Spring is the best time of year to start planting those garden herbs. It doesn’t matter if you have a yard for planting or if you live in an apartment and need to keep those herbs to an indoor planter. In fact, many of these herbs do better indoors, since you can regulate the direct sunlight. Growing them indoors also keeps them handy to snip off a few leaves as needed for your recipes. Of course, fresh herbs make a huge difference when cooking, and you’ll find the flavors so much stronger than those dried jars of herbs you pick up at the grocery store. So as you are considering which herbs to grow this spring, try these hearty and easy to plant varieties.
This fresh, aromatic herb is delightful in a huge variety of recipes. Start this one indoors and transfer outdoors once the weather is warmer and there is no more threat of a frost overnight. However, this can keep very well indoors year-round. As the leaves reach their fullest, snip a few off for use in soups, sauces and salads, or make your own pesto from scratch with the freshest basil possible. Also, be sure to cut off the flower heads as they grow, so your basil plant will keep sprouting new leaves all season long.
Dill grows very fast in the cooler spring soil, so it is perfect for this time of year. Plant it now, as dill reseeds once you trim it back a few times, and your dill plant will continue to flourish throughout the summer. Dill thrives in full sunlight, so make sure your indoor plant is next to a bright window. If you end up with more dill than you can handle, just freeze it. Dill freezes very well, allowing you to have plenty of fresh dill on hand for home pickling.
With a mild onion-like flavor, chives are an excellent addition to so many dishes. Chop them up and use them in everything from salads to egg dishes to sandwiches and sauces. Keep the seeds planted in rows, about 12 inches apart, as the seedlings need room to spread. Chives can be very successful indoors as well, provided that you have a large enough indoor gardening area, also make sure your chive plant gets plenty of sun, with partial shade.
There are several varieties of parsley to grow, and it does well both indoors and outdoors. The more flavorful version is the flat-leaved Italian parsley, but you may choose to grow other varieties as well. Parsley is good in full sun or partial shade, so planting it near a shade tree or in a kitchen window should work well. Give your parsley plants plenty of room to grow, as the seedlings will need the space as they develop. Make sure to set your plants out after six to eight weeks of growth following the final frost of spring. You’ll be surprised at how flavorful fresh parsley really is, when you are most used to the older store-bought variety.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.