As you plan your garden this year, don’t forget to include herbs, especially if you love a homemade meal. Fresh herbs can add so much flavor to your favorite dish, plus everything tastes better when it comes from your own garden! Not to mention the much added satisfaction when you can say you grew it yourself!
You can tuck herbs just about anywhere — among flowers, in your veggie garden, and even in pots on your patio, deck, or windowsill. If you’re not sure what herbs will give you the most bang for your buck, we rounded up seven all home cooks should consider.
Read on for the most flavorful and chef-approved herbs on the menu.
How To Grow Basil
This might just be the most popular herb for gardeners who also love to cook. You can use it in sandwiches, to top off pizza or pasta, and of course, tomato mozzarella basil salad is always a crowdpleaser. It’s so easy to grow, and there are many varieties to choose from. As it starts to take off, be sure to keep pinching back the leaves so it stays contained and doesn’t flower. Then if you find yourself with excess basil, turn it into pesto. Yum!
How To Grow Mint
Mint is the winner for making drinks, hands down. From iced tea and lemonade to mojitos and mint julips, mint is a summer drink staple ingredient. You can also try chopping it up and freezing it into ice cubes to add flavor a little bit at a time. It's also great for watermelon salad, frosty desserts, and for fresh hot mint tea in the colder months. A word of caution: mint tends to be aggressive, so plant it in a container to keep it under control.
How To Grow Rosemary
Rosemary is one of those herbs that you just have to take the time to smell whenever you’re around it. Just breaking off a few sprigs and rubbing your fingers along the leaves is enough to get the scent. This is an herb that’s relatively easy to grow, and is great for vegetarian and meat dishes all summer and into winter.
How To Grow Oregano
If you have the habit of forgetting to water your plants, this might be the herb for you. It tends to like more dry conditions, so it’ll tolerate a few days between waterings. When you hit the garden center, you’ll see right away that you have oregano options. Typically, you can get a Mediterranean or Mexican oregano. Mediterranean will include Italian, Greek, and Spanish oregano, which all tend to have strong flavors that you can use in your favorite dishes. Mexican oregano has some notes of citrus, and it’s often used in Latin American dishes or Tex-Mex.
How To Grow Cilantro
Cilantro has a reputation of being a bit finicky to grow. Yes, this is often the case when growing from seed, but don’t give up on trying. (Or you can just buy plants to save yourself time and improve your chances.) To have cilantro for as long as possible in summer, consider spacing out your plantings to every two or three weeks. Many gardeners love cilantro for Latin dishes, but it can add great flavor to others as well. Experiment and find what you love most.
How To Grow Parsley
This might be the most versatile herb you can grow. Because it has a light, fresh taste, you can really use parsley in just about any dish. Throw it in salads, hummus, soups, salsa, and in your favorite main dishes. With parsley (and most herbs), you get some of the best flavor when the plants and leaves are small. So don’t be afraid to harvest even when plants just start growing.
How To Grow Thyme
This is another “anything goes” kind of spice. Thyme can be used alone, but it’s often thrown into the mix with other flavors, too. Try it in just about anything, including eggs, on toast, on pizza and more. A lot of thyme is beautiful and easy to grow, so this is one that pairs well with your flower garden. You can even put it in a container, and it will add great foliage to the mix!