In an herb bed, it becomes one of a cook's resources to create a memorable meal, but for the gardener, the ingredient is less remarkable.That means that new plants must be produced from rooted cuttings in order to have the classic tarragon flavor.Grown as a clump-forming perennial in most of the country, French tarragon thrives in regions where winter provides a period of rest and summers are not too hot or too wet.French tarragon has a fleshy root system that prefers a loose, soil enriched with organic matter.If your soil is heavy and your climate hot and humid, you will have the best chance of success by planting in a container or hanging basket where it drains well and has good air circulation.If your container plant turns brown and looks dead in winter, even if it is in your house or greenhouse, cut it back and give it time.Like most herbs, French tarragon is delicious fresh, but for winter the leaves need to be preserved.French terragon is a traditional seasoning with eggs, poultry, salads, cheese, and fish. .

French Tarragon

Our goose has laid its first eggs against the barn, and in the herb garden’s raised beds the young tarragon leaves are just big enough to snip for the kitchen.sativa), which probably originated in western Asia, is the commonly grown temperate-zone tarragon used for culinary purposes.The stem was longer, the leaves were similar in shape but larger and coarser, and it had no flavor—like Russian tarragon.It is a marigold (Tagetes lucida), grown as an annual in temperate zones and as a perennial in hot climates.Russian tarragon is sometimes identified or mislabeled as French, so it’s a good idea to beg a leaf for tasting.In late winter or very early spring (March in the Pacific Northwest), we gently lift the oldest patches of plants with a garden fork (photos, below).Our friend Gery Prasing, a wholesale grower, used to propagate plants from stem cuttings.It will benefit from some winter protection in Zone 2, so lay down a 2- or 3-inch layer of straw or dead leaves.Mature plants should be watered every three days to encourage a continual supply of fresh leaves.Mature plants can survive for long periods without water, but under these conditions they will not grow new leaves.Although average to good garden soil is adequate for tarragon, we top-dress our beds with compost every winter.French tarragon is harder to grow in areas of high humidity where the dormant season is short.French tarragon appears to need a two-month dormancy period when the temperature drops close to freezing.Individual stems can be shortened and stripped of their leaves, but for a continuous supply through August and Sep­tem­ber, you must cut back about half your plants in late June, leaving the remaining half for harvesting while the cut ones regrow.It is better to preserve the leaves in vinegar or to chop and freeze tarragon in water in ice cube trays.Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat it dry inside and out with a paper towel.Put bay leaves and a handful of tarragon sprigs under the bird to flavor the pan drippings.Add extra water, wine, or stock if the liquid in the roasting pan dries up. .

How to Grow and Care for French Tarragon

sativa A delightful and easy herb to grow for the kitchen garden, French tarragon has an appealing flavor similar to sweet anise and licorice.It makes a fast-growing and attractive plant in containers or herb borders, and features upright growth, slender green and silver leaves, and a distinct, appealing fragrance.The fresh leaves are used in a variety of dishes, such as those with eggs, fish, mushrooms, tomatoes, and poultry, and are noted for their use in French cuisine and sauces.And although its chromosomal profile shows it to be a sterile derivative of the Russian variety, A. dracunculoides pursch, the two shouldn’t be confused.However, its use in the kitchen is limited due to its bitter taste and musty aroma – although people from the Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia use it to flavor soft drinks, cider, and tobacco.Mexican mint tarragon, Tagetes lucida, is an unrelated perennial native to Mexico and Guatemala and also grows from seed, with germination and growth habits similar to that of marigolds.Hardy only to Zone 9, the foliage has a distinct and rich licorice flavor very similar to true tarragon – which makes it well-suited as a culinary substitute in regions with intense summer heat.In comparison, the French variety has a much fuller flavor than the closely related Russian type, and is considered by chefs and home cooks alike to be of superior quality for culinary purposes.The fresh leaves are used extensively with egg, fish, and poultry dishes, and veggies such as mushrooms and tomatoes.sativa is one of the first herbs to break dormancy, sending up shoots in late winter or early spring.According to herbalist folklore, it was later brought to France in the 14th century by Saint Catherine of Siena, and quickly spread throughout Europe where it was grown in monastic gardens.Plants reach a height of 24 to 36 inches with a 12 to 15-inch spread, and quickly form robust clumps via root runners.The small cream or yellow flowers are insignificant and seeds are sterile, with propagation achieved vegetatively through root division or stem cuttings.An outstanding feature is that frequent pruning produces vigorous branching for a steady supply of leaves throughout spring and summer.Tarragon is a “nurse” plant considered to be beneficial throughout the garden, and can be used in herb knots as well as flower and vegetable beds.Pests, such as flea beetles and whiteflies, dislike the fragrance and tend to avoid areas where it’s planted.It’s also well suited to container growth, and makes an attractive and fragrant addition to kitchen gardens and patio pots.Plant the divisions in containers filled with fresh soil or directly in the ground as outlined in the How to Grow section below.Growth is most active in the cool temperatures of spring, and plants will appreciate some afternoon shade in summer’s heat when hot, direct sunshine can cause them to sag.Continue to harvest or clip the stems regularly to maintain lush, branching growth throughout the season.In late fall, clean beds and containers of any plant debris to prevent harmful pathogens from overwintering.Before winter, mulch the crown with a two- to four-inch layer of leaf mold or straw to protect against freezing temperatures.In late winter before new growth emerges, remove any mulch, cut back any remaining stems to one inch, and top-dress with organic material such as well-rotted manure or compost.Transferred by wind, leaves develop brown, white, or yellow spots with a fuzzy gray mold on the underside.Ensure proper air circulation and water plants in the morning, so that leaves dry by evening.It appears as small white or yellow spots that form orange or red pustules, causing deformation and defoliation.Remove and destroy infected leaves, and ensure plant debris is cleared away before winter sets in.Transfer frozen stems to a resealable plastic bag and remove excess air before sealing and storing in the freezer.When dry, crumble the leaves into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool, dark cupboard.Create your own herbed vinaigrette for salads and vegetables – and be sure to add a pinch of dry mustard for an unforgettable flavor.Add fresh leaves to roasted chicken, fish en papillote, a frittata or omelet, or as a pizza topping.And for a unique and refreshing drink, add a sprig to a cool summer spritzer or vinegar shrub.

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Tarragon: Care and Growing Guide

Botanical Name Artemisia dracunculus (Sativa subspecies) Common Name Estragon Plant Type Perennial herb Mature Size 24 inches Sun Exposure Part Sun/Part Shade Soil Type Sandy, well-drained Soil pH Neutral (6.5 to 7.5) Bloom Time Summer Flower Color Light green leaves Hardiness Zones 4 and warmer Native Area Temperate Europe and Asia.French Tarragon produces sterile flowers, so it can't be sown from seed in your garden.Planting up in early spring will help ensure the best flavor, and making sure your Tarragon doesn't get too much direct sun in hot climates is best.French Tarragon, unlike many other herbs, isn't a fan of direct sun in hot climates.A rich, acidic, moist soil will result in poor growth, rotting roots and a reduced flavor.Young Tarragon will benefit from watering on alternate days if you're experiencing prolonged hot, dry spells.These plants can cope in dry ground, and care should be taken not to overwater as this will diminish growth and flavor intensity.In very cold conditions, you would be best to put mulch around the plant in winter to help protect the roots when it dies back and goes into dormancy.You could cut the root ball in half and plant the division in fresh soil in containers or directly into the ground.By keeping the flower buds trimmed back during the peak growing season, this will help ensure that any leaves harvested will retain their best flavor, and it'll promote the most generous and bushy growth.Letting the potted plants become overly root bound before dividing and replanting will diminish the flavor, so don't wait until it's too far gone. .

How to Grow French Tarragon

It is one of the four sweet or fines herbes favored in French cooking—along with chervil, parsley, and chives.Tarragon is particularly compatible with eggs, fish and shellfish, tomatoes, chicken, and salad greens.Tarragon is perennial but is often treated as annual and started new with a fresh plant every spring.Best location: Plant French tarragon in full sun or partial shade.Plant French tarragon in full sun or partial shade.Outdoor planting time: French tarragon cuttings or divisions started indoors can be transplanted into the garden a week or two after the last frost in spring.Established plants can survive cold winters outdoors if protected with a thick layer of mulch.Watering: Keep French tarragon evenly moist until plants are established.Feeding: French tarragon is a light feeder; foliar spray plants with compost tea or a seaweed extract 2 to 3 times during the growing season.Divide French tarragon every 3 to 4 years to keep plants growing vigorously.Divide French tarragon every 3 to 4 years to keep plants growing vigorously.French tarragon can be grown easily in a container 6 to 12 inches wide and deep.Avoid planting French tarragon where water collects or where leaves are slow to dry.When to harvest: Pick young, top leaves in early summer for the best flavor.Leaves: Tarragon enhances the flavor of fish, pork, beef, lamb, poultry, pates, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, peas, parsley, chervil, garlic, chives, lemons, oranges, and rice.Tarragon enhances the flavor of fish, pork, beef, lamb, poultry, pates, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, peas, parsley, chervil, garlic, chives, lemons, oranges, and rice.Culinary companions: Tarragon is well served with carrots, green beans, peas, and asparagus.To refrigerate, wrap leaves in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag; tarragon will keep for 2 or 3 weeks.To refrigerate, wrap leaves in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag; tarragon will keep for 2 or 3 weeks.Prune roots back to about 2 inches and then replant in just moist planting mix.Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus sativa) is coarse and bitter-tasting, not recommended for cooking.Caspian Sea, Siberia Type of plant: French tarragon is a perennial often grown as an annual.French tarragon grows from 12 to 24 inches tall; it spreads from tangled, underground rhizomes.French tarragon is a sprawling, mostly flowerless plant with aromatic leaves reminiscent of anise and mint.French tarragon grows from 12 to 24 inches tall; it spreads from tangled, underground rhizomes.Flowers: French tarragon produces sterile cloves and cannot be grown from seed.(A different plant called Russian tarragon can be grown from seed, but it is considered by most to be too bitter for culinary use.).French tarragon produces sterile cloves and cannot be grown from seed.(A different plant called Russian tarragon can be grown from seed, but it is considered by most to be too bitter for culinary use.).Caspian Sea, Siberia Type of plant: French tarragon is a perennial often grown as an annual.French tarragon grows from 12 to 24 inches tall; it spreads from tangled, underground rhizomes.French tarragon is a sprawling, mostly flowerless plant with aromatic leaves reminiscent of anise and mint.French tarragon grows from 12 to 24 inches tall; it spreads from tangled, underground rhizomes.Flowers: French tarragon produces sterile cloves and cannot be grown from seed.(A different plant called Russian tarragon can be grown from seed, but it is considered by most to be too bitter for culinary use.).French tarragon produces sterile cloves and cannot be grown from seed.(A different plant called Russian tarragon can be grown from seed, but it is considered by most to be too bitter for culinary use.). .

How to grow and care for tarragon

Tarragon isn’t a widely grown herb at home, but it is well worth it especially if you like French cuisine, for which it is a popular and traditional ingredient.Tarragon is a perennial, and one plant will give you masses of leaves to pick over several years.Tarragon needs a sunny, warm and sheltered position to do well and produce strongly flavoured leaves.When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant individually into small pots and grow them on in cooler conditions – around 10°C (50°F) – until large enough to plant outside after the risk of frost has passed, after hardening off – acclimatise them to outdoor conditions – for 7 to 10 days.Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole.Water in well and apply a light dressing of a granular general feed over the soil.French tarragon is not completely cold hardy and may need winter protection by covering plants with a cloche, fleece or straw.If growing in containers, move to a sheltered position – even a shed or garage – when the plant has died down during the winter months. .

How to grow tarragon

Plant it in full sun to partial shade, in average garden soil.Good drainage is important, so growing in a raised bed is helpful.Tarragon is relatively trouble free – it is not usually bothered by insects or diseases.Tarragon is best used fresh – you can keep it for a few weeks in a zipper bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.If you are in zone 4 or 5, the pot will need to be sunk into the soil up to the rim to prevent the roots from freezing. .

Growing French Tarragon: A Tender Perennial with Rich Anise Flavor

The leaves of French tarragon have a fresh rich flavor which is sometimes compared to anise and licorice.This sprawling hardy perennial plant can produce for many years if it is regularly dug up and divided.Plants grown in nutrient-poor soil will have a more intense flavor, so it’s best not to fertilize heavily when you set your tarragon out.Sarah Garland says in her Complete Book of Herbs and Spices that plants grown in poorer soil will grow more slowly.However, tarragon will grow best in soil with plenty of organic matter, which can improve both water retention and drainage.The Illinois Extension recommends leaving the dead tops in place over winter and cutting them back in spring.Sarah Garland and the University of Florida recommend cutting the tops back in autumn.Start by buying French tarragon seedlings or by taking cuttings or root divisions from an established plant.To improve your tarragon’s chances over the winter, plant it in a well-drained spot (roots in soggy frozen soil are more likely to die) and mulch it well.Strip the leaves from the lower part of the cutting and set them in sand or some other growing medium.Rodale’s Garden Problem Solver says that tarragon can be brought inside and forced to grow through the winter.Pot up a large division in late summer and cut the stem off at the base.Basil, parsley, and cilantro are good choices for complimentary herb companions.According to Rodale’s Garden Problem Solver, fresh tarragon will keep in the refrigerator for several days.Tarragon can also be dried, though its flavor grows much weaker during the process and its bright green color turns brown.Bundle tips and hang them in a dry airy place out of direct sunlight.When the leaves are dry and brittle, strip them from the stems and store them in airtight containers. .

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