Easy Herbs for a Starter Herb Garden

If you have ever wanted to grow an herb garden, you should know that herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Even if you don’t think of yourself as having a green thumb, you can be a successful gardener if you grow the following easy herbs that can be used fresh or dried:

Parsley – Parsley is a relatively hardy annual in zones 2-11. Both flat-leaf and curly varieties are easy to care for and grow very well without a lot of extra care. It can do well in full sun to light shade, and needs rich soil that is well-drained but moist. It doesn’t do particularly well in heat.

Cilantro – Another simple herb to grow is cilantro. This is an annual herb that grows well both in the shade and the sun. You’ll find that it is very easy to care for and it will do pretty well in just about any type of climate.

Chives – Chives are herbs that will grow in just about any conditions and almost any type of soil. In fact, they barely need any tending to grow. They prefer to have full sun on them, and rich soils make them do better. Chives have a wonderful flavor that is a bit like onions, and are excellent as a topping for baked potatoes. You can use them in a variety of different ways either dried or fresh.

Oregano – Oregano is probably one of the most popular herbs to grow in an herb garden and it is tasty with a variety of foods. You can use it in many dishes, including pork, chicken, and pasta dishes. It is an herb that does great in just about any area. It should have soil that is well drained and also likes full sun, but it will even grow in soil that is rocky and poor.

Thyme – This is an herb that is perennial and easy to care for. It is very hardy and grows into a plant that is much like a shrub. It prefers a lot of sun and a warm climate to grow well, along with well drained but moist soil. If you are growing thyme in the house, you should make sure that you put the plant near the window so it gets the most sunlight.

Basil – Basil in a warm-weather annual herb. It is hardy in most zones, but it requires hot, dry conditions to reach peak flavor. It needs full sun, and very rich, moist soil. The only major issues with growing basil are slugs and cool conditions. As long as basil has enough light and heat, and its soil is allowed to dry out between waterings, it usually requires little additional care.

Bay – While this is actually a shrub, bay is a great herb to start out with in your herb garden. It is a very hardy herb and does well in many zones. It needs soil that is rich and not overly wet. However, it does fairly well in most conditions. The best flavor from this herb comes when the leaves have been dried. So, you’ll want to dry the leaves before you decide to use them.

Herbs are not difficult to grow. Start with one or two easy herbs and gradually build up your herb garden. Make sure you pay attention to the climate they prefer. While they may be hardy and grow in a variety of places, they’ll do the best when you keep them in a suitable climate. Once you have tried fresh herbs in your food, you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

Sarah Duke is publisher of The Vegetable Patch, where you’ll find lots of great advice for growing your own vegetable garden.
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