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Mint for mojitos, cilantro for salsa...hello summer!

I thought I would change it up a bit this year...less flowers and more herbs. Why you ask? It started about six months ago when I decided to start reading more and broadening my horizons. I have been enjoying self help books and learning more on behaviors and why we do what we do. As I was planning my gardening for this year, I decided that I am going to plant a few flowers for color and fill the rest of my planter boxes with assorted herbs.

I was fortunate enough that my son and husband built me three large, beautiful planter boxes last year which makes the simplicity of the green herbs pop.

Since I don’t know the first thing about planting herbs I have decided to do a little more reading and an experiment. I bought plants as well as seeds. I am anxiously awaiting the sun and warm weather!

In the meantime, here is a little of what I learned about the herbs I have planted this year:

Mint: hardy and easy to grow. Mint is a perennial so it comes back each year. I bought new plants as well as transplanted the mint I had planted last year. The vines on last years mint was intertwined below ground and somewhat challenging to gather. I wasn't sure if it was going to transplant well, but so far, it is looking great! Mint should be planted in its own area, or pot as it will take over the area!

I use mint in my mojitos (email me for a fantastic low cal recipe) and tea. I love the smell as well as the taste and am always looking for recipes where it can be used.

Mint likes moist soil and full sun.

Basil: a tender plant that does not like the cold weather. If you are wanting to keep it year long, plant your basil in a pot that can be moved indoors in the winter months. Basil is an annual and will not come back year to year.

We use basil in tomato dishes. My daughter made goulash yesterday and used our fresh basil and I am not was the best goulash we have ever made in the McAllister household! Holy moly! What a difference the fresh basil made! I’m sold! Planting more basil next year! I will bring my pots in over the winter months and report back on how they are getting along.

Cilantro:.prefers cooler temperatures and does not regrow as well after harvest. We like to use cilantro in mexican dishes and salsa...the stems can be used as well and are full of flavor too. One thing I have never made but would like to try: pesto with fresh cilantro!

Chives: my mom had a few plants amongst her flowers that resembled ornamental grass. I commented on how pretty they were and she indicated they were garlic chives. I purchased some seeds in addition to transplanting what I got from my mother. I am anxious to see how well they chives will grow from seed beings that the plant is so full and pretty in color and fragrant.

Chives are drought tolerant but prefer moist soil. When chives are planted amongst vegetables, they help to keep pests away from nibbling on your veggies! You may want to plant this herb for that reason only even if you don't plan to harvest them.

We like to use chives in potato dishes and a grilling favorite that my husband refers to as a hobo bag...veggie, potato and spices wrapped in aluminum foil for the grill.

Rosemary: what I love best about rosemary is the smell and it is a nice compliment to natural flower arrangements. Rosemary will also give that special touch to wrapped packages, place settings or any fresh centerpiece for a springy, natural look.

Rosemary potatoes are a family favorite as is rosemary chicken! I am looking for more recipes to try this summer with this particular herb! If anyone has a fav, please let me know! I love to try recipes others recommend!

I know there are many more herbs I could plant and make good use of but I will be hard pressed to get these to grow! I will have to do a follow-up blog later this summer and submit a picture to indicate the progress. In the meantime, I really DO want to hear from you all as to which herbs you planted and the dishes you use them in!

Please email me at and I would really appreciate a picture as well.

Until next time, take care and happy planting!

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