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Easy Herbs to Grow for Culinary and Medicinal Use

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Herbs to grow in your garden? There are plenty! Whether you use culinary herbs for flavoring dishes or use them medicinally, herbs are a great addition to your backyard garden. These easy herbs to grow are good looking and many are attractive to bees.

vintage black gardeners hand cart in a vegetable and herb garden

Herb garden ideas for the backyard gardener

There are so many reasons to grow herbs in your backyard. Culinary herbs are used to flavor the food you put on your table. Without them, our meals would be boring, indeed. Herbs have been used to treat minor ailments pretty much as long as humans have walked the earth.

Herbs are easy to steep into tea, they can be used fresh to flavor meals, or dried and stored for use in cooking. Adding herbs to your gardening plans will add a bit of spice to your kitchen, but herbs are also valuable as pest deterrents in your garden when incorporated into a companion planting plan.

Culinary herbs can be tucked into your landscape for a pretty addition to a front yard garden, grown in containers outside, or even grown indoors as part of a windowsill herb garden.

17 Easy herbs to grow in your garden

The list of herbs below is by no means comprehensive, but the links I include here will give you a good start on deciding which herbs to grow in your own garden.

Young basil plant

Basil

Once upon a time, an older gentleman gave my boys dating advice: “When you go to pick a girl up for a date, tuck a bunch of basil in the backseat. Nobody can resist that fragrance!” While they’ve yet to use this method of enchantment, I do grow basil – lots of it. It’s one of my favorite summertime culinary herbs and SO easy to grow. Here’s how I harvest basil to keep the fresh leaves coming all season long and here’s how to dry basil. The bees love it, too.

golden yellow calendula flowers on green plant

Calendula

Calendula flowers can benefit soil and repel pests. They’re great for healing, too. Calendula has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties, and is often used to soothe a long list of skin ailments.

Chives

Related to onions, garlic, and leeks, chives are a great addition to a culinary herb garden. But don’t stop there – Amy at Tenth Acre Farm gives you five good reasons to plant chives. Here’s how to divide and pot up chive plants (a great way to share with friends).

Wondering which herbs to grow in your garden? This list will give you some ideas! Some are great for cooking, others for medicine, and many for both.

Comfrey

Also known as “knit bone,” comfrey is a medicinal plant. It’s also a great addition to permaculture gardens for mulch and fertilizer. I like to use it for “chop and drop” mulch.

Echinacea

A favorite of butterflies, purple coneflower is a sturdy plant that holds up well in the heat of summer. It’s also the source of medicinal echinacea. Melissa over at Ever Growing Farm covers the basics of sowing, growing, and harvesting echinacea.

Feverfew

Quinn over at Reformation talks about feverfew and other medicinal herbs that can handle the shade. If you’re struggling with growing edibles in a shady location, these herbs will go a long way toward making you feel a bit more productive.

lavender plant in garden bed

Lavender

Colleen over at Five Little Homesteaders gives you TEN ways to love lavender. There are many varieties of lavender, each with different characteristics. I happen to be a fan of Lavendula Angustifolia ‘Munstead’ because of its compact growth and tidy flowers. Growing 12″ to 18″ high, it’s lovely in flower borders.

Lemon verbena

The fragrance of lemon verbena is very refreshing to most people, but planting one near your door can help keep mosquitoes at bay says Chris over at Joybilee Farm. This means you’ll be able to sit outside on a breezy summer evening to enjoy sipping on lemon verbena tea without getting all bit up.

Lemongrass

 

This clumping grass is easy to grow, but if you live in cooler climates, you’ll need to overwinter your lemongrass inside. It looks great in pots on the patio. Add it to soup and curries, or use it to brew lemongrass tea.

Mint

Quite possibly the easiest herb to grow, mint is an herb with a sweet flavor. It’s perfect for tea, great in mojitos, and imparts a fresh flavor to myriad dishes. It can be invasive, but don’t let that prevent you from growing it. Here’s why.

clay pot with words written on it: Historical hyssop

Hyssop

This pretty herb attracts bees in the garden. Hyssop has an unusual minty licorice-like flavor. It’s easy to grow and makes a great tea to fight coughs and congestion.

Oregano

A perennial herb, oregano tends to kind of take care of itself. It’s hardy and likes the heat. Use it in Italian dishes for a pop of flavor. Medicinally, oregano is considered an antibiotic herb.

rosemary plant

Rosemary

A sturdy shrub, rosemary comes in varieties ranging from low-growing ground covers to upright bushes, making it a desirable landscape plant. Rosemary loves the heat and is an excellent addition to a drought tolerant garden. No matter its size or shape, though, rosemary scents the air when it’s disturbed and adds a distinct flavor in the kitchen. Try using several stems banded together to baste chicken as it’s grilled.

sage plant growing in garden soil

Sage

A perennial culinary herb that is probably best known for flavoring your Thanksgiving stuffing, sage is a one of the must-have herbs to grow in your own garden. A simple sage and butter sauce is an easy way to flavor your favorite cheese raviolis.

Wondering which herbs to grow in your garden? This list will give you some ideas! Some are great for cooking, others for medicine, and many for both.

Stevia

Growing stevia is a way to produce some of your own natural sweetener. Plus, planting stevia makes a pretty addition to your herb garden, it’s calorie free, and easy to grow.

close up of common thyme herb

Thyme

A common culinary herb, thyme is easy to grow and comes in a variety of flavors and sizes. Creeping thyme stays low and is great between pavers.

fresh turmeric in a white bowl

Turmeric

This bright yellow rhizome is great for both medicinal and use as a culinary herb. We make turmeric powder for use in curries or toss some into your favorite smoothie for its anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s how to grow turmeric at your place.

Yarrow

Yarrow is edible, but it’s not commonly used in cuisine. It’s used are more commonly as a medicinal. Yarrow has also been used to clean up lead-contaminated sites. It’s good stuff!

herb garden

 

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

2 comments… add one
  • Joyce Furney Mar 10, 2017, 6:56 pm

    Thank you for your site. I like your writing style and photos. I found you from a Pinterest Pin. Please add me to your mailing list. xxjF

  • Jo Murphey Mar 25, 2018, 2:14 am

    I’d lemon balm and ginger to this list. Both soothe upset tummies. Lemon balm also imparts a delightful lemony flavor to dishes and tea blend. It is a smooth muscle relaxer. Like mints it will take over an area and is a perennial. Ginger is easy to grow like turmeric. Healing properties as an anti inflammatory and reduces pain.

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