If you are trying to decide if you want to grow herbs, the short answer is YES! Do it! They don’t take up much space, aren’t needy plants, and the packet of seeds will already be cheaper than a fresh bunch at the store. Plus you can get SO MANY more varieties.
I’m going to follow the format of the Random Veg post as there is so much ground to cover with herbs. Let’s go!
Basil: 55-65 days. There seem to be a million varieties to choose from, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I don’t love basil as a general rule, but Lemon Basil? Adore it. There is most certainly a basil for everyone. Keep the tips pinched out to get more leafy growth and stave off flowering. I prefer Lemon Basil, but try Lime Basil, Thai Sweet, or Purple Dark Opal.
Chives: 90 days. Grow chives! They are easy, perennial, have beautiful flowers (that bees adore) and are a delicious addition to almost everything. I don’t know what my plants are as they were divisions from my Mother In Law, but I also have Garlic Chives and they are particularly delicious.
Cilantro: 55 days. If you don’t think it tastes like soap, I certainly recommend growing it. It is the one thing I always think salsa is missing, by growing it my salsa is always complete. Look for slow-bolting varieties like Santo or Caribe.
Dill: 45-55 days. Even if you don’t love Dill, consider growing some for the Swallowtail butterflies. But it is a delicious addition to potato salads, fish, cucumber salads, pickles, and anything else that needs that pop of fresh greeness. Try Greensleeves, Boquet, or Elephant.
Thyme: 90 days. This lovely little plant can be used decoratively in a flower garden too, but you’ll find no end to the dishes you can add it to. It dries particularly well and is perfect for those winter soups and stews.
Mint: 90 days. Oh, there are so many varieties of mint to try! Chocolate, Orange, Pineapple, Apple, and Lavender in addition to the traditional Peppermint and Spearmint. Just remember that they are all a bit thuggish and everyone’s best interests will be served if you grow them in containers. Even Monty Don was wrong when he thought he could get away with planting it in the ground boxed in by pavers. Try as many varieties as you can find and add them to your salads, desserts and cocktails (Hello Pimms Cup and Mojitos!).
There are loads of other herbs like Marjoram, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Parsley, Borage, Chamomile, Savory, Tarragon, Sage, and Oregano to try. Think about what you use most, think about if you want to try drying or freezing it, or just using it fresh. Then plant away!
The last thing I’ll say is that while it can be fun to grow these from seed, most of us only ever need a plant or two of any one of these herbs. This makes growing them from seed less cost beneficial. And things like rosemary would be a years-long project to get to where a nursery-ready plant would be. Consider visiting your local nursery and just buying the plants straight from them- the cost will be about what you’d spend for a bunch in the grocery store, but you’ll get so much more from the plant. And, you can taste-test and smell-test the varieties they have before you buy!
What herbs can you not be without? What is your favorite way to use them?