Culinary Herbs for Kitchen Gardens

Mixed Herbs

Herbs are among the oldest cultivated edible plants. They cover a wide range of plant types, including: annuals, biennials, perennials, shrubs and trees. Most herbs are grown for their aromatic leaves, which are used to flavour cooked meals, fresh dishes or as a colourful garnish. Other herbs bear flavoursome seeds that can be used to spice-up food and drinks.

Perennial and Shrubby Herbs

Bay Leaves

Laurus nobilis
Bay

Chive Flower

Allium schoenoprasum
Chives

Lemon balm

Melissa officinalis
Lemon Balm

Marjoram

Origanum vulgare
Marjoram

Mint

Mentha
Mint

Oregano

Origanum
Oregano

rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary

Sage

Salvia officinalis
Sage

Variegated Thyme

Thymus vulgaris
Thyme


Herbs Grown as Annuals or Biennials

angelica

Angelica
Archangel

Pimpinella anisum
Aniseed

Basil Leaves

Ocimum basilicum
Basil

Borage

Borago officinalis
Borage

Coriander Leaves

Coriandrum sativum
Coriander

Dill Leaves

Anethum graveolens
Dill

Fennel

Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel

parsley leaves

Petroselinum crispum
Parsley

Tarragon

Artemisia dracunculus
French tarragon


Most garden centres sell a wide range of herbs that are readily available throughout much of the year. However, herbs are simple to grow yourself and can be easily propagated from seed, cuttings and some from division.

Growing herbs together in one spot, where they can be quickly harvested for use in the kitchen, is usually the best approach. Apart from a few shade tolerant species like mint, most species love full sun and a light, well drained soil. The vast majority can also be container grown, where they will enjoy good drainage and can be placed near to the house for easy access.

The majority of herbs are best picked and eaten as fresh as possible. Although it is possible to preserve many by drying, particularly the seeds that usually keep well in sealed containers, ready for use at any time. Alternatively, the leaves can finely chopped and preserved by freezing in ice cubes. Several perennial herbs can also be pot-grown indoors on a sunny window ledge, to extend the season.