No matter your skill level, your budget, or the amount of free space you have, growing herbs is always a worthwhile endeavor!
Herbs are some of our all-time favorite plants to grow in the garden! They look great, they smell great, and they taste absolutely spectacular. You’ll never want to go back to the dried store-bought stuff after you’ve experienced cooking with your own garden-grown herbs! Here are some of our favorite varieties you can grow at home, plus some creative ideas for incorporating them into your garden.
Our Favorite Garden Herbs to Grow
If you’re new to plant care, herbs are definitely a worthy addition to your garden. So long as you maintain a consistent care routine, you can graze on their tasty edible leaves all summer long, adding them to a variety of delicious dishes and drinks! Here are seven herbs you should consider growing this year.
Helpful Tips: avoid harvesting more than ⅓ of the leaves of your herb plants at one time to ensure your plant can keep photosynthesizing and growing for the rest of the season. Pull off the flower buds of your herbs before they bloom—that way, the plant will direct its energy to grow more tasty leaves!
Basil: You can use this fragrant, versatile herb in a variety of ethnic cuisines, like Thai stir-fries and Italian pasta. For a simple summer salad, toss fresh basil with tomatoes, cucumber, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette. Basil does best in full sun, and if you grow it in a container, you may need to water it every 1-2 days to keep it sufficiently hydrated.
Mint: Crisp and invigorating, mint is perfect for refreshing summer drinks like mojitos or simple water infusions with lime or strawberries. It’s closely related to basil and has very similar requirements—full sun and consistent watering—so they can be grown in the same container together.
Rosemary: Nostalgic and aromatic, this woody herb is essential for poultry rubs and roasted meats. Well-draining, sandy soil and 6–8 hours of sunlight per day is needed to keep this plant happy. It’s more drought-tolerant, so if you tend to be forgetful with watering, you shouldn’t have much trouble keeping rosemary alive.
Thyme: A perfect pairing for rosemary, this savory herb does best in full sun, but most varieties can tolerate partial shade. Well-draining soil is essential because this plant hates wet feet! Containers should have drainage holes to avoid moisture accumulating in the bottom.
—You’ll never want to go back to the dried store-bought stuff after you’ve experienced cooking with your own garden-grown herbs!
Oregano: One of the most approachable herbs to grow, oregano is a staple in Mediterranean cooking. Pizzas and pasta aren’t complete without it! The more sun your oregano gets, the more flavorful it will be. Water it thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch.
Cilantro: People either love it or hate it, but any fan of Mexican cooking will insist that cilantro is essential. Chop it up for sprinkling onto tacos and mixing into fresh pico de gallo! Ideally, you should plant your cilantro somewhere it can get morning sun and afternoon shade. Too much sun will make the plant “bolt,” or flower, which will make the leaves taste bitter.
Ideas for Growing Garden Herbs in Iowa
Ready to start your own herb garden? Here are three cool approaches to gardening with these sensational plants!
Create Beautiful Mixed Container Arrangements
Mix several herbs with similar care requirements together in one planter for a self-replenishing spice rack! Or, you can use them as filler plants for ornamental arrangements to fill in the gaps between the tall, showy flowers and the trailing plants that hang down the side.
Strategically Plant Herbs for Pest Control
Many herb plants are natural pest repellents, like basil, mint, and dill. Plant them all around the border of your garden to keep the bugs and bunnies out!
Create a Kitchen Window Herb Garden
If you have a sunny south or west-facing window in the kitchen, you can grow your herbs in pots or hanging baskets right on the windowsill! What could be more convenient than having fresh culinary herbs just an arm’s length away from the stove?
On the hunt for herbs for sale in Iowa? We have all these plus many more delicious edible plants you can easily grow at home. Feel free to ask our staff for recommendations on what to plant based on your skill level and the amount of sunshine your garden receives!