Provencal herbs in the garden and on the windowsill - growing and use
Provencal herbs are the name of a blend of Provencal Mediterranean kitchen herbs that can be used to enhance the smell and taste of various dishes. Provence is a province in the south of France where herbs are traditionally grown, hence the name. The composition of the aromatic mixture of Provencal herbs can be the most diverse, but the basic herbs, as a rule, are: thyme, marjoram, rosemary, basil and savory. How to grow Provencal herbs in the garden and on the windowsill, and how to use them, read our article.
Features of growing provencal herbs
If you live in the south or in the middle zone of the country, forget about someone prepared dry mixes. A mixture of Provencal herbs can be prepared independently from your own fresh plants grown in your summer cottage.
Residents of the northern regions can successfully grow spicy herbs on their windowsill.
Mediterranean herbs are planted in dry, lime-rich soil in a well-lit area or in a well-drained ceramic pot. Put
a decent layer of gravel or rubble and place the plants against the south wall, hiding them from the cold wind.
Add as little fertilizer as possible or don't use them at all. Always cut whole branches so that new shoots regularly grow from below, and the plants remain dense.
In places where a shadow appears in the afternoon, the leaves of spicy herbs tend to grow more juicy.
Let's take a closer look at the features of growing basic plants from the composition of Provencal herbs.
Rosemary ordinary, or rosemary officinalis (Rosmarinus officinalis) - an evergreen shrub, has tarry acicular leaves with a strong odor. Blooms in summer with small purple-blue flowers.
The plant loves the sun. The soil should not be too rich in nutrients and not acidic. Add some lime if necessary. Use well-drained soil containing at least 50 percent sand.
Rosemary, planted in the garden, will scare away all pests, help get rid of flies and mosquitoes.
In a decorative garden it is used as a border plant.
Varieties Hill hardy and Arp can withstand twenty degrees of frost and are among the most hardy varieties of rosemary.
Rosemary leaves contain many essential oils, especially during flowering. They are active antioxidants and have antibacterial properties. Rosemary improves blood circulation and heart function, relieves joint pain, strengthens memory. It contains vitamins A, B6 and C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron.
Its taste is mild. Leaves are used in weight loss products. They disinfect and help preserve food. Perfectly complement the taste of meat dishes, suitable for vegetables, soups, salads.
Fresh rosemary can be frozen and stored for six months or dried and stored in a closed jar, like a delicious aromatic spice.
Read more about growing rosemary in the article Rosemary in the garden and at home - a fragrant spice without much trouble.
Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) - a small, highly branched herbaceous plant from the family Lamiaceae with aromatic oval leaves. The color of the leaves is gray-green.
Thyme (or thyme) is planted in gardens, like a groundcover, along paths, on alpine hills. This plant attracts bees, repels mosquitoes.
Thyme is especially suitable for use in the kitchen. Fleur verifiedcale.
Fragrantissimus ("Orange Balm") - Thyme orange for making herbal tea.
For an ornamental garden, ordinary thyme is planted Silver posie. Its leaves with white edges look very impressive.
The most hardy among thyme (another name for the plant) is a species plant.
The soil for growing thyme should be sufficiently drained. For good growth, the plant must be cut annually, but no more than 5 cm.
Thyme is easy to sow, but it can also be propagated by layering. If you press a few branches into the ground without taking them from the main plant, then in less than a month roots will appear on them.
Thyme is used not only as a seasoning, but also for medical purposes. It contains vitamins A, C, iron, copper, manganese, essential oils, is a good antioxidant. The thymol contained in it helps with colds.
As a spice, thyme has a fresh, pleasant taste with the aroma of cloves and mint. Often used in the preparation of sauces, liquors and other dishes.
Thyme is best harvested in the morning and preferably before flowering begins. Keep in mind that the taste of fresh thyme is twice as strong as dried.
Read more about growing and using thyme in the article Thyme - fragrant, healthy and decorative.
Basil ordinary, or fragrant basil (Ocimum basilicum) Is a small herbaceous plant with a highly branched stem, native to tropical countries. The leaves are green, oval with a strong smell. Blooms in summer with small white flowers.
Basil is grown in a place protected from the midday hot sun. The soil should be rich in nutrients using organic fertilizers. It requires enough moisture and good drainage.
It is believed that basil planted next to vegetables will protect them from all types of parasites. And by placing pots with a plant in the house, you will get rid of flies and mosquitoes.
In temperate climates, it is easiest to grow basil through seedlings. Basil is planted in open ground after the disappearance of frost, for its growth a temperature of at least 15 degrees is necessary. For winter storage, basil can be dried, frozen, canned or prepared pasta.
This plant contains vitamins A, C, B2, magnesium, manganese, iron, and many essential oils. Basil is an antioxidant, has antibacterial and antiviral properties, strengthens the immune system, and helps with headaches and toothaches.
Basil is harvested after the plant exceeds 10 centimeters. Cut off the top of the stem every 2-3 weeks. During flowering, the taste of leaves deteriorates significantly. Therefore, if you do not want seeds, you should trim his buds.
Here are some recommended varieties:
- Magic blue - frost-resistant, can grow for a long time in the open air.
- Crispum - has good large leaves, suitable for making pesto (sauce).
- "Persian anise" - with a mild anise flavor, suitable for oriental dishes and tea.
- Rubin (purple basil) - especially interesting for salads.
Basil is added to various dishes at the end of cooking, so its taste is better preserved. Basil is very popular in Italian cuisine: Italian pasta, sauces, the famous Caprice salad are not conceivable without the use of this fragrant plant.
Basil can be dried, but traditionally it is used fresh.
Marjoram, or Oregano, or Oregano (Origanum majorana) - a herbaceous plant, similar to a shrub, up to 45 cm high. The lower part of the stems becomes stiff and darker with growth. The leaves are oval with a concave surface, light green in color. The upper part of the stem and leaves are covered with silver pile. The flowers are small, white, pink or red.
Marjoram has a rich aroma similar to thyme, but with a milder, sweeter taste. Its small purple flowers are favorites for butterflies and bees.
Marjoram is very easy to grow in open ground, as well as in a flower pot. The best time for sowing outdoors is spring. You can grow your own marjoram all year round. Choose a warm, bright place protected from the wind in the garden, but make sure that there is no bright midday sun. When sowing, cover the seeds with approximately 2 cm of soil.
Marjoram is very sensitive to frost, so the time for sowing in open ground is the end of May. Avoid crusting on soil that interferes with seed germination. When sowing small seeds can be mixed with dust from wood ash or sifted sand.
Rich soil with a small amount of quality compost in a rather warm, humid place will give you a good harvest with an excellent aroma of the plant. Soil neutral pH (pH 7) is best for it.
In winter, marjoram can be grown at home in pots with lots of compost and sand.
The most popular varieties:
- “Gourmet” - A tall, sprawling bush for a good harvest.
- "Crete" - a shrub of small height, a variety with a spicy lemon aroma.
- Mint leaf - A compact plant with yellow leaves and spicy taste.
- Variegata - green leaves with yellow spots of softly spicy taste.
It is better to collect the leaves of the plant until flowering, pruning the stems at least 6 cm from the ground. It is better to cut in the morning about 10 hours, when the content of essential oils in the plant is maximum.
Marjoram is one of the few herbs that is more fragrant when dry.
Marjoram is most popular as a kitchen herb, especially when added to sausages, meat and poultry dishes, and in soups.
Savory (Satureja) - annual shrub, grows up to 35 cm in height. His homeland is considered the Mediterranean. The stem is highly branched, covered with small villi. Small narrow leaves are pointed, dark green in color hard at the edges, emit a sharp unusual smell. There are almost 30 varieties of this spicy herb.
Savory (spicy kondari) is a delicate plant that loves warmth. Savory is not picky about the soil, but its active growth depends on the amount of light received.
Seeds are sown in early spring. It is necessary to sprinkle seeds on a leveled plot of land without burying them in the ground, and gently mix with the topsoil. Before planting, it is recommended that the seeds be soaked in water for a day and treated with a weak solution of potassium permanganate to improve their quality. After seed germination, the plants need to be thinned out, leaving a distance of 20-25 cm between the bushes.
In the future, it is necessary to remove weeds from the beds, regularly water and loosen the soil. These plants are well grown in pots, they do not require much land.
The period from seedlings to flowering is 50-60 days. For earlier leaf production, seedlings can be planted starting in June. Seeds can be harvested in late August-September.
For seasoning, it is better to collect the grass before flowering. When cutting, leave stems at least 5 cm high for subsequent growth. Dry the grass in a shaded area. The aroma improves after the plant dries.
There are special piquant varieties, their leaves are wider, and they differ in more lush foliage - "Gribovsky 23", "Satyr".
Young shoots and leaves of the plant are rich in vitamins A and C, mineral salts, essential oils, thymol.
Savory is used to stimulate appetite, with problems with the stomach and digestion, is an antibacterial, diaphoretic, diuretic and anthelmintic. It helps with colds, inflammation of the respiratory tract, tonsillitis.
The plant has a burning taste and exudes a spicy aroma. In cooking, it is used to prepare vegetable salads, fish dishes, gives a piquant aroma to the meat of pork and lamb, poultry. A great addition to dressings, sauces, soups, beans and peas.
What can be the composition of Provencal herbs
Many of the blends sold include lavender, oregano, parsley, sage, peppermint. Other possible ingredients: fennel seeds, tarragon, chervil, laurel, lovage.
Proportions as well as the composition of Provence herbs are not fixed. Here are a few possible formulations:
- 4 parts marjoram, 4 parts thyme, 4 parts thyme, 2 parts rosemary, 2 parts basil, 1 part sage, 1 part lavender (flowers).
- 1 part oregano, 1 part basil, 2 parts thyme, 1 part savory, 0.5 parts fennel.
- 1 part thyme, 1 part savory, 0.5 part lavender, 0.5 part oregano or basil, 0.25 part sage, 0.25 part rosemary.
- 1 part oregano, 1 part basil, 2 parts thyme, 1 part sage, 1 part fennel (seeds), 2 parts savory, 1 part rosemary, 1 part lavender.
A large selection of aromatic herbs allows you to make the mixture to your liking, according to the prepared product. The addition of Provencal herbs to food not only enhances the taste of the dish, giving it an unforgettable aroma, but is also a very useful addition. After all, all these herbs are rich in essential oils, resins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins.
Provencal herbs are traditionally added to meat stews and game dishes, especially when stewed in red wine sauce. They are also used in the preparation of marinades, sauces, dishes with tomatoes and root crops.
Such herbal mixtures are suitable for adding a Mediterranean touch to other dishes, such as baked potatoes or salads. The finished dish is sprinkled with collections of Provencal herbs, which gives an exquisite taste to any product.
All herbs are used fresh and dried.
Dear readers! In this article we talked only about the basic plants of the Provencal herbs. But spicy plants that can be grown on window sills and in the garden are much more! Grow what you like, pick up your combinations, make unique recipes and do not forget to share the most successful in the comments to the article.