Herbs are a great addition to a home garden. Combined with other flowers or in a spot of their own, these perennial herbs will perform reliably season after season. A sunny pot with decent soil good drainage is all they need. Not only can these be used in cooking, but they combine beautifully with other flowers and attract pollinating insects. As an added bonus, voles, deer and gophers tend to leave them alone.
1-Oregano: Grow this hardy perennial from seed or from starts. Oregano is fantastic in Mediterranean dishes. Small clusters of pink flowers bloom mid-summer and are nice as a cut flower.
2-Chives: Chives are a very versatile member of the onion family. These are easily started from seed. Pretty purple tufts top the slender green stalks. The flowers and stems are edible and the mild oniony flavor is nice in salads, soups, eggs, potato salad or anywhere you’d like a little punch of flavor.
3-Thyme: This woody-stemmed perennial grows best in a well-drained sunny spot. There are many different varieties and all are edible but common or English thyme and lemon thyme are the best bets for cooking. Thyme is super versatile and can be used on its own alongside other herbs.
4-Mint: Mint is a very vigorous perennial and we recommend planting it on its own in a container or in a separate area of the garden. It spreads easily from underground roots. Use mint in salads, cocktails or steep the leaves for tea.
5-Sage: Sage has lovely pink flower spires atop its fragrant soft green leaves. It’s pretty enough to use in flower bouquets, but it is also wonderful with roasted potatoes, squash, chicken and turkey.
If you can’t use herbs fresh, try one of these simple techniques for preserving your herbs for later use:
DRYING: This is best for herbs such as sage, oregano, thyme and mint. Tie herbs into bunches and hang to dry in a cool, dark spot. Herbs can also be laid flat in a cool dark spot. When leaves are completely brittle, they can be crumbled and stored in glass jars or in zip top bags. Save some extras for holiday gift-giving.
FREEZING: Use a food processor and whiz clean herbs and a bit of water together. Pack into ice cube trays and freeze. Once the herb cubes are frozen, pop them out and store in a zip top freezer bag for later use.
VINEGAR INFUSION: This works well with most herbs and makes a beautiful gift. Put a few sprigs of herbs into a glass jar. Top with white wine vinegar and let steep for two weeks. Strain into a bottle or jar.