Tarragon is a versatile herb that has been used in cooking for centuries. It belongs to the Artemisia species, which also includes sagebrush and mugwort. The herb has narrow, pointed leaves that are highly aromatic and have a distinct liquorice or anise flavour. Tarragon is commonly used in French cuisine but also popular in Russian and Mediterranean dishes.
Fresh tarragon leaves can be chopped and added to salads, dressings, sauces, and marinades for a burst of flavour. They can also be used to infuse vinegar or oil with their unique taste. In addition, Tarragon extract and essential oil are used in the food industry to add a natural anise flavour to products like candy, baked goods, and beverages.
Dried tarragon can be used as a substitute for fresh tarragon in recipes when fresh leaves are unavailable. However, the flavour may not be as strong as fresh tarragon.
Growing your own tarragon plant at home is easy if you have the right conditions. Tarragon is a perennial herb that grows best in well-drained soil with full sun exposure. You can start growing it from seed or buy a small pot of the plant from your local nursery.
In addition to its culinary uses, tarragon has several health benefits. It contains antioxidants that help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. In addition, Tarragon tea made from the leaves can aid digestion and soothe an upset stomach.
Choose the Right Location
Tarragon is a sun-loving herb that requires at least 6 hrs of sunlight a day to thrive. Therefore, when choosing a place in your garden, make sure it receives enough sunlight and has good drainage. Avoid planting tarragon in areas with heavy clay soil or where water tends to pool, as this can lead to root rot.
Planting and Care of Tarragon
Tarragon can be grown from seeds or cuttings, but starting with a young plant from a nursery is easier. Plant the tarragon in the spring after the last frost and space them about 18 inches apart. Water regularly, but avoid overwatering as it can cause root rot. Fertilise once a month with a balanced fertiliser.
It's important to note that tarragon is a perennial herb that will come back year after year if properly cared for. In colder climates, it may die back during the winter months but will regrow in the spring.
Tarragon leaves can be harvested when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Cut off the top 4-6 inches of the stem, leaving at least two sets of leaves on the plant. Harvest in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak for maximum flavour.
Regular harvesting will encourage new growth and keep the plant healthy. It's important not to harvest more than one-third of the plant at once, as this can stress it and stunt its growth.
Find Your Perfect Tarragon Garden: Using Climate and Heat Zones to Grow the Best Herbs
Determine Your Climate and Heat Zone
To grow the best tarragon plants, it is important to determine your climate and heat zone. The best time to plant tarragon seeds or young plants. Tarragon grows best in areas with an average minimum temperature of -30°F to 20°F (-34°C to -6°C).
Choose a Well-Drained Soil
Tarragon plants require well-drained soil with a pH level of 6.5-7.5 for optimal growth. It is recommended that you amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or aged manure before planting your tarragon seeds or young plants.
Protect Your Tarragon Plants from Frost
Tarragon is sensitive to frost and requires protection during colder months. Plant your tarragon in a sheltered area or cover them with frost blankets when temperatures drop below freezing.
Start Your Tarragon Plants in Full Sun
Tarragon requires full sun for at least six hours a day to thrive. Choose a section of your garden that receives full sun throughout the day for optimal growth.
Ensure Roots Are Not Exposed To Direct Sunlight
While tarragon requires full sun, it is important that the roots are not exposed to direct sunlight. To prevent this, plant your tarragon in a shaded area or cover the soil with mulch.
Store Seeds In A Cool, Dark Place
If you are starting your tarragon from seeds, store them in a cool, dark place until you are ready to plant them. This will ensure maximum germination rates and healthy seedlings.
Choosing The Perfect Location For Your Tarragon Garden
Now that you know how to grow healthy and thriving tarragon plants, let's talk about choosing the perfect location for your garden! When selecting where to start your herb garden, there are several factors to consider.
First, you want to choose a location that has good drainage. Tarragon plants do not like wet feet and will not thrive in soil that is consistently moist. If your garden area tends to hold water, consider building raised beds or adding organic matter to improve drainage.
Secondly, you want to select an area that receives full sun for at least six hours a day. As previously mentioned, tarragon requires full sun for optimal growth and flavour.