When is the right time to start growing fresh herbs in Calgary? Even though we are facing a chilly start to spring, herbs can flourish when started indoors. Herbs grown indoors need supplemental fertilizer and will thrive if they are placed on an insulated windowsill. Here we have selected five herbs that grow well indoors and will transition easily to your backyard in the springtime: chamomile, thyme, tarragon, parsley and mint.
Chamomile is a part-shade herb that is adaptable to changes in light. There are two types of chamomile, roman and german. Both varieties have an aromatic scent and bear daisy-like blossoms, which are used for harvesting. Traditionally speaking, german chamomile is considered to be slightly more potent. Chamomile can be used in tea or made into a liquid extract.
Like chamomile, thyme is also a part-shade herb, both adaptable to light changes. Thyme is low growing and will form a “flat-like carpet.” Thyme is a versatile herb, from use in soups, to poultry to dessert recipes.
Like chamomile and thyme, tarragon also prefers a part-shade environment. Tarragon is best used fresh but can also be dried for use in meat dishes. Fresh or dried tarragon can also be used to infuse oils. Infused oil will last for a substantial time and will add an excellent flavor to your dishes.
Parsley grows best when placed out of direct sunlight. Parsley is technically a biennial, but can be treated as an annual. There are two varieties of parsley: flat-leaf and curly. Choose a container at least 6-8 inches deep for curly parsley and 10-12 inches deep for the flat leaf variety. Both varieties grow well and can be used in a multitude of dishes. Parsley is so much more than just a garnish herb!
Like parsley, mint is also a shade herb. To keep mint from overtaking other neighbouring plants or herbs, plant it in bottomless containers that are at least 15 inches deep. Mint can grow extremely tall, and they can reach to grow up to 2 feet tall. Mint is an extremely versatile herb and can be used for many recipes and beverages.
In the spring or early summer, you can transition your herbs to the outdoors. These herbs can be placed in very small spaces, including borders around your pathway or courtyard, and they would be perfect for use in your outdoor kitchen. When it comes time to harvest the herbs, they will have the strongest flavor right before the plant flowers. Dry or freeze your herbs for later use to create beautiful and delicious dishes for your friends and family.
At Ananda Landscapes we have certified horticulturists available to assist with growing herbs in Calgary. Contact us for more ideas on growing and transitioning your plants in the spring.