Tarragon reminds me of Summer in France, fields of sunflowers and French cooking. Tarragon is actually a relative of the sunflower and this aniseed-flavoured herb is used in béarnaise sauce – very French. Surprisingly tarragon is originally native to Asia with flat, narrow, glossy-green leaves but French Tarragon is prized for its flavour and the one we know today. Today learn about growing Tarragon in the Herb Garden and use it in your kitchen.
Tarragon in the Herb Garden
You won’t find seeds available for tarragon or if you do they are fakes. French tarragon does not set viable seeds, instead, it is propagated by cutting or division. So you will have to get it from a garden centre or friendly herb grower.
Tarragon likes Sandy, free draining soil. If you have clay like me grow it in large pots filled with gritty compost or plant in a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil.
How to keep you Tarragon Happy in the Herb Garden
Tarragon is a hardy plant and fairly pest free (although slugs love it tender spring leaves I have found)
- Keep plants well watered, especially those growing in pots, to prevent a check to growth.
- Pinch off any flowers for a constant supply of leaves.
- Tarragon dies back to the ground in winter. If you live in a cold area or have an exposed garden, protect plants with horticultural fleece. Raise containers off the ground with pot feet or place in the greenhouse.
- Plants will remain productive for two to three years, but will eventually run out of steam and need replacing.
How to propagate your Tarragon
You have to be careful as Tarragon has delicate roots. Use a knife instead of a hoe or shovel to gently separate roots and collect the new herb plant. Divide the herb in spring just as the new shoots are breaking ground. You should be able to collect three to five new transplants from the parent French tarragon plant.
Propagation may also occur by taking cuttings from young stems early in the morning. Cut a 4- to an 8-inch amount of stem from just below a node and then remove the lower one-third of the leaves. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone and then plant in warm, moist potting soil.
Keep the new baby herb moist but not damp. Once the roots form on your new tarragon plant, it may be transplanted into the garden in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Plant the new French tarragon plants 24 inches apart.
Harvesting and Using your Tarragon in the Kitchen
The best reason to grow Tarragon in the herb garden is it best used fresh. Gather stem tips as you need them in the kitchen carefully as they bruise easily.
Tarragon can be dried although it loses some flavour, or you can use fresh tarragon to make flavoured vinegar and store it that way.
Tarragon vinegar is easy to make. Put fresh tarragon sprigs into a sterilized bottle of distilled white vinegar. Taste it after a few days. Continue steeping until it suits your taste. Once the desired strength is achieved, remove the sprigs.
Or of course, you can use it to make the classic béarnaise sauce perfect with fish.
Get your Quick grow guide to Tarragon Below
If you enjoyed this herb guide you can find more form our Snapshot and Snippets Herb garden
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- The Herb guides – Growing Chives
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