General care herbs

Asian Herb Garden: Information on Asian herbs growing in gardens

Oriental influences have become the main current in Spain and other countries. This means more than just a family visit to a Chinese restaurant. The kitchens are rich in variety, healthy, colorful, full of flavor and nutrition, and widely available. Growing a garden of Asian herbs brings these exotic flavors and benefits to home cooking.

If you’re new to adventurous cooking, you may be wondering what Asian herbs are. They are the product of centuries-old civilizations whose flexible and adaptive cooking methods use cultivated and natural plants for their medicinal, sensory and sanitary uses. There are many types of Asian herbs to be cultivated in almost any climate, or in the form of potted herbs. Try some of them and expand your culinary horizons.

What are Asian herbs?

The flavours of China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and the East Indies are just some of the impressive uses of Asian herbs. The region dictates the predominant flavours and plants, but there are many cross-cultural uses for the same herb, such as coriander.

The wide range of Asian herbs contributes to the traditional style of food in each region. All in Thai

Cooks can use Thai basil, small red peppers and coconut milk as basic flavorings. Black cumin and garam masala are advertised in many Indian dishes. The need for local products has led to the use of indigenous herbs for flavour as well as for medicinal purposes.

Types of Asian Herbs

There are so many types of Asian herbs that it would be impossible to list them all here. The most common and the varieties grown in North America are the easiest to use and are suitable for many types of Asian cuisine.

In addition to a selection of Asian peppers, onions, leafy vegetables and tubers, the entire Asian herb garden should include the following :

  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Lemongrass
  • Ginger
  • Kaffir lime leaf
  • Chives with garlic
  • Shiso grass

All these Asian herbs are easy to grow and the seeds or starters are often available in garden centers.

How to grow Asian herbs

Herbs such as mint, oregano, thyme and marjoram are notoriously hardy and simple to grow in the garden or in a pot. Many Asian herbs require a warm temperate climate, but they can also be adapted to grow in a pot on a warm, sunny windowsill.

Starting from seed is an inexpensive way to try your hand at exotic herb gardening. Follow the instructions on the package whenever they are in English, or simply start as you would with any seed in a soil or small pot. Most herbs initially need sun, heat and moisture and can then withstand drier periods once the plants are mature. Once the danger of frost has passed, the seeds should be taken out in a sunny, well-drained spot on the garden bed.

Watch out for pests and avoid high watering, as plants can be sensitive to excess moisture and develop rust or fungus problems. Prune woody varieties to force compact growth, remove dead plant matter and pinch flowers, especially on plants such as coriander or basil.

Learning to grow Asian herbs can be an interesting undertaking that will give you an interesting flavour and aroma that you can play with in your kitchen all year round.

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