It’s the perfect season for gardening! I’m one of those garden dreamers – I wish I had a massive garden and could grow most of my own vegetables. But, since that’s not in the cards for this year, I’ll take it down a notch and stick with growing herbs. Growing herbs is seriously so easy. I’ve grown many kinds and very few of them require a lot of care which is my kind of growing!
Another plus for growing herbs is that it’s pretty inexpensive to get started. You don’t need a lot of space and you can use planters or just pop them in the ground. Here are my favorites that are simple to grow and will keep you stocked with fresh herbs all summer! One of my favorite things about planting herbs is that you can find most of these at any garden store for less than $5 a plant. If you’re not into sowing seeds, just buy the plants and get planting.
Basil is one of my favorites to grow and I plant this one in a large planter every summer and keep it on the back patio. You can get a basil plant at any home and garden store and in a few weeks it’ll be abundantly producing basil leaves or you can start inside from seeds. Most resources say full sun (6-8 hours), but mine don’t get that much and they do great.
Another big plus about basil – it’s a mosquito repellant. You don’t have to crush the leaves for this helpful side effect either. The natural scent is good enough to repel the critters. Add a planter of basil to your outdoor table and keep the pests away! And speaking of scents – basil smells delicious. Grow your own and use it in pasta dishes, soups, make basil, tomato, and cheese trays – the possibilities are endless.
Word of caution with mint – Grow this one in a planter! Mint is a fabulous herb to grow and super easy, but also invasive. It’ll take over your beds if you aren’t careful. Trust me on this one – I planted a small mint plant in a flower bed area years ago and I was forever pulling up sprigs of mint. Lesson learned. This one is best contained to it’s own home. However – don’t let that deter you. It smells heavenly and it’s easy to grow.
Grab a mint plant from a garden store and stick in some potting soil in a fairly large planter. Make sure it has morning sun and afternoon shade and you won’t be disappointed. There will be no shortage of mint for cooking and for drinks like this mojito recipe!
Another easy one to grow! Are you sensing a pattern here? Rosemary is another one that you can grow with little effort and it’s also a perennial evergreen. You don’t have to replant it year after year and it will add some green to your winter landscape. It does need full sun, but again, I’ve seen thriving rosemary plants in partial sun too. You can certainly plant rosemary in a planter, but feel free to plant it in the ground. Give it room because it can get 4 feet tall or more and 4 feet wide.
And the smell is amazing! Pinch off some leaves and inhale – it’s delicious. Throw some sprigs in the turkey when you’re doing the Thanksgiving meal, put it in pasta dishes, add some to baked chicken, and on and on.
Oregano is another herb that you can grow in a planter and smells amazing. I’ve grown several varieties with minimal effort or care. Do make sure your planter is big enough because it can get up to 2 feet tall and 18 inches across. It’s also a perennial that should come back year after year. Make sure it gets plenty of sun and drainage and you’ll be enjoying fresh oregano all summer long. Add it to your favorite pasta dishes, chicken, sauces, and even salad dressings. I’ve found the fresh oregano leaves are similar to spinach when cooking – they don’t take much to wilt down so throw them in at the end of cooking.
Thyme is one of those pretty plants that looks like a beautiful ground cover. I bought a small plant recently and added it to an area that gets morning sun and it’s spreading beautifully. Use potting soil and plant it right in the ground. It prefers hot and dry conditions. And thyme is excellent as a dried herb. Grow it, dry it, and you can use it for up to a year and it still retains the same flavor as fresh. Another favorite for pasta or Mediterranean inspired dishes.
Lavender is another must for your herb garden that can be grown from seeds or you can buy a plant from the garden store. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s another mosquito repellant as well. Odd that what smells so good to us is a turn off for the pests! Grow in the ground or it’s a fabulous container plant – but make sure your container has a drainage hole – lavender doesn’t like to sit in soggy conditions. Put it in a sunny spot and you’ll have beautiful lavender stems all summer.
Check out this amazing article for all the details on how to dry your lavender. Add it to the bathwater, recipes, potpourri, body scrubs, or even hang a dried bunch near doorways to keep out the pests. Or simply use it as decor. Take a bundle of lavender stems, tie off with twine and done. Perfect farmhouse style decor.
Parsley is another gorgeous addition to your herb garden and is delicious added to pasta recipes, chicken and other meat dishes, or just as a garnish. Depending on where you live, it may withstand the winter temps. Similar to other herbs, this one does well with full sun or partial shade and keep it watered. If you’re planting for cooking, opt for the flat-leaf variety and if you’re just going for looks, the curly leaf variety is beautiful. It’s a wonderful addition to the tomatoes, corn, or asparagus in your garden.
Cilantro gives you double the flavor and use it when you plant this herb. The leaves are what we think of as traditional cilantro that’s used in sauces, guacamole, salsa, tacos and more, but the seeds are what we know as coriander. You can dry the seeds and grind them for an amazing flavor to add to meats. My favorite way to use the seeds is to grind them and sprinkle them on top of a London Broil. Delicious! However, I have found that’s it’s not the easiest to grow in my neck of the woods where it gets super hot. I attempted it in an indoor garden and it was doing good, and then I transplanted it outside and nothing.
Check out this article from Gardening Know How to get more details on growing tips. You definitely need early sun and a shaded afternoon to have successful cilantro in the garden. But, because this is such a flavorful herb, I would attempt it again for my herb garden.
Sage is another evergreen herb in most zones (possibly not in the deep south where the temps get too high). You can grow for food or for use as an ornamental border plant. And since it’s an evergreen, you can get the benefits in your kitchen year-round from this one. Give it some sun and room to grow because it can get 24-36 inches tall. Sage is perfect for seasoning poultry and of course, stuffing the turkey.
Herbs are a perfect way to start your gardening experience. It’s inexpensive, you can start with one plant of each of your faves, find a sunny spot and start planting. I’m more of a plant it and see how it does kind of person and herbs are perfect for my “lazy gardening” methods.
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