(Aug. 12) Aside from cooking with herbs, Jerry Traunfeld, executive chef of The Herbfarm, Woodinville, Wash., is famous for growing his own herbs. He received the 2000 James Beard/ American Express award for Best Chef: Northwest/Hawaii. His book, “The Herbfarm Cookbook; 200 Herb-Inspired Recipes Plus a Complete Guide to Growing, Handling, and Cooking with Fresh Herbs,” won The International Association of Cooking Professionals award for the best cookbook in the chef/restaurant category.

WHY NOT JUST BUY YOUR HERBS? WHY GROW THEM YOURSELF?
As a chef, it’s very inspiring to be able to just go out and clip herbs as you need them, especially if you have a whole herb garden. Also, fresh-cut herbs have much more flavor. The essential oils evaporate soon after they are cut.

WHAT CAN YOU GET OUT OF HERBS THAT YOU GROW YOURSELF THAT YOU COULDN’T GET FROM PURCHASED HERBS?
There are other parts of the plant beyond the leaves you can use. For instance, many have flowers you can use as garnishing that taste delicious, like rosemary and sage blossoms and fennel flowers. They have a wonderful sweet flavor. You can also use seeds, like fresh fennel or coriander seeds in your cooking. And you can use the stem, like rosemary stems to skewer or grill with. You can smoke fish with fennel stocks.

NAME A FEW UNCOMMON HERBS YOU WOULD SUGGEST THAT CHEFS GROW.
Lemon thyme has a mild lemon flavor and tastes much better when it’s harvested, as it loses flavor quickly. Lemon verbena has a stronger lemon flavor. I would also grow lovage, which has a strong celery flavor. Bay laurel is actually a tree. You can’t buy the fresh leaves, and they are wonderful. They have a sweet spice flavor like nutmeg. Anise hyssop is used in desserts and is licoricelike. Perilla, which the Japanese call shiso, has a cuminlike flavor. Rose geranium tastes like rose, and you use it in desserts.

IF THERE’S NO ROOM OUTDOORS, CAN YOU GROW HERBS INDOORS?
I don’t recommend it, especially if you’re trying to grow enough for a restaurant. Rose geraniums can grow on the windowsill if you want, but they are prone to white flies.

DESCRIBE A FEW KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL HERB GROWING.
Give them full sun for a minimum of six hours a day, but more is better. They have to have good drainage. Give them compost for fertilizer. You don’t need to use Miracle-Gro. They grow fast, but they don’t have the best flavor. They have better flavor when they are a bit hungry.

WHICH COMMON HERBS GROW BEST IN EACH SEASON?
They all do well in the summer, but especially basil, marjoram and dill. Everything also grows well in the fall. In winter if the climate isn’t too cold, you can still grow rosemary, sage, thyme, winter savory and bay laurel. In the spring, you have chives, chervil, sorrel and mint. Lovage and angelica are also spring herbs.

WHAT CARE AND HANDLING TIPS CAN YOU OFFER AFTER PICKING THE HERBS?
Make sure the leaves are dry and you store them in resealable plastic bags, then in a plastic container with a lid. I will have one container with six or eight herbs in separate bags. I discourage standing them up in a glass of water. If you want to freeze them, make a pesto with oil. Oil captures the oil in the leaves. Put them in a food processor with some olive oil and freeze the paste.

WHICH ARE YOUR FAVORITE HERBS TO GROW AND WORK WITH?
I love herbs I can use in desserts, like anise, lemon verbena, rose geranium and lavender. I like to grow fennel. I use the fresh yellow blossoms. And I love to cook with lovage.