One of my favorite things in the spring and early summer is planting my little out-the-kitchen-door herb garden. Whether you have a large veggie garden or not, everyone who loves to cook and eat great food needs fresh herbs that are convient to the kitchen. Be they in pots and boxes or grown in the ground, there are some must-have plants that are easily grown…and joyfully harvested throughout the summer.
Here are the plants I find essential.
Chives: they are the first perennial herbs that come up in cold-climate gardens and as such give any dish the taste of the spring season.
Sage: This perennial grows quickly and can be harvested into the winter. Try quickly frying leaves in a little butter for an instant, delicious garnish.
Basils: Grow as many varieties as possible. If you’ve had an attack of basil downy mildew in the past, be sure to plant the spice globe, lemon, and African blue varieties since these aren’t suseptible.
Lemon Verbena: Just rubbing a sprig inbetween your fingers is the best aromatherapy on earth, but in cocktails and other drinks it’s indespensible.
Rosemary: Grow several varieties, including a couple in pots so that you can bring them indoors in the winter.
Parsley: So easy and inexpensive that you’ll want to plant enough for yourself and the black swallowtail butterflies.
Cilantro: Don’t buy plants…grow this from seed. Sowing some seed every two or three weeks will provide you with fresh cilantro greens all summer long, hot weather or not. A must have herb for earth-beat cooking!
Mint: Ok, so manybe you shouldn’t put this in the kitchen door herb garden since it will soon take over that space and move on to growing into the window-wells and driveway. But in a pot or other container? Go nuts and plant several types, letting them slug it out together. May the best mint win!
Thyme: This perennial herb is so adaptable that you can plant it at the front of any sunny garden or even in cracks in the patio. So if you’re short on space in your herb garden, know that this plant will thrive in other locations, even against all odds.