Italian herb gardens are great to have around. They’re convenient since you don’t have to run to the supermarket every time you make spaghetti, and they make your garden look beautiful. You can grow flavorful herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, garlic, and parsley in these gardens.
Italian cuisine is famous all over the world, especially because of its flavorful herbs that are added to the dishes. An Italian herb garden is perfect for those who love the unique taste of Italian recipes. These herbs are decorative as well, allowing you to beautify and liven up your garden. You have the flexibility of maintaining it indoors or outdoors, as per your convenience.
What to Plant?
Maintaining an Italian herb garden is no different from other herb gardens. The uniqueness lies in the type of herbs that you will be planting in the garden.
Basil: Basil is a popular culinary herb used in Italian dishes. It grows best in warm areas with plenty of sunlight. Harvest a few leaves at a time for garnishing dishes. Basil is also known to increase the flavor of peppers, when planted next to them.
Garlic: Garlic is widely used for recipes that require a strong flavor. Separate each of the garlic cloves and grow them in pots or garden beds. You can use both garlic leaves and cloves (formed when mature) to add flavor to the dishes.
Oregano: Being a multipurpose culinary herb, oregano is added in soups, salads, sauces, spaghetti, and meat recipes. It thrives well in full sunlight and well-drained soil. In order to get the best flavor, harvest oregano leaves only when the flower buds appear.
Parsley: Parsley blends well in soups, salads, and rich meat recipes. Grow this herb in areas that receive partial to full sunlight. While harvesting, gently pluck the lowest leaves along with the stem. Chop parsley leaves and stems for garnishing.
Fennel: Fennel seeds are used in preparation of Italian sausages. They are also chewed after meals for mouth freshening and proper digestion. Sow fennel seeds in well-drained soil and place them in areas that receive full sunlight. To retain flavor, fennel requires replanting every year.
Sage: Sage is a staple herb for Italian dishes, which is best grown in areas that are exposed to full sunlight. It is used for flavoring cheese and sausage, and used in cooking other meats. You can harvest matured sage leaves before the plant reaches its blooming period.
Rosemary: Rosemary is a perennial herb that is used in making bread and chicken recipes. It is very hardy and you can plant rosemary in any part of the garden. Make sure that you protect it from heavy frost. Pluck the leaves or cut the stems with a sharp knife while harvesting.
Starting a Garden
First, select a plantation site. If you are planting outdoors, a well sunlit area with good drainage is the ideal place to start such a garden. If you are growing the herbs indoors, choose an area that receives indirect sunlight.
Once you have decided the site for growing the garden, purchase large containers or prepare garden beds by weeding. Add farmyard compost or organic fertilizers to the soil, and fill the containers with potting soil. Lightly sow the seeds and cover with soil. Water the pots or the garden beds deeply for quick germination. Maintain the herbs by watering, fertilization, and controlling weeds on a regular basis.
Instead of restricting yourself to the above mentioned herbs, you can also try planting other Italian herbs. For easy reference of the herb types, plantation times, and other gardening information, you can go for an Italian herb gardening kit. Growing Italian herbs will definitely bring life to your summer garden and a unique taste to your dishes.