Fresh herbs breathe life into an ordinary meal and make cooking more fun. But keeping your fridge stocked with clippings of these potent plants can be expensive and anxiety-producing. (How am I going to use up that huge bunch of parsley?). One solution? Grow your own herbs so you can snip off what you need when you need it.
If you don’t have a particularly green thumb – or much space to garden – an herb garden is still within reach with a little help from the “Herb Whisperer,” Sal Gilbertie, author of the updated and expanded Herb Gardening From the Ground Up.
As expected from the title, Gilbertie’s book is a guide to planting, cultivating and harvesting a wide variety of popular herbs. But what makes it especially useful are the plans for 38 themed gardens, ranging from a basic culinary garden to more specialized gardens like the French Chef Garden, which includes sweet marjoram, French thyme and French tarragon. Do you like spicy food? Try growing cilantro, epazote and cayenne pepper in Gilbertie’s Tex-Mex Garden. Bakers can cultivate a Bread Garden, which focuses on herbs that enhance homemade bread, like poppy, dill and caraway. Even apartment dwellers can get in on the fun with container gardens that complement Asian cooking or barbecue dishes. Each plan includes an easy-to-follow diagram and tips about plant care so you’ll know just what to plant where and why.
So get growing, then get cooking.