The most convenient place to grow herbs is near the kitchen. In days past, the kitchen garden was located a few steps outside the door, often in barrels or tubs. In this area, Historical Canoa Ranch has had such an arrangement.
Outdoor cooking is popular in the desert because of the reliable, benign weather.
Complete kitchens are often part of regional patio design. With stove and sink nearby, an herb garden alongside adds convenience, beauty and sweet aromas. There is still time to set out transplants of many cool-season herbs such as the following:
• Cilantro is a favorite culinary herb when added to many Mexican dishes such as salsas, salads and sauces. Its seeds, known as Coriander, are ground and added to beans, stews, sausages, and pastries.
• Parsley is available in a number of varieties for culinary use in pestos, soups, stews, and stuffing as well as a decorative garnish. In the garden its pretty green cut-leaves look great planted in containers with colorful annuals.
• Chamomile is an annual cool-season herb with fern-like fragrant leaves. It is often used as a sleep aid by making a mild tea from its apple-scented flowers.
• Rosemary is especially vigorous in our desert, thriving in the alkaline soil, low water, and extreme heat. Especially good for cooking are “Blue Spires” and “Tuscan Blue” varieties.
Among other cool-season herbs are calendula, dill, fennel and chives. For more growing and use data, consult “Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing & Using Them Today,” by Tucson author Jacqueline A. Soule.
Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in the Green Valley area. Her articles are featured weekly.