The Pottery Post Blog
 

Beyond The Basic Potted Herbs





We all know that "Herbs are weeds" but you must admit that they are the most attractive looking and tastiest of weeds you will ever come across, and that is why gardeners as well as culinary cooks love them.

Most of the time when you think of herbs you think of Rosemary, Thyme, Dill and Parsley.  These are all well know and popular herbs that we all love.  However for gardeners who want to expand their boundaries as well as their palates there are mystery herbs that have pizzazz, vibrant taste and are easy to grow.

So lets take a look outside the basic herbal box and introduce you to some plants that grow beautifully in garden planter pots as well as soil.
Borage - look weird but tastes like cucumber.  This underappreciated annual herb is a gem.  It prefers warm temps, so direct-sow the seed or place transplants into the garden when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees.  Once this is planted you will never have to plant it again-unless you move it.  

Use:  Use the new leaves and flowers, which have a delicate cucumber flavor, as a garnish in salads, drinks or froze ice cubes.


Garlic chives - pack a pungent punch.  With their flat, wide leaves, garlic chives are slow to emerge in spring.  They have a wonderful garlic flavor, great green color, and showy white flowers that look stunning in a garden planter.  The cut flowers hold well in a vase bouquets.  Buy this herb as a transplant, or because it divides easily, encourage a friend who has it to give you a hunk.

Use:  Chop the leaves and use fresh or dried in soups, salads, and marinades to add some garlicky onion flavor.  The flowers make a great garnish.

Stevia - the sweetest herb of all.  The leaves of this plant are sweeter than sugar.  Because it loves warm weather, it must be planted when temps are 50 degrees or above.  Be sure to cut off the white flowers to encourage this herb to make more sweet leaves.  You can plant directly into a garden pot and then bring it indoors when it gets cold.

Uses:  Steep the foliage in water, then freeze the strained liquid in ice cube trays to use in tea or lemonade.  The leaves can be dried, as well as added to a brewing pot of tea or coffee.

Here are some great ideas:
Infusion:  1 C water
                4 stems stevia

Bring the water to boil, add stevia leaves, allow to steep until cool.  Strain, and refigerate for up to 5 days or freeze to use later.


Another fun idea:
Mix the infusion (above) to taste with unsweetened tea or lemonade.  Serve over ice, and garnish with a sprig
.



By
Post Last Updated: 1/10/2017 11:53:27 AM 

Happy Herbs & Herbs that Heal





The secret to great health may be right in the clay pots you have sitting on your windowsill.  Many herbs add not only flavor to food but also offer a slew of health benefits.  Lets answer some quick questions on growing herbs.

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Basil, most mints, bay, rosemary, savory and oregano are some of the easier herbs to grow in pots.  Of course un-glazed terra-cotta is the best container material to use but other pots work well.  The reason is simple:  terra-cotta allows moisture and air to pass through.  Other materials are usually high fired and are meant to repel moisture.  If the pot has a drain hole this helps the water to pass through and just moisten the soil not saturate it.

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Herbs also need as much light as possible - at least 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight is preferred - a day.  Use a grow light if necessary during certain times of year when sunlight is hard to come by.

If you start to notice pests like whiteflies, spider mites, or aphids - just use an insecticidal soap spray which is harmless to animals & humans.  If your herbs get mealybugs or scale, discard them and start over with new plants.

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From a basil plant in a sunny garden window, you can hardest a quarter pound of leaves in one cutting.  Indoor herbs tend to reach for the light and become leggy;  to force bushier, more attractive growth, pinch them back regularly about one to two inches a the growing tips.  Don't hack them back as much as you would a plant outdoors in the ground.

There are many ways to use potted fresh herbs.  Add to salads give great depth of flavor.  Use chives in egg & omelettes dishes.  Toss fresh mint into ice tea or black tea for a touch of sweetness.  Nothing tastes as good as fresh basil on a hot oven pizza.  Experiment and have fun!

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Did you know that Basil is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial which is rich in magnesium?

Did you know that Dill oils may help carcinogens?

Did you know that Cilantro not only taste great in salsa but it is a good source of disease fighting phytonutrients?

Herbs are fun to grow, healthy to eat and taste fresh & fantastic.  Give them a try.


By
Post Last Updated: 1/10/2017 12:53:02 PM 



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