Growing your own herbs means that you simply snip off what you need when you need to add to recipes or use as garnishes. You won’t have to buy a bunch of basil when you only want a few leaves, saving you money and cutting down on food waste.
And space isn’t an issue because herbs happily grow in pots and are easy to dry or freeze for later use.
Here are the top 10 herbs to grow at home to give a range of different dishes fresh flavour.
Uses: The leaves have warm, spicy flavor. Use sparingly in soups, sauces, salads, omelets and with meat, poultry and fish. Also a basis for pesto.
Planting: Sow seeds near a sunny window in early spring. Transplant to garden in early summer. Or sow seeds directly into the garden in late spring.
Uses: Leaves have a mild onion flavor. Chop them and add them to salads, egg and cheese dishes, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, sandwich spreads, and sauces. Use flowers in salads.
Planting: Sow seeds in spring or autumn, 12mm deep in rows 300mm apart. As soon as the seedlings are established, thin within the rows to 150mm apart. Or set out nursery grown plants in early spring.
Uses: Grind dry seeds to powder and dust over veal, pork, or ham before cooking. The roots, which can be frozen, are used to flavor soup; serve chopped with avocados.
Planting: Sow seeds in early spring, 6mm deep in rows 300mm apart. Thin within established seedlings to 150mm apart.
Uses: Both seeds and leaves have a sharp, slightly bitter taste. Use dried or fresh leaves to flavor fish, soups, salads, meat, poultry, omelettes and potatoes. Sprinkle dill on sliced cucumber to make a sandwich filling.
Planting: Sow seeds in early spring, 6mm deep in rows 250mm apart. Thin within established seedlings to 250mm apart.
Dill has feathery leaves, likes full sun and grows quite tall
Uses: Leaves have a sweetish flavor, particularly good in sauces for fish; also useful with pork or veal, in soups and in salads. Seeds have sharper taste.
Planting: Sow groups of 3 or 4 seeds in midspring, 6mm deep and 450mm apart. Thin established seedling to strongest of each group.
Uses: Brew leaves into tea, or use to garnish cold drinks. Spearmint is generally used to make mint sauce or jelly. Sprinkle dried or fresh leaves over lamb before cooking.
Planting: In autumn or spring, plant 100-150mm pieces of root 50mm deep and 300mm apart. Water well. Check roots’ tendency to overtake nearby plant roots by sinking boards or bricks 300mm deep around beds or by planting in a large bottomless plastic bucket sunken into a garden bed.
Uses: Mix leaves into salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and omelets. Serve fresh as garnish with meat, fish, and onion dishes.
Planting: Sow seeds in midspring for summer cutting, midsummer for autumn and winter harvests. Soak seeds overnight and broadcast thinly. Thin established seedlings to 250mm apart.
Uses: Dried leaves are a traditional constituent of poultry stuffing. Use also with lamb, pork, sausage, and in cheese dishes and omelets.
Planting: Can be grown from seeds sown in early spring. Set out nursery grown plants in midspring approximately 300mm apart.
Uses: Chop the anise-flavored leaves for use in soups, salads, egg dishes, stews, and soft cheeses. Excellent with lamb. Serve in melted butter with fish, steak, or vegetables. Constituent of tartar sauce and many chutneys. Makes good flavoring for vinegar when leaves are steeped for 2 or 3 weeks.
Planting: Does not grow true from seeds. Set out nursery-grown plants in early spring, 450mm apart.
Uses: Rub chopped leaves (fresh or dried) into beef, lamb, veal, or pork before roasting. Sprinkle over eggs, cheese dishes, vegetables, fish, or poultry. Add to soups, stews, stuffings, and rice. Brew into tea with a little rosemary and mint.
Planting: Sow seeds in midspring in shallow rows. When seedlings are established, thin to 150mm spacings. Set out nursery-grown planting in early spring, 150-250mm apart.