Herb plants add an aromatic, fresh touch to any kitchen and add complementary flavors to food, but some species, like mint and coriander, can quickly take over a garden’s space.
Producing herbs from seeds requires time and patience; for faster results, opting for seedlings from a nursery or greenhouse could be quicker.
As many herb lovers know, rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) is an aromatic staple for kitchen gardens. With its distinctive pine-like scent and culinary uses such as seasoning dishes with it, rosemary helps awaken senses while elevating flavor profiles of foods cooked using it. Furthermore, rosemary’s medicinal uses date back millennia; modern research confirms what ancient cultures already knew: it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Rosemary comes in many varieties to meet various gardening and culinary needs. The upright Thomas and Blue Boy varieties make ideal small to medium hedge plants; Benenden Blue’s stronger flavor than other rosemary plants makes it the preferred option. There are even prostrate varieties such as Golden Rain and Oregano that form ground covers or cascade over walls in garden spaces.
Like all herbs, rosemary thrives best in well-drained soil enriched with organic matter and full sun. While rosemary prefers dryer conditions than some Mediterranean varieties, its soil should still remain moderately moist for best results. When planted correctly, rosemary can become an enduring and prolific plant.
This versatile herb makes an excellent addition to any vegetable garden and also provides essential oils that can be used in cooking and medicine. It lends flavorful depth to soups, stews and meat dishes alike while helping reduce blemishes on vegetables. In addition, you can use this versatile plant to make tea or as an all-natural deodorant.
Sage is an essential addition to any kitchen garden, and there are numerous delicious varieties to choose from. Try narrow leaf French or oregano varieties for culinary sage; or add creeping oregano thyme which boasts similar characteristics yet in a compact form.
Sage is one of the few herbs that thrives best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil, though it can still thrive in dry climates if protected against frost or too much direct sunlight.
Chervil, like its close relative Parsley, is a fast-growing annual herb essential in any kitchen garden. Producing flat light-green leaves that lend a delicate anise flavor to poultry dishes such as chicken and eggs as well as salads; additionally it works wonders as an antidote against cabbage moth caterpillars that lay eggs on these crops!
Thyme is an adaptable herb, often used both inside the kitchen and as ground cover, providing beautiful blooms that attract beneficial insects. Once established, thyme should be fairly drought tolerant once established but may require occasional watering to keep soil moisture levels at an appropriate level – just wait until the top inch of soil dries out before watering again! For optimal flavorful harvests of thyme harvest it just before it flowers; otherwise it will continue producing usable leaves afterwards.
Thymes tend to thrive in warm, sunny locations with some shade as needed for protection from excessive heat and moisture. The more sun exposure thymes receives, the stronger their scent and taste will become. Soil should be well-drained; compost or grit can be added for optimal drainage and prevention of rot. Mulching thyme plants helps retain moisture levels as well as protecting their roots from cold weather conditions; generally they’re pest-free but an occasional aphid or spider mite may appear.
Thyme should be planted 12 to 24 inches apart in areas that receive intense sun. Once established, it should not be disturbed, yet transplanting is possible if necessary. When starting seeds indoors (SummerWinds offers one from E.B. Stone Organics) or transplanted once fully established to garden beds.
Thyme can also be grown successfully in containers, provided they are at least 6 inches deep to avoid overcrowding. They’ll thrive best if grown on either a south or east-facing windowsill and receive several hours of direct sunlight per day – particularly lemon thyme, with its pink, white or lavender blooms that attract bees that provide vital pollination in any vegetable garden.
For an organic touch in your garden, choose creeping thymes such as woolly (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) or Albus which create an aromatic carpet on the ground. Or opt for traditional forms like English lemon thyme (Thymus serpyllum). Thyme makes an ideal companion for vegetables, fruits and flowers as it acts to deter pests such as cabbageworms, corn earworms and tomato horn worms; protecting plants against damage caused by these destructive insects.
Sage is an easy perennial herb to cultivate in most regions, making it a versatile kitchen herb with wide culinary applications. Sage provides dishes with meat and poultry an aromatic savory note while its beautiful silvery-green leaves can be used fresh, dried or chopped to add both flavor and aroma to food. Harvestable all season long from seed or starter plants purchased from nurseries nearby, there are various varieties of sage including purple-leaved varieties as well as variegated versions with distinctive variegation in their leaves.
Sage can be grown as an attractive companion plant in either your vegetable garden or containers. Sage often pairs well with other Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and thyme; their flavors complement one another perfectly. In addition, tomatoes, rhubarb, squash-based recipes and potatoes all go very well together when growing sage alongside them.
Sage is best planted in full sun with well-draining soil to ensure maximum sun exposure and avoid standing water issues. Sage requires minimal attention from you but should still be watered regularly to prevent drying out or becoming floppy, while its graceful grey-green leaves boasting fine fuzzy coats make sage an attractive addition to any landscaping plan.
Sage flowers are stunning, attracting pollinators to your garden and making an excellent addition. Sage plants make an excellent companion plant to roses, carrots, and cabbage to attract pollinators while simultaneously repelling certain insects such as the sage leaf beetle and cabbage maggot. This fragrant herb may also help deter certain predatory insects like the sage leaf beetle and maggot that might otherwise ruin a harvest!
If you plan to harvest leaves for cooking purposes, be sure to do it before the plant blossoms. This will ensure maximum flavor! Alternatively, dried leaves can be stored in an airtight jar or frozen for later consumption.
Basil adds an irresistibly peppery bite to any vegetable dish and it pairs especially well when combined with tomatoes. Basil also forms the basis for pesto sauce – made by mixing fresh basil leaves, Parmesan cheese and olive oil into a delicious blend – and this versatile herb is easy to grow both outdoors or inside containers on sunny windowsills.
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), one of the grand dames among herbs, makes an exquisite addition to soups, sauces and meat dishes. Reminiscent of anise in flavor, its anise-inspired aroma adds depth to chicken salad dishes. Tarragon thrives well in containers – an ideal way for newcomers looking to grow this herb!
Sweet Cicely (Symphytum officinale) is another perennial herb with an aroma and taste reminiscent of licorice or anise, making it very easy to grow from seeds in both vegetable gardens or as annuals in containers.
Growing herbs requires almost any container with drainage holes. We suggest using a fast-draining potting mix that keeps soil loose and prevents compacting; lightweight ingredients like perlite or vermiculite should also help provide air circulation for an aerated growing experience.
As is true of other herbs, watering your herbs regularly is key for their survival. Be wary of overwatering the leaves as this could cause them to wilt and weaken over time. Instead, water them from the bottom of their container or with a drip hose in order to ensure that all their needs are met.
Add some color and charm to your kitchen herb garden by planting chives (Allium schoenoprasum). These low-growing perennials make a wonderful addition to any vegetable garden and container garden, as they’re easy to care for and attractively colorful border plants that attract beneficial insects that help natural pest control measures; indeed they can even be used alongside basil to deter pests such as aphids.