Dried herbs and spices can certainly be convenient to keep on the kitchen shelf. And sometimes, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg from our spice rack is just what your recipe calls for.
But with certain herbs, there’s no comparison when it comes to a fresh alternative. The drying process loses the herb’s flavorsome oils. It can notably diminish the taste impact and aroma of more delicate plants like parsley, tarragon, and dill. In some cases, fresh herbs can also pack in more nutritional value than dried. Whether it’s basil to garnish a pasta bake or mint for a refreshing mojito, fresh herbs can bring a vibrant bit of colour that makes them visually appealing as well as tasty. Sometimes, dried herbs can make a good replacement if you can’t get to the store to buy fresh ones. But have you considered growing your own herbs so you always have delicious garnishes to hand? If learning how to grow herbs at home is a new venture for you, have no fear - here are some easy plant ideas to get you started.
Some herbs take longer to grow than others, so it’s worth noting the germination periods for different plants. You can learn more in our How to grow your own herbs article.Buy it Now
Sage is easy to grow and can be a useful addition to a range of recipes. The main thing to remember is that it needs good drainage and doesn’t like the soil to be too wet. It grows best in a sunny spot, either inside or outside - ideally with six to eight hours of sunshine a day. As it’s evergreen, you can grow and harvest sage throughout the year. However, if you plant your sage outdoors, you may need to cover it with a horticultural fleece in the winter. It’s a good idea to pick leaves regularly to encourage new growth - so why not add a few to your next roast?
Rosemary smells fantastic and is an excellent addition to soup and meat dishes, as well as making a healthy tea. Similarly to sage, you can grow and pick rosemary any time of year, making it a good beginner’s herb. However, it can be more challenging to maintain than sage, as you need to trim it when the flowers start to fade. It’s also worth noting that rosemary plants don’t need much water. It’s easy to over-water, so keep it in a sheltered spot where it gets lots of full sun.
The classic addition to Mediterranean dishes, basil is a delicious herb that grows well in spring and summer. Its growth naturally halts in the winter, but you can freeze your harvested basil leaves or preserve them in oil. You can grow basil both indoors and outdoors. However, if you wish to grow it inside, you’ll need to mimic summertime conditions. A sunny windowsill is the best spot, and you may need to add artificial grow lights if necessary. Popping your basil plant straight into a self-watering herb keeper is a great way to keep the soil’s moisture levels optimum.
Parsley is another excellent fresh herb to grow at home. Like basil, it needs a sunny spot - indoors or out - with moist but well-drained soil. Parsley seeds are slow to germinate, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see growth right away! Soaking the seeds in water overnight before planting can speed up the process.
Oregano plants not only provide seasoning - they also produce beautiful pink flowers! Their appearance makes them great for adding color to outside flower beds. However, you can start off growing them in pots indoors. Oregano likes well-drained soil, so it’s best to let it dry out between waterings. Frequent harvesting helps new shoots grow.
You can grow mint from seeds, but it’s often easier to buy a young plant from the garden centre and nurture its growth. There are two most commonly grown types of mint, spearmint and peppermint, with each having a unique flavor and aroma. Mint plants spread easily, so it’s a good idea to grow them in containers inside (or in plant pots) so they don't take over your garden! Mint likes a sunny or partially shaded spot.
Coriander is another versatile herb that grows well in the ground or containers. Like rosemary, coriander seeds can take a while to germinate, and the plant itself is quite short-lived. You might like to sow a few seeds regularly. Coriander likes lots of water. However, it’s important to let the soil dry out a little between each watering.
The best time to sow chives is in March and April. They can grow quite big, so make sure they have enough space to spread. Chives like moist soil, so it’s best to water them frequently - just be careful not to let the soil become waterlogged. A self-watering herb keeper can make sure the plants have a consistent moisture level. Once picked, chives (which are a member of the onion family) are great in omelettes and salads.
Fragrant dill grows best at temperatures between 15 and 24°C (60-75°F). As such, it needs a cool spot inside. Alternatively, you can grow it outside in the spring and autumn. However, it’s worth noting that dill plants don’t like root disturbance. So if you plant them outside and wish to bring them indoors in the summer and winter, grow them in pots and bring the whole container inside.
Once you’ve flexed your green thumb and have an aromatic garden or windowsill full of delicious fresh herbs, you’ll need somewhere to store the harvested cuttings. A Freshly Cut Herb Keeper Pot can prevent your herbs from wilting. To ensure you can store your herbs hassle-free, we designed the pot to be slim fit to slot straight into the fridge without getting in the way and for easy access.
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