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.