I spent a lot of my childhood on my grandparent’s farm. My parents were ambitious gardeners, boasting a 5-acre garden filled with (I believe) almost every common vegetable. Not content with just vegetables, they grew their own fruit- everything from fruit trees to fruit vines. Needless to say, I spent hours and hours working in the garden. It was no secret I hated everything about gardening. I promised myself I would never, ever, ever have a garden when I was an adult. No one was more surprised than me to discover I love small scale flower, herb, and vegetable gardening. If you are new to gardening, I’ve found 5 Herbs (Almost) Anyone Can Grow.
5 Herbs (Almost) Anyone Can Grow:
1. Mint – There are hundreds of different varieties of mint available, but the most common are peppermint and spearmint. These plants prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil, but can survive in part shade or shade. If you want a fast growing plant, mint is the one for you! It is considered an invasive plant because it spreads quickly through “runners’ it spreads out through the ground. Many people prefer to plant mint in a pot or to plant it in a larger pot and bury the pot into the ground to keep it from spreading. Once mint is established, it is virtually carefree. It’s a perennial plant that will return early in the spring year after year. In some sheltered areas of my garden, it blooms year round.
2. Oregano – is a member of the mint family, which makes it easy to care for. It prefers full sun, (although I have had it growing under a tree before with no problem), and light water until it is established. Its runners will spread quickly, making it a great ground cover. It is easy to take cuttings of the root and transplant them to new locations, making it a great choice for those of us on a budget. Oregano is a perennial plant. I’ve had great success with it staying green and adding a bit of color in my garden year round. This plant also grows well in pots.
3. Chives– Belong to the same family as onions, leeks and garlic and are a great substitute when you find yourself without one of those ingredients for a recipe. Chives are a fairly small plant, only growing around 12 inches tall, and have a tendency to become clumpy. These clumps can be divided to make new plants for the garden. One of the great things about chives is it is “drought hardy.” In our area, there is usually a water ban mid-summer and the chives still thrive. Chives are perennial so they’ll come back year after year. They are also good for container gardens. They prefer the sun, but will usually do well in partial shade.
4. Lemon Balm– looks a lot like mint, but spreads by seeds instead of by roots. It has a wonderful fragrant smell and can be used to make tea, salads, soups and more. A perennial, it grows to a height of about 1 to 2 feet. While it prefers full sun, you can grow it in partial shade with no problems. It prefers moist, well-drained soil. To prevent spreading, you can trim the herb in mid-summer. Dry or freeze the leaves or use them immediately. Lemon Balm can be used in container gardens.
5. Rosemary– is a “tender perennial”, growing best outdoors in zones 7 and above. If you live in a zone lower than 7, it is best to plant Rosemary in a container and bring it in for the winter. Rosemary has two distinct types, “prostrate” and “upright.” Upright varieties grow tall and make good backdrops for a garden landscape because they can grow to a height of four to six feet. Prostrate varieties spread across the ground. Rosemary prefers full sun and well-drained soil. This is a good plant to have in the garden because insects don’t like the smell and deer and rabbits don’t like the taste. Try rosemary with pork dishes or add it to lemonade for a unique flavor.
Do you grow herbs? What is your favorite herb?
Tip: Remember- plants grown in pots must be watered and fertilized regularly.