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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

The Cook's Garden

McDonald Owner, Eddie Anderson, grows garden-fresh herbs steps away from his kitchen and grill to bring flavors to summertime cuisine.

Why have all those store-bought herbs in the kitchen when you can have it fresh at your finger tips all summer? It only takes a small bed or a few large pots. Whether used by the pinch or by the bunch, garden-fresh herbs pull a recipe together by infusing most any dish with unmatched aromas and flavors.

Growing your own gives you certain advantages over buying them from the market. No more need to rush out before the store closes - you’ll have fresh herbs right at your fingertips just when you want them. Cutting sprigs moments before use ensures maximum flavor and nutrients. Not only are fresh herbs convenient and healthy, but growing and using fresh herbs makes preparing those summer meals a lot more fun!

Harvesting your own herbs is easier than you think. An herb garden only takes a small bed and/or some large pots. Lemons thyme, sage, parsley, basil, tarragon, oregano, rosemary, mint and more can all be in easy reach. Select large pots, 10” for smaller herbs and 12” for the larger ones. Bigger pots mean less watering problems and easer care. For optimum success, you’ll need 6-8 hours of sun and a little fertilizer from time to time.

What are you waiting for? Get that herb garden you've always wanted. You'll love the taste, nutrients, and of course the convenience. Herbs at hand make it to the pan!

Tips: To ensure freshness, snip leaves using scissors instead of pulling them off with your fingers. Begin by removing older leaves from the outside of the plant to promote growth. Next, work your way inward toward the younger stems. To maximize the flavor of fresh herbs, the American Dietetic Association recommends chopping them finely and adding them toward the end of your cooking.

-- Photos from Eddie Anderson's garden in Hampton, Virginia