6 bunches of different herbs on a wooden table

How to Build a Herb Garden

One of the most amazing things you can have in your garden is a full and vibrant herb garden; growing and using your own fresh herbs makes homemade meals taste even better. If you’re thinking of starting or updating your herb garden, here are the must-haves you need to include.

A raised herb garden with a wide variety of full-grown herbs growing

10 Must-Haves in a Herb Garden

Check out these 10 best herbs to grow in your garden. Our tip is to plant in a partly sunny to a little shade in hot areas of the garden, especially in the summer.

1. Basil

Uses: The leaves have warm, spicy flavor, perfect for soups, sauces, salads, omelets, meat, poultry, fish, and a base for pesto.

Planting: Sow seeds directly into the garden in late spring, or near a sunny window or in greenhouse in the early spring (then transplant your basil to the garden in early summer).

2. Chives

Uses: These leaves have a mild onion flavor. Chop them up and add them to salads, egg and cheese dishes, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, sandwich spreads, and sauces.

Planting: Sow seeds in spring or fall, ½ inch deep in rows 12 inches apart. As soon as the seedlings are established, thin within the rows to 6 inches apart. You can also set out nursery grown plants in early spring, 9-12 inches apart.

3. Coriander

Uses: Grind dry seeds to a powder and dust them over veal, pork, or ham before cooking. Young leaves are knows as cilantro. The roots, which can be frozen are used to flavor soup or sometimes served chopped with avocados.

Planting: Sow seeds in early spring, ¼ in. deep in rows 12 inches apart. Thin within established seedlings to 6 inches apart.

4. Dill

Uses: Both seeds and leaves have a sharp, slightly bitter taste. Use dried or fresh leaves to flavor fish, soups, salads, meat, poultry, omelets and potatoes.

Planting: Sow seeds in early spring, 1/4 inch deep in rows 9 inches apart. Thin within established seedlings to 9 inches apart.

5. Fennel

Uses: Fennel leaves have a sweet flavor, and are particularly good in sauces for fish; they’re also useful with pork or veal, in soups and in salads.

Planting: Sow groups of 3 or 4 seeds in mid-spring, ¼ inch deep and 18 inches apart. Thin established seedling to strongest of each group.

2 containers of herbs - 1 mint and one thyme, on a white wooden table

6. Mint

Uses: Brew leaves into tea, or to garnish cold drinks. Spearmint is generally used to make mint sauce or jelly. You can also sprinkle dried or fresh leaves over lamb before cooking. This also makes a nice dessert; dip large mint leaves in chocolate and let harden for a sweet light treat. Mint is also great for digestion.

Planting: In autumn or spring, plant 4- to 6-inch pieces of root 2 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Water well. Check roots' tendency to overtake nearby plant roots by sinking boards or bricks 1 foot deep around beds, or by planting them in a large bottomless plastic bucket sunken into a garden bed.

7. Parsley

Uses: Mix leaves into salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and omelets. Serve fresh as garnish with meat, fish, and onion dishes and as nice garnish.

Planting: Sow seeds in mid-spring for summer cutting and midsummer for autumn and winter harvests. Soak seeds overnight and broadcast thinly. Thin established seedlings to 9-10 inches apart.

8. Sage

Uses: Dried leaves are a traditional element of poultry stuffing. You can also use it with lamb, pork, sausage, and in cheese dishes and omelets.

Planting: Sage can be grown from seeds sown in early spring. Set out nursery grown plants in mid-spring approximately 1 foot apart.

9. Tarragon

Uses: Chop the anise-flavored leaves for use in soups, salads, egg dishes, stews, and soft cheeses. It’s also excellent with lamb or served in melted butter with fish, steak, or vegetables. It’s an essential ingredient of tartar sauce and many chutneys.

Planting: Tarragon does not grow true from seeds. Instead, set out nursery-grown plants in early spring, 18 inches apart.

10. Thyme

Uses: Rub chopped leaves (fresh or dried) into beef, lamb, veal, or pork before roasting. Sprinkle over eggs, cheese dishes, vegetables, fish or poultry.

Planting: Sow seeds in mid-spring in shallow rows 1 foot apart. When seedlings are established, thin to 6-inch spacing. Set out nursery-grown plants in early spring, 6-9 inches apart. These ten herbs are perfect for an herb garden in your backyard; they are vibrant, flavorful and make delicious additions to homemade meals. Which are you going to plant?