Author Andrew Perry in his book The Herb Gardening Handbook, presents a beginner’s guide to growing and harvesting herbs. As founder of Urban Herbs, an online retailer of unusual and classic herbs, Perry believes that you can improve the flavors in your cooking and well as improve your well being by growing a wide variety of herbs. He begins his book by sharing the five reasons he feels are most important for growing herbs: improving both physical and mental health, caring for the environment, saving money, and providing and an opportunity for having fun.

A chapter on the basics gives readers the necessary tools and skills needed to grow herbs. He explains the differences between annuals and perennials, and between deciduous and evergreen, and discusses such needs of the plants as space, temperatures, light, soil, and water. Recognizing that many people do not have garden space, Perry considers alternatives such as indoor and outdoor containers and includes tips for achieving success with both. A description of indoor and outdoor pests and diseases and their control, concludes the basic material.

The most fun part of the book are the 12 projects that Perry presents. They range from a bee buffet and herb flower farm to a pizza pantry garden and and balcony salad farm. Each entry gives the virtues of the project, the difficulty level, equipment, possible herbs with alternatives, and specific directions for planting and caring for the garden. One of my favorites is the cocktail herb garden. This an easy project that provides both a centerpiece and cocktail ingredients that guests can add to their drinks to suit their own taste. The plants included are lime mint, strawberry mint, blackcurrant sage, and lemon curd thyme with rosemary and lemon balm as alternatives. Just thinking about a party with guests taking leaves from the plants and adding them to their drinks, brings a smile to my face. Such a novel and interesting way to take a cocktail party to a new level!

The buy Herb Gardening Handbook from Amazon, click here.

By Karen