Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Herbs that are Easy to Grow

In an earlier post, I told you about some herbs with pretty blooms. And then I came across some helpful information at Better Homes and Gardens about herbs that are easy to care for and easy to grow. I thought I'd share a little about that here (photos are from Better Homes and Gardens)...


I was happy to see that one of my favorite herbs, basil, falls in the easy-to-grow category. I have grown it in both pots and garden beds, and it has always done best in garden beds for me. This herb does well in full sun. There are lots of different types of basil...Cinnamon basil, Genovese basil, Lemon basil, and Purple Ruffles basil, to name a few. I've grown the Genovese basil, and it makes wonderful pesto. I also like Lemon basil–it gives off a wonderful fresh lemon scent when you rub the leaves between your fingers!


I've also grown chives, and I can speak from experience that chives are very easy to grow! Chives also like full sun. They have pretty blooms, too, and look great in either an herb or flower bed (they do have a tendency to spread, so you'll have to thin them out occasionally). Chives taste best in foods when they're added just before serving. 


I grew dill one year, but I don't think mine bloomed as profusely as these plants! According to Better Homes and Gardens, you can use the seeds and flowers, as well as the ferny leaves, to season your food. I had just used the ferny leaves for seasoning, so I will have to try using the seeds and flowers the next time I grow it. The delicate dill foliage attracts butterflies and bees, and it's another herb that likes full sun. If you let some of the seeds ripen on the plant, it will self-seed and come up again the following year. Or harvest the seeds by clipping the flower heads and turning upside down in a paper bag–the seeds will fall into the bag as the flower head dries.


I love to use garlic in my cooking, but haven't tried growing my own yet. This easy-growing herb likes full sun or part shade. You're supposed to plant cloves of garlic in the late summer, mulch over winter, and then you'll have garlic growing the following summer. One interesting tip I learned at Better Homes and Gardens is if you grow garlic in the same bed as your roses (pictured above), it repels aphids. And the garlic and roses look quite pretty together!


Lavender is one of my favorite garden plants–I love harvesting lavender and using it in potpourri or making homemade sachets...or just displaying fresh or dried clippings in a vase. English lavender is the most widely grown type, and it loves full sun and well-drained soil. Not only is lavender beautiful to look at, it has a wonderful fragrance, too. The darker the flower, the more intense the fragrance–and the more intense the flavor, if you're using it in a recipe. After your lavender plant flowers, you should shear it to encourage a fuller, bushier plant and more blooms for the following year.

Other herbs that are easy to grown include Fennel, Lemon Balm, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Scented Geranium, Thyme, and Savory.

What herbs do you like growing and what have you had the most success with?

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