Fresh tarragon, like chervil, is a popular herb used in French cuisine that may not be found fresh at your local supermarket. Tarragon is a subtle herb with a fresh licorice taste and hints of vanilla, pepper and citrus. Because of the subtleness of the herb, even folks like me who don’t love the taste of licorice will enjoy the flavor of tarragon on a number of dishes.
Tarragon is fantastic in salad dressings, sauces, fish, chicken, vegetable, and egg dishes. It’s also used to make Bearnaise sauce, and it's an incredible addition to mojitos and lemonades.
I suggest growing the French variety of tarragon, as it is sweeter and milder than the Russian variety which can be less aromatic and more bitter. Fresh tarragon, which is more difficult to find at the supermarket, is more flavorful and complex than when dried.
When cooking with Tarragon, always add it at the end of your preparation. The taste of tarragon is mild and becomes milder with cooking.
Tarragon grows wonderfully in hydroponics. It will grow to 2-3 feet long. However, it is a slow grower and can take months before it is ready to be harvested regularly.
|Germination||Light||EC Range||pH Range:||Time to Harvest|
|Difficult||14-16 hours||1.0-1.8||6.0-6.5||2-3 months|
Nutrient and Health Info - Tarragon doesn't come with lots of vitamins and nutrients, but it's exception taste when fresh is worth growing.
Tips & Tricks - When cooking with Tarragon, always add it at the end of your preparation. The taste of tarragon is mild and becomes milder with cooking.
While I have seen many French tarragon seeds for sale online, I understand that it is actually a sterile plant. It will flower, but it will not produce seeds. Therefore, the only way to grow true French Tarragon is to purchase a young plant or grow one from a cutting. Reasonable substitutes with similar taste may be available with seeds.
If you purchase a young plant, keep in mind that it could come with pests in the soil or growing media. You’ll want to rinse the roots of your tarragon transplant with water first, and then use 3% hydrogen peroxide to ensure that any pest larvae are destroyed prior to planting them in your indoor, hydroponic garden. Also keep in mind that transferring your tarragon to hydroponics, as well as the process of rinsing the roots, can shock the plant. However, after early struggles it should be fine within a week.
If, rather than using a rooted plant to begin growing you decide to propagate your tarragon from a cutting, we have an article on that as well.
Tarragon is a lover of light and will grow best with 14-16 hours of artificial light per day.
Tarragon prefers an EC range of between 1.0 – 1.8, depending on its maturity. While young, your tarragon will prefer an EC closer to 1.0, and when mature it will prefer an EC closer to 1.8. While it’s important to keep your EC ranges close, don’t sweet it too much as long as it’s between 1.0-1.8. At higher EC ranges, it may continue to grow well, however the taste can change a bit.
Keep your pH range between 6.0 and 6.5 for best results.
Tarragon will grow best with our Green Machine nutrients for herbs and leafy greens. You do not want your Tarragon to flower. French Tarragon flowers are not known to produce seeds, and your tarragon may taste more bitter after flowering. By cutting any flower buds off quickly before they flower, you can prevent the plant from becoming bitter.
Time to Harvest:
Because we suggest growing your French tarragon from young plants or cuttings, time to harvest will differ depending on the method you use and the size of the plant at the start. Make sure that your Tarragon plant is growing new foliage and fresh roots prior to harvesting. Tarragon is a slow grower at first, so try to be patient.
Pruning and Harvesting:
Once your tarragon gets going, it will grow to 2-3 feet tall if left unattended. At that point, a single plant is all you will likely need to grow enough for your use. You will also have to prune and harvest it regularly so that it does not take over your indoor, hydroponic garden.
Tarragon is also a gentle plant and the leaves can bruise easily while harvesting. Simply cut a stem off, and gently run your finger down it to remove the leaves.
Tarragon, like chervil, is a delicate tasting herb used frequently in French cuisine. The licorice taste is quite mild and never overpowering. In fact, remember to add tarragon to your meal at the end of preparation, as heating tarragon will result in an even more mild taste. Try it with poultry, fish, eggs, soups, veggies, and more dishes that don’t need to be overpowered, but would be complimented with a fresh, peppery taste that comes with the hint of licorice.
Let’s grow together!