Growing your own herbs can be a great way add some flavor to your garden and dinner plate. In your garden, herbs can be great accents to flowering annuals and also add some nice aroma to your outdoor experience. In your kitchen, herbs can add that fresh touch to just about any meal. Growing herbs in containers gives you the best of both worlds. Herbs planted in containers can be brought in when the temperature drops, and placed by a sunny window where they can continue to spice up your life while snow covers the ground.
Before using for any culinary purpose, wash herbs to remove dust and any insects, then dry completely. Cutting back spent flowers on herb plants prevents self-seeding and makes plants bushier and more attractive.
Although Phelan's offers herbs year-round, availability of specific varieties will vary depending on time of season and sales. Please call (719) 574-8058 for current availability.
History: The name is said to be an abbreviation of Basilikon phuton, Greek for “kingly herb,” and it was thought to have grown around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection.
Uses: Some culinary uses for basil include sprinkling over salads, sliced tomatoes and pizza. Basil combines very well with garlic and is a must for Italian cooking. Basil, combined with crushed garlic, breadcrumbs, lemon peel, beaten egg and chopped nuts makes an interesting stuffing for chicken.
Notes: Basil prefers hot weather, full sun, average to fertile soil and regular watering
Varieties: Genovese, Italian Large Leaf, Lemon, Thai
Uses: Making your cat happy
Notes: Catnip grows well in average soil in full sun to part shade-drought tolerant
Uses: Commonly used as a sleep aid or stress reducer. Most often made into tea.
History: used in China as long ago as 300 B.C., but were not cultivated in European gardens until the 16th century. The West first heard about chives from Marco Polo.
Uses: Culinary uses for chives are as a garnish or flavor in omelets or scrambled eggs, salad, and soups. They can be mashed into soft cheeses or sprinkled on grilled meats. Add to sour cream as a filling for baked potatoes.
Notes: Chives prefer full sun and rich, moist, well-drained soil, but are more tolerant of wet heavy soil and shade than most alliums
History: Native of southern Europe and the Middle East and was popular in England until Tudor times. When they left Europe, many early settlers headed to America brought coriander seeds, as did Spaniards heading to Mexico.
Uses: The seed portion, coriander, has such culinary purposes as using the ground seed in tomato chutney, ratatouille, frankfurters, curries and also in apple pies, cakes, biscuits and marmalade. Add whole seeds to soups, sauces and vegetable dishes. The fresh lower leaves, often called cilantro, is popular in Mexican cuisine and can be added to salads, vegetables and poultry dishes.
History: Archelogical evidence suggests it's earliest cultivation was on the Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland. Dill twigs have also been found in the tomb of Egyptian pharo Amenhotep II.
Uses: Fresh dill weed (leaves) and dill seeds are commonly used to flavor soups and pickles. It's also known for it's gas relief properties.
Notes: Dill likes full sun and loose, fertile, well-drained soil amended with compost. Although it is an annual here, it will readily re-seed. So, once you plant dill, you are likely to have it return each year from seed.
Uses: An anise-flavored herb that adds zing to soups, stews, or stir-fry. Seeds can be chewed to help with stomach upset.
History: Lavendar is one of the holy herbs used in the biblical temple to prepare the holy essence. In Roman times it was used to scent bath water and soothe the skin
Uses: Lavendar can be used to add a floral and slightly sweet flavor to many dishes. It is also used in teas for its soothing aroma.
Notes: Lavender is a slow growing, pest free plant that likes full sun and well-drained, sandy soil
Varieties: English: Lady, Munstead Spanish: Available seasonally- not hardy here treat as houseplant/patio plant in warm weather
History: Native to central Europe and was used by the Greeks 2,000 years ago. Thought to attract bees, sprigs were placed in empty hives or planted near residences to stimulate honey production.
Uses: Culinary uses are limited. Some chefs add the fresh leaves to vinegar, wine, teas and beers. It is also chopped and added to fish and mushroom dishes, or added to soft cheeses.
Notes: Lemon balm likes rich, moist, well-drained soil. It is a member of the mint family and thus an agressive spreader. Deadheading to prevent seed formation helps keep it in check.
History: Mint descends from the Latin word mentha, which is rooted in the Greek word minthe, personified in Greek mythology as Minthe, a nymph who was transformed into a mint plant.Uses: Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams. Mint extracts are used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies.
Notes: Mint is an aggressive spreader that needs to be controlled-likes all conditions from sun to shade, little water to plenty of water. Plant in container and then plant the entire container underground to help control root spread.
Varieties: Apple, Chocolate, Peppermint, Spearmint
History: Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments.Uses: An important culinary herb used for it's warm, aromatic, and slightly bitter taste. Often the dried leaves are more pungent than fresh leaves. Oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat such as mutton/lamb and is a staple in Italian cooking.
Notes: Likes well drained soil in full sun. Not drought tolerant
History: Native to central and southern Europe. The Greeks associated parsley with the Herald of Death, and used the leaves to decorate tombs. The Romans consumed parsley and also used the unique leaves for garland and decoration purposes.
Uses: Parsley is a widely used culinary herb today, valued for its taste as well as its rich nutritional content. Cooking with parsley enhances the flavor of foods and other herbs.
Notes: Parsley prefers moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter and part shade to full sun
History: Native to the Mediterranian region. Rosemary derives it's name from Latin rosemarinus meaning dew of the sea, beacuse it was said to only need the moisture of the sea breeze
Uses: Found in traditional Mediterranean cuising. Rosemary is known for it's highly aromatic, astringent and bitter taste
Notes: Rosemary grows best in well-drained, slightly moist soil
History: A large family of over 750 species, is widely distributed throughout the world. The Greeks discovered and used sage for medicinal purposes. Considered sacred, the Romans utilized this herb in special ceremonies.
Uses: With a slight peppery flavor, sage is used to flavor fatty meats, cheese, stuffing, and sauces.
Notes: Sage can tolerate poor soil, but needs good drainage to thrive which makes it good for containers
History: The first species of Scented Geranium was likely indigenous to South Africa. It's believed that it was brought to South Holland by ships that stopped at the Cape of Good Hope.
Uses: The edible leaves and flowers are used as a flavouring in desserts, cakes, jellies and teas. Varieties of Scented Geraniums are known to have similar scents to citrus, mint, pine, fruit, and roses. They grow well indoors, blooming over the winter and are easy to train into small "trees."
History: The genus Stevia consists of 240 species of plants native to South America, Central America, and Mexico. First researched by Spanish botanist and physician Petrus Jacobus Stevus, who gave the plant his name.
Uses: Stevia is a natural sweetener. The leaves can be eaten fresh or added to teas and foods.
History: Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavor to cheese and liqueurs".
Uses: Thyme is often used to flavor meats, soups and stews. It's especially tasty as a primary flavor with lamb, tomatoes and eggs.
Notes: Thyme grows best in full sun and light, well-drained soil