Growing your herbs at home is a no-brainer. Most of them are easy to grow, so they provide a quick win in any garden. They’re one of my favorite things to grow, and my herb garden is always buzzing with life. Once I learned how to dry herbs, I now have an abundance of these nutritious powerhouses at my fingertips all year from just a few plants, and you can have them too!
The right fresh herbs in a dish can be the secret ingredient that brings it all together. They’re not only delicious but also easy to grow and take care of. In this article, I will show you the best herbs to grow in your garden so you can take your cooking from pretty good to amazing.
Backyard Boss Best Herbs To Grow In Your Garden
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Why You Can Trust Us
I’m lucky because I can see rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano, arugula, and garlic chives growing in my herb garden. Yesterday I direct-sowed some fennel and dill, and I’ve got a box full of herb seeds that will be germinated and planted as the seasons’ change.
I remember as a young boy having an entire garden under my supervision. It was only a few square feet, and all I chose to grow were my favorite herbs. The reasons being that most herbs are easy to grow, they have a strong flavor that brightens up your meals and snacking on pungent fresh leaves while walking through my mom’s garden was one of the great joys of my childhood.
My love for herb gardens hasn’t changed. What has changed is the size of my garden. I now have a ‘garnish garden’ right outside my kitchen. It’s packed with herbs that add flavor and crunch to a meal just before serving. I had to think very hard and draw up numerous pros and cons lists to come up with the best 5 herbs to grow in your garden.
Best For Fresh Leaves
Why We Like It: Arugula, also known as rocket, is a herb masquerading as a leafy green.
Use it anywhere you would use a fresh leafy green. Arugula has a flavor of its own that brings complexity and crunch to your meal. The nutty, slightly peppery flavor gets spicier as the plant matures.
A real ‘point and shoot’ crop, you’ll have arugula in your garden forever if you let one or two plants go to seed each season. This delicate green is a lot tougher than most other greens and can withstand a wide range of conditions. They can also be harvested as a highly nutritious, peppery sprout when they’re about 2 inches tall.
Who Should Buy It: If you’re looking to go from seed to harvest quickly, with a delicious yield to boot, give these arugula seeds a try.
Best For Indoors And Outdoors
Why We Like It: Basil is one of the most popular herbs out there. It’s one of those herbs that produce more the more you harvest it.
It means having an unlimited pesto. This pack of seeds will give you five popular varieties of basil, including the purple opal variety. The varieties are suitable for both indoor herb hardens and outdoor growing, with enough seeds of each to try.
Who Should Buy It: Whether you’re growing herbs in pots on a sunny windowsill or you have a dedicated herb garden, this is the pack for you if you want to grow basil for unlimited pesto.
Best Mediterranean Herb
Why We Like It: Rosemary is more than a herb. Its strong smell and flavor have earned it the title of being an ‘aromatic’.
The herbal flavor is an excellent addition to meats (especially lamb) and stews. A healthy rosemary plant will yield enough rosemary to last the whole year. You’ll have fresh leaves throughout the growing season.
At the end of the growing season, cut the plant back to keep it healthy and neat. All that vegetation can be dried by hanging it up in a cool, dry place. Once the leaves are dry, crush them up and put them in a labeled shaker. Your dried rosemary might last until you can start harvesting fresh leaves once again.
Who Should Buy It: Are you looking to grow some herbs that can perform double duty as a medicinal herb and a culinary herb? Look no further than rosemary.
Best For Garnish
Why We Like It: Chives are one of those perennial herbs that don’t get enough credit.
A great thing about chives is that they feed us as well as pollinators. Bee’s just love chive flowers, which humans can eat too. The edible flowers have a subtle onion flower but look amazing as a garnish on a plate.
They add a delicious flavor to any dish without the tears that come with cutting onions. Grow them right outside your kitchen door to add some fresh chives to your meals just before serving. If you have a south-facing window in your kitchen, grow them right there on the windowsill. Chives tolerate partial shade but prefer as much direct sunlight as possible.
Who Should Buy It: When you need a pleasant onion flavor from a fresh herb, and you want to keep the bees happy too, onion chives will step up to the plate.
Best For Gourmet
Why We Like It: As far as herbs go, oregano is a little bit on the fancy side when it comes to cooking anyway.
It is an easy addition to your kitchen garden. This versatile herb is an essential ingredient in Italian cooking. Oregano plants thrive in a sunny spot with at least 6 hours of sun a day and well-drained soil.
Oregano can be used fresh off the plant for the most flavor and aroma. You can also dry the leaves when you prune your plant and have dried oregano to carry you through the winter months.
Who Should Buy It: Do you often cook Italian, Spanish, or Mexican dishes? Then you need some oregano growing nearby for the most authentic take on these popular cuisines.
Positioning Your Herb Garden
Growing a herb garden is an easy and rewarding gardening activity that’s accessible to almost anybody. The strong flavors and aromas associated with herbs mean that a little goes a long way. So your herb garden could be a fraction of the size of your vegetable garden while still yielding all the herbs you need.
It is especially important for those short on space. An apartment herb garden is easy to set up and maintain in small spaces. All you need is a sunny window and a bit of inspiration.
One of the most important aspects of a herb garden is that it’s positioned in a sunny spot. Whether inside or outside, it should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. That means a south-facing window that gets lots of suns if you’re doing container gardening for your apartment herb garden.
If you spend some time observing your herb garden, you’ll begin to notice the areas that receive partial shade throughout the day. It is a good spot to plant delicate herbs that might get scorched by too much direct sunlight.
Considerations For Your Herb Garden
Maintaining your herb garden is the same as maintaining any garden. Although less intensive than managing a vegetable garden. First off, make sure you have a site that receives enough sun, as detailed in the section above.
Next, make sure you plant herbs that you use. There’s no use planting cilantro if everybody in your household thinks it tastes like soap. On the flip side, if you have a favorite herb that you use in every meal, by all means, dedicate a whole bed to that herb alone.
Another good idea is to group herbs based on their needs. The packet of seeds you receive will have instructions on the packaging. Group herbs by the same light, watering, and feeding requirements. It makes the gardener’s life much easier.
Most of the herbs on this list are of Mediterranean origin, which means they thrive in Mediterranean climates. It is characterized by hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. So be careful not to overwater your herbs. Allow the soil to dry out slightly in between waterings, and never let the roots of your herbs become waterlogged. Make sure you end up with moist soil, not waterlogged soil when you water your herbs.
How We Picked
Choosing the best 5 herbs to grow in your garden is no easy task. How are we supposed to choose with so many good options? To make our lives easier and to make sure that this list stayed short and sweet, we developed a list of criteria to rank different herbs.
- Versatility. Some herbs are very specific in their uses and might even be considered niche ingredients. Chances are you won’t be using these herbs too often in your cooking, so dedicating time and space to growing said herb probably isn’t necessary. However, other herbs are widely versatile and can be used in many applications, from lamb chops to tea. These are the herbs that you want to dedicate your time and space.
- Ease of growth. Herb gardens should be easy to grow, filled with delicious plants, and look good and smell good too. We purposefully left out herbs that need special care and attention because we want you to have some quick wins in your herb garden.
- Dried or fresh? Fresh herbs usually have a stronger flavor and aroma than dried herbs. Dried herbs keep for literal years while fresh herbs begin to wilt the moment you harvest them. We made sure to include both in this list above. We also added some herbs that can be used both fresh and dry.
The Final Pick
Even though all of the herbs we included are worth the recommendation, our top pick for the best herb to grow in your garden is arugula. It grows fast, and once it’s established itself in your garden, you’ll have arugula for life. You can eat it fresh off the plant, and its peppery taste gets spicier and spicier the older the plant gets.
It can be used as a leafy green and is as versatile as they come. You can even eat the sprouts as a highly nutritious microgreen. Because it’s a herb, it’s a lot tougher than most leafy greens and can withstand a range of conditions. As the plant matures, the leaves eventually become bitter. At this point, you can remove the plant, or you can let it go to seed, collect the seed, and then plant again next season.