Herbs are generally defined as plants grown for purposes other than food or ornamental purposes and are further classified as medicinal or culinary. Culinary varieties are generally non-woody plants and in use, the green leafy parts of the plant are used for flavoring.

Small gardens containing culinary varieties are sometimes also referred to as a kitchen or cook’s garden can provide a constant supply and variety of them for cooking. You can also plant them in with your flower and vegetable garden or you can grow them in containers on a windowsill. They make lovely and fragrant borders in any garden. The essential oils that give them their aroma and flavor can be used to repel pests. Inter-planting some around vegetables can provide a natural insect repellent. However, you should still check the plants regularly for harmful insects.

They can be used to make delicious teas. They can be combined as a blend or can be used individually. Chamomile tea is made from the German chamomile Matricaria recutita plant. In addition to being tasty, mint teas are said to aid in digestion.

Many varieties, singly and in combination's, produce aromas used in the production of perfumes and sachets, like potpourri.

Some of them are grown and used for medicinal purposes. Echinacea or Purple Coneflower is one herb that has been promoted more recently as a popular cold remedy.

Some are grown because they make wonderful stains and dyes.

Their flavor is most distinct when it is picked just before the plant begins to flower. They can be used fresh, or dried or frozen. Drying them will give them a stronger flavor. When cooking with fresh herbs add twice as much for the same result.

Herb Varieties

Like all garden plants, the different varieties can be categorized as annual, perennial, or biennial.

There are many different kinds. Below are just a few of the most popular:

Annuals- basil, chamomile, cilantro, cumin, dill, and fennel.

Perennials*- chives, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.

Perennial mints, including spearmint and peppermint, are very hardy and can spread very quickly. Planting them in containers in the garden will limit spreading.

Biennials- Parsley. Parsley is one of the few that is biennial but can be commonly treated like an annual.

*These are not all hardy in all regions of the country. Check zone ratings.

Any information given in this article referring to medicinal uses of herbs is strictly for informational purposes only.

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