You might ask: What are the best herbs to plant in your garden? Today, we’ll talk about what herbs you definitely want to plant.
You might be familiar with some of the herbs. Some might be new to you.
But wouldn’t it be fun to plant them and see if they’re your new favorites?
Fresh Herbs Are Delicious
Fresh herbs out of the garden go a long way to make your recipes taste better, and work well in soups, stews, salads, and sandwiches. In fact, anything you’re making.
We’ll cover the garden herbs, their flavor profile, their uses, and how to plant them.
It’s springtime, and everyone is planning their summer vegetable garden. Be sure to include the best herbs!
The Garden Herbs
OK, so I have gathered only 18 of my favorite garden herbs for our story today. There are more available that would be fun to grow in your own garden this summer.
You can start annual herbs like basil, cilantro, dill from seed. They’ll die at the end of summer and you’ll plant new seeds next year.
Biannual herbs like parsley can be started from seed. You can harvest the first year, and the plant will flower and create seeds the next year. Then it will die.
Perennial herbs like oregano, thyme, sage, and mint will come back every year.
Tender perennials like rosemary and tarragon need to be grown in pots so you can bring them in during the winter.
The Best Herbs To Plant
Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves go together. Basil leaves are warm and spicy and taste a bit like anise. Basil is a base ingredient in pesto and adds a sweet flavor to Italian food, pizza, sauces, salads, pesto.
Use basil in soups, omelets, fish, meat, and poultry. Some say to plant some basil next to tomato plants to make the tomatoes sweet.
Planting: sow seeds directly into the garden in late spring.
The bay laurel tree is also known as sweet bay and Laurus nobilis. That’s right, bay leaves come from trees!
Bay leaves smell like a mix of balsam, clove, mint, and honey and have a peppery taste.
Use them in hearty stews and long-simmering dishes to add their subtle flavor.
Delicious garden herb, chamomile is used to make an herbal tea. It’s said to settle the stomach and calm the nerves. It’s also deer resistant.
There are two varieties to grow. German chamomile is an annual and grows to 3’ tall. Roman chamomile is a perennial, grows to 1’ tall, and attracts pollinators.
Planting: sow seeds in early spring or set out nursery starts. It likes partial shade.
Sometimes called French parsley, chervil is a component of the French herb mixture fines herbes. Its leaves have a hint of anise in their flavor.
Use them to add flavor to chicken, fish, vegetables, eggs, and salads. Chervil is related to parsley.
Planting: sow seeds in early spring and then every three weeks for a continuous harvest.
Boasting beautiful purple flowers, chives are in the garlic family and taste like a mild onion. This herb is a hardy perennial and very easy to grow.
To use, chop the chive leaves and add to sour cream, egg and cheese dishes, fish, potatoes, salads, shellfish, and soups.
The purple flowers are a beautiful addition to salads or used as a garnish. Chives are good for you too as a source of beta carotene and Vitamin C.
Planting: sow seeds in spring or fall, or plant nursery starts. When established, thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart.
One of my favorite garden herbs, Cilantro is the leaf, Coriander is the seed from the same plant.
Use the leaves with anything avocado, and in salsas, chilis, Mexican, Chinese, Southeast Asia, and Indian cuisines. Grind the dry seeds over veal, pork, or ham.
Planting: sow seeds in early spring, ½” deep, rows 12” apart. When established, thin to 6 inches apart. You’ll want to plant more seeds every week for a continual harvest.
Note: cilantro will bolt when the soil gets too hot.
I always think of dill pickles when talking of dill, dill weed, and dill seed. You grow dill for its leaves and seeds.
It has a sharp, slightly bitter taste. It’s delicious when used to flavor fish, lamb, potatoes, peas, and sliced cucumber.
Add it to sour cream and cucumbers to make a Greek sauce. And of course, use dill for pickling.
The dill plant attracts wasps, other predatory insects in your garden. Dill is used to aid digestion, fight bad breath, reduce swelling and cramps.
Planting: scatter seeds in early spring, then cover lightly with soil. When established, thin the seedlings to 9 inches apart.
I always taste licorice when I think of fennel. it has a sweet, licorice flavor. The entire plant is edible, from its feathery leaves, stalks, and bulbous root.
Use fennel to add its subtle flavor to fish, sauces, veal or pork, soups, and salads. The bulb is delicious! You can sautée, grille, or eat the bulb raw.
Both anise and fennel are integral ingredients in absinthe.
Planting: sow in mid-spring in groups of 3-4 seeds ¼” deep, 18” apart. Thin the seedlings when they are established. Or you can plant nursery starts.
With its beautiful purple flowers, lavender is a strong-scented perennial from the Mediterranean. It has a slightly sweet flavor and is used to add flavor to lamb, salads, dressings, and baked goods. It can be used as garnish and flavor enhancement in drinks.
Lavender is known to calm and soothe headaches, relieve insect bites, and induce sleep.
Plant in the spring, 2–3 feet apart. Harvest when half of the blossoms are open.
Boasting a strong citrus flavor, lemongrass is a tropical herb that has many uses.
Used in Asian cooking, teas, sauces, and soups, it is a source of antioxidants, beta-carotene, and defends against cancer and eye inflammation.
Plant in the spring in an area with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Lemongrass forms a tall, grassy clump 3-5 feet tall.
Mint has several varieties and many uses. Add to mojitos, mint juleps, and iced tea. Steep the leaves for mint tea, add mint to lamb, make mint jelly with it.
You can use mint to freshen breath and aid indigestion.
Planting: in autumn or spring, plant 4″-6” pieces of root 2” deep and 12” apart.
Mint is very invasive and will take over your garden! Keep the plants confined by growing it in pots, sink bottomless containers into the soil, or boards sunk 12” deep around them to check their growth.
Related to sweet marjoram, oregano is in the mint family.
Oregano is a staple herb of Italian American cuisine. In fact, it was called the “pizza herb” when the WWII soldiers came home and craved that flavor.
Oregano is one herb whose leaves can be more flavorful when dried than fresh.
Plant oregano seeds or cuttings in the spring when the soil warms up. Place in an area that receives full sun. Trimming regularly will encourage bushy growth.
Related to dill, parsley is a mild, bitter herb that is related to dill. Use it as a garnish.
It will also enhance flavors in dishes and adds a balanced flavor to stews. Put the chopped leaves in salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and omelets.
Parsley aids indigestion and is a good source of Vitamins A and C.
Planting: sow seeds in the mid spring for summer cutting, midsummer for autumn and winter harvest. Soak seeds overnight, broadcast thinly. Thin the seedlings to 9” apart.
One of my favorite garden herbs, rosemary is one of my favorite garden herbs.
It’s a perennial shrub with blue flowers with a sweet, resinous flavor. Use it to flavor poultry, meats, vegetables with its distinctive flavor and aroma.
Planting: in late spring, sow seeds or bury cuttings in an area with full sun. Rosemary can grow to 4 feet wide and 4 feet tall, so give it lots of room.
Known as the poultry seasoning, sage is a perennial herb. Use it as a traditional poultry seasoning and to flavor lamb, pork, sausages, other meats, sauces, vegetables, cheese dishes, and omelets.
It has medicinal uses too. It can relieve cuts, calm inflammation, and helps with memory issues when ingested.
The flowers attract bees and other pollinators to your garden.
Plant sage easily from seed or cuttings. Place the seedlings at least 3 feet apart.
French Tarragon is an integral ingredient in Fines Herbes. It has a spicy anise flavor that is excellent with lamb.
Use it in chicken salad, vegetable dishes and soups, sauces, soups, egg dishes, and soft cheeses. It adds a wonderful flavor to tartar sauce, chutney, and flavored vinegar.
Planting: use nursery starts or cuttings, plant in early spring at least 18” apart.
A member of the mint family, thyme has a minty, lemony flavor. It complements many dishes.
You can use thyme in egg, bean, and vegetable dishes and accompany beef, lamb, veal, tomatoes, poultry, soups, and stews.
It makes a nice tea when brewed with rosemary and mint.
Planting: sow seeds in mid spring, in shallow rows 1 foot apart. Thin the seedlings to 6” spacings.
Or set out nursery starts in early spring, 6-9” apart.
There are two different kinds of Savory to choose from. Winter Savory is a perennial as opposed to summer savory, which is grown as an annual.
Its flavor is a cross between mint and thyme with a piney element, and beautifully compliments fish, beans, and poultry.
Winter savory also has beneficial antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Planting: sow seeds or cuttings in late spring. Once established, winter savory requires little care.
Garden Herbs Wrap-Up
We talked about all kinds of herbs, from ones you plant every year to the ones that come back every year.
We learned about some of the culinary uses for the garden herbs, and how to plant them.
To learn more, I turn to The Farmer’s Almanac. This is a resource that I refer to all the time when I have gardening questions or curiosity.
Full of useful information, it covers topics like average frost dates, planting guides, the pest of the month, and flower lore. The Almanac covers Garden herbs in the planting guides.
Want To Grow Microgreens?
If you want to try your hand at growing herbs and culinary plants indoors, microgreens might be fun to try. Go here to find out more about growing microgreens.