Gardentalk – Thyme for a deep chive featuring sage advice; homegrown herbs are a big dill for cooks

Even prolific weeds cannot crowd out these chives and prevent them from returning year after year in a North Douglas garden.

Even prolific weeds cannot crowd out these chives and prevent them from returning year after year in a North Douglas garden. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

What is an Alaskan chef to do if they need fresh herbs for their latest dish?

Harvest from their own garden or check their freezer, of course.

Fresh, homegrown herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, chives, dill, basil, tarragon and oregano can really add that extra pop to any dish.

In a recent edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski provided a short primer on growing and preserving herbs.

Dill and cilantro are a few herbs that are easy to grow.

But most herbs — like thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano — are very slow to start from seed, and Buyarski suggests buying new plants in the spring or dividing up existing plants.

Listen to the Aug. 8 segment about growing and preserving herbs:

Buyarski notes that some herbs retain their flavor and aroma best depending on whether they are frozen or dried.

“Cilantro loses its flavor when it’s dried,” Buyarski said. “But dill is terrific when it’s dried. Basil, likewise, you almost have to freeze it to keep that.”

Chives and tarragon should be frozen rather than dried to retain their flavor. Oregano, on the other hand, is best fresh and it dries well.

Buyarski recommends growing plants indoors with lights if you want fresh herbs all year-round.

“If you’ve got a light set up, then you can keep them going all winter and you can continue to harvest from them during the winter when it’s more of a challenge to get fresh herbs,” Buyarski said. “That’s a great thing.”

Buyarski has been growing a single rosemary plant indoors in a 5-gallon pot for the past five years.

This hydroponically-grown basil plant is still enormously productive even though it was started from seed nearly two years ago.

This hydroponically grown basil plant is still enormously productive even though it was started from seed nearly two years ago. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

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