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The Best Herbs to Grow at Home

As the weather changes you may want to keep some plant life around the house while adding some fresh touches to your meals, and there’s no better way to do that to grow some herbs.  Now, we know that not everyone is born with a green thumb so we’ve picked some of the easiest herbs to grow in any season.  But first, some fundamentals.

Things to Keep in Mind

No matter what herb you are growing, you want to make sure that you are providing:

  • Adequate sunlight and water
  • Well-drained soil
  • A quality potting mix

If you do need to use compost or manure, do so sparingly or you’ll taste the effects!

Parsley

This should be ideally planted from the seed in a pot in autumn or spring.  It needs moist soil and should preferably be in the sun.  You can harvest year round and it will still grow back.  If you see any yellowing leaves, add some liquid fertilizer as needed.  

Parsley isn’t just a garnish, it’s an excellent source of Vitamin C.  Use it to add color and flavor to soups, salads, and sauces.  Harvest your leaves by pinching stems off near the base.

Rosemary

This is a hardy herb and can often survive on rainwater alone, hence it needs a drier soil in general.  It should be planted in a large pot in full sun.

If you’ve tasted rosemary with chicken, pork, lamb, and soups, or added it to your olive oil, you know what a wonderful fragrance it can impart.

Mint

Like rosemary, mint doesn’t need as much water, but unlike rosemary, it can get really invasive, so if it’s planted it should be in a container.  

Fresh mint is great in salads or mixed drinks but you can also dry the leaves and use them for tea.  Snip leaves and sprigs when you’re ready to harvest.

Basil

Basil is the “highest maintenance” herb on this list, as it needs frequent pruning and attention to encourage new growth.  Otherwise, it needs warmth, light, and moist soil.

It’s great on pizzas and necessary for you to make your own pesto, but it’s also full of antioxidants.  Pincho off individual leaves as needed: just be patient with the regrowth.  Given a name like Basil, it will not be hurried, thank you very much.

Thyme

The wonderful aromatic Thyme should be grown in a pot with full sun.  It’s a good addition to meat dishes, soups, and stews.

Thyme should be in clay pots to let the soil dry out between waterings: thyme does poorly with soggy roots.  Prune back the woody stems and regularly snip the tips of the plants  to encourage new growth.

This content originally appeared in our monthly Open Calendar Club newsletter.

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