Easy Herbs to Grow at Home | Midwest Living

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Easy Herbs to Grow at Home

Trade dried pantry herbs for seasonings plucked straight from your yard. Easy-to-grow herbs such as thyme, basil and sage add zest to your garden and table.
  • Sprigs of flavor

    Thyme, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary and mint are Mediterranean herbs that grow in full sun and well-drained soil. “Basil and mint like a little more moisture, but soggy roots will kill every one of these,” says Debra Knapke, central Ohio gardener and newly appointed honorary president of the American Herb Society. “If you have too little or too much drainage, add 2–4 inches of compost.” Click ahead for additional tips.

  • Thyme

    Pungent, sweeter English or narrow-leaf French varieties are flavorful all-around choices. Lemon and caraway thymes are also popular. Harvest the whole plant to 2 inches midseason to encourage new growth.

  • Oregano

    Turkish and Greek varieties are most often used in cooking. Get two harvests by shearing back just before flowering and again in late summer. 

  • Basil

    “‘Genovese’ is my favorite,” says central Ohio gardener Debra. “I could just roll in it.” She also snips peppery ‘Spicy Globe’ into salads, adds lemony ‘Mrs. Burns’ to veggies and uses cinnamon basil in baked breads.

  • Rosemary

    This tender perennial likes it hot and dry, with gravel mulch at its feet. ‘Madeline Hill’ and ‘Arp’ can survive to zero degrees. ‘Tuscan Blue’ has beautiful blue flowers. Sturdy ‘Barbecue’ stems work as skewers for flavor-infused shish kabobs.

  • Mint

    Corral vigorous-growing mint in pots or in bottomless containers sunk into soil with a few inches above ground. “‘Kentucky Colonel’ is a good all-around spearmint if you can only have one mint,” Debra says. But why limit yourself when there is pineapple mint, chocolate mint—even mojito mint? 

  • Herb vinegar

    Bring 2 cups white wine vinegar to boil. Place thyme or rosemary sprigs in a sterilized glass bottle. Funnel hot vinegar into the bottle. Cover tightly with a nonmetallic lid. Use in dressings and marinades.

  • Flavored salt

    Place 3 cups loosely packed basil, 12 cup kosher salt and 3–4 garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse to grind. Spread on a baking sheet; leave at room temp for 3–5 days. When fully dry, process again to form a powder. Yields 1 to 1 14 cups. Sprinkle on chicken, veggies or eggs. 

  • Simple syrup

    Bring 12 cup water to boil. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add 1 tablespoon snipped mint. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Strain into a clean glass jar. Cover and chill for up to one week. Drizzle over fruit or use in cocktails.

    More recipes with fresh herbs.


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