Easy Summer Herbs

Easy Summer Herbs
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Easy Summer Herbs To GrowEasy Summer Herbs to Grow

It never fails that I find myself wishing I had planted more herbs towards the end of June. Yes, seeds should have been planted weeks ago, but time slips by quickly and it’s easy to get behind on gardening.

Is it too late? There are herbs you can still sow directly into the garden in June and July. They will have time to provide a nice harvest before the frost returns. 

If you live in a cold climate such as Zone 3, 4 or 5 you are limited on what herbs you can sow from seed at this point. Don't worry; they are also some of the most popular culinary herbs. You can still sow:

 

-Basil

-Dill

-Cilantro

-Nasturtium

-Borage

 

The herbs listed can be grown in containers, raised beds, and in the flower or vegetable garden. Below is a quick summary of each herb. 

BASIL: If you can only grow one herb this season, grow basil. The varieties are amazing with choices such as cinnamon, lemon, lime, large leaf (for pesto) and purple. If you want to grow basil in containers, try the Pistou, Spicy Bush or Globe. They have smaller leaves, but also stay a nice compact size. Basil is easy to sow, and appreciates more watering then some herbs. Don't keep the soil soggy, but don't allow it to dry out either. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep, and gently water. With the hot summer temperatures, the seeds should germinate in about a week. As the plants grow, pinch out the tops to keep the plants from flowering. This will keep the plants producing leaves until the first frost. 

DILL: The young foliage of dill has a bright, fresh flavor that is perfect for seafood, dips, salads and vegetable dishes. Sow it much like basil, covering with 1/8 to 1/4 inch of light soil, and misting gently until completely moistened. Dill seed will wash away very easily until it germinates, so protect the area if a heavy rain or storm is expected. Be patient because dill takes 10-12 days to germinate. Snip the foliage to use in the kitchen, pinching out the top until closer to fall when seeds can be allowed to form.  Harvest the seeds when they brown, or allow the plant to reseed by leaving it to scatter. 

CILANTRO: If you love salsa, this is the perfect herb to grow each year. It is easily grows in the garden or pots, and matures quickly. Chop the leaves and add to salsa, Latin dishes or poultry recipes. Sow the seeds at 1/4 inch deep, and gently water. The seeds will germinate in 7-10 days, depending on conditions. The leaves will be ready to snip in about 3 weeks, so it's a fast grower. 

NASTURTIUM: Hands down, this is one of my favorite herbs to grow from seed. The seeds are large, and easy to handle. The plants are beautiful, edible and easy to grow. Known for adapting to any soil, nasturtiums will grow better in well-drained soil that is not too dry or wet.  The flowers have a peppery taste and are wonderful in salads, dips and cold soups. Seeds may take up to two weeks to germinate because of the tough seed coat. Hurry it along by scraping the outside of the seeds with a nail file, then soaking overnight. Plant the seeds the next morning about 1/2 inch deep and water well. 

BORAGE: While this isn't technically a culinary herb, the flowers are edible, as are the leaves when very young. The bluish purple blooms are charming in the garden.  Borage will grow best in average soil that isn't too fertile or moist. This herb will flower LESS if the soil is too fertile. Borage needs dark to germinate, so cover with 1/2 inch of soil and water well. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate in about ten days. Borage tastes lightly of cucumber, which makes it ideal for dips and spreads. The flowers can be frozen in ice cubes and added to beverages, or used as garnish.

 

All of the herbs discussed do better in full sun, and with the exception of the Borage, they love a good, fertile soil and regular watering. The addition of compost or composted manure is welcome, as well as a light covering of mulch.

Growing herbs can be addictive once you realize how easy they are to grow, and what a charming addition they are to your garden. Herbs love the heat of July and August, so don’t miss out by thinking it is too late to grow a few this year.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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