This should really be titled, “Three Fool-Proof Herbs to Grow” because these herbs are easy to grow even if you’ve never gardened before. Growing herbs is an excellent way to get started gardening because you don’t need fancy tools or special equipment to do it. All of these herbs can be grown in the ground but can also be grown in pots on a porch, patio or window sill if that’s all the space you have. You can start any of these from seed or pick up starter plants at your local plant nursery. Many herbs need dividing so check with a neighbor or friend who gardens because they may be ready to divide a plant, too.
Fresh herbs make such a nice addition when cooking at home and if you’ve ever had to buy a small package of herbs, you know how expensive they can be. Give these a try and you’ll be adding fresh herbs to your home cooking and saving money. There’s also no plastic packaging to dispose of when you’ve grown herbs yourself.
Three easy herbs to grow
Plus a bonus makes four!
Hardy, super easy to grow and can easily survive the winter. Sage has the sweetest little purple flowers that are pretty in a glass jar, too. Sage has unique flavor and is very versatile. It can be used in turkey stuffing and when sautéed with garbanzo beans, onions and garlic, makes a hearty entrée. Sage is especially delicious with sliced carrots sautéed in garlic and onion. If want to be indulgent, sage leaves are also really good pan-fried in a little canola oil and used as a topping for pasta or soup. To pick, just clip a branch low and pick off the leaves starting with the most tender ones at the top.
Rosemary is another herb that is easy to grow, hearty and will last for years. Rosemary is great for grilling and cooking with when preparing meat or poultry. Minced, rosemary is good mixed with red pepper flakes and added to bread dough to make a savory loaf, pizza dough or cornbread. Rosemary can can also be dried and stored in an airtight container. It’s even been shown to help counter the carcinogenic effects of charcoal grilling. To pick, just snip a branch and run your fingers backward on the stem to pull off the little green sprigs.
Thyme is an incredibly multi-purpose herb. While it is easy to start and to grow, it has yet to survive a winter for me. I usually start seeds in early summer and can harvest the thyme in very little time. Thyme is a lovely addition to salad dressings, soups and stews, pasta, seafood, shell-fish, and hummus. No need to mince your fresh thyme, either. While holding it in one hand, with your thumb and pointer finger, just pull the leaves off the stem quickly.
This is a bonus! While technically not an herb, arugula is my go-to plant in the garden for adding a little spice to dishes like salads, sandwiches or as a garnish when you need a bit of green. Arugula has a distinctive taste and is a peppery salad green. It’s super easy to grow and even winters over well, at least in mild winter climates. Growing arugula in your garden saves money, too, because for some reason, buying arugula at the grocery store can be expensive. To harvest, treat like a lettuce or chard and cut leaves off before they go to seed.
If your arugula goes to seed, it’s very easy to dry these seeds and replant once they have had a chance to dry out. Simply remove the pod from the plant and open it. Place in a small cup or bowl and let it sit for several months and then plant these seeds. Or give them as a gift. A little packet tied with a gingham ribbon would be so sweet, wouldn’t it?
Whether you’re new to gardening or someone who’s an old pro, these herbs will be a welcomed addition in your kitchen when you’re preparing a simple or elaborate home cooked meal.
One final tip: if you are considering planting mint, only plant it in a pot. It likes to take over.
What are your favorite, fool-proof herbs to grow? What would you add to my list?
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