Herbs are very popular to grow at home as they can be sowed in a backyard garden or in a small windowsill container garden. Having fresh herbs to use in your cooking is essential whether you are a newbie cook, the talk of the town gourmet chef or somewhere in between. Here are the 10 most popular herbs to grow right now.
- Basil is the #1 most popular herb to grow as it is easy to grow and can be grown year round. Basil has a hundred different types but the one most people grow is Genovese Basil followed by Large Leaf Italian Basil as these two are used the most often to make pesto sauce.
- Mint comes in great flavors as cinnamon, spearmint, and there is even a chocolate mint. The thing to be careful with when growing mint is that it likes to spread everywhere. Plant it in its own container so the roots are confined. If you plant this in your garden be prepared that by next year it will be a full ground cover in that space –unless that’s what you want!
- Thyme is grown for its light lemony earthy taste and used in sauces and soups. It is doesn’t need a lot of space to grow so it can put in between a couple plants or in the corner of a container or flower beds as it gently vines out and produces small white or yellow flowers.
- Garlic Chives are essential to have in your garden. Not only do garlic chives naturally deter unwanted pests but they are great in so many dishes. They grow like a combination of grass and bulbs and send up new shoots as you harvest the stems. Chives like well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
- Rosemary has spikes instead of true leaves that are edible and produces little purple flowers throughout of the year. Rosemary can grow large like a shrub and if planting in a container, don’t plant anything else with it. If planting in the ground, space the plant 2 feet on either side as it likes to bush out. You can harvest the succulent spikes year round, but don’t eat the stems.
- Oregano is often used to cook Italian type meals and red sauces. Oregano grows well in most environments and it trails or vines out if planted in a large container or can also be used as a ground cover in a section of the garden. It won’t get overly large, but stays more compact with a few trailing vines.
- Cilantro is a cool season herb and does not do well in the heat. It grows upright about 2-3 feet tall and has light green leaves that are edible. When the plant goes to seed, the seeds are harvested and are called coriander and are used in all sorts of recipes too.
- Parsley has two main varieties – Italian Flat Leaf Parsley or Curly Leaf Parsly. Both can be grown year round and the flat leaf parsley is the easier of the two to grow. This plant loves well-draining soil and can handle a little bit of heat. The more often you harvest the leaves, the more new leaves are produced – so harvest at least once a week..
- Lavender comes in hundreds of different varieties so a different type can be grown in every zone. The traditional Lavender is grown mostly where the soil is evenly moist and the temperatures don’t get over 90 degrees. Lavender is mostly used when it is dried to either scent different items and recently you can find lavender ice cream and lavender soda!
- Dill is a great herb to grow as it will get to be about 2 inches tall and has small yellow flowers. Dill is great to use in pickling and on fish dishes. It has a great unique taste and a little goes a long way with this herb.
These are the 10 most popular herbs to grow in backyard and container gardens this year. Herbs need to be fertilized with organic fertilizers like compost, earthworm castings, blood and bone meal as well evenly watered. With herbs it is the leaves that you can harvest and use right away, or dry them to use in your spice rack. One of my favorite things to do these days is to put fresh herbs into ice cube trays with water, freeze them and then toss those into different dishes that you cook.