Why You Need An Herb Garden
My family has moved many times and been all over the country. Sometimes I take a hand full of plants from my herb gardens with me. Other times I start fresh when we move. Many common herbs grow fairly quickly and growing my own herbs has saved us a small fortune over the years. Having my own home grown herbs was a total lifesaver during the mass shut down in 2020, as the grocery stores around us were very bare and were unable to restock many herbs for months.
Herbs are the most beneficial thing we eat, full of beneficial compounds, and have more antioxidants pound for pound than almost anything on our plates. Every household on earth could benefit from using more herbs in their food. They are also incredibly useful medicinally. For thousand of years humans have used herbs to heal themselves. Many simple home remedies can be made with just a few herbs and spices out of a well-stocked pantry. Unfortunately, herbs are also some of the most expensive things we have in our pantries. Which is why everyone should be growing their own. Herb gardens can be grown very literally anywhere. They can be grown in any container, in the ground, in any home, so long as they have a window and water, and pollinators love them.
I’m going to share my list of herbs I suggest anyone try if they are starting an herb garden. Most of these will grow in almost any region, although a couple of them would benefit from being moved inside if you do not live in an area that has mild winters.
I love the flavor of basil. And who doesn’t love a good pesto! It’s great for stomach issues and can be used in teas for headaches. It grows well as an annual, though it does like a slightly richer soil. It can be grown in full sun, but if your zone gets very hot summers, you would probably want to grow it in the shade. Pinch off any flowers and prune often to have bushier and more productive plants.
If you haven’t heard of or used calendula before you are missing out. It is incredibly easy to grow and will reseed itself all year long. Calendula can handle temperatures down to 25 degrees, in colder areas will have to be grown annually. They have edible flowers that are great in salads and teas. Calendula also is excellent for healing. I use it in creams and ointments for skin rashes, sunburns and wounds. It can be used for a host of things and when planted in your garden will bring all kinds of pollinators.
Anyone who likes Mediterranean food has eaten oregano. One of my oregano plants is nearly six years old and happily growing still. Oregano does not like very cold temperatures so it should over winter in any area that stays above freezing. It prefers full sun but doesn’t mind partial shade. Oregano has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for people who have asthmas and arthritis.
Another Mediterranean herb, rosemary, also does not like cooler temperatures. Below 40 degrees it will die, so over wintering in a controlled environment is a must. Rosemary prefers sun but doesn’t mind partial shade. In many moderate climates it can be grown as a shrub or even a border. Like oregano, rosemary has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be beneficial for those who suffer from asthmas and arthritis.
This herb can be grown in any mild to hot area but depending on the variation you grow can last through winter. I suggest getting advice from a local nursery before deciding on the type of sage you would like to use. Otherwise keep it over 40 degrees and it should be fine. Sage is great in the kitchen, can also be used as pesto, in dressings, teas, and also has medicinal properties. Sage has antibacterial properties and can be beneficial for sore throats.
I love having a variety of thyme in my garden. If you’ve never tried lemon thyme, add it to your garden and you won’t regret it. Thyme can be used for so many things! Not only is it great for cooking, it can be great in a variety of fruity beverages, is a great disinfectant, and is also medicinal. I add it to my homemade disinfectant sprays. It can also be great for mouth infections, coughs and chest congestion. This herb likes most climates, except extreme cold, (zones 4 and lower), and is fairly easy to grow. I like to use it as a planter border. It tolerates sun and partial shade, doesn’t take a large amount of water and bees love it.
I hope this short list of wonderful herbs inspires you to start an herb garden of your own. If you’re not sure where to start with your herbs, take a peek into your pantry and see which herbs you have a tendency to use the most and go from there. What is your favorite kitchen herb? Share below!