Basil: This annual is the perfect companion for dishes that include tomatoes. Trim the stems, leaves and flowers to make the plant more productive. One of the most infamous kitchen garden herbs, you can grow inside on a sunny sill all year long and enjoy fresh deliciousness on a daily basis. Try making your own pesto! See recipe at bottom of article.
Chives: A perennial, it adds flavor to soups, fish and potatoes. Snip the entire stem if you remove a flower bud.
Parsley: It grows for two years and adds flavor and color to fish and other dishes. Clip flower buds when they appear in the second year. Likes a sunny location, says Patricia Lanza, author of Lasagna Gardening with Herbs.
Rosemary: A perennial, but it doesn’t like cold climates and may not appear there after the first year. Its stems add flavor to vinegar or olive oil. Leaves are great in lamb dishes and sauces. Don’t overwater the plant.
Sage: Used as a seasoning for meats, sauces, stuffings and soups. Hummingbirds like the plant’s flowers.
Thyme: A perennial herb, it is good for seasoning chowders and soups. It will grow in rock gardens well, too.
Tip: Mint, parsley and lovage do best in fairly moist soil, whereas rosemary, thyme and sage prefer soil that is only slightly moist.
Seeds of annual herbs (basil, coriander, dill and oregano) can be started indoors and grown year round. Place a collection of popular culinary herbs in a sunny kitchen window and they’ll be available when needed. Perennial herbs, like chives, parsley, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme, can be started from seed, but it is often easier to purchase young plants from a nursery. Because perennials grow for more than one season, it’s best to keep them outside in pots during the summer and bring them in before the first frost.
Start small and grow from there! You’ll delight in your own bounty!
**Fresh Homemade Pesto**
1 – 2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic (or to taste)
3 – 4 Tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt & Black pepper to taste
*Combine basic, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper to taste. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until at your desired consistency. Enjoy!