Growing herbs in your vegetable garden

Recently, I’ve discovered the power of herbs. Not only as a wonderful natural insect repellent in companion gardening, lovely scent to add to gardening pleasure and tasty addition to any meal, but also for the natural health benefits they provide. Of course, clients love copious quantities of fresh herbs each week, which is wonderful too. Most are pretty easy to grow.

Thyme grows well at Halcyon Acres
Thyme is a hearty perennial for Zone 5

My favorites for the garden include: Thyme, basil, sage, oregano, parsley, dill, lavender, rosemary and cilantro.

Thyme is hard to get started, but hearty once it’s established. It’s a wonderful addition to any vegetable dish, salads, eggs and meals that include lamb. It’s a perennial that grows well here, in Zone 5. Chef William did a great post on Thyme for those who want tips and ideas for cooking as well as information on believe medicinal qualities of this herb.

Basil won’t survive even a light frost. It’s easy to start from seed and best planted in warmer weather. This is a great companion plant for tomatoes and goes great with them for meals too.

Sageis wonderful not only for cooking, but also smelting. It’s claimed to have cleansing properties, so many people will dry a bunch and burn it from room to room to chase away whatever. It’s best to start from seed in containers as it starts slowly and is very hard to find as seedlings in the garden. The good news is it transplants into soil beautifully and once rooted, lasts year after year. It’s bushy in the way it grows but matures at about 2-feet high and 2-feet wide around here. We like to plant it with either oregano or strawberries as both are great ground cover to keep out the weeds and sage doesn’t need surface soil light to grow once it’s established.

Sage is a favorite at Halcyon Acres
Sage is an herb you don't see in too many gardens - wonder why?

Oregano is delightful in eggs, salads, of course pasta dishes and anything else where you’re looking for a mild flavor enhancer. You’ll need to use a lot more than dried as the flavor is far less pungent, but fresh is fun. Some claim it can be invasive, but we haven’t a problem with this. As noted, we plant it with sage and the two plants seem to get along quite well.

We’ll cover the rest of my favorite garden herbs in the next post.

For those who enjoy herbs, Chef William’s Healthy Food and Diet website will be featuring great tips, ideas and background with herbs as a feature this week and perhaps beyond. I encourage you to get check out his blog as it’s well done and I always learn from what he has to share.

10 thoughts on “Growing herbs in your vegetable garden

  1. Herbs are the Chefs Secret ingredient in the kitchen. They hide in the background of the dish and enhance the flavor without taken center stage. You will know you have reached the pinnacle of success when your guests rave about the dish and then try to guess what it is that makes it taste so wonderful. You’ll know the secret is the herbs you used. This is one time that you want to share the secret so that when you are invited to be their guest for dinner, the experience will be just as great. I’m looking forward to your next article on herbs..

    1. That French onion soup recipe sound delicious, Chef William. I enjoy reading your blog because I always learn something new about how to use food ingredients or some other information I didn’t know. When you announced you were going to feature herbs this week for their food and medicinal purposes, I figured I’d share some of my planting, growing and harvesting experience. Plus, when I started growing herbs, sometimes it was hard to identify them because there are so few pictures available that show them starting or growing, so will include some of these as well.

  2. Mr. Blackthumb here… Not really, but given the nature of my work, I rarely get around to tinkering outside to insure that things are kept up for those gardens. Instead, I rely on hydroponics to grow my herbs- right in my kitchen, so I can grab what suits my fancy to cook my dinners.

    1. I haven’t had much luck with the hydroponics, Roy, but haven’t given up yet. What fun it must be for you to have them so handy in your kitchen.

    1. Thanks for stopping in, reading and commenting, Cher. I keep learning more about herb benefits and applications each day. There’s just so much to take in. I’ll admit though, I tend to get spoiled on fresh so winter’s when they don’t hold seem a little plain.

  3. I’ve no garden and very little success growing herbs in my kitchen or in pots. They do well for a little while – enough for me to enjoy chopping fresh herbs once in a while, rather than relying on dried all the time.
    I did need to Google cilantro though. It sounded familiar and I couldn’t place it. Coriander! One of my favs. Try adding a bit of “warmth” to spinach with a touch of nutmeg and coriander – gorgeous!

    1. Jan, I haven’t mastered the skill of indoor herbs here either. I suspect the limited sun hours during the winter (and just about all year round for you in the UK:-)) are a factor. I wish I could provide an answer for you on a solution, but maybe some of the blog readers here can (apparently Roy has found success with hydroponics that has escaped me)? Great advice on on the warming touches. Ginger’s great for this too.

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