Plant herbs now for the best homemade seasonings later

old herbs collected

Its almost spring and its time to start thinking about what new plants you’re going to try growing this year.  Here’s one suggestion – growing herbs and spices so you can make spice mixtures from the plants you’ve grown yourself on your own land.  Now how special would it be to give gifts to friends and family of something you’ve grown from seed into a plant, harvested, and then made into a spice mixture they can use?

I would propose gardens of three different types to make three homegrown seasonings mixtures:

  1.  A Italian or spaghetti garden
  2. A Taco garden
  3. A poultry seasoning garden

But first why grow your own herbs and spices?

walkers sageBecause its easy! Most of the time they are perennials so you plant once and reap the benefits year after year. They are easy to grow in the pacific northwest because of our moderate weather all year round. Some people have said its hard to grow rosemary here when its so wet, but I haven’t had a problem. Yes, it not like growing in in California where rosemary becomes a huge bush, but it grows into a good 2-3 foot bush for me in Washington.

Herbs don’t require much care in terms of dealing with pests or disease. I am organic so I don’t spray herbicides and also because I want to protect my bees from pesticides… my bees love the flowers of herbs… rosemary, thyme, lemon balm, fennel, etc…

There is a sense of accomplishment when you can tell someone that ALL of yOU DID ITthe ingredients (or almost all) were grown by you on your own property.  It means you really do know what it took to grow that plants… and that you did it all organically.  You know the mixture is pure spice and no filler.  You can play around with proportions to get the level you like and make as much or little as you need or want.  My family is small and my husband is not a “spice-guy” so I prefer to make smaller batches.  But I am the adventurous type so I like to have go-to spice mixtures pre-made so I can easily make a sauce or spice up a food that is otherwise normal (or bland in my opinion) for the rest of the family.

The only down side (if you want to call it that) to growing your own plants is that often herbs can take over the area their in if you don’t harvest them routinely or at the right time.  One thing you might consider is creating a herb spiral.

Herb spiral

Herb spiral
The owners of All Things Plants have an article and video on how to make a herb spiral.

There are many great articles  and videos on how to make a herb spiral so I will post some here and wont go into it step by step here.  But the essence of a herb spiral is you take a square piece of land and you build a solid structure that spirals up.  It can be made from bricks, cider blocks, or any other strong base material.  Inside the spiral you put soil and then plant your herbs inside the soil that spirals upward.

Its  a great use of space.  You can plan plant placement based on height, water and sun needs (sun loving towards the sun, water loving towards the bottom).

The Gardens

Italian seasoning mixture recipe

Spaghetti / Italian Garden

Plant these… click to learn to grow these plants








Taco SeasoningTaco seasoning garden

Plant these… click to learn to grow these plants

Onions for onion powder

Garlic for garlic powder

Jalapenos to make Chipolte powder

Cayenne peppers

Cumin – the second most popular spice in the world but not really grown in the US. Takes a lot of plants to produce enough.

Paprika – easier to buy than make, but if you grow use the Alma pepper… see this info from Territorial seed on making paprika.


poultry seasoning

Poultry Seasoning

Plant these… click to learn to grow these plants





Nutmeg – easier to buy than grow

Black pepper – easier to buy than grow


                               Mixture Recipes


Spaghetti / Italian Garden

1 part Rosemary

1 part Thyme

2 parts Marjoram

2 parts Oregano

2 parts Basil

2 Tbs Garlic (remember this when you are adding fresh garlic to your recipe)



Poultry Seasoning

6 parts rosemary

3 parts thyme

2 parts basil

2 parts sage

1 part nutmeg

1 part black pepper

Mix together and store in a glass jar and keep out of light


Taco seasoning

1 part Onion powder

1 parts Garlic powder

4 parts Chipolte powder

2 parts paprika

2 parts cumin

Options: 1/2 part Cayenne



Other resources to check out on Something to Discover:

Garlic powder and salt

Onion powder, salt and flakes

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