Herbs are a terrific choice for window sill and container gardens, but there are plenty of varieties that do exceedingly well when planted directly into the garden. Most herbs are resilient in poor soil conditions and relatively simple to cultivate. Popular choices include sweet basil, chives, oregano, sage and spearmint. Those looking to grow herbs for medicinal purposes may have success with white sage.
“Many types of herbs will develop heads and reseed themselves without any or much effort on your part,” says John Fendley, Owner of Sustainable Seed Company. “They are simply amazing and perfect for a first time gardener who has little experience.”
Fendley suggests planting herb seeds in the garden in an area where they can reseed and continue growing without disrupting and creating weed issues in the rest of the garden. To minimize re-growth, heads can be picked and saved for seed for the following year or shared with friends.
Depending upon your region, July is not only the optimum time to begin harvesting and drying spring herbs, but also to sow new herbs for fall harvest.
Ideal herbs Fendley suggests starting with including plants that are commonly used in cooking, fragrant soaps, sachets, and dried arrangements. His top recommendations are:
- Dill – widely used in pickling and salads with the extra bonus of attracting butterflies to the garden.
- Fennel – popular addition to dinner dishes. Also attracts butterflies.
- Oregano – the leaves add an aromatic flavor that is popular in Italian dishes and Greek salads. Attractive purplish flowers and bright green leaves attract pollinators to the garden.
- Lemon Balm – popular for relieving stress since the Middle Ages.
- Vera Lavender – produces shrubs that are popular for their sensational aroma and herbal medicine. Creates a vivid purple flower with a sweet fragrance.
Growing herbs in the garden is not only an easy proposition, but a practical and flavorful one. Price-wise, it’s the frugal choice to grow your own and store purchased dried herbs pale in comparison to fresh. Once you’ve started the simple process of growing and cooking with fresh, sustainable herbs, it will be difficult to imagine how you ever did without!