Stanislaus County herb gardening enthusiasts learned the basics on how to grow herbs from seed or transplant, and how to recognize various herbs by scent and sight by looking at examples during a recent educational session. See if you know the answers to this "Pop Quiz" given during class:
Question#1: "What is the difference between an herb and a spice?"
Question#2: "Can you name a plant that is both an herb and a spice?"
Answer#1: The herb is the leafy part of the plant, while a spice may be the bark, seeds, or plant roots (cinnamon, mustard, or ginger).
Answer#2: Cilantro is both an herb and a spice (coriander).
Here are a few other fun facts discussed during the class:
- If you want a continuous supply of annual herbs like basil, dill, and cilantro, plant from seed every 2 weeks during the growing season.
- Tiger swallowtail butterfly caterpillars eat dill and fennel.
- You can propagate some leafy herbs by pulling off the bottom leaves of a stalk and placing them in water (mints, lemon balm).
- Chamomile and chive seeds need light to germinate. Sprinkle them on top of the soil and lightly water.
- Spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm can quickly take over a garden space. Keep them contained in pots.
- Fennel is an invasive weed that can cause economic damage to agriculture and the environment. Avoid planting if you live around farms or open spaces.
- Pests also like herbs! If you have damage on your plants, bring in a sample to the UCCE Master Gardeners for help.