School House About Robbins Farm Arlington Agriculture Veggie Lifecycles Growing Patterns Vegetable Familes Garden Bugs Basic Garden Tools Photo Synthesis Robbins Farm Garden Blog

Herbs

Herbs are leafy plants usually eaten not on their own but as ingredients in dishes to which they add interesting supplemental tastes and aromas.

They come from a number of different botanical families, including the Parsley family, the Onion family, and the Mint family.

Some have curly leaves, others are smooth. The leaves of some are narrow; others, broad. What sets herbs apart are the flavorful tastes and smells they add to our food.

Of all the dozens of different kinds of herbs people plant in their gardens, we are growing the following five here:

Parsley

Parsley comes in different varieties, ones with flat and ones with curly bright green leaves.

Parsley is used sometimes as a decorative garnish and sometimes to add a fresh spark of flavor and color to meat dishes, soups, and stews.

In the garden itself, parsley attracts helpful wasps who then eat harmful bugs that threaten other plants.

Basil

Basil has broad, silky leaves and a strong, sweet, pungent smell.

It's originally from India and Iran.

Basil is very popular in Italian dishes and in foods that come from countries in southeast Asia like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Dill

Dill is a feathery plant with lots of tiny stems and leaves.

Originally from Eastern Europe, dill spread around the world thousands of years ago.

Sought out for its delicate, fragrant aroma, dill is used both as a garnish and as a spice in flavoring soups and sauces and in pickling cucumbers.

In the garden, pill does double duty in helping repel pests like aphids and spider mites.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a woody herb with thin, needlelike leaves.

It's used to add a fragrant, smoky flavor to chicken, lamb, pork, pastas, and soups.

A member of the Mint family, rosemary is easy to grow and resists pests.

Back in the Middle Ages, young women at their weddings often wore wreaths of rosemary in their hair, so sweet and fragrant is its smell.

Chives

Chives are the smallest member of the Onion family.

They have a mild onionlike flavor, with a hint of garlic.

Chives' leaves are uniquely shaped like thin, hollow tubes.

They are often used as a condiment served with potatoes, fish dishes, and soups.

In the garden, chives help ward off pests like Japanese beetles.