Your complete guide to homegrown herbs: L to M

With the right attention and careful cultivation, your herb garden could replace the grocery store. Here's how to grow lemongrass through marjoram.

Your complete guide to homegrown herbs: L to M

Lemongrass

  • Lemongrass is used to make a refreshing tea, or is chopped and added to a wide range of curries and other spicy Asian dishes.
  • It's a clump-forming plant, with masses of slender, light green, grassy leaves that are slightly sticky to the touch.
  • The foliage has a strong lemony aroma and flavour.
  • Lemongrass requires a warm to hot climate, moderately rich soil and plenty of moisture in summer.
  • The foliage dies back in winter.
  • To harvest, the tips, shoots and leaves are cut at ground level with a sharp knife.

Lovage

  • Lovage is a perennial herb growing to 1.5 metres (five feet) in height.
  • It's noted for its deep green, shiny leaves on straight, hollow stems, topped by yellow flowerheads.
  • Finely chopped lovage leaves are used to flavour soups and stews, and are sometimes eaten raw in salads.
  • The seeds can be used in cooking, although their flavour is too strong for most people.
  • To grow lovage successfully, it must have deep, rich and moist soil and a sunny, open position.
  • The leaves can be harvested as needed and used fresh.
  • If the seeds are gathered for a future crop, store them in an airtight container.

Marjoram

  • Marjoram is a basic herb with many uses. It's also a key ingredient in many traditional herb mixtures, together with sage and thyme.
  • The dried form has a stronger flavour than the fresh foliage.
  • It's a perennial, growing to 45 centimetres (18 inches) in height, with soft grey-green foliage and tiny white fluffy flowers.
  • Marjoram can be used effectively as a border plant in an ornamental garden.
  • It needs a warm, sheltered position and well-drained light soil. Sufficient water is required in summer to prevent the roots drying out completely.
  • The foliage can be cut as needed and eaten fresh, or dried at the end of the season and stored for later use.

Fresh herbs are almost always preferable to dried ones, especially if they come from your very own garden. Now you know a little bit more about some common herbs and are on your way to growing your own.

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