A good way to grow herbs and a recipe for lamb burgers.

If you only have time to grow ONE thing in a garden, I suggest growing herbs.  All they require is sun and possibly a fence if you have a lot of wild rabbits hopping around, as we have.  You can pretty much totally ignore your herb plants after you stick them in the ground and they will almost always thrive and come back year after year.  Yet oddly, when you buy herbs in the store, whether they be fresh or dried, they are quite pricey.  I don’t know why this is since they are literally the easiest thing you can possibly grow.

The biggest problem with growing herbs is that they spread like crazy and will completely take over your garden and you’ll have to spend a lot of time weeding baby herbs out.  To prevent this spreading, I plant my herbs in the holes of the cinder blocks I’ve used to build some of my raised strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry beds.  The herbs can’t spread as much because I’ve lined the bottom of the holes with cardboard to prevent their roots from sneaking out, and I pull off the flowers before they go to seed:imageimage



This is peppermint. DO NOT plant peppermint in any spot that you don’t want to be filled with peppermint within a year; it can easily spread to fill any and all available space, including space where you don’t want it. My peppermint is planted in an area that I mow around, which prevents it from taking over.

To harvest the herbs I wanted for this evening’s meal, I used sharp scissors to snip the stems; I don’t usually cut all the way back to the plant but rather leave at least a 1/2 to 1 inch of the stem in order to encourage branching.  Otherwise your herbs will become “leggy” and you’ll have tall herbs with a lot of stem but very few leaves.

I then snip the leaves off the stem into a colander and rinse them with cold water, drain them, and spread them out on a clean dish cloth to dry a bit.  Please note that this is NOT the way to prepare herbs for drying; it is the way to harvest fresh herbs for the day’s use.


Our children are at sleepaway camp, so my husband and I have been cooking dinners together consisting of food we love but our children do not.  Tonight I made lamb burgers and he grilled them.  Here is the approximate recipe:

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • fresh herbs: mint (I used peppermint), parsley, oregano – I used a total of about 5 tablespoons of fresh minced herbs
  • dried herbs and spices: kosher salt, coriander, black pepper, crushed red pepper – all to taste, or about 1/2 teaspoon each
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2-3 teaspoons white wine – whatever’s hanging around in the ‘fridge.  Today I had some leftover pinot grigio, so that’s what I used.
  • 1-2 teaspoons of molasses, depending on how sweet you like your food; leave this out if you’re on some kind of low carb diet.
I like this particular brand; American Lamb works with a lot of family farmers who practice free-ranging for their sheep and don't use growth hormones.

I like this particular brand; Superior Farms works with a lot of family farmers who practice free-ranging for their sheep and don’t use growth hormones.

Mix all ingredients together well with clean, bare hands in a large glass bowl, then form the meat into four patties.image

Grill for about 5 minutes or so on each side on a preheated grill brushed with olive oil.image

Serve on whole wheat buns with thick slices of red onion and thin slices of feta cheese; I also add sliced tomato to mine (and only mine – my husband hates tomatoes).


Finally, in addition to the culinary and medicinal uses of cultivated herbs, many wild plants (i.e. weeds) can be used for for these purposes as well.  The best source of information on wildcrafting herbs can be found at Common Sense Homesteading in the section on Herbs and Wildcrafting.


3 thoughts on “A good way to grow herbs and a recipe for lamb burgers.

  1. It looks delicious and I don’t even like lamb! Your idea about planting herbs in the cinder blocks is very clever. You are quite right about herbs (including peppermint,) growing freely and prolifically. To make it even better, they prefer some poor soil and outright neglect, making them a gardener’s dream.


  2. No kidding about the peppermint. I’ve been growing some in a pot out front, so they get the nice morning sun. Last year it put down runners, and I snipped all that I noticed, but missed one. I thought it didn’t get through the barkdust, but lo and behold I noticed three stems of peppermint sticking up out of the grassy plant next to our front porch. Hehe, oops.


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