Herbs Made Easy

Over the weekend I presented a class on how to grow herbs. We had lots of fun learning about the different herbs and how to use them as well as learning how to divide the plants. Here is the handout I promised. Thanks to all the students who attended on Saturday.

Full sun herbs

Herbs made Easy

Sage- Every garden should have one of these wonderful plants. They are evergreen so they fit well into the herbaceous border. If you plant this in a container be aware that the plant can grow to three feet wide and high after several years. This plant can be harvested year round by picking the leaves as you need them. Perennial.

Oregano- A vigorous growing herb used in cooking. This plant can take over your garden so I would recommend growing it in a container. It will overwinter easily in a 12” container as long as drainage is good. Flavor is often considered better after drying. Perennial.

Pineapple Sage- An annual that smells like pineapple. I grow this plant mainly for its pretty red trumpet-shaped flowers.It makes a very tasty hot or cold tea or use in fruit salads. It likes well-drained rich soil and lots of sun and regular watering. Can be grown in a container that is 12-14” deep. Annual.

Dill- Lovely annual herb used in cooking. I love adding this one to home-made salad dressings. It grows to about 3-4 feet high in the garden and attracts pollinators to your garden. Seed, leaves and flower heads are all edible. Used in pickling, with fish an in salads and dressings. If planting in a  container be sure container is 10” deep. Fernleaf Dill is shorter (18”) and more suitable for containers.  Annual.

Rosemary- Very aromatic herb used in cooking. It is a tender plant that can be killed off in a hard winter. It needs good drainage and a place in full sun. Clip a few stems to use in cooking as needed. Use it with roasted potatoes and vegetables to add flavour. 

Lemonbalm- Lovely lemon scented plant with white flowers. Its lemon flavour makes it a favourite in cooking. Gather leaves as you need them to add to salads, drinks, teas or in ice cubes to add to drinks. Self sows and spreads quickly in the garden. It loves a well-drained moist soil.  Perennial. 

Herbs made Easy

Chives-Have been around for over 4000 years. They like sun to partial shade. One of the easiest herbs to grow producing edible stems and flowers. If using the stems, cut back to 1.5 inches before the flowers bloom as the stems will start to get tough. I like to clip as I need them so that the whole plant doesn’t get chopped back. The plant will regrow new shoots for another harvest after clipping. This plant is a perennial. 

Thyme-Lovely, easy herb to grow. Many different types and great in containers. This plant likes full sun, well-drained soil. Harvest by pinching out the tips or cutting a stem at soil level. Trim off flowers to encourage new growth. The flowers are also edible.

Bay-Evergreen shrub, leaves are used in soups and stews. Known as Laurus nobilus. Be sure to get the right one as others are not edible. Very easy to grow in a container using well-drained soil. Has leathery leaves and leaves have to be rubbed to get the aroma.

Herbs made Easy

Basil-well known for its use in Italian cooking. This is an annual herb that does not like to be transplanted. Basil likes warm weather to grow well so do not plant it out until the end of May at the earliest. Harvest the leaves as you need them. Pinch off the flowering stems to encourage leaf production.  Best grown in containers by themselves. 

Part Shade

Herbs Made Easy

Parsley- Popular plant for cooking or use in salads. Flat leaved is the most popular. Parsley is biennial meaning it grows its leaves for use in the first year and goes to seed in the second year and dies. It will often drop seed in your garden and you may have a crop of new plants. This plant is happy in full sun to part shade in rich well drained moist soil. Pick from the outside stems of the plant to harvest. Good in containers at least 8” deep.

Chervil-Grows 10-15 inches high and has a parsley like flavour. Needs light shade to do well. It has tiny white flowers. Use leaves with salmon, sauces, new potatoes and salads. Sweet grassy taste with a hint of licorice. Prefers a moist soil and shaded roots. It doesn’t transplant well so best grown from seed. Annual.

Herbs Made Easy

Mint- Everyone loves mint and its one of the most popular plants grown. Lesson number one, do not plant it in the ground unless that is all you are growing. It is invasive and will smother other plants in the garden. It grows well in containers. Keep it close by to use it for drinks, salads and jellies. Lift and divide this plant each year. Perennial.

Sorrel- Has a lemony flavour to the leaves but use it sparingly. It contains oxalic acid which used too much can make you ill. I just use one leaf cut into tiny bits in a large salad.It adds a tang to a salad. Perennial.

For more great information check out- www.herbsociety.org

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