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The 10 best herbs to grow in your garden

Photos by Matt Haas

April 2016

The idea of an herb garden can excite many home cooks ó snipping chives for a summer salad, picking a bunch of basil for pasta fresca, or grabbing some mint to muddle mojitos. This fantasy can come crashing down the moment dill creeps out of the garden and into your lawn, cilantro goes to seed before any homemade salsa gets made, or the basil seeds you planted never sprout.

"A lot of people have this romantic idea of an herb garden," says Zannah Crowe, horticulturist at Monches Farm. But for your herb garden to be successful, you have to know the subtleties, she says. M

Here are 10 great herbs, with tips to make your summer herb garden
fantasy come true.

Chives This perennial can get weedy if you donít snip off its pretty flowers as soon as you spot them. Instead of just discarding, they add an edible beauty to salads and soups.

Basil This annual should not be planted until thereís no chance of frost ó usually right around Memorial Day. Try the lettuce leaf variety instead of greens on your next sandwich.

Cilantro This annual is best planted as seeds ó at least three separate times ó during the growing season so youíll have leaves to snip for salsa, as it goes to its seed version, coriander, pretty quickly.

Parsley The Italian flat leaf version of this biennial isnít as pretty as its curlier cousin, but it tastes better in dishes.

Rosemary Technically a perennial, but not in this climate. Bring it inside for the winter. "Itís a little finicky," Crowe says. "Iíve had some rosemary last five years, and other plants only a few months."

Thyme This perennial needs to be protected in winter months. Elfin is flat and "great for growing between stepping stones," while lemon is especially fragrant.

Mint This aggressive perennial, which boasts dozens of varieties, needs to be taken out of the garden in fall and put into a pot so that its roots donít spread throughout the yard.

Dill This annual tends to bolt. "If you let it go to seed, it will seed all over your garden," Crowe advises.

Stevia This perennial is 300 times sweeter than sugar, but itís not hearty here so it grows more like an annual.

Tarragon This perennial isnít hearty enough in this climate, so bring it inside during winter and give it lots of light and supplemental light.


This story ran in the April 2016 issue of: