Thursday, September 5, 2013

jenna's amazing herb garden

I have to admit I don’t even remember when I first met Jenna. It seemed like we ran in the same circles in college and luckily I got to know her over my years at UGA. She was always someone I loved being around and I have always admired. She seems to always have a new adventure and more skills than I think any of my friends. She is an amazing photographer, gardener, teacher and is even in a band. That is the kind of friend you want to have around. I love seeing her work and you can find more of her amazing photos over on her website. She is sharing some amazing tips on herb gardening today! 

I wasn't a botany major, I don't tend to my garden daily, and I regularly cook full meals with five ingredients or less... and with my crazy lifestyle as a 20-something thriving in the big city that isn't going to change anytime soon. I did, however, grow up in a sustainable community in rural Alabama that instilled in me a passion for being connected to the food the nourishes my body. My attempts to integrate the values I learned as I child with my lifestyle as an adult have always proven to be slightly over-ambitious and the result often comical. While I can't be connected to all of the food that I eat from the planting to the harvesting, I can grow my own herbs to season the simple dishes I create. 

You can grow herbs even without an outdoor space, an indoor container garden near a south-facing window will be just fine. You can grow herbs even without a green thumb, in fact many say you can kill them with kindness easier than you can by neglect. 

To build your herb garden, start by choosing a container. You can be creative but allow enough space for the roots to grow (8 inches deep is usually safe) and allow for proper drainage by drilling holes in the bottom of the container and filling the bottom with an inch or two of rocks before layering your potting mix. Sand or vermiculite can also be combined with the potting mix to further aid with drainage.   

There are tons of herbs to choose from but I’ve picked a handful of easy, delicious, perennial herbs - herbs that you can plant once and they’ll grow for years. Each of these herbs can be harvested continually as needed. In fact, the more you cut them back, the more prolific they will become.
  • Rosemary adds flavor to bread, butter, jam, meat, vegetables and stews. 
  • Oregano is a Mediterranean herb that is often used in Greek as well as Mexican cuisine. It goes well with sausage and tomatoes as well as other meats and vegetables. 
  • Thyme has a woody stem and small intensely aromatic leaves. It is common in French Cuisine and is used to flavor cheese as well as egg and tomato dishes. 
  • Parsley adds freshness to a dish. Its used in dressings and sauces and often as a garnish. 
  • Chives are in the onion family and the thin, hollow leaves are a great addition to egg and potato dishes. 
  • Bay leaves are often added soup and stew and add to the flavor of meat and fish. 
  • Sage is a strong herb so use sparingly. It serves as flavoring for cheese, fish, and it is often used to season pickles.

Caring for your herbs is as simple as finding them a home near a south-facing window to allow for maximum daylight and watering them as needed. Stick your finger about an inch beneath the soil to determine whether your container needs more water to keep the soil moist. And of course, harvest your herbs whenever you are cooking to add flavor to your dishes and help your plants grow bigger and stronger. Enjoy! 


  1. Great tips! Now I need to go rummage through the garbage for tin cans! Yay recycle!

  2. Lovely tips! I LOVE herbs, and I can't imagine not having a few of them at home! :)