Master gardener

Members of the Master Gardeners Association of Rogers County are giving herbs their moment in the sun.

Miriam Legett says some of the herbs recommended for Oklahoma gardeners include: annuals like anise, basil, borage, coriander, dill, fennel, garden cress, nasturtium; savory biennials like carrot, caraway, parsley; and perennials like chives, garlic, horseradish, lemon balm, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.I like to plant culinary herbs, but also enjoy planting bronze fennel and for butterflies as well as some catmint," she said. "One of my favorite herbs is culinary lavender, which I use as a seasoning on mild proteins such as chicken, fish, or pork. This past year, at the Teaching Garden, I also discovered the joys of lemongrass for its fragrance and taste."

Katherine Myers chimed in to add that she loves lemon basil and lemon thyme for fragrance— "And both keep bees happy."

Legett said when it comes to planting, to keep in mind that herbs like lots of sun and well-drained soils.

“One of the things I enjoy about growing herbs is that there are several methods you can use. They can be sewn or planted directly into the garden soils, used in containers, or used in aquaponic gardening," Legett said.

Why grow herbs?

Master gardeners say in common use, herbs can be medicinal, aromatic or culinary. Some herbs, like dill and fennel, are host plants for butterflies.

Where to start?

Master gardeners say a good place to start is with common, low-maintenance herbs such as basil, sage, mints, thyme, parsley, dill, oregano, chives, tarragon, and lavender. They’re easy to grow, easy to maintain, and can be used as companion plants with vegetables. Most herbs do not require a lot of care and are pretty tolerant of conditions. You don’t have to water every day or use fertilizers. Some, because of their odor, are pest-free.

They add, "There is no need for chemicals in the herb garden. Most herbs do not need fertilizer and some actively dislike it, so if you fertilize, do so sparingly. Avoid pesticides, particularly if you plan to use the herbs for cooking. Most herbs are not attractive to pests, so insect problems are rare. The exception are plants favored by butterflies; you may get some damage from their caterpillars, but the reward is ... butterflies."