5 Easiest and Tastiest Herbs to Grow

Stop paying high prices for packages of fresh herbs at the grocery store when you can easily grow them at home. Stake out a small patch of ground in your backyard, plant a container garden or tend a few pots on your kitchen windowsill. Fresh herbs are chocked full of nutrients and flavor to perk up your favorite recipes. Grow herbs for use in everyday recipes and dry them for winter soups and stews. It's easy to start a herb garden with these popular varieties.

1. Parsley
Parsley is one of the most common herbs used in cooking. The two main types are curly and flat leaf parsley. Curly parsley is familiar as a garnish and has a very pronounced flavor when used in cooking. Flat leaf or Italian parsley has a subdued flavor and is used in sauces, salads and soup. Plant your parsley in well-drained, loamy soil for optimum results. Easy-to-grow parsley thrives in directly sunlight, but tolerates partial shade.

2. Mint
Mint is an easy growing perennial used in variety of recipes or as a flavoring and garnish for drinks. Mint prefers moist soil and partial shade. However, once the plants are established, little care is required to maintain this hardy herb. Mint will overtake your garden if left unattended, so it is recommended to use mint as a container plant.

3. Thyme
Thyme is a pungent herb featured in meat and poultry recipes. Thyme is happy in your outdoor herb garden or in a container. Plant creeping thyme in your landscape beds an alternative ground cover. Thyme is not particular about soil or nutrients. Just provide the plants with a well-drained, general purpose potting soil and plenty of sun.

4. Basil
Basil is an annual herb notably used in Italian dishes. This herb is available in dozens of cultivars. Common sweet basil has a spicy flavor with notes of licorice and pepper. Basil is a relatively tall plant, growing 1 to 2 feet tall, and is at home in the garden or a terracotta pot in a sunny corner of your kitchen. Plant basil in rich potting soil and maintain a high level of moisture, but don't overwater. Start basil from seed in the kitchen or purchase a plant from the garden center. Harvest leaves often to promote abundant foliage.

5. Rosemary
Rosemary is a fragrant, attractive addition to your landscape. Purchase low-growing or upright rosemary plants. Plant your rosemary outdoors in containers or in the ground as shrubs. Rosemary is ideal as an aromatic ground cover. In the spring, rosemary produces sweet-smelling, diminutive blue flowers that are quite attractive to bees. Purchase bagged potting soil or amend your landscape soil with potting soil. Place rosemary plants in a sunny location and water liberally when the soil becomes dry. Rosemary is a hardy plant that stands up to frost, but it will not survive a hard freeze.

If you want to cultivate your own herb garden, you can either start it from seed or purchase small plants from the local nursery or home improvement center. Whichever way you choose, you will thoroughly enjoy growing and harvesting these herbs for your culinary endeavors.

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