Here are the best herbs to grow that will also make a great addition to any vegetable garden whether big or small. Today I'm sharing with you tips on growing basil, chives, parsley, rosemary and mint that are perfect to use in your favorite family recipes.
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Herbs are easy to grow and are a great addition to any vegetable garden and you don't really need a lot of space either.
You can start with a few pots on the back deck or add a few plants in a flowering bed. Herbs are a magnet for bees and butterflies which is what every garden needs to flourish.
The main reason people grow herbs at home is for the taste. Fresh herbs make recipes taste better and are great to have on hand for soups, stews, salads and marinades.
Make sure you check out tips on Storing Fresh Herbs for when your garden herbs start growing!
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How to Grow Herbs Outdoors
Before we get started with this list, here's a tip on how to grow herbs outdoors. The most important tip is to remember that they need a good four to six hours of sun daily.
I suggest you walk around your garden, back yard or back deck and see where the sunniest place is...that's where you want your herbs to grow.
Here is a photo that shows where we grow our herbs...right on a shelf on the side of our potting shed. When my husband built the potting shed, he added a pull down shelf on the side to use for potting.
It's also the perfect place for me to keep the pots of herbs all summer long. The herbs get the perfect amount of sunlight in this spot which is really important for having a successful herb garden.
How Often do you Water Potted Herbs?
Herbs grow best in pots, containers, or even raised beds. However, the one thing most people do is to over-water the herbs.
Try to water the herbs in the early morning. The water will be able to soak further into the soil. And try to water just the dirt, not the leaves. If you water or soak the leaves, the plant may develop mildew.
Best Herbs to Grow for Cooking
Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow in gardens. You can start the seeds indoors by a sunny window and then move it outside when it's warm enough.
Most people associate basil with tomato based recipes but it's also great for soups, salads, omelets, meats, poultry, fish and of course the all popular pesto. Check out my recipe for Homemade Pesto with easy freezing tips as another great way to use fresh basil.
One of my favorite herbs to grow and to use in cooking is chives!
Plant the seeds in the spring directly into the ground and in no time you'll have a beautiful bunch of chives to use for salads, eggs, mashed potatoes, sandwich spreads, sauces and of course and my favorite Spinach, Bacon, Cheese Frittata.
The best thing about planting chives is you only have to plant them once as they come back every year. In the spring they'll produce beautiful purple flowers that are edible and look great in a mason jar on the kitchen table.
When growing parsley, you need to keep the soil moist and try not to let any mulch touch the stems to prevent rot from forming on the herb. There are two types of parsley, flat leaf and curly. Flat leaf parsley has a more vibrant flavor and often used in Italian recipes.
Both flat leaf and curly parsley are great in soups, like Pasta Fagioli Soup, salads, stews, casserole and even omelets. You can also use it as a garnish.
Rosemary is another great herb to grow and use for cooking. It's also great to grow in rock gardens! Make sure you give the plants enough room though as it can grow to four feet tall and spread that much as well.
Rosemary is a very fragrant herb. It's been said that the scent of rosemary can be used to help clear the mind and reduce stress. For cooking, use it in poultry, lamb, stews and soups recipes. I like to chop rosemary and add to marinades.
Mint is a favorite herb to use for cooking, only some people are not too happy to grow it in their gardens...especially if you're not careful as it can take over your entire garden. I know, because this happened to us.
We finally dug up our mint six years ago and transplanted it into a bucket and then planted the bucket in the ground. You can check out the post I wrote on how to grow mint in your garden for further instructions; trust me, this tip really works!
You can even pinch off the leaves and add it to ice cube trays and then fill the trays with water. Use the frozen ice cubes in drinks when you're entertaining.
These are my favorite herbs to grow that I love to use for cooking all summer long.
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This blog post has been updated since it first appeared in 2017 with new photos and a new information. I hope you enjoy the updates as much as I enjoyed working on them!