How to Grow

Growing Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a tropical herb packed with strong citrus flavor. The lemon taste is prized in Asian cooking, as well as in teas, sauces, and soups. In the garden, lemongrass forms a tall, grassy clump 3 to 5 feet tall. Its appearance rivals that of many ornamental grasses and can easily fulfill a similar role… Read more »

Growing Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena offers a sweet lemon flavor that’s refreshing in tea or desserts and useful for seasoning meat dishes. The plant is a beauty in the landscape, forming an elegant shrub 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide. Leaves release their refreshing fragrance each time they’re touched, making this herb a good choice for planting… Read more »

Growing Epazote

In the Garden Epazote is a piece of living history. Native to Central and South America, this herb was prized by the Aztec culture for culinary and medicinal uses. Today epazote has naturalized in the United States along roadsides (frequently called a weed) and is known to grow in New York’s Central Park. Some call… Read more »

Growing Radicchio

Radicchio, or red chicory, adds color to your garden and dinner table. This vegetable is used widely in Italy, where at least 15 varieties are grown. Wine-red leaves have white ribs infused with tangy taste. Radicchio is an Old World chicory, a frost-tolerant vegetable that can be mistaken for cabbage. In fact, growing radicchio is… Read more »

Growing Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are fast growing, nutritious leafy greens. They’re perfect for gardens and containers in both spring and fall. Although not quite as cold hardy as their cousins, collards and kale, piquant mustard greens do tolerate a light frost, which makes their leaves sweeter. In areas where there are no killing freezes, gardeners enjoy growing… Read more »

Growing Asparagus

Unlike most vegetables, asparagus plants are perennial, which means the same plants grow in your garden year after year. The spears that we enjoy as a vegetable are the new shoots that emerge in spring. The most important part of growing asparagus is to realize that it will take a couple of seasons before you… Read more »

Growing Thyme

In the Garden Plant thyme in your herb garden, at the edge of a walk, along a short garden wall, or in containers. As a special garden treat, put a few along a walkway and between steps, and your footsteps will release its aroma. It even makes a pretty patch of small ground cover. Growing… Read more »

Growing Mexican Tarragon

In the Garden Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida) grows all spring and summer before it produces many yellow, single marigold-like blossoms. Those are just a bonus, though, because the main reason to grow it is for the flavored leaves. In warm climates, its anise-like flavor makes it a substitute for French tarragon, which often withers in… Read more »

Growing Sweet Marjoram

In the Garden Sweet marjoram, a low-growing plant native to the Mediterranean, makes a pretty summer groundcover or edging. A subtly colored plant, marjoram has thin, gray-green leaves and, in early summer, small knot-like flowers along the stem ranging in color from lilac to white. It grows well in the garden or in containers, and… Read more »

Growing Stevia

In the Garden Although stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) looks like an average green plant, it is an exciting choice for the herb garden because of the natural, calorie-free sweetness found in its leaves. Appreciated by diabetics and dieters, stevia is a tender perennial that loves the warm sun and dies back in a freeze. However, in… Read more »

Growing Rosemary

In the Garden Rosemary is a woody-stemmed plant with needle-like leaves that can commonly reach 3 feet in height, eventually stretching to 5 feet in warmer climates unless clipped. In zone 8 and farther south, rosemary makes a good evergreen hedge. In zone 7 and colder, try growing rosemary in a container you can bring… Read more »

Growing Pineapple Sage

In the Garden Named for the uncanny pineapple scent of its foliage, pineapple sage is worth the wait. It is a seasonal treat that gives gardeners a sense of anticipation. A small plant set out in spring after the danger of frost has passed will grow into a branching plant 3 to 4 feet tall… Read more »

Growing Pet Grass

Both cats and dogs need a little grass in their diets, especially if they do not spend a lot of time outdoors. So if you have a pet, growing pet grass is a great idea. This grass is also called intermediate wheatgrass, but it is not the wheat from which bread flour is made. This… Read more »

Growing Parsley

In the Garden Parsley is a lush plant growing up to a foot high in a beautiful rosette of green foliage. Try growing parsley plants as companions to annuals, perennials, and herbs in beds, containers, and window boxes. Plants make a nice seasonal edging and provide a striking contrast to colorful annuals, like yellow pansies… Read more »

Growing Oregano

In the Garden Oregano, an herb with a robust scent and flavor, loves to grow in pots where it can spill over an edge of a pot or low wall. However, its trailing growth also makes it a good seasonal ground cover, or it can serve as a nice edging along a path. In late… Read more »

Growing Mosquito Plant (Citronella)

A member of the geranium family, mosquito plant carries the fragrance of citronella in its foliage. When a leaf is crushed and rubbed on the skin, it smells wonderful and helps naturally repel mosquitoes. (The plant itself does not act as a deterrent to the pests.) Though growing mosquito plant is not as effective as… Read more »

Growing Mint

In the Garden All types of mint (including sweet mint, spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint) are fast-growing, spreading plants, so you must give them a place to spread without getting in the way, or plant them in a pot. Mint sends out runners that spread above and just below the ground, quickly forming large, lush… Read more »

Growing Tarragon

In the Garden Mexican (also called Texas) tarragon (Tagetes lucida) grows all spring and summer before it produces many yellow, single marigold-like blossoms, but that is just a bonus because the main reason to grow it is for the flavored leaves. In warm climates, its anise-like flavor makes it a substitute for French tarragon, which… Read more »

Growing Lemon Balm

The green leaves of lemon balm have the scent of lemon with a hint of mint, with leaves that look like oversized mint—no surprise, since lemon balm is part of the mint family. Lemon balm can grow 24 to 36 inches tall and makes a nice green clump of medium-textured leaves among the other herbs… Read more »

Growing Lavender

In the Garden The countryside of southern France is legendary for its fields of lavender (Lavandula x intermedia Provence) grown for the perfume industry. In North America, lavender is a shrubby perennial grown for its flowers and fragrance, but it also serves as a landscape item for its beauty and ability to stand heat and… Read more »

Growing French Tarragon

In the Garden French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’) resembles a tall grass, medium in texture with slender leaves, but on branched stems growing 18 to 24 inches tall and semi-erect. It grows without flowers or distinctive form to set it apart. In an herb bed, it becomes one of a cook’s resources to create a… Read more »

Growing Fernleaf Dill

In the Garden In addition to providing aromatic seeds and foliage, dill will brighten your garden with its yellow-green flowers in spring and fall. While typical dill grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet, Fernleaf dill is more compact, growing only 18 to 24 inches tall. It is a warm-season annual, but really… Read more »

Growing Culantro

Culantro, an herb native to Mexico, Central, and South America, has a strong, aromatic scent that fills the air when you brush up against it. This easy-to-grow herb has many culinary uses in Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cuisine. It is also very popular in Panama, Puerto Rico, and other Latin-influenced areas. Although used in… Read more »

Growing Sage

In the Garden Common sage takes the form of a low shrub that can be wider than it is tall. The soft gray-green foliage is great in pots or the garden. Consider planting and growing sage in a container with rosemary, basil, and other Mediterranean herbs for a fragrant mix. While cooks appreciate the distinctive… Read more »

Growing Cilantro

Cilantro needs its own space in the garden where you can harvest it and then let it go to seed. It grows fast in the cool weather of spring and fall, creating a rosette of lacy leaves. When the weather gets warm, the plant sends up a long, lanky flower stalk bearing flat umbels of… Read more »

Growing Chives

In the Garden Chives are members of the lily family grown for their leaves and flowers, which are equally popular in the garden and in the kitchen. Both onion and garlic chives are grown and used in a similar fashion. Some gardeners use onion and garlic chives as a perennial edging or border plant in… Read more »

Growing Catnip

In the Garden Plant catnip in a place where your cats can rub and roll in it without hurting adjacent plants. Some cats like catnip so much that they lie on it, roll on it, and chew it to the point of destruction. If you find that to be the case, place some 1- to… Read more »

Growing Bee Balm

In the Garden Add bee balm to flower beds or an herb garden for life and color. Try growing bee balm in view of a window so you won’t miss the acrobatics of hummingbirds that visit in summer. Bee balm also attracts butterflies and bees. In a sunny field or meadow, let plants spread and… Read more »

Growing Basil

In the Garden A woody, branching plant, basil is a warm-weather annual that grows very fast in 80- to 90-degree weather. When growing basil, note that two or three plants will yield plenty of fresh basil for a family of four — unless you plan to make pesto. (To make and freeze a winter’s supply… Read more »

Growing Watermelons

Sweet, juicy homegrown watermelons capture the magic of summer with explosive taste that puts store-bought melons to shame. Like their cantaloupe cousins, watermelons demand 2 to 3 months of heat to produce ripe fruit, which makes growing watermelons in northern regions challenging, but not impossible. By using plastic mulch to warm soil and floating row… Read more »

Growing Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are extremely easy to grow, especially in fall. As nights get longer and cooler, turnip greens become crisper and sweeter. Best of all, a new flush of tender leaves will grow after each picking, with plants remaining productive at least until the first hard freeze, and sometimes beyond. They also grow in spring,… Read more »

Growing Tomatoes

Sun-ripened tomatoes deliver the taste of summer in every bite. Just a few healthy plants will produce buckets of fruit. Tomatoes run on warmth; plant in late spring and early summer except in zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop. Choosing tomato varieties can be confusing because there are so many, but… Read more »

Growing Tomatillos

Tomatillos are the odd-looking distant cousins of the beloved tomato. Native to central America, they can be found growing wild in fields of corn and beans, and they are gathered to be eaten or sold in local markets. As with any abundant produce, the local cuisine has come to rely on its distinctive qualities. To… Read more »

Growing Swiss Chard

Colorful stems and bright green leaves make Swiss chard the single most glamorous garden green as well as a nutritious vegetable. Because it does not ship well, you are not likely to find it at the grocery store. Growing Swiss chard yourself is he only way to have beautiful leaves like these. Fortunately, it is… Read more »

Growing Sweet Potatoes

Unlike regular potatoes, which grow best when the soil is cool, sweet potatoes like it hot! They are tropical plants that are very sensitive to cold weather. In warm climates, many gardeners plant sweet potatoes about a month after the last spring frost, when both the air and soil are dependably warm. The plants produce… Read more »

Growing Green Peas

There are many reasons for growing green peas. Mouthwatering and tender, homegrown peas are flawless, gracing your meal with vibrant color and delicious flavor. Traditional English peas have sweet, round, green peas inside a pod; you shell the peas and throw away the pod. Another type of pea is the snow pea, the crunchy, flat,… Read more »

Growing Strawberries

The best strawberries you’ll ever taste will come from a garden, because fully ripened strawberries have a rich, aromatic flavor unmatched by their supermarket counterparts. Savoring the melt-in-your-mouth juiciness of freshly picked strawberries is but one reason to grow your own. As the first fruits to ripen in spring, strawberries are nutritious assets to any… Read more »

Growing Squash

Growing squash is easier than you might think. Plant a buttery Yellow Crookneck, delicately flavored Golden Scallop Pattypan, and a Black Beauty zucchini, and by time peak season rolls around, you could be picking several squash a day — more than enough to eat, freeze, and gift to friends and neighbors. There is no hurry… Read more »

Growing Spinach

Spinach is a cool-weather vegetable related to beets and Swiss chard. A fast-growing plant, it yields many leaves in a short time in the mild weather of spring and fall. When growing spinach, the trick lies in making it last as long as possible, especially in the spring, when lengthening days shorten its life. Although… Read more »

Growing Snap Beans

Whether you are planting your first vegetable garden or have years of experience behind you, growing snap beans should be at the top of your garden to-do list. Dependable and easy to care for, snap beans are also among the most productive veggies you can grow. Snap beans mature quickly, too, and almost everyone –… Read more »

Growing Rutabagas

One of fall’s ideal vegetables, rutabaga ripens best in cool autumn weather, taking on its characteristic mild, rich flavor after fall frosts descend on the garden, and staying in the ground for a long time for later harvests. Rutabagas are known by many names: Russian turnip, Swedish turnip, Swedes, winter turnip, yellow turnip, and Canadian… Read more »

Growing Rhubarb

One of spring’s garden harbingers, rhubarb stems burst through soil early in the growing season. The tart, colorful stems grace pies and jams with tangy flavor that is typically tamed with sugar or teamed with sweet strawberries. A true perennial, rhubarb adds sculptural beauty to the garden with its blocky stems and large leaves. While… Read more »

Growing Pumpkins

Growing pumpkins stands as an enduring symbol of fall, whether they end up as smiling jack-o’-lanterns or stacked near cornstalks for a lovely autumn scene. But this vegetable boasts more than good looks. It’s also full of nutrition, dishing up vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, and potassium. One half cup of cooked pumpkin provides a day’s… Read more »

Growing Peppers

From fruity sweet peppers in rainbow shades of yellow, orange, or red to habaneros hot enough to bring tears to your eyes, all peppers share a preference for a long, warm growing season. Set out plants a week or two after your last frost, when the weather is settled and warm. While cool weather reigns,… Read more »

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