Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Planting Your Herbs and Lemon Balm Recipes

Once you have chosen the site of your garden and planned where your herbs will go, you are ready to prepare your soil! Preparing your soil, or amending soil, often involves drainage. To improve drainage, you can add compost or gravel as needed. The type of soil in your garden will help determine what needs to be added. One thing to keep in mind: good drainage is essential!

A few additional things to keep in mind when planting your herb garden:
  • Do not put fertilizer in your planting hole.
  • Dig the hole as deep and twice as wide as the pot your herb came in.
  • Before you place your plant in the ground, break up the root ball to help the roots spread into the surrounding soil.
  • Once you fill the hole, do not mound soil around the stem of the herb, which can cause rot.
  • Water the herb gently once planted, and then determine a regular watering schedule.
For specific questions about amending the soil in your area and watering schedules, contact the local Master Gardeners' group in your area. Here's a link to search from the American Horticulture Society: http://www.ahs.org/master_gardeners/

Now use your herbs daily! Herbs included in the daily diet have been shown to support optimal health and wellness, and improve the color, flavor, and variety of dishes! Lemon balm, for example, has a somewhat sweet, honeylike, citrus flavor that can easily be added to a tea blend. Its lemon-like scent also makes a good addition to fruit salads, deserts (like sorbet), and as a flavoring for grains. Traditionally, lemon balm has been used as a digestive aid and is very easy to incorporate into the diet. It's fresh, young leaves can even be added to a salad raw!

Don't have a full-sized garden? No problem. Check out "Growing Herbs in Pots" for great tips from ACHS SVP and Master Gardener Erika Yigzaw.

No comments: