Meet Herby!

Herb Garden

Yes, Herby the herb garden. My own little section of the garden. Berries are fun and all but you can’t really cook with them (other than adding them to our delicious homemade granola. I petitioned for an herb garden all for myself, of course I prepared to have to argue my case but Jim agreed right away. So one weekend we found a lovely nursery and went herb-crazy. After much discussion of types of herbs and how much room we have, we bought every herb I knew and could use: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Basil and Cilantro. My herb knowledge extends almost exclusively to cooking with them, and unfortunately I had to work so after I helped prep the area for the garden I took off and left the herbs to Jim.

Thank god for technology as I got a lovely update texted to me.

Quotes from the Farmer:

Studying permaculture, the main motivation for the layout of the herb garden is the idea of an herb spiral. In an herb spiral each herb has its own needs for water, sunlight, and drainage. So you place the plants in such a way to provide shade, drainage, and moisture for each herb accordingly. Of course this resulted in hours of research, and way too much information. So I decided to take the basics and build a simple 3 tiered herb garden to maximize light and drainage for each herb. 

Notes: Parsley: Bunnies REALLY like parsley and it was eaten in a matter of days. So protect your herbs. Cilantro: Cilantro forms a nice pretty white flower and if you let it go to seed you can harvest coriander seeds later in the season. Basil: Make sure to cut your basil heads off when it goes to flower so it stops putting its energy into flowering and can keep multiplying and producing better leaves. Leave some of the larger leaves to act as big solar collectors and help it grow more rapidly. Mint: Be careful where you place your mint, since it spreads via root and will take over your garden if you’re not careful. I planted mine in a pot underground to help control the root spread. And ask a friend to take a mint shoot as they will be more than happy to spread the joy. 

My first fresh from the garden dish was the dish I could find that had the most herbs in it, Fresh Herb Pasta Primavera from

As per usual, I didn’t follow the directions at all but the inspiration was fantastic.

Herb Pasta Primavera 

Makes: 6 Servings

Prep 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes


8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta

½ Cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/3 Cup sliced green onions

¼ cup chicken broth (see below for our own recipe, you can buy your own but so many have high amounts of sodium)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 ½ -3 Cups green beans and peas

1 Cup lightly packed mix of thyme, basil, oregano and parsley, chopped

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Parmesan Cream Sauce:

¼ Cup unsalted butter

3 Tabelspoons all purpose flour

2 Cups low-fat milk (take out of the fridge now)

¾ Cup half grated parmesan cheese and asiago cheese

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions for pasta: 

In a medium saucepan boil water and cook pasta.

While the pasta is cooking prepare the parmesan cream sauce (see below) and chicken broth.

In a large skillet cook the red pepper and green onions in the chicken broth transferred in and olive oil, 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Steam the green beans and peas until tender but not overly soft. Add vegetables, herbs and cumin to the skillet.

Gently stir vegetables , cherry tomatoes and parmesan sauce into the pasta.

Spread in an ungreased 12x9x2 inch (3 quart rectangular) baking dish.

Bake, Uncovered in a 375 degree oven about 20 minutes or until heated through.

Directions for Parmesan Cream Sauce:

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour to make a ruex. Cook and stir with a wire whisk, slowly add 2 cups of low fat milk (it helps if its room temperature, not right out of the fridge cold) cook and stir until thickened and bubbly/boiling.

Remove from heat. Stir in the ¾ cup of cheese and pepper.
Directions for homemade Chicken Broth:
1 roasting chicken
1 large yellow onion peeled and quartered
3 carrots peeled and halved
2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
10 sprigs fresh parsley
7 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh dill
½ a head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
1 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan, add 3 quarts of water and boil, simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Strain through a colander and discard solids (your compost would love these solids!). Chill the stock overnight, skim the fat off the top and use right away or freeze (remember to measure how much you freeze for future recipes).

Double the recipe for more!

Do you have a great recipe that incorporates lots of fresh herbs? Share in the comments!

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