmet herb garden at home. Read on as the experts from Barmekin Groundcare about how to get started and how to be successful in this endeavor.
First of all, narrow down the options for which herbs to grow. Consider your cooking style, as well as the preferences of those you cook for on a regular basis. It will do you no good to have an abundance of an herb that nobody particularly likes. To expand your horizons a bit, pinpoint the herbs that show up most frequently in dishes you order at restaurants, but have never cooked with at home. Plant mostly the tried-and-true varieties that are comfortable using, but throw in some new ones that can spice up your meal times.
Do some thorough research into what kinds of soils work best for herbs overall, but specifically for the ones you will be growing. Ask for recommendations about which seed companies have the best reputation for quality, then special order that brand if it is not readily available. Use only organic growers and never add anything to the soil that will contaminate your plants with chemicals. If the information is available, boycott "terminator" seeds that have been genetically modified to disable a second growing season.
If you will be container gardening rather than planting directly into the ground, choose pots that are the proper size, allowing room for growth. Remember that some herbs, such as rosemary, will expand to many times the plants original size when allowed the space to do so. This will give you an endless supply and a fragrant atmosphere that freshens the whole house or patio.
If planting into the ground, choose a location that has ample sun, but also enough shade to protect new plants from the heat. If possible, plant herbs close to the house so that overhangs and walls will provide a bit of warmth during winter months. You also want the plants to be accessible to you for easy plucking when needed in the kitchen.
Insects and various types of pest will not be as much of a problem with herbs as with other edibles, but they can still present issues. Be prepared for this by practicing prevention techniques. Use living species such as ladybugs and frogs to patrol you entire yard. This will keep pests at bay overall, even if they the friendly inhabitants do not particularly like to hang out near your herbs. The fragrance of herbs naturally repels many types of insects and small animals, as does the taste of the leaves.
You now have enough information to play in the big league of professional chefs who routinely use the herbs that you will now be growing with ease in your own back yard or windowsill. Apply this knowledge now and enjoy the results of it on your dinner plate in no time.