Magazine article Sunset

Grow Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

Magazine article Sunset

Grow Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

Article excerpt

* When cold weather puts a damper on your outdoor herb garden, you can still satisfy your craving for fresh herbs by growing them on your kitchen windowsill. Given the proper conditions, a surprising number of perennial herbs thrive indoors. Those listed here grow best near a sunny window where they will get at least five hours of bright light daily.

Chives. Allium schoenoprasum has a delicate onion favor. Chinese chives (A. tuberosum) have a mild garlic taste. Don't harvest the whole clump at once; cut small bunches of leaves back to the soil level to keep new ones coming.

Mint. Peppermint and spearmint, in particular, grow well in pots.

Oregano. Try pungent Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum), peppery Cretan oregano (O. onites; also called pot marjoram), or Italian oregano (O. majoricum), which blends the flavors of oregano and sweet marjoram.

Rosemary. Grow a compact upright variety like 'Taylor's Blue' (trailing types aren't particularly flavorful).

Sage. Try 'Berggarten' or dwarf sage (Salvia officinalis minimus). Harvest plants regularly to keep them productive.

Sweet bay. Laurus nobilis, the source of aromatic bay leaves, can be trained into a topiary.

Thyme. 'English Thyme' and 'Narrow Leaf French' are standard culinary varieties. For distinctive flavors, try caraway thyme (Thymus herba-barona) or lemon thyme (T. citriodorous).

Many nurseries and some supermarkets sell herbs in 3-inch plastic pots. When you bring the herbs home, set the pots near a window and let plants acclimate to their surroundings for a few weeks. …

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