Grow Your Own! 10 Easy To Grow Herbs

As we become more aware of the origins of food many of us are choosing to grow our own. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a gardening novice, one thing you can grow with ease is herbs. Growing your own herbs will not only bring your outdoor space to life but provide tasty fresh ingredients to help step up your cooking game. Regardless if it’s a potted plant or you plan to grow directly from the seed, we take a look at what’s hot in the herb world for the year ahead.

1. Basil

With as many varieties available as uses, basil is one of the more popular and easier herbs to grow, and is often used to compliment tomato based dishes. Whether you’re planning to grow basil in your garden or in a pot on the windowsill, be mindful that it’s a tender plant and requires warm temperatures and sun to grow to its full potential. When it comes to the soil, it needs to be rich, moist but well-drained as it’s picky when it comes to water. Similarly when feeding the plant, touch the soil to see if it’s dry, if so water the base as opposed to the leaves.

2. Coriander

Also known as cilantro for people in the USA, coriander is a tasty addition when cooking Asian dishes, and is best grown from the seed sown straight into the soil as it doesn’t tend to transplant well. If you’re planning to grow the herb for its seeds, find a location with a lot of sun exposure, whereas the leaves will thrive in a more shaded spot. It’s a highly fragrant herb that, when under the right conditions, can grow up to two feet in height. You’ll be able to tell when it’s time to harvest the leaves, as the plant will be robust enough to cope!

3. Mint

If you’re looking for a handy herb to grow, look no further than mint. Its fragrant leaves have a variety of uses throughout the home from herbal teas and homemade sauces to domestic remedies. While it is an easy herb to grow, it has a vigorous nature meaning it can sometimes take over your garden when not kept under control. A top tip is to plant mint in containers to keep it from spreading. When choosing where to plant mint, try to find a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade to avoid it drying out in the heat.

4. Parsley

From flavoursome butters and sauces to a well-needed garnish, parsley is an essential and versatile ingredient in many dishes. Flat leaf parsley is more suited to the climate here in the UK as it’s more tolerant of rain and sunshine. It can be slow to germinate, depending on the conditions, so you can speed this up by soaking the seeds overnight in water before planting into the soil. When the weather is cold you may prefer to sow them indoors on a windowsill, when the soil is warmer in the summer they can venture forth outside.

5. Rosemary

Often identified by its stunning decorative appearance thanks to its colourful flowers and needle-like leaves. Rosemary is very adaptable when it comes to cooking and can enhance so many different types of dishes. It is also one of the most versatile plants as it can grow in almost any soil, provided the ground isn’t too wet. It can grow in sunshine and shade so it can be ideal for most gardens. It can be an energetic grower so you will need to be aware of this. In June or July you can trim it back to retain its shape.

6. Rocket

Rocket is a very easy to grow herb that adds a nice peppery flavour to your salads. The flavour intensifies the older it becomes so you have much milder and tender leaves when it is younger. Rocket is usually very rich in vitamin C and potassium so can be very healthy in a balanced diet. You can grow it from early April to late September. By sowing seeds every 2-3 weeks you can ensure a regular supply of this popular herb. Rocket will need a lot of sunlight so for a constant supply be sure to plant it in a sunny site. It is important to keep the soil moist as the plants grow, avoiding over-watering, as this will affect the overall taste of the plant.

7. Thyme

The aromatic flavours of thyme can add a little something extra to so many different dishes. Its small leaves can be used in soup as well as meat or vegetable meals, while it’s flowers help attract other wildlife. Thyme can be bought as ready-grown plants, but where is the fun in that? In early spring you should look to use small garden plots full of high quality compost with a few seeds scattered across the surface. You then will need to cover with a light sprinkling of extra compost. You may want to use a propagator to speed the germination process. Make sure you get the water levels right as the thyme will hate being over or under-watered.

8. Chives

Chives are one of the most low maintenance herbs around. They form the perfect addition to salads or other dishes – especially a potato salad. Once the seedlings have germinated they are very easy to maintain. All you will need to do is to ensure the plants remain sufficiently watered – especially during the summer. They will usually die towards the back end of autumn so you should keep the plants looking tidy by removing any debris that could harm them.

9. Sage

Sage is another plant that is a very simple herb that you can grow with minimal time spent in maintenance. Most common garden pests do not pose a threat to sage so all you have to worry about is your recipe for a sage and onion stuffing for your Sunday roast. Sage is a pretty robust plant but you should look to keep it well fed, just don’t overdo it as it will lose it’s flavour if it is over-watered and you’ll ruin the roots. If you are looking to plant in the garden, you should choose a spot that has zero weeds and a high quality rotted manure or compost. If its possible, be sure to find a spot that is sheltered from the strong winds as this will dry out the plants.

10. Dill

Dill is a popular herb that has strongly flavoured leaves that are often used in a number of dishes. From fish to soups, salads and curries this herb has a very wide range of applications. It is slightly more difficult to grow than others on this list, however isn’t too tricky if you know what you are doing. Dill really dislikes being moved or having it’s roots disturbed, as a result you should sow the seeds where it is going to grow. You should look to water the plants regularly but similar to other herbs, if you over-water it can be disastrous. As your plants grow you will need to support them with sticks or canes to stop them from falling over in strong winds.