There’s something about herbs that just makes food so much better. When fresh, they can really enhance the flavor of food and satisfy all your cravings. And when you grow them, it has the added benefit of giving your living space a wonderful scented aroma.
There are a lot of herbs that can be grown easily. If you have a garden, even a small one, you’d be surprised how easy planting and growing them can be. All you need to find are a few hardy varieties and a commitment to caring for them.
Before you start, here’s what you need: a small plot of land to plant the herbs in. Really, other than the actual plant, that’s it. But if you don’t have a garden in the traditional sense, you can still create an “indoor garden” as long as you have bright space with access to sunlight. As long as the temperature in the room can be kept between 55 and 75 degrees, there’s no reason why you cannot grow your herbs there.
To ensure success, ditch the seeds and start with already healthy plants. They have the advantage of growing steadily even when planted during off-seasons and can thrive better indoors too.
Best Herbs for Your Garden
Now that you’re all ready with the space, here are 10 of the best herbs to plant in your garden.
- Basil – basil can be grown as an annual or short-lived perennial. Some of the best varieties include Genovese with its classic flavor and aroma and the Siam Queen which has a uniquely spicy flavor.
- Bay – this herb grows into a small tree so make sure you leave enough space around it so other herbs won’t stunt its growth. Bonus: the little tree can be trimmed and trained to form topiary.
- Chives – chives have a delicate onion flavor. It’s a grass-like perennial herb that’s easy to grow. Tip: cut small leaves back to the soil level when you harvest. This will keep new ones coming.
- Cilantro – this herb grows quickly but does not regrow once harvested. If you foresee a need, plant seeds at different stages so the harvest can be extended.
- Mint – peppermint and spearmint always have their uses. For a well-behaved variety, try planting English mint. A word of warning, though: mint can easily overtake other herbs. So keep it in a separate container from other herbs after harvest.
- Oregano – oregano grows up to 12 inches or more and when harvested often, only encourages more growth. The best part? It can be productive for up to 2 years. Once the plant becomes woody, however, it’s time to replace it.
- Parsley – parsley is a biennial herb with a robust flavor. To keep it productive for months, cut the outer leaves when harvesting.
- Rosemary – the best rosemary flavor comes from the Salem or Taylor’s Blue Be careful that the soil always remains damp when growing this herb. A fully dried out soil will kill it.
- Thyme – thyme can be used in many dishes. The lemon and French thyme varieties are especially excellent for cooking.
- Sage – sage can be grown in a container. The 12-inch dwarf sage is a good culinary strain.
Remember, whatever you decide to plant, herbs grow best with at least 5 hours of bright sunlight so put them in a location that gives them that. During winter, they will grow less actively and won’t need as much water. Bear in mind that they will have varying requirements for soil conditions, too. So learn what can be put together in dry soil and what needs moist soil.
Finally, always keep the best part in mind: harvest time and the promise of flavorful, aromatic dishes seasoned with your fresh home-grown herbs.