Thursday, September 06, 2007

Raising and Drying Herbs

One of the things that’s perennial in my floating garden is herbs. We get frost and even a little snow, but I have been lucky to have the majority of my herbs last from year to year.

To contain the herbs and keep them from spreading throughout my limited garden space, I planted them in plastic pots sunk into the ground. The majority of my herbs were started from seed. These include basil, thyme, parsley (curly leaf and Italian), sage and savory. I also purchased starts for rosemary and mint that are now well established.

I pick fresh herbs from spring to fall. Even in the dead of winter I can get a few stems to use. But it’s handy to have some dried herbs in my kitchen. When I trim my herbs back I save the best stems for drying. Here’s my simplified method.

  1. Cut and keep herbs that have little or no evidence of damage.
  2. Wash the cuttings in fresh water and place them on cookie sheets to dry.
  3. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and spread them in a thin layer back on cookie sheets.
  4. Place the cookie sheets in a warm dry room away from sunlight.
  5. Stir the leaves daily until thoroughly dry.
  6. Depending on the size of the dried leaves, either package whole or cut them into smaller pieces.
  7. Some herbs such as rosemary are easier to cut before drying.
  8. Store the dried herbs in airtight glass or plastic containers.

I like to combine my craft painting with dried herb storage. I save small jars and empty spice containers. I paint new labels to match the dried herbs I have to store. Sometimes a batch of herbs isn’t large enough to store as a single item. When that happens, it becomes a part of Margy’s Mix. I use my special blend in soups and stews as a flavourful seasoning.

Do you grow and dry herbs? Let us know any tips you have learned. -- Margy


  1. I love your blog! Thank you so very much for sharing it with us at BHG! I have bookmarked it and will coming back often. You are lucky to be able to enjoy such an interesting way to garden!

  2. Glad you like it Angie. I try to have a little something for everyone here. I was so honoured yesterday to be featured on with my garden. BHG may also be doing a similar feature in the future. Yes, it is a different way to garden. I just love eating something I have grown and nutured myself. mitzy42** at BHG gave me a great idea for growing potatoes in a barrel. I think I'll try that next year to save some space for more lettuce and spinach. You can check it out for yourself here

    Scroll down to until you see the instructions.

    There is also a BHG presentation that shows you step by step what to do. It is under Gardening in the library and it's called "Grow Potatoes."