My Favorite Herbs to Grow

My herb garden always makes me smile. There is just something so satisfying about stepping out the back door to cut a handful of thyme and rosemary to flavor a roast chicken, or to sip a cup of tea made from the chocolate mint that we grew. And, I’ve got to tell you, no jar or box of herbs from a store shelf can compare with the flavor! This afternoon I had some tea made from the mint that we harvested last summer and it was fabulous! To make it even better, most of these herbs are perennials, which makes them even cheaper and easier.

Chocolate Mint

None of the store-bought mint teas I’ve tried can come close to the flavor of ours. It is fresh and sweet. I like it both hot and cold, so I’ll often start with a hot cup to sip on and then poor it over ice once it’s down to room temperature.

Mint is so easy to grow that it will get away from you, if you’re not careful. It easily grows from cuttings, so just buy one little plant and cut the stems off. Stick them in the soil and you’ll have tons of little plants!

Lemon Balm

I just tried store-bought lemon balm tea for the first time a couple of weeks ago. YUCK! The lemon balm we grow and dry is absolutely delicious, so I apologize to any of you who might have been dissappointed with the flavor of store-bought after I told you to try it. Get a pot. Grow your own. It’s extremely low maintenance and the flavor is worth it. Just look at that picture. I took it today, and that plant was neglected all last year (I was pregnant… everything got neglected) and it is still thriving!

Thyme

Thyme is my favorite herb to flavor chicken with. Thyme fresh from the garden, mixed with rosemary and sea salt, makes for a perfect roasted chicken! I remember getting ready to roast a chicken the winter before last and being so disappointed when I realized that we had used the last of our dried thyme. Spring couldn’t come fast enough!

Rosemary

There are so many different types of rosemary, but so far our favorite is the Arp Rosemary. (By the way, the furry little white things aren’t part of the plant. They’re seeds from something else.) We love rosemary in almost any savory dish, but especially with chicken and beef.

Lavender

Buying dried lavender flowers is expensive, but what started as one tiny plant gives me at least a pound every year! And the smell is just as heavenly as you’re imagining. 😉 Some people like to cook with lavender (I’ve seen recipes for lavender scones), but I haven’t tried it. Maybe I’ll do that one of these days…

Parsley

This one is an annual, but it is so easy to grow. Our only problem is that a certain type of caterpillar likes to munch on it, but we just break off the stem he’s working on and toss him and the stem into the empty lot next door. Dinner to go, for him. 🙂

Sage

This is actually a photo of my mom’s sage, which is a resilient little plant! This little guy was planted in this pot last spring, spent the entire winter out on the deck and decided to give us an unexpected encore. We had some pork roast with apple-sage sauce last night and it was delicious. This convinced me that I need to add sage to my list!

Dill

Dill is a must. Pumpkin and I often make a summer lunch by fetching cucumbers and dill from the garden, then dipping the sliced cucumbers in homemade yogurt or kefir flavored with dill and sea salt. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Last summer we also tried growing some marjoram and savory, but since I had such bad morning sickness for most of the summer, if wasn’t really a fair trial. We’ll have to try them again and see if they make the cut.

Learn how to grow and harvest herbs, dry herbs and read my intro to herbal remedies, to learn more! 🙂

What are your favorite herbs to grow? Trying anything new this year?

12 thoughts on “My Favorite Herbs to Grow

  1. How beautiful! I would love an herb garden at some point. I love fresh herbs, but it’s not really in my budget except for during the summer at the farmer’s market. I think we are just focusing on tomatoes this year for our outside garden though. I hope to put some pots of different herbs along my long and deep window sill in my kitchen.

    • Thanks, Debra! We really love our herb garden. I started out with herbs in pots, too, and we really enjoyed having them in the house where they were easy to remember and get to. Have fun!

  2. I LOVE chocholate mint. The plant I had died after our first son was born (in my post baby fatigue I forgot to water it) and I haven’t been able to find any since. 🙁

    My other favorite is basil. Any basil, really, but I specifically like lemon basil. It just adds a really lovely taste to spaghetti sauses, pestos, and herb bread. And when I crush the leaves by hand my hands smell lemony.

    • Oh no! I hope you can find some more chocolate mint, soon! Mine is out in the garden, so God watered it for me, but all of our house plants died.

      We really love basil, too. Lemon basil sounds like a good one to try… I’ll have to look for it. We really enjoy roasting freshly picked tomatoes then tossing them with shredded basil and a berry-infused balsamic vinegar! I am sooooo looking forward to my summer garden!

  3. Oh, I love all these herbs, too!

    I planted chocolate mint last year. It really is surprising just how chocolatey it actually smells.

    And lavender scones. . .I bet they would be lovely. I’ve made lavender cookies. They were good.

    Thanks for sharing your post at Your Green Resource!

  4. Lauren says:

    The caterpillars on your parsley are most likely Swallowtails, which are BEAUTIFUL butterflies. I plant extra parsley and let the caterpillars have one plant, and save the other for myself 🙂 I haven’t been able to find chocolate mint around here. I desperately want some! Yum!

    • You’re right, Lauren! I just looked up a pic of swallowtail caterpillars and that’s what is hanging out on our parsley. Planting extra is a great idea! We would like to do a butterfly garden at some point, and I think I’ll add some parsley to encourage swallowtails to lay their eggs there. 🙂

      I hope you’re able to find the chocolate mint! If I ever need to buy more and can’t find it, I’ll be hunting on-line. It’s just so good!

      Thanks for the comment!

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