H is for Herbs today as part of the A to Z Challenge. At some point everyone has run into a herb or two. You may have even grown a few, on your windowsill, in pots or in a garden.
Basil, Thyme, Sage are all commonly seen in gardens and on store shelves, but if you're like me you'd like something a bit out of the ordinary for your garden.
Here are few ideas for you next seed order:
Hyssop has many uses, bees love the lavender colored flowers and the honey that they produce from it will be aromatic. It is historically used in medicines as an expectorant and in cooking in small amounts usually as an aromatic since it can be very bitter. It has a woody stem and pink or blue flowers.
Lovage is a large plant that can grow to over 6 feet, has lots of dark green leaves, yellow flowers in the fall and it smells and tastes like celery. Every part of the pant can be used, roots, stems and seeds. It dries well for off season use.
Bee Balm flowers are showy and bright, they attract not only bees but humming birds and butterflies also. Be sure to plant these in an area that you can see easily so you won't miss the show! It grows best in full sun. The flowers are edible and the leaves are minty when used in teas.
Borage is one of the herbs along with Basil that we plant with our tomatoes. I have been told that they help repel bugs especially horn worms. The beautiful blue star shaped blooms are a big bee attractant too. It can grow into a large plant and if you plan on using it for edibles, it has a cucumber type flavor, pinch off flowers and leaves while young, older plants can become prickly.
Sorrel is a great addition to your garden since it is perennial. It has a leaf that reminds me of lettuce and grows in the same bunch plant shape. The leaves have a lemony flavor and we use it in salads as well as smoothies.
Comfrey is another perennial for your garden. It is a beneficial plant for bees, and gardens. Bees love the multitude of flowers it produces. It is a plan that pulls a lot of nutrients from the soil but the benefit is that then it's leaves which are full of those nutrients breakdown quickly into s sludge. So therefore the leaves are good for composts or compost teas. It has been shown to be a good companion plant for trees and berry bushes because of it's ability to draw nutrients from deep with in the soil. It is not a plant that can be eaten but it does have some use as an anti-inflammatory when used topically.
I'll finish my list with Rosemary, while not an usual herb it is nice since it is an evergreen, They can grow to a large size and we cut the larger stems and soak them in water so they can be used for skewers for Kebabs. We also use them with fruit to make a savory jam, such as our Strawberry Rhubarb Rosemary.
I hope something on this list sparks a desire to plant herbs or any other plant in your garden or window sill this spring. Tomorrow I'll be using my "I" to talk about something every garden of any size must have.