Chives

It's Time to Plant Herbs and Spices!

Yesterday, I heard someone say that they believed that every house in Wisconsin had chives planted in the yard somewhere. It's not true, I had to plant my chives with my own two hands. I get where they were going though, my chives are true stalwarts. They are one of the first things to pop up in the spring and they stay green until November. They add a much needed punch of color to dinners of meat and potatoes through the long Wisconsin winter. When I forget to buy onions at the store, they jump at the chance to add a little bite to anything that might need them.

Herbs have become one of my very favorite things to garden. We dedicate an oversized portion of our vegetable garden to dozens of basil plants and make pesto until we are blue in the face. At the end of the summer we carefully cut portions of each of our herbs and hang them upside down to dry. My winter savory has been with us since the first year we lived in our house and our catnip never fails to lure our cats in the summer. 

But, herbs are not the only thing you can grow in your garden. There are several spices which can also be grown in a household garden. One of my favorites is fenugreek. The thin green pods open to reveal a sweet maple like sent and tiny seeds that can be added to your spice rack for use in many dishes. The young Fenugreek shoots can also be harvested and used as sprouts.

If you are already growing cilantro in your garden, let some go to seed and harvest the coriander. Cilantro can be difficult to grow in areas that have very warm summers, but if you plant it successively throughout the summer and don't stress if some goes to seed really fast, you should be able to enjoy fresh cilantro and coriander in most areas of the US.

If you live in zones 5-10, you can even try your hand at planting cumin. Cumin requires a long growing season and lots of sun, but provides lovely white and pink flowers throughout the summer. This is another plant where the aromatic leaves can be harvested for salads before the seeds are harvested.

This is only a small sampling of the many herbs and spices that can be grown in your garden or your home. Wouldn't it be impressive to be able to say that you grew everything in a particular dish-- even the spices?

Turmeric Root

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