spices in spoons arranged on a board

How to Grow Your Own Spices

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It’s not hard to learn how to grow your own spices. They are fresher, more flavorful and you know how they were grown. It’s fun too! And also check out how to start an herb garden!

spice jars filled with home grown spices spilled out on a board

Everyone talks about growing herbs, but did you know you can actually grow spices at home as well? There are so many wonderful flavorful spices that are easy to grow in most climates!

Spice gardening

One of the best and most versatile spices to grow is garlic. We grow it every year and reuse the seed to replant again.

You eat the bulbs on the bottom of the plant. If you grow hard neck garlic, you can also eat the scapes or flower stems that grow up from the garlic plant.

It’s super easy to grow, check out how to grow garlic in your garden here.

Turmeric is fairly easy to grow. You eat the roots or rhizomes that grow under the plant. It’s great in Asian and Indian dishes.

Turmeric rhizomes are planted in spring or early summer in most climates. Plant them with the eye bud facing upwards in a warm spot but away from bright light. Water moderately every few days, but don’t overwater. If it stays too wet, it will rot.

Ginger is a popular spice and is very easy to grow. Like turmeric, we eat the rhizomes. You can even grow it indoors and can harvest it year-round. Soak the rhizomes overnight and then plant them in a wide pot. It does spread outward.

Cardamom is also fairly easy to grow. We eat the pods on the plant. It’s great in sweet and savory dishes. Click here to see how to grow cardamom.

Cumin is super easy to grow. To use it, let the plant flower and harvest the seeds.

Cumin is good in many kinds of dishes. The leaves are edible but don’t taste that great. Cumin grows like parsley. It grows better in warmer climates in 10-inch pots or larger. It takes quite a while to flower, so plant in early spring for a late summer or fall harvest.

coriander seeds in a bowl and on a board with ground coriander and some cilantro

We eat the seeds of coriander as well. And it’s an easy grower in the spice garden. It’s actually the seed heads from cilantro. In Oklahoma, cilantro grows in the cool season and bolts as soon as the weather warms up a bit, so that’s when you can harvest the coriander seeds.

Paprika is a spice you grind. They are peppers like any other sweet or hot pepper. So you grow them the same. You harvest them and dry them to use as paprika. It is made by dehydrating and grinding sweet tomato peppers.

Saffron actually is the stamen of a saffron crocus. It’s so expensive, the most expensive spice, because you only get a few little “hairs” from each crocus and it takes a lot to make a little container of it. It is so pungent and rare. They are fairly difficult to grow. They will grow in zones 6-9 so Oklahoma is a good place to try it.

Mustard seeds are cultivated and used to make so many things. They are easy to grow and full of flavor. You can grow them in pots too. You just have to let the plant go to seed and collect the seeds. You can also eat the mustard greens before they flower, so it’s a multi-purpose plant.

mustard seeds spilling out of a jar and scoop onto a table

We grow fennel every year. It overwinters usually here in Oklahoma and it reseeds itself, so it keeps growing. It’s 6 or so feet tall. We grow it to attract swallowtail butterflies in our preschool garden. They love it! And the kids love watching butterfly life cycles. But, we also cook with it. We grow bulb fennel for the bulbs and seeds, and regular and bronze fennel for the fronds and seeds. It’s a very versatile plant.

Fennel tastes a little like licorice but in a mild and pleasant way. Here’s how to dry the seeds of fennel and make fennel powder.

It’s easy to grow fennel. Starting with plants from a nursery or seeds are just as easy. Wait until your last frost date has passed. Ours is April 15. Broadcast them on the ground and sprinkle a light layer of soil over top and pat it down lightly to make sure it has contact with the seeds. Water well and keep watered weekly. It does have a long taproot, so make sure if you grow in beds or containers that they are at least 12 inches deep.

Bay leaves are easy to grow. It’s actually a tree. You’ll have to grow it in a greenhouse or bring it in in the wintertime in most climates, but it can easily be grown indoors year-round.

Herbs and spices to grow

If you want some awesome recipes to make with your homegrown spices, check these out:

And for herb mixes to season with try making some of these homemade seasoning blends:

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