Italian Herb Garden – Why Are They So Popular?
Italians are well noted for the flavor of their food. Pasta, a mainstay of Italian cuisine, would be rather tasteless without the traditional flavorful seasonings. This is the reason that an Italian herb garden is so important in the flavoring of food. You can have your own culinary herbs right at your door with just a little bit of work.
Herb gardens take up such little space, they can be planted almost anywhere. Based on the kinds of herbs you want, the area required should only be 20 to 30 square feet. This equates to about ¼ of a large room, if you prefer an indoor garden.
If you have plenty of space and already plant a vegetable garden, your herbs will do quite well scattered along with your vegetable plants. Herbs are a value to your vegetables in that they help repel some insects and they positively stimulate the growth and health of the plants around them.
What kind of herbs would you like? If the garden is indoors, you may choose almost any herb. If it is outside, you need to consider your climate for applicable choices. Common choices for perennial Italian herbs are oregano and rosemary.
Oregano is easy to start from a cutting from an existing plant. Check with friends or plant nurseries to obtain a cutting. Only take cuttings from strong, vibrant plants. Oregano prefers hot weather and should be planted in full sun. Because it is a perennial, consider in advance where to plant it. It will spread out over time, so it may be best to plant in pots.
Oregano has pretty purple flowers when it matures, and you should not harvest it until it has done so. The flavor of the oregano plant is at its peak when it flowers.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family. It’s Latin name is Rosmarinus officinalis, which means “dew of the sea,” a reference to the Mediterranean area of its origin. Rosemary is an evergreen that grows into a large bush. It is a strong plant, but it is very sensitive to frost. Allowed to grow freely, the plant can develop into a hedge.
The blue blooms of the rosemary plant attract bees, which is good if planting along with other plants that need pollinating. These flowers are often used as a garnish in salads. Considered an ornamental herb, rosemary is also very aromatic.
Every addition to an Italian herb garden improves it. Herbs are a great compliment to your existing flower or vegetable garden. The fragrance alone is reason enough for the popularity of the herb garden, but herb garden value goes far beyond that.