By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith, MSU Extension Service
I love having fresh herbs to use while cooking in my kitchen. This fact was the catalyst that led me to plant my first herb plants a few years ago. For the most part, they’ve been easy to grow. While every attempt hasn’t been successful, I’m learning more as I go.
You’ll always find these three herbs in my herb garden:
Rosemary: This evergreen shrub comes in two types: upright and creeping. It is a hardy perennial, but you may find that you need to replace it after a few years. Our hot, humid climate can be brutal on herbs.
Basil: This annual herb comes in several different flavors, but sweet basil is my go-to. I use this a lot, especially in the summer when I have fresh tomatoes. If you like flavored vinegars, the purple leaf types make for a pretty presentation in glass bottles. ‘Purple Ruffles’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) was featured among the 2004 Mississippi Medallion winners.
Dill: This is an annual that prefers cooler weather, so it does well in the spring and fall. You can make dill pickles or try it on eggs. But if you enjoy fish, this is an excellent herb to grow and elevate your dishes.
Herbs get their flavors and scents from oils. Over fertilizing, over watering and planting them in shade will lower the oil content, making them less flavorful and aromatic.
Any of these herbs will do well in containers, so put them on the back porch so they’re within easy reach when you’re whipping up a meal.
For more about herb gardening, visit the Extension website.
Herbs can be used to make a variety of flavored vinegars. For a video and step-by-step instructions for making flavored vinegar, check out our previous blog post.