If you cook (or know someone who does), you should grow a few fresh herbs. Here’s a list of those that are easy to grow and thrive in Northern California. It’ll get you thinking about this aspect of your own garden, and what flavors you like best in your food.
Rosemary – hands down the most used herb I grow.
Thyme – second place for most used in cooking.
Lavender – is this an herb? Some people cook with it, but I prefer to use it as an accent in bouquets.
Mint – useful in several ways. I often put it in bouquets at Tiny Footprint Flowers. I also use it as a garnish when I want to be fancy. Put some in a pitcher of ice water during the summer, then put the mixture in a clear glass pitcher and set it on the table. Your guest will think you’re Martha Freakin’ Stewart. But don’t let mint get away from you in the garden! It can be a bit invasive, so I like to keep it in a pot.
Lemon verbena – pretty much everything I said for mint goes for lemon verbena. But what I mostly use it for is hot herb tea. Alice Waters calls this a tisane, and if you call it that to your friends they’ll either think you’re a genius or just showing off.
Chives – these grow easily and need little care.
Sage – another easy to grow herb that combines well with potatoes, chicken or beans.
Tarragon – overlooked and not well known, but the fragrance is wonderful. OK, to be honest, I rarely use this in cooking, but I like to smell it.
Parsley – use it in salads or green sauce (aka chimichurri and salsa verde – you can look up lots of recipes that are variations on the same theme). Parsley is also reputed to discourage squirrels and aphids. I can’t vouch for this claim, but I keep hoping.
Cilantro – a love-it-or-hate-it flavor. Easy to grow, but keep in mind that the plant gets very large by the end of summer.
I’m sure you can think of more to add to this list – what are you favorites?