Growing herbs is an easy way to bring color and flavor to your home. It’s fresh, tasty and readily available whenever you need to add a dash of seasoning to your next meal. Even better, you can create a small herb garden anywhere—on your apartment balcony, window sill, patio or rooftop.
Cilantro and mint are some of the most popular herbs because of their diversity in dishes. While not all of us are gifted with a green thumb, herbs are a good place to start because they are some of the easiest to keep alive. We put together some helpful tips you might need for successfully growing cilantro and mint. Put on your gardening gloves, and let’s get planting.
Versatile, fast-growing cilantro is easy to start from seed in your garden or in a container.
- Plant cilantro in full sun and well-drained soil. Light shade is fine for Southern locations where the sun is strong.
- Be mindful of cilantro’s growing season. The plant does well in cooler weather—best between 50 to 85 degrees. When the weather gets warm, cilantro will send up a long, lanky flower stalk, signaling that their harvest season is over.
- Plant cilantro in its own space so it has room to re-seed.
- Stagger plantings to ensure an uninterrupted harvest.
- Remember to fertilize every four to five harvests.
- Water germinating seeds well.
- Plant twelve inches apart or thin seedlings to six inches apart, depending on what you’re growing from. We’ve had the best luck growing cilantro from seeds.
- Pinch back young cilantro plants to encourage bushier plants.
- Don’t Overwater. This herb doesn’t need much water in order to flourish.
You may think that cilantro is not good for more than just salsa or guacamole recipes. But the truth is, cilantro is a practical herb perfect for many other uses. Add it to rice, salad dressing, stir-fry or cole slaw to give a nice hint of extra flavor.
Planting mint is a great place to start when building your herb garden. It’s easy to grow and use in different recipes. The mint roots are known to be invasive—quickly overtaking your garden. Read on for some helpful tips on growing mint.
- When choosing a location for your mint, find one where the plant will receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade.
- Plant on a patio, in a container. Mint can run rampant in many gardens, so growing in a pot is often the best option.
- When planting the herb in a flower bed, first submerge a container (either a pot, a mesh bag or edging to at least 5 inches deep), leaving the rim above ground level when potted so the mint’s fast-growing root system will be contained. Otherwise, the herb will take over your garden and lawn in a weed-like fashion.
- Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.
- To extend the harvesting season, pinch off the flowering buds as they appear.
- Locate mint plants fifteen inches apart, and thin them regularly.
- If planting your mint indoors, locate your container where it will receive good morning light but where it will also be away from drying heating elements.
- Plant the herb in a location where it has the ability to dry out fully before watering.
Mint is a versatile herb that can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. Mint can be used in teas and cocktails, added to roast meats, combined with chocolate in ice cream or even added to couscous or salads.
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