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Dress up the table and your holiday meals with a centerpiece of fresh herbs. You and your family will enjoy snipping a few fresh sprigs to season your meal to your own taste.

Purchase plants so they will be ready to harvest for the holidays. Many garden centers now carry herb plants year-round and some grocery stores sell herb plants in their produce department.

Include herbs your family likes and those that complement your menu.  Grow plants in individual containers or plant several in one larger decorative pot.  Select a container with drainage holes and one that complements your table setting. 

Double pot plants when using a decorative container that lacks drainage holes. Plant herbs in a smaller pot with drainage holes. You can set several individual pots in a larger container. Place pebbles in the bottom of the decorative pot. These elevate the inner pots above any excess water that collects in the bottom of the decorative pot. Better for the plants and less work for you.

Use a quality, well-drained potting mix when moving herbs into another container. Be sure to place a saucer or tray under the pot to protect your furniture. Set on a decorative placemat for added protection and add a few seasonal items to complete your display. 

Include some basil to dress up a pizza, salad, or soup with just a few leaves.  Add some oregano for seasoning any tomato-based dishes such as pizza and pasta. Use fresh thyme to add flavor to cheeses, eggs, tomatoes, and lentil. Lemon thyme makes a nice tea.

Chives’ mild onion flavor is great on potatoes, but consider adding it to soups, dips, seafood dishes, and omelets. Just snip a few leaves and cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to your dish.

Parsley is high in vitamin C and often added to soups, pasta, salads, and dressings. Harvest a sprig at the end of the meal to freshen your breath.

Always water plants thoroughly when the top inch of soil is starting to dry. Basil likes slightly moist soil but not soggy wet. Pour off excess water that collects in the saucer or elevate the pot on pebbles above any water that lingers in the saucer or tray.

To see the full article, check out this week's edition of the Linn County News or check out the online version here


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