Herb Profiles

  • Basil Crop Profile
  • Basil

    Basil is a member of the mint family and comes in a number of varieties that range in flavor and color. With flavors ranging from sweet to spicy to zesty, this herb is popular for making pesto and seasoning vegetables and fish. It’s native to India and Asia and thought to aid in digestion.
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  • Calendula Crop Profile
  • Calendula

    Offering a near-continuous run of cheerful, golden flowers, calendulas (Calendula officinalis), or pot marigolds, are a very hardy herb. This Mediterranean native is a annual from the Asteraceae family. Once used as an all-purpose tonic, calendula flowers really made the rounds in the kitchens of England and parts of Europe; the Romans even relied on calendula to treat scorpion bites. Less popular now, calendula makes a pretty addition to the herb garden and its petals can be used to create a striking yellow dye. Calendula’s dried flowers are sometimes still used in topical ointments for burns, cuts and minor skin irritations; a few handfuls of calendula petals can make for an energizing, herbal bath.
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  • Catnip Crop Profile
  • Catnip

    Although native to Eurasia, catnip is fully naturalized across North America. Part of the Mint family, it is sometimes called Catmint. What is essentially a behavior-modifying drug for felines works as a mild sedative for us. When catnip’s crushed leaves and flower buds are brewed as a tea, it has a calming effects. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) has also been used widely in salads and soups, and as a digestive aid.
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  • Chamomile Crop Profile
  • Chamomile

    What we know as chamomile is technically two different plants — German chamomile (Matricara recutita) and Roman (or English) chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) — with many similarities including gray-green, feathery leaves; tiny, daisy-like flowers; and a pleasing, apple scent. Both types of chamomile are relatives of the daisy family and have been used to aid in digestion, calm frazzled nerves, alleviate menstrual cramps and soothe some skin conditions. It’s thought that the Roman chamomile is also able to reduce some kinds of inflammation. Whether you grow German or Roman chamomile, either will make a soothing cup of tea, herbal bath or steam facial.
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  • Cilantro Crop Profile
  • Cilantro

    Cilantro is an essential herb in Latin American cuisine. The leaves are also found in other ethnic recipes, and the seeds, coriander, are found in Indian and Chinese dishes. A small percentage of people taste a soap flavor when eating cilantro.
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  • Dill Crop Profile
  • Dill

    Dill flowers are attractive to many species of beneficial insects, making it a good choice for all gardens. Dill is used in pickling and making “dilly beans” and is excellent with roasted potatoes and vegetables.
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  • Feverfew Crop Profile
  • Feverfew

    The people of ancient Greece originally used feverfew, a southeastern European native, to dispel fevers – hence its name. With white petals and yellow button centers, feverfew’s flowers look a bit like chamomile, but its bitter odor and yellow-green leaves confirm feverfew as another herb entirely. Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) is a member of the daisy family. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, feverfew has had countless medical uses, including the treatment of migraine headaches, arthritis, digestive problems, menstrual and labor irregularities, and asthma. In the garden feverfew serves as a natural insect repellent (including bees). It is also used to make dried wreaths and flower arrangements, as well as a from-scratch, greenish-yellow dye.
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  • Florence fennel Crop Profile
  • Florence fennel

    Florence fennel, also known as Sweet Fennel or finocchio, develops a big, swollen bulb at the base of the stems. Native to Italy, Florence fennel are often tricky to grow because they don’t always develop desirable bulbs. The plants themselves will always grow well, whether the weather’s hot or cold, but the stems seem to only thicken during slightly warm, but not hot, periods. Like wild fennel, Florence fennel tastes like licorice, but the green growth is shorter and more abundant, and the swollen bulbs are tremendous, having celery-like consistency.
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  • Garlic Crop Profile
  • Garlic

    Garlic is an extremely winter-hardy plant that thrives in northern climates. It comes in three types: softneck, stiffneck and elephant, which range in color and flavor. Garlic has myriad uses in recipes and also is shown to have medicinal properties.
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  • Ginger Crop Profile
  • Ginger

    Ginger is a tropical plant that looks like a stunted little corn plant. It generally will not tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Edible ginger cultivation follows more or less the same rules as container citrus cultivation in the northern areas. Ginger can even be grown in Iceland if a sunny window in a warm house is available. The ginger that one buys at the supermarket is usually fine for planting material. If the rhizomes aren’t damaged, they’ll likely sprout once placed in a pot of soil.
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  • Lavender Crop Profile
  • Lavender

    With smooth, needle-like leaves ranging from gray-green to silvery-gray, there are many different lavender varieties featuring a characteristically sweet, clean scent. Lavender’s volatile oils are thought to have antiseptic properties and were often used to clean wounds and freshen the air in hospitals and sick rooms. Now lavender oils are commonly found in herbal soaps, shampoos and perfumes. A fantastic border plant, lavender naturally repels insect pests and it dries well for use in wreaths, flower arrangements, potpourris and sachets.
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  • Mint Crop Profile
  • Mint

    There are more than 3,500 mint species, but peppermint and spearmint are most common. Be sure to contain mint plants or they can overtake your garden.
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  • Oregano Crop Profile
  • Oregano

    A staple in the kitchen, oregano is the quintessential Italian herb used as a seasoning for sauces, soups and meats. Oregano comes in several varieties, but it typically has dark green leaves with white flowers.
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  • Rosemary Crop Profile
  • Rosemary

    Native to the Mediterranean, Portugal and Spain, Rosemary is an herb with a minty, piney aroma. In addition to being used in the kitchen for salads or to season poultry, fish or pasta dishes, it’s been used in tea to treat headaches, poor circulation, depression and muscle cramps.
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  • Sage Crop Profile
  • Sage

    Culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) has a perfume-like fragrance and flavor, and it produces lovely blue flower spikes in midsummer. Use it in poultry, stuffings and vegetable dishes. Tri-colored sage looks beautiful in containers and tastes great, though its flavor is a bit stronger than standard sage.
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  • Thyme Crop Profile
  • Thyme

    Thyme is a savory herb that comes in several varieties. It’s used in cooking, especially dishes with meat or cheese, or in tea for sore throat and coughs. It is also said to repel pests.
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  • Witch Hazel Crop Profile
  • Witch Hazel

    Witch hazel will thrive almost anywhere. Considered a shrub or small tree, witch hazel’s crooked branches are covered in smooth, gray bark and witch hazel’s arresting, yellow flowers appear in the fall or winter – the bloom time depends on the species you choose. The distilled extract from witch hazel’s leaves and bark has long been used as a general tonic and swelling reducer, and witch hazel is still used to treat minor skin irritations, burns, acne and more. .
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