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Stop paying high prices for packages of fresh herbs at the grocery store when you can easily grow them at home. Stake out a small patch of ground in your backyard, plant a container garden or tend a few pots on your kitchen windowsill. Fresh herbs are chocked full of nutrients and flavor to perk up your favorite recipes. Grow herbs for use in everyday recipes and dry them for winter soups and stews. It's easy to start a herb garden with these popular varieties.
Parsley is one of the most common herbs used in cooking. The two main types are curly and flat leaf parsley. Curly parsley is familiar as a garnish and has a very pronounced flavor when used in cooking. Flat leaf or Italian parsley has a subdued flavor and is used in sauces, salads and soup. Plant your parsley in well-drained, loamy soil for optimum results. Easy to grow parsley thrives in directly sunlight and also tolerates partial shade.
Mint is a perennial used in variety of recipes or as a flavoring and garnish for drinks. Mint prefers moist soil and partial shade. However, once the plants are established little care is required to maintain this hardy herb. Mint will overtake your garden if left unattended so it is recommended to use mint as a container plant.
Thyme is a pungent herb featured in meat and poultry recipes. It loves to live in your outdoor herb garden or in a container. You can use creeping thyme in your landscape beds as an alternative ground cover. Thyme is not particular about soil or nutrients. Just provide the plant with a well-drained, general purpose potting soil and plenty of sun.
Basil is an annual herb notably used in Italian dishes. This herb is available in dozens of cultivars. Common sweet basil has a spicy flavor with notes of licorice and pepper. Basil is a relatively tall plant growing 1 to 2 feet tall and is at home in the garden or a terracotta pot in a sunny corner of your kitchen.
Plant basil in rich potting soil and maintain a high level of moisture but don't overwater it. Start basil from seed in the kitchen or purchase a plant from the garden center. Harvest the leaves to promote abundant foliage.
Rosemary is a fragrant, attractive addition to your landscape. Purchase low-growing or upright rosemary and place them indoor pots for cooking herbs. Creeping rosemary is also ideal as an aromatic ground cover. In the spring rosemary produces sweet-smelling, diminutive blue flowers that are quite attractive to bees.
Purchase bagged potting soil or amend your landscape soil with potting soil. Place rosemary plants in a sunny location and water liberally when the soil becomes dry. Rosemary is a hardy plant that stands up to frost but may not survive a extreme freezes.
Oregano is a flowering plant from the mint family. Varieties of oregano are relatively easy to grow but they need at least six to eight hours of moderate to intense sun each day. Place them in a window that is particularly south or west facing for optimum exposure. Water the plant’s soil as it becomes dry.
If you don’t have a very green thumb, try growing Greek oregano it’s the easiest variety to cultivate. For home chefs it is used as an herb in Italian, Mexican and Middle Eastern recipes. To harvest its sweet, floral spicy aroma cut the stems and strip off the leaves and add them to soups, tomato sauces, salads and meats. When the leaves are dried its fragrance and taste is stronger than the fresh leaves.
© 2019 Linda Chechar
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on May 16, 2019:
Liz, glad you liked the article. I love to grow herbs but I haven't in quite a while. I've seen little herb plants everywhere so I need to purchase a few and put them on the kitchen windowsill.
Liz Westwood from UK on May 16, 2019:
This is a useful article packed with good tips. You have reminded me that I planted parsley a while ago that I was given as a gift. I need to check it out and make use of it.