One of the best decisions made since I moved to the country is to grow organic herbs.
I don’t know why, but food started tasting better to me since I left the city, largely in part, I believe to having fresh organic herbs on hand and knowing how to use them in my cooking.
I don’t use herbs just to flavor my food. I also use them as teas, insect repellants, and for their scents both indoors and out.
When I decided to grow organic herbs I switched my plots and my style of gardening. By growing organic I know have fresh and chemical-free herbs and vegetables on hand at all times.
Just as in the organic vegetable garden, organic herbs have a stronger, deeper flavor and scent. You’ll actually need to grow and use less of them than before.
Once you use organic grown herbs you’ll taste what you have been missing and never go back to chemically grown vegetables and herbs again!
Plan First To Grow Organic Herbs
As we’ve discussed on the grow an organic garden page, the type of seeds you use are absolutely important. Seeds do contain trace elements of the plants they’ve been grown from. If chemicals or man-made enhancers have been used on the mother plant, it will show up in your ‘from seed’ plants.
You’ll also want to plan and map out your herb garden – no matter how small. Organic herbs have complementary plants – plants that help their neighbours to flourish when placed within the same proximity.
Some of my favorite herbs to grow are basil, lavender, parsley, chocolate mint, oregano, lemon balm, and borage. However, there are hundreds to choose from with just as many uses so every year I try something new to keep organic herb gardening fresh and exciting.
Organic Herb Garden Success Tips
Water, water, water. Enough to saturate the soil at least twice a week (but check each seed packets instructions as some vary). And, just like any other garden (especially organic gardens), test your soil and correct any imbalances, as well as mulch to keep weeds down, moisture in, and nutrients flowing!
Drying Your Organic Herbs
When not using fresh herbs, don’t let your bounty go to waste! Dry them first then store them in an airtight container out of sunlight.
I pick mine for drying early in the morning by cutting the stalk with kitchen shears. Next I rinse them in lukewarm water and allow to drip dry on clean kitchen towels. If the herbs are holding a lot of moisture I will collect them into small bunches at stem end, secure with an elastic band and hang them from my kitchen cupboard knobs.
After the water has evaporated from the leaves and stalks of my herbs, I decide if I have enough for a tray of my dehydrator, or if I’ll hang them from my herb rack to fully dry.
Some people hang their herbs to dry in direct sunlight, but I find this sucks some of the color out of the leaves.
You can crush the leaves and small stalks once dried for storage, but I tend to leave them as intact as possible and crush them as I use them in cooking. This helps keep the flavor in the fiber for up to a year in my cupboard.
Freezing organic herbs is also a popular option. Use good quality freezer bags with all the air removed – your herbs will taste garden fresh from the freezer for a full six months.