The Essential HERBS for Every Garden
Have you discovered how fun it is to grow herbs? Whether you’re a gourmet chef or a take-out champion, having fresh herbs growing close by can offer incredible benefits. They add flavour and aroma to cooking, taste and flair to drinks, garnish and punch to desserts, and beauty to gardens and containers. At TERRA, we’re proud to offer a full range of herbs, grown locally by Freeman Herbs in Beamsville, ON. Getting started with herbs is easy… add them to sunny garden spaces, outdoor pots or planters, or even a simple window box. Here are our favourites – the essential herbs for EVERY garden!
‘Genovese’ Basil is easily the most popular herb we sell at TERRA!
The most familiar variety of basil, it has a spicy cinnamon clove scent. Large, supple leaves look beautiful when displayed in pots on the table, or trimmed as garnish when serving.
‘Genovese’ Basil is most commonly used in pesto sauce, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, spinach and zucchini, vinegars and salads. Try planting it next to tomatoes – aromatic herbs help to attract beneficial pollinators, and some say that Basil even helps to improve tomato flavour!
Chives (Allium sp) are a flavourful member of the onion family. The leaves and flowers are both edible, and they look beautiful in the garden while also helping to deter pests, like aphids! Clumps of small, slender bulbs produce thin, tubular, blue-green leaves with a mildly spicy, onion flavour. Try chives as a topping on salads and soups, potato dishes, in sauces, and on barbequed meats.
Cilantro & Coriander
Cilantro is a versatile herb that is essential in many Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian recipes. This tough plant is slow to “bolt”, which is ideal in hot climates. Cilantro leaves have excellent flavour and a high content of essential oils. Left to flower and produce seeds, aromatic Coriander seeds have an orange flavour that is used for seasoning meats, pickles, curry dishes, breads & cakes.
Grow Cilantro in full sun in a well-drained soil, and harvest often.
Dill is an aromatic herb with delicate, feathery green leaves. This plant can be used for it’s fresh fronds, or use seeds for making dill pickles! Fresh dill is popular for use with fish, lamb, pork, poultry, cheese, eggs, cabbage, eggplant, turnips, cucumbers, carrots, onions and sour cream. As an added bonus, dill is a beautiful and tall addition to garden borders or planters, and is a host plant for swallowtail butterflies.
This plant is unstoppable! There are several different types of mint, but all of them grow vigorously and spread profusely with their irresistibly fragrant and delicious leaves and stems. To keep it contained, it’s helpful to grow mint varieties in containers and pots, where they quickly fill their space and provide refreshing and beautiful adornment for drinks, desserts, tea, or even bouquets. Mint will grow happily even in poor soils in the sun, so it’s also useful to fill otherwise unused garden spaces, where other plants may not thrive.
A versatile and easy to grow cooking herb, Oregano adds plenty of flavour to foods! It’s fantastic when cut fresh from the plant, and can easily be dried for long-term storage. Even better, the flowers of Oregano look beautiful in the garden, and help to attract beneficial insects.
The soft green leaves of oregano add indispensable flavour to pizza and pasta sauces, and are most popular in Italian and Greek cuisines.
Having rosemary in your garden is a joy! It’s aromatic foliage adds delightful fragrance to the surroundings, and it’s attractive evergreen appearance looks lovely, too! Harvesting fresh rosemary leaves for cooking provides a rewarding culinary experience, giving a burst of flavorful goodness in your most special meals.
Growing sage in your garden offers both culinary and aesthetic pleasures. It’s aromatic, textured leaves enhance the flavor of various dishes, while it’s beautiful purple flowers add visual charm. To grow sage, plant in well-drained soil in full sun, water moderately, and prune or harvest regularly to maintain it’s compact shape.
Growing garden thyme is easy and offers numerous benefits. It’s delicate leaves enhance dishes with a savory touch, promote digestion, and possess antimicrobial properties. Use thyme to season roasted vegetables, meats, stews, and marinades. It also pairs well with other herbs in teas and homemade herbal remedies.
What if you don’t have space for a garden? One of the most wonderful things about herbs is that they are easy to grow in any space you have. From a sunny windowsill or apartment balcony, to a porch or patio, herbs will grow happily in containers! It’s easier than you think to grow an entire collection of the essential herbs for every garden.
If you’re new to growing herbs and vegetables, learn more with our article Growing Food at Home (In Any Space!) here.