Growing your own herbs is rewarding work. Their bright leaves impart an effortless happiness to windows, their scents are naturally soothing, and their tastes, well, are downright life affirming. Here are a few of my favorite herbs based on their ease to grow and incorporate into tasty dishes.
- Basil: Packed with flavor and Vitamin K, this member of the mint family comes with a wide selection of tasty overtones from sweet to lemony. It can be grown cheaply from seed and provide meal after meal of summer flavors, from pesto to caprese salads. To keep your basil healthy, feed monthly with organic fertilizer and make sure to provide enough room to let it grow. It can get to about 3’ in height (provided you aren’t pinching off leaves fast enough!).
- Parsley: Hardly a garnish anymore, parsley packs a powerful nutritious punch and can thrive in less than perfect sunshine. This short, leafy plant is grown easily from seed and can be harvested when the plant is just 6” tall. Chilling the seeds in the refrigerator and then soaking them in warm water overnight will speed up the germinating process. If you’ve never made a chimichurri sauce for your steak, now is an excellent time to experiment!
- Thyme: With antiseptic and preservative properties, thyme has long been a kitchen staple in Mediterranean households. It doesn’t require a ton of water and is intensely aromatic, making it a great plant to play with to release bold scents into whatever room it is planted in.
- Rosemary: This evergreen, deliciously ornamental plant is perfect for folks with less-than-green thumbs. It prefers an aloof type of care, and suffers when it is given too much attention. In order to keep your plant from outgrowing the pot too quickly, remove the top tips of the plant and the bottom two inches of roots from the ball when it starts to get cramped. Like thyme, this plant is a great one to run your fingers through and release a pleasant clean scent.
- Mint: Vigorous growers, mint is best grown in containers, where it can’t play to its rampant strengths. It doesn’t mind shade and will devour a good fertilizer. It’s a great plant to have around if you are watching your calories—chewing on a few mint leaves can keep breath fresh and a mind distracted from sweet treats. That being said, it pairs nicely with ice cream!
If you have a window that faces south or southwest, and one that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, you are in for a delicious treat. Don’t worry if this window isn’t in your kitchen. Bright green, herbaceous plants look and smell great in any room, and having them a few steps away is still much closer than the grocery store.