When we’re starting off our herb gardens, it can be best to start with plants that are easy to grow. Kitchen herbs are a great thing to have and don’t need to take up a lot of room in our backyard or gardens. Here are some great herbs to start with when beginning a herb garden.
Grow It: Start basil seeds or seedlings, a warm-season annual, after the last frost. When flowering tops appear, cut them off to encourage new leaf production. You can sow a second planting of seeds directly in the garden in early summer.
Eat It: Basil is best fresh. Always toss it in at the end of cooking—heat damages its flavor.
Recommended Varieties: Genovese is best for cooking; specific varieties for spicy flavor, or compact growth habits also available.
Grow It: A mild onion-flavored perennial, chives produce edible flowers in spring and early summer. You can grow chives from seed, but it’s faster to start with plants. Plant as soon as the last frost has passed.
Eat It: Toss chives into almost any dish—add at the end of cooking or they become bitter. You can freeze excess chives; use them as you would fresh.
Recommended Varieties: Compact Grolau is great for containers; Grande features big, broad leaves.
Grow It: A fast-growing annual, cilantro can be planted in spring and again in late summer. Cilantro is among the easiest herbs to start from seeds, but it suffers badly when transplanted.
Eat It: The entire cilantro plant is edible. Enjoy leaves, the brown seeds (coriander) and the roots. Toss the flower heads in salads.
Recommended Varieties: Santo lasts longer than most varieties; Delfino has lacy leaves.
Check out the next page for the additional herbs that work great for a simple kitchen herb garden.