A Chef’s Guide to Growing a Kitchen Herb Garden

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Incorporating fresh herbs into most culinary projects is the perfect way to enhance flavor and to add a touch of vibrant green color to make a dish come alive. Packages of fresh herbs from the market, however, often result in a portion of the purchase rotting away until discarded. By growing a kitchen herb garden, you will be able to snip only the amount needed for a recipe. Herbs will be very fresh when harvested moments before their rendezvous with the destined cooking pot.

kitchen herb garden
photo credits: freedigitalphotos.net

Glorious Gardens Great and Small

If you reside in a home with a sizeable yard for a garden plot, herbs may be planted in the ground. Whether you choose to landscape edges of a lengthy walkway with a mix of herbs and seasonal blooms, with large bushes of rosemary to accent corners of the path, or opt for traditional raised beds with defined sections for different varieties, herbs will thrive. Many herbs such as thyme, chives and oregano, are perennial. Homes with kitchen entrances that step outdoors onto a deck or patio offer the added bonus of simply stepping just outside of the kitchen to cut herbs from pots arranged decoratively around the outdoor living space. Apartment dwellers can also reap the benefits of a kitchen herb garden. If the kitchen boasts a large and sunny window, decorate the sill with a row of matching flowerpots, each planted with a different herb. Alternately, invest in a plant rack or bakers rack to position outdoors on the patio or balcony and line the shelves with potted herbs. 

Green Thumbs Not Required

Whatever the size of your garden, herbs are not fussy. They grow very easily with full sunlight and occasional watering. Start with small plants from the local nursery or garden centre for instant visual gratification. In a very short time, plants will be established enough to begin cutting for use in recipes. Herbs are the plants that keep on giving, rewarding the chef with fresh seasoning for months to come.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Oh My!

There are numerous varieties of herbs on the market. Large gardens can support a vast array of herbs for every chef’s epicurean fancy. Some of the most commonly used herbs include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, chives, basil and oregano. Other herbs that are widely used include cilantro, bay leaves, marjoram and savory. Herbs for smaller, potted gardens may need to be chosen with the chef’s culinary influence in mind. Like an artist’s palette that features the painter’s signature color preferences, a potted herb garden will reflect the chef’s cooking mastery. Those who passionately embrace the art of Italian cooking will require basil, parsley and oregano, for example.

Chefs, Get Fresh!

There is no better way to complete a dish than to sprinkle a finishing touch of fresh herbs before presenting it to the table. Growing a kitchen herb garden will enable the chef to easily and efficiently infuse fresh seasoning into every recipe.

Sarah is a chef at Deckhouse Woolwich Restaurant in Sydney, Australia. Sarah is a huge fan of using fresh herbs in her cooking, and loves tending to her kitchen herb garden.

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