Using garden herbs in your cooking can be one of the most satisfying experiences an avid cook can have. So first let’s take a look at a simple way to have your own garden herbs, then we will talk about which ones are the most commonly used in cooking.

Growing Them

Planting and raising your own herbs is as simple as 1-2-3! Or in this case: P-S-S-W. These stand for pot, soil, sun and water.

So first, get a pot and have a place in mind where you will put the pot. Choose a window that is East or West facing so that it will get about five hours of sun each day. Get an attractive pot that you won’t mind looking at every day.

Next, get your basic potting soil. It is hard to go wrong with this stuff. Just get a smallish bag, you don’t need much. Then fill the pot to about 1 inch below the top rim. Put the seeds on top of the soil wherever you want them. Then spread another 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil over the top. Pack it nicely. Water it to get the soil tight and moist.

Third, get your small herb garden into the sun. You will find that as your herbs grow, they will lean toward the window that the sun is coming through. Due to this, I rotate my pot 180 degrees every two weeks or so.

Finally, be sure to keep the soil moist during germination. Then when the herbs are actively growing, water them every 2-3 days. You can also add plant food every couple of months.

Common Herbs

Now that we know how to get some garden herbs growing, which ones should we plant? Over five years of experimenting with garden herbs, I have come to believe that these are the best:

Cilantro. This is handy for salsas and all food from South America. Making your own fresh salsa with your own cilantro will usually produce killer salsa. Just be careful when you harvest cilantro not to kill it. Take side stems and don’t take too much at a time. I have about six cilantro plants to feed my need!

Parsley. This is actually a cousin of cilantro. I plant it in a separate pot, since I sometimes can’t tell them apart! Just kidding, but I have a separate pot for each herb. Parsley is going to be useful in your tomato sauces and even for soups. This is one of the most versatile of herbs, so plant lots of it! You will be surprised at the difference there is between the fresh and the dried parsley.

Basil. If you like pesto like my family likes pesto, grow plenty of basil. Be sure to watch it so it doesn’t shoot up and go to seed suddenly. I love a few crushed basil leaves in my spaghetti sauce as well.

Chives. That’s right, chives. They are pretty, incredibly tough, and you don’t want to have to go the store to buy a big bundle when you aren’t going to use the whole thing! We keep our chives in a pot outside, since it is so strong it can take almost anything.

Oregano. Get the Italian kind. It grows well and spreads on its own. You can use this spice in all tomato sauces and tons of other recipes. So having a bunch of it on hand will be very useful for you.

Really, chives are not a very common herb to use in cooking, but I love to have them around. However, the other four herbs mentioned here are used almost daily in our home. Have fun and good luck!

1. 11 Herbs Every Cook Should Use – Cooking Light
2. Top 12 Must-Have Herbs To Grow In Your Kitchen Garden

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