Single Packet of 500 Seeds
Russian Tarragon can grow up to five feet tall, but averages about three. It is about 18 inches around and has long, slender, lance-like leaves growing out from a branching stem. Russian Tarragon does well in warm sunny places, in dry, sandy, or rocky soil. It is native to prairies and abandoned places, and is much hardier and grows more readily than the delicate, polymorphic French variety.
To preserve the flavor, cut plants down to a few inches tall several times a year.
Russian Tarragon has less intense flavor than the closely related French Tarragon; if you don't keep the plant pruned back, it will lose taste and perfume. When growing, it will seem to have little flavor, but once harvested, the oils concentrate and flavors bloom. Fresh tarragon is better than dried.
It is flavorful in eggs, sauces and salad dressings. It is often used to season herb vinegars and butters. It is tasty when cooked with fish and chicken. Young stems can be cooked like asparagus. It is used to flavor a popular eastern European soda, and in Persian pickles.
Russian Tarragon has often been used medicinally. It is a good source of potassium and beta carotene. There has been some research on uses of it; one recently found that the essential oil has some antibacterial properties and can assist in preserving food. Others have shown that Russian tarragon especially is helpful in increasing muscle creatine absorption - this is helpful in body building and weight control.
Traditional medicinal uses include as a pain reliever - chew fresh leaves to lessen toothache or make a tea. In fact, chewing on a fresh leaf and waiting to feel the tingly/numbing sensation can help you differentiate tarragon from other, similar appearing plants. It is also used as a sleep soother, as an anti-parasitic, to relieve insomnia, promote good digestion, to stimulate appetite, and to lower the risk of heart attacks.
Sowing The Seed
Tarragon seeds can be started indoors, 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost, or directly outside in the garden as well. If started indoors, sow in peat pots, or starter pots, at a depth of 1/16” under topsoil. The seeds can be surface sown as well, since they will require direct light to germinate properly. Transplant when the weather is warm, into large containers, or directly in the garden.
Tarragon plants will thrive in an area of full sunlight and temperatures of at least 70F. The soil should be light & fluffy, and also well drained. To improve drainage, we recommend adding a light compost to any areas that contain hard, compact soil. Water the seeds and seedlings daily, with a mist setting, to prevent overwatering.
Germination & Growth
Tarragon seeds will typically take anywhere between 7 and 21 days to successfully germinate, if optimal conditions are met. The plants will reach a mature height of roughly 12 to 36 inches tall and can be spaced about 12 to 18 inches apart from one another. The plants will develop fragrant leaves through the late Spring and Summer months, and can be used to flavor many culinary dishes.