Fresh herbs from your own garden are easy to grow and essential to flavoring meals. Once you've tried your own home-grown herbs, you won't want to go back to your dried spice rack!
Plant outside once the soil warms -- night-time temperatures should be over 50ºF. Basil thrives in warm weather, in full sun and with regular water. Use organic amendment and mulch around the base.
Harvest your basil often - the best time to do so is in the early morning. Cut off the flowering stems to keep the plant bushy. Freeze or dry the basil leaves to preserve.
Many pests also love the taste of basil. Pick off pests, or use horticultural oil, insecticidal soap or neem oil to thwart hungry garden visitors.
Plant in the full sun in well-drained soil. Water sparingly but regularly during the growing season and keep in mind Rosemary will spread quickly if it's in a warm climate similar to its Mediterranean habitat. In areas where it freezes regularly, keep Rosemary in a pot and bring indoors (overwinter in USDA hardiness zones 6 and lower). Trim Rosemary after flowering to keep it in nice form. Snip off sprigs and air dry to use later.
The best type for cooking is Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum). Plant seeds or cuttings of Oregano after the last spring frost. The soil should be around 70ºF and well-drained. This hardy plant loves full sun and moderate to light water. The best time to harvest is prior to flowering. Freeze or dry the leaves for future use.
Parsley is usually grown from seed. Start indoors 10 weeks before the last frost, or outside 3 weeks before the last frost to get a head start, or start them when the soil warms. Parsley can take up to 3 weeks to sprout. Sow in rich soil, 6 - 8 inches apart. As they grow, water evenly and regularly. When you see leaf stems with three segments, cut leaves from the outer portions to harvest. To store, either air dry or stick fresh segments in a glass of water and place in the fridge.
Plant sage in full sun. Sage can be sown as seeds, propagated from cuttings, or directly planted. Sage grows best in full sun with well-draining soil. This culinary herb makes a versatile kitchen and ornamental plant outdoors in the ground or in a pot. Sow seeds or plant cuttings up to 2 weeks before the last spring frost.
Water the growing plants regularly to establish their root systems. Once plants are mature, moderate to light water will suffice. Mature plants will benefit from being pruned of heavy wood each spring. Harvest sparingly from immature plants and taper off harvesting as fall approaches. Freeze or air dry the leaves/sprigs for future use.