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Herb planting can give you the joy of a big garden even if you don’t have a big yard.

Good for you: Herb Garden Cheerleaders

By Kathryn Kingen

I’m late to plant my garden, but I don’t feel all that guilty. It seems I’m in good company, because all of nature is delayed this year. It's like there was a huge traffic jam and team sunshine got caught in it. Oh sure, apologize, but we've all had to wait, so pale and patiently. Now we are late to the garden game. The tulips missed their tulip festival, the rhododendrons missed their rhody-fest and the snarl up made it all the way to my yard. But now that it’s June I am finally planted. As I went out to take a look today I noticed my garden was in full game mode. Check out my lively chive cheerleaders with their purple pom-poms. Go team!

Herb planting can give you the joy of a big garden even if you don’t have a big yard. Any old pot will do. I love the ability to gather these delicious additions and take whatever I’m cooking from blandly routine to deliciously memorable.

Herbs have so many great attributes they wouldn’t even need to taste good to be worth eating, but they do. Adding them to your culinary endeavors is a huge adventure every time. Fresh chopped herbs, okay dry are wonderful too, are the makers of marvelous menus. Notably every culinary region and culture has an entire playbook of combinations that societies have built their traditions and flavors memories on. I love to work with food and herb combinations that generations have spent perfecting. It is so much fun to travel the world just by the combinations of herbs you use.

Herbs are fresh and ready to perform on so many levels. Not only are they culinary heroes but they are also medicinal marvels. Take sage for instance, it has been shown to help improve memory and brain function. Rosemary’s rosmarinic acid is great for reducing allergic reactions and along with ginger and most herbs, is anti-inflammatory. Mint is great for soothing the gut and makes a refreshing tea that can reduce nausea. Basil and oregano are great fighters for the immune system and are antibacterial and antifungal. Chives contain choline that can help you sleep and being an allium, can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Thyme can boost your mood and reduce blood pressure. Dill has the ability to calm your stomach, just think pickles and pregnancy! The list goes on and on.

At Salty’s our chefs have spent their lives creating the delicious recipes that celebrate the wonderful world of herbs. Chef Jeremy uses them in pretty much every recipe he shares with us. Try out his suggestions in his blog, HERB-ilicious.

Here is a terrific Herb Gardening 101 site, created by one of my regular readers, that has excellent ideas on how to start your own herb garden with lots of herbal guidance you will surely enjoy.

I’ll be cheering your garden on!

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