Growing herbs in Iowa
Well, you can grow herbs anywhere. But here in Iowa, some overwinter while others need to be brought in or replaced every year.
We put in our herb garden by our deck years ago with these raised bed. Notice the pot of Rosemary in the front of the photo. We keep it in a pot so it's easier to take in the house before the first freeze. I also plant Basil from seed every year. I have several long pots up on the deck filled with Basil starting to grow.
We have some hardy ones that come up year after year: Lemon Balm, Thyme (upright & creeping), Marjoram, Chives and Sorrel.
Every once in awhile, I have to replace a hardy herb. Last year, my Sage never came back. It was normally a huge and sturdy plant, providing tons of lovely flavor for my Thanksgiving stuffing. Thank goodness I had some frozen for last year. I planted a new Sage plant this year and I'm hoping it thrives.
Some herbs die back in the front but reseed themselves. Like the cilantro and dill in these beds.
How do you use herbs in your cooking? There are a lot of articles out there about what goes best with a dish, etc. But my favorite thing to do is lay out what I'm going to cook, think about how it tastes, then go to my herb garden and do some sniffing. It's surprising how you can envision how a certain herb can go together famously with a dish. The sky is the limit.
Even if you just have a window sill for space, you can enjoy the taste of fresh herbs every day.
A few tips:
Most herbs freeze well. Then you can use all winter long. Except for basil - it turns brown.
To keep your basil green when freezing, puree with olive oil, put into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, you can pop them out and put in a freezer safe bag.