There’s nothing quite like eating food you’ve grown yourself in the garden. Every cook worth their salt knows that the fresher the ingredients, the better. And what better way to have fresh ingredients right on your doorstep than a herb garden?
We’ve put together a list of the herbs you should have growing around your home to season those delicious dishes when you need it most.
This popular annual is a favourite for many in cooking. Originating from the Mediterranean, basil thrives in lots of sunlight and warmth. They don’t like cold, drafts, or frost, so it’s best to start growing your basil indoors on a windowsill, or in the greenhouse.
Sow seeds in potting compost from March, and leave on a sunny windowsill. The basil will grow towards the light if you leave it in one place, so make sure to rotate the pot 90° daily for even growth. Remove the growing tips when the basil is roughly 15cm in height to encourage bushier growth.
You can grow your basil outside once we get to the summer months. Ensure you choose a sheltered spot that gets plenty of sunlight, and make sure to plant it in fertile soil.
A relative of the onion family, this fantastic herb is one of the easiest to grow in your own kitchen garden. What’s fantastic about chives is you can use the whole herb in cooking; stems, flowers, and even the bulb.
Chives are relatively low maintenance, and a fantastic perennial to add to your garden. All they really need is lots of sunlight, and rich, moist soil. You can sow their seed directly into the ground or in outside pots during March and April.
They’ll grow best in a spot that gets lots of sun; at least four to five hours of it a day. Make sure to water them regularly so they can enjoy that lovely moist soil.
A fantastically fragrant herb, common mint is another great addition for your herb garden; it’s an incredibly hardy plant that is easy to grow to boot. Use it in tea, or to make fresh mint sauce for your Sunday roast.
Mint will completely take over your garden if planted directly into the soil due to its vigorous nature, so it’s best to plant it in containers if you want to grow some in your garden. As mint is a perennial, you’ll be sure to have it in your garden for many years to come once it’s planted.
All mint really needs to thrive is regular sunlight and moist, fertile soil. Once planted it can pretty much be left to its own devices. Mint is fairly frost resistant, so not to worry if the frost tries to tackle it; you’ll have plenty more fresh mint in the springtime once it’s had a chance to bounce back.
Also known as Chinese parsley, coriander is a favourite in Asian cooking. You can use both the leaves and the seeds in various dishes; seeds are more lemony in flavour, whereas the leaves produce a bitter tang, which is often used as a garnish.
Coriander is a short-lived annual, so its best to sow them every few weeks to maintain a regular supply. This flavourful herb prefers well-drained, fertile soil with plenty of sun. However planting it in partial shade will be more beneficial for the plant, as this will encourage it to be more productive.
You can grow it either in the ground or in a pot, as it will do well in both. Coriander can often ‘bolt’ when stressed; this means that it will stop producing those tasty leaves, and instead produce flowers and seeds. Try to keep it fairly well-watered, and harvest regularly for the best results.
A wonderfully versatile herb that can be used in making soaps and in cooking, dill is the perfect herb to add to your kitchen garden. It pairs beautifully with seafood, so is an absolute must for fish lovers. You can use both the leaves and the seeds.
Although dill is an annual, it is incredibly hardy. You can grow it either in the garden or in pots, but remember that dill hates having its roots disturbed, or being transplanted, so make sure to leave it where it is once planted.
Dill will thrive in moist soil in plenty of sun, and in neutral to slightly acidic soil. If planting in pots, make sure to use a multi-purpose compost. Partial shade can occasionally be ideal however if you wanted to grow it for as long as possible, as this prevents early seed setting, which can bring cropping to an end. Don’t allow the soil to dry out, but it’s equally important not to overwater.
Another firm favourite in cooking, bay trees can survive twenty years or more when planted in containers, so are well worth the love and care you give them. It’s not a fully hardy plant, but will resist a few degrees of frost during the winter months. Never bring your plant indoors during the colder weather, however, as this will significantly damage it.
Plant in a potted container near a heated wall of the house, away from any harsh winds. Place the container on a stand or some blocks to allow excess water to drain away, as bay trees can’t stand waterlogged roots.
Make sure to prune your bay tree regularly, and it will thrive. Trim it to shape during the summer months, and remove any bay suckers from leaves as they appear. The leaves can be picked in the summer too for drying, ready for you to use in cooking.
Are there any favourite herbs of yours that we’ve missed off our list? Let us know over on our Facebook page!
Lead image: merc67 via Getty Images.