5 Easy To Grow Herbs
Herbs are one of the most important ingredients in cooking. Think how bland and boring food would be without all the excellent combinations of herbs and spices that make up a great dish.
Have you ever wanted fresh herbs on hand whenever you need them? Here at Gardening Info, we show you how several common herbs, like basil, cilantro, and mint are very easy to grow, requiring very little care. Herbs grow fast and strong in a garden or a container, making them readily available and perfect for your cooking needs.
Fresh cilantro is a main ingredient in many great Mexican and Italian recipes. Aside from its unique taste, cilantro is known to have antibacterial effects and some studies have shown that the herb can lower cholesterol.
- Cilantro is best grown in early fall and late spring because it tends to bolt (develops flowers and seeds) and becomes bitter when temperatures rise.
- Other than this feature, cilantro grows like most other herbs, preferring well-drained soil, partial shade or full sunlight, and a thorough watering every few days.
Cilantro is commonly grown from seeds and the plant grows very quickly. To reduce the risk of bolting, look for “Slo-Bolt” seeds.
- If growing cilantro outside, wait until after the risk of frost has passed to plant the seeds.
- Plant the seeds about 6 – 10 inches apart.
- Once you have sown your seeds into the soil, keep the soil moist to ensure germination, which usually takes 7-10 days.
- Once your cilantro plant has grown to 8 inches or so, you can harvest some of the leaves.
- Harvest the outside mature leaves and leave the smaller, inner leaves to continue growing.
- Prune any flowers to reduce bolting.
- Because cilantro is primarily used fresh, it’s not common to dry and preserve the leaves. Dried cilantro leaves lose most of their flavor.
Basil is a very fragrant herb that is used in Mediterranean and Italian dishes, and for homemade pesto. Basil, like many herbs, is easily grown in a container or garden and doesn’t require much attention.
- Basil needs at least 6 – 8 hours of full sun per day.
- If growing in a container, don’t place your basil outside until after the last frost.
You can grow basil from seed or go the easy route and buy plants already started for you.
- Basil needs well drained soil and watering every two days.
- Water your basil plants at the base and not from above. The leaves are delicate and may not be able to withstand the force.
When you feel that your basil plant has enough leaves to survive a harvest, pick a few off, starting at the top of the plant.
Basil can be dried with a dehydrator or just by hanging it upside down for a week or so. Once dry, store them in an air-tight container.
There are a wide variety of mint plants, including spearmint, sweet mint, and even chocolate mint. Not only is mint good for your health and can help you create unique deserts and dishes, it helps deter bugs and pests from eating your garden veggies.
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow and mostly takes care of itself.
- Mint is best grown in a container. Why?
v Mint grows so fast and with a huge root system – almost to the point where it can be invasive.
- Buy already grown plants or start mint plants from seed (which can be hard).
- Mint will grow in partial shade (best) or full sunlight.
- Keep the soil moist by watering at least every other day.
- Harvest leaves often and prune any flowers as soon as you see them.
Because mint is slightly cold hardy, it can have quite a long lifespan. By bringing it inside during winter, your mint can live for years.
Oregano is great in salads, pizza, pasta, or when making your own Greek olives.
Oregano grows well in gardens where it can become almost like a ground cover. For more manageable Oregano, plant this fragrant herb in a container. Oregano is one of the easiest herbs to grow and requires very little attention.
- Oregano is easiest grown from already started plants.
- Like a lot of herbs, Oregano can tolerate partial shade (best) or full sun.
- Water Oregano plants once or twice a week.
- Harvest often to encourage thick and bushy growth.
Growing garlic is a bit like growing onion or flowers from bulbs. Each clove of garlic will go on to form its own garlic bulb.
- Garlic is cold hardy and can be planted in early spring or even late fall.
- Garlic thrives in full sun.
- Plant each garlic clove upright, 8 – 12 inches deep, with the roots going into the ground.
- Space each clove by about 5 inches.
- Water thoroughly once or twice a week.
Garlic grows slowly. You’ll know it’s ready for harvest when most of the leaves have turned a yellow-brown and start falling over.
- Gently dig garlic bulbs out – don’t pull!
- Dry garlic bulbs by stringing them together and hanging in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks or longer.