-By Dr. Heather Stein-
When midsummer finally arrives and my neighbors’ gardens begin producing mountains of tomatoes, zucchinis and other fresh yummies, I inevitably regret not having invested more in my outdoor space. Herbs to the rescue! Whether you’re an amateur chef, DIY beauty product chemist or just want to enjoy the fruits of the long, hot days, it’s not too late to acquire some already sprouted aromatic greens for a flower box or containers on your balcony.
What to Grow
Parsley, thyme, basil and chive will grow happily together in a single, large pot in a sunny location and find plenty of uses in the kitchen. Keep the soil moist, rotate the container every three or four days and remove flowers from the plants as they appear to ensure consistent leaf growth.
Rosemary, mint and lavender are all invasive, shrubby plants that should be cultivated in their own pots. Brought indoors in autumn, their fragrances will perfume your home as their leaves filter the air. Furthermore, these three low-care plants are staples of aromatherapy. Peppermint is a revitalizer that improves focus and concentration that is easily infused into Jojoba oil. Rosemary also increases energy levels and, when added to a shampoo, will make for an even more invigorating morning shower! A handful of lavender flowers in a pillowcase, however, can help alleviate those restlessness nights before they happen.
How to Preserve
Any herb can be frozen for up to six months relatively easily. Whereas basil and mint require no preparation at all, other herbs should be blanched for a minute first. A convenient solution is to add a little water to chopped herbs and freeze them into smaller portions using an ice cube tray.
image by: Karan Daev