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Growing herbs at home provides a steady supply of ingredients to enhancenearly any meal. Simply walk out your door, snip what you need, and enjoy the fresh flavor and health benefits. If you’re new to gardening, herbs are a great way to start because they are easy to care for, grow wellin many climates, have a wide variety of uses in cooking, and are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. The herbs listed below require minimal growing space, making them ideal for RopedOnCedar’svertical planter systems. Below are 10 of the best herbs to grow at home using our planters.
Basil is one of the most versatile herbs, commonly used in salads, soups, and with many meat and chicken dishes. You can also make pesto with it, which you can freeze and use all year long. Basil is a good source of fiber and magnesium, is a strong anti-inflammatory, and also works to detoxify your liver. Its fragrance alone makes it a worthwhile addition to your garden.
Growing tip: Plant in late spring or early summer and be sure to select a spot with ample direct sunlight since basil likes heat. It requires minimal water and is one of the easier herbs to grow.
Part of the onion family, and a cousin to garlic, chives are bulb plants with beautiful pink blossoms. In addition to being a tangy topping for many dishes, chives boost the immune system and are thought to contain cancer fighting properties.
Growing tip: This perennial can grow to be 18 – 24 inches tall, yet doesn’t require deep roots to thrive, making them a good choice for vertical container gardening. Plant in spring or fall and it will grow easily, even in places without direct sunlight.
Technically, cilantro is only the leaves of this plant. The seeds are known ascoriander, which are dried and commonly used in curries and curry powder. The leaves are often added to South Asian dishes and Mexican food such as salsas, guacamole, and rice.
Growing tip: Harvest cilantro when it’s about 4 – 5 inches high. This will encourage the plant to keep growing giving you more to use. But don’t let it wilt, otherwise the flavor will be compromised. A good way to test is by its smell. If the fragrance is weak, the flavor will be, too.
A little fennel goes a long way. The sweet, licorice-flavored leaves are perfect with both sweet and savory dishes, and are particularly excellent withfish and pork.
Growing tip: Sow seeds in groups of 4 or 5 in early spring, about a quarter inch deep and 16 – 18 inches apart. Thin the seedlings later to select the strongest group. Fennel is easy to grow and will self-pollinate, but can reach up to five feet if not snipped back. Also, don’t plant it next to cilantro as they cross-pollinate easily.
How beneficial is mint? Let us count the ways. Just two tablespoons provides more than half of the daily allowance of vitamin A, it helps with digestion, headaches, asthma, and other respiratory problems, and can lower high blood pressure. It also freshens breath and helps clear up acne. It brightens up drinks and recipes, and can be used to make mint jelly. What’s not to love?
Growing tip: Mint grows quickly and will choke out other plants, so it’s best to give it its own raised bed so you can keep it in check. Be sure to give it plenty of water.
Parsley is used mainly as a garnish, and often not eaten, but that sells this super herb short. Parsley is uncommonly high in vitamins A, C, and K and can also freshen breath following a meal. And since its mild flavor won’t overwhelm most recipes, you can cut it up and sprinkle over a wide assortment of dishes for its health benefits alone.
Growing tip: It’s a slow grower as compared to many other herbs, but makes up for it in abundance once it’s established. It likes full sun.
Whether fresh or dried, rosemary adds exquisite flavor to a wide variety of meat dishes. It also smells wonderful and can be used to freshen rooms. Marinate it in olive oil and add a dash of salt to create a delicious dip for bread.
Growing tip: Since rosemary likes to dry out between watering, it’s best to plant this herb alone. When harvesting, cut the tender green stems instead of the branches.
This hardy herb produces peppery-tasting leaves that are good for general seasoning, and is perfect for infusing vinegar. It also boasts one of the highest antioxidant values of any herb.
Growing tip: Tarragon has a shallow root system so it needs soil that drains well. It prefers moderate sun and can be placed in areas with late afternoon shade.
Aromatic and packed with flavor, thyme is great in soups and meat dishes, and pairs well with lemon. It air dries quickly so you can easily freeze it for year-round use.
Growing tip: Plant seeds in early spring in shallow rows about a foot apart and in full sun. Once seedlings sprout, thin to about 6 inches apart for best results. Because it’s so hardy, thyme is another good herb for beginning gardeners. It also makes a great ground cover.
- Greek Oregano
A must in a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes, oregano can be used either dried or immediately after harvesting. It’s an effective antioxidant and a good source of iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
Growing tips: Greek oregano is one of the easiest herbs to grow as so long as it gets full sun all day. But be careful not to overwater.