Essential Herbs


If you’ve never grown herbs, you’re in for a delicious treat.  You can grow them in pots on your windowsill or your deck. You can plant them with your vegetables, or tuck some here and there with your flowers. They’re the yummy stars of the garden. A few tips on growing, harvesting and storing. To dry herbs, I cut them and hang them until the leaves are good and dry. When they have dried, I strip the leaves from most of them and store them in “mason” jars which I label for seasonal use. You want to make sure they are good and dry, if not, you could have mildew in the closed jar. 


Here are some of my favorites.


Basil is easy to grow and smells wonderful.  You can freeze it or use it fresh. It grows quite easily from seed, or you can purchase in a small pot.  It likes full sun and you should water it well.  It doesn’t like to have the soil dry out.  To keep it from going to seed, pinch the tops.  Double bonus here, pinching will make your plant fuller.  It can be frozen or dried for use later.  I like to cut it and put in ice-cube trays with olive oil to use later.  Pesto anyone!



This herb is so easy to grow.  I love a couple of different thymes, but lemon thyme is my favorite.  Plant lemon thyme in a container as your ‘spiller’ plant.  The little variegated leaves look pretty spilling down the outside of your pot.  Or it also makes a great groundcover.  It will tolerate a ‘little’ foot traffic.  It needs full sun with good drainage.  This herb likes it a bit on the dry side.  I cut my regular Thyme and let it dry before a strip of the little leaves off to store for Winter use.  (not all thyme can be eaten, please check what you buy)



This herb needs space to spread-out.  It tends to do better when you directly sow the seeds in the ground, but you can buy a starter plant and transplant too.  You just might find some Swallowtail butterflies enjoying this herb.  They use it as a host plant to lay eggs and when they hatch will feed off of it.  Give it some space to save the butterflies!  It needs full sun and good drainage. 



This is by far my favorite herb to grow. It needs full sun. Once established it needs drier conditions. It’s a woody herb and will tolerate some drought conditions.  To keep the blooms coming, cut the first blooms off and then enjoy the side shoot blooms.  To dry this herb, tie the little bundles you’ve cut then hang them upside down in a dry place. Tie them tight because as they dry, they will shrink.  I love to put some of the dried buds in my vacuum cleaner bag to enjoy the scent every time I vacuum!



This is pretty easy to grow.  Plant in full sun with good drainage.  To harvest, cut the stems and when the leaves dry, strip them and put in a container for later use. You’ll want to harvest before its flowers. 



This one is delicious but needs to be grown in a pot.  If planted in the ground, it can take over an area.  Mint does best in full sun, but will tolerate a bit of shade.  It’s delicious in salads, soups and of course drinks.  It grows well from seeds or a starter plant.  To dry, harvest before flowering, let the leaves dry and strip them off the stem. Store in an airtight container to use later.  I like to grow this in a pot by my front and back door, it’s said to repel ants.  Not sure if it does, but I don’t get ants there! I’ll also use some of my old dry leaves by sprinkling them along areas I’ve seen ants to repel them.  



This one is best purchased as it can be a bit harder to start from seed.  You’ll want to grow this one in a container in full sun.  The leaves can be dried or frozen in olive oil.  I strip the leaves after they’ve dried and freeze them in olive oil the same way I freeze my basil, or by themselves in an airtight jar.



I love Parsley.  It’s easy to grow and so good in Winter soups.  This one likes sun, but would also appreciate a bit of afternoon shade.  The leaves can get sunburned in the full summer sun.  Easy to dry and store.  



Chives are easy to grow from seed, and like full sun.  The pretty purple flowers produce seeds so you’re likely to get freebies from them.  To harvest them, snip off the stems, cut them into smaller pieces and freeze in a baggie.  I also like to divide them for new plants.  I’ve been told you should plant them around an apple tree to repel insects.



This is a must in my garden.  It’s easy to start from seed or a container grown plant.  You can harvest the leaves or let the plant go to flower and it will produce Coriander seeds for you to use in soups or other recipes.  The leaves dry well and retain flavor when dried.  I find that if I let it go to seed in my garden, I get new plants the following year. I absolutely love Cilantro in my fresh salsa!


If you’re interested in finding out more, visit this Houzz article here to find out more about the best essential herbs to have in your garden are. I hope you’ll try your hand at growing some herbs so you too can enjoy them!

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