Herbal Gardening - Common Herbs: Basil, Dill, Lavender

Three popular herbs, Basil, Dill, and Lavender can be useful and attractive.

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Creating and tending your own herbal garden can be both fun and practical. The aromas can be wonderful, the views beautiful, and many herbs can be used as medicines, for cooking, or simply for their beauty. Another plus about them is that growing herbs is easy. They're hardy plants and thrive well in all kinds of soils. For optimal results, however, it's helpful to keep in mind a few things about some specific ones.

Let's discuss a few:

BASIL

Widely grown and greatly appreciated by herb gardeners, this popular culinary herb loves warm soil and dry air. Basil is sensitive to cold, however, so be sure to wait until spring is well along and the nighttime frosts which could damage the plant are over.

In about six weeks, you can harvest the leaves of basil and dry them for use in casseroles, bread and a wide variety of other recipes. By mid-summer you'll see white flowers on 1-2 foot stalks and the plants will have profuse dark green or purple leaves. Separate them about a foot apart and this delightful herb will make for an excellent addition to your garden.

DILL

Another popular culinary herb, Dill is a great herb for recipes, and very easy to grow. Ultimately reaching 2-4 feet in height, it will produce blue-green feathery leaves with small clusters of yellow flowers. It loves a lot of full sun and the seeds don't require much care at all. Just toss a few dozen dill seeds out into a small patch of the garden and watch them grow!

You might need to thin them out a bit in a few weeks. When they've reached a couple of inches in height, you want to make sure the growing plants are separated by 8-10 inches (20-25 cm), so each will get its full share of soil nutrients and sunlight.

Collect the flower heads in full bloom and use them for decoration or dry them for use in cooking. Or, a couple of weeks after the dill has flowered, you can harvest seeds. Cut the flowers and hang them upside down over paper and collect the seeds as they fall. Then crumble the leaves. Great for chip dips, salads, and many other delicious fresh foods.

LAVENDER

Beautiful, fragrant and great ground cover for an herb or flower garden, these perennials are easy to grow and are a must in any herb garden. Purple or pink flowers appear on tall stems in mid-summer, surrounded by gray-green leaves. One of the aromatic herbs, they smell lovely, making them a perfect addition to potpourri.

Growing Lavender from seeds requires a bit more work, so pick up some from your local gardening supply as full plants or root stem cuttings. They love sun and dry, alkaline soil with good drainage. Once established, they will fade in winter, but come back strong year after year.

You can pick the small flowers and use them to decorate a vase with them or add them to a sachet. Either way you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of these delightful and easy-to-care-for herbs.

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Page Updated 6:40 PM Monday 8/25/2014