Herb Garden 101

If you haven't started that herb garden you've been meaning to plant, don't worry--it's not too late. We have a few easy tips to jumpstart you into the growing season.

Marcella Valladolid shows our hosts how to grow and trim herbs, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen.

Photo by: David Katz

David Katz

Because you're starting late, don't start from seeds. The simplest way to get things up to speed and save growing time is to buy seedlings. Pick up these 5 great herbs at your local home improvement store to start: parsley, basil, cilantro, rosemary and thyme. Seedlings can even be found at some grocery stores.

Most herbs require about 1 inch of water per week. The best way to determine if it's time to water is by sticking your finger 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If the soil is moist, then leave it and check again the following day. If the soil is dry, then it's time to water. Water deeply, aiming at the roots, which will prevent burning from the sun's intensity. To prevent rot, avoid getting a lot of water on the leaves and blooms.

Cutting the leaves frequently will encourage new leaf growth. We recommend that you harvest leaves in the early morning, when their flavor is at its peak. The morning dew helps keep them fresh. Picking herbs at midday may encourage the leaves to wilt, making it harder to bring them back. You can harvest up to two-thirds of the entire plant, which stimulates it to continue producing…so prune away! We love the flavor of fresh cilantro blended into our verdant Verde Maria cocktail.

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