Herbs and Kitchen Spices

Herbs grown for cooking are pleasing in taste and offer beauty, texture and aromatic character. Consider creating your own herb garden. You can easily grow herbs in small spaces. Herb gardens can be created in raised beds, window boxes, in hanging pots, standard pots and in all sorts of containers.

Some examples include a "tea garden" with lemon balm, mint, chamomile, lemon grass and Johnny Jump Ups for color. An "Herbs de Provence garden" could contain all the herbs used in this culinary blend that characterizes French cooking and grilling. The herbs for this seasoning are thyme, basil, summer or winter savory, fennel and lavender.

An "Italian Seasoning garden" would include oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, summer or winter savory and sage. This blend is used in tomato sauce and lasagna.

The nice thing about herbs grown in containers is that even if you don't use them for cooking, they will thrive, look and smell good with minimum care. Water and fertilize occasionally. Pinching them back will keep them looking good.

Basil is one of the most popular herbs. Genovese basil is a good variety for cooking. We dedicate a whole greenhouse to growing basil in season. We also grow basil as a field crop for people who want fresh basil for Pesto. We grow purple basil for its use as a color contrast, for making basil vinegar and as an attractive garnish on deserts.

Mini-bush basil, with its tiny fine leaves and delicious aroma is also a good container plant. The French call it "the good stuff" for its sweet flavor and scent. The tiny leaved tips make an excellent garnish.

Lynn made this herb garden herself, starting with the pot. Mix cement, Perlite and sphagnum moss with water to a stiff consistency. Fill a container with the mixture and remove the center until you have created the rustic container shape you want. Let stand until completely dry. Remove from mold and fill with potting soil. Herbs of any type can be planted here. The Perlite and sphagnum reduce the weight of the cement and make the container somewhat porous. Paint the container with active yogurt and place it outside. Lichens will decorate it for you.

Hartman's Herb Farm
1026 Old Dana Road, Barre MA 01005