Gold Standard Garden Book
On my recent trip to Cañon City, I bought Tammi Hartung’s Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs from Mel’s Mills. The book, most recently published in 2011, is an excellent choice for serious gardeners wanting a complete resource manual on herbs.
Ms. Hartung takes the reader through the process of establishing an herb garden. The ten chapters cover everything from soil testing and plant propagation to cooking and concocting medicinal and personal care herbal recipes. Even though I have been gardening for decades, I learned several new things from this book. For example, growing rosemary from seed has eluded me. But I am not the only one. Apparently, the best method for propagating this essential herb is with cuttings.
Homegrown Herbs Layout
The book emphasizes the need to plant herbs with similar needs close together. An almost four page guide details preferred location and growing climate. Both common and Latin names are provided. Furthermore, types of gardens are discussed ranging from apothecary to food and subdividing into themes.
Multiple guides such as for the above are found throughout the chapters. The one on propagation methods was a favorite. Finally, Chapter 10 is a listing from A to Z of every herb one could think of. Each herbal listing provides plant traits, companion planting, medicinal and/or culinary use and harvesting tips among other facts.
Perhaps the best part of Homegrown Herbs is the beautiful, inspirational photos. (Although the recipes are a close second.) In addition to showcasing entire gardens, the photos allow for individual identification of plants, pests and even diseases. Plus the photos in Homegrown Herbs illustrate techniques such as spreading straw across the garden.
Gardening is a demanding exercise. But in my experience herbs are a bit easier than vegetables. My dill forest on the back patio self-seeds every year. Some would consider this a weed patch but we love the smell and use the dill in many of our dishes. Not to mention their necessity in canning pickles.
Other herbs in my garden are perennials such as oregano, sage, horseradish and horehound. Armed with Ms. Hartung’s Homegrown Herbs, I am anxious to try Gotu Kola, chamomile and catnip. This wonderful resource guide will be invaluable to my efforts. Serious gardeners need to add this book to their home library.