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Tarragon

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Botanical name: Artemisia dracunculus

Plant type: Herb

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Sandy, Loamy

Tarragon is a perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers. For cooking, use French tarragon. Russian tarragon can easily be mistaken for French, but Russian tarragon is coarser and less flavorful than French tarragon.

Planting

  • You can't grow French tarragon from seeds. You must purchase the plants or take an established plant from a friend's garden. Get the transplants in the spring or fall.
  • Plant the transplants in well-drained soil about 2 to 3 feet apart in order to give each plant room to grow. A full-grown plant should cover about 12 inches of soil.
  • The plants should grow to around 2 or 3 feet in height.
  • Tarragon is a good companion to most vegetables in the garden.

Care

  • Be sure to prune the plant regularly to prevent flowering and to keep the height to around 2 feet (otherwise the plant will fall over).
  • If you live in a colder climate, be sure to put mulch around the plants in late fall in order to protect the roots during the winter.
  • To help keep your plants healthy, divide them every 3 to 4 years in the spring or fall. New plants can grow from stem cuttings or root cuttings.

Pests

  • Many rusts, including white rust
  • Downy mildew
  • Powdery mildew
  • Various fungal leaf and stem diseases

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest your plant regularly. Two or three plants will suffice if you regularly prune them.
  • Tarragon is best used fresh in the summer.
  • You can freeze the leaves or dry them. If left to dry for too long, though, the leaves lose their flavor, so be careful. As soon as the leaves are dry, store them in airtight containers.

Recommended Varieties

  • French tarragon, which goes great with meats, poultry, and seafood

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

Put tarragon in your shoes before a long walk to give you strength.

Comments

Your probably growing Russian

By jrsweig

Your probably growing Russian tarragon if you grew it from seed, not french, which has a better flavor...Russian tarragon is pretty much a weed

is it safe to eat tarragon

By EJ THOMAS

is it safe to eat tarragon buds and flowers?

Hi, EJ: Like who knows how

By Almanac Staff

Hi, EJ: Like who knows how many things these days, tarragon has been found to possibly have carcinogenic and/or mutagenic effects in the lab (animals). The jury is still out, but it is very probable that even if this is true, you would have to ingest huge amounts of tarragon at every meal for the rest of your life (however abbreviated it may or may not be!) in order to be harmed. You do what you want. We eat them!

Tarragon from seed

By Anonymous

I grew Tarragon from seed a couple of years ago and it is still going strong in my garden! :) ~ christine (Loveland, CO)

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