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Five Herbs That (Practically) Grow Themselves
Five Herbs That (Practically) Grow Themselves

Editorial

Five Herbs That (Practically) Grow Themselves

Love the idea of cooking with home-grown herbs and veggies, but aren’t a genius in the garden? Don’t worry: these options are simple to grow even if you lack a green thumb. Most can be grown in containers as well as in the ground, and can be adapted to different planting zones.

Five Herbs That (Practically) Grow Themselves

Chives

Chives have a reputation for being the number-one easy-to-grow herb, with the ability to tolerate a variety of soil and light conditions. They do best in zones 3 to 9—everywhere except extreme desert or cold climates—and thrive in full sunlight, though they can handle partial shade. They like relatively well-draining soil, but otherwise aren’t too picky. Plant them in containers or in the ground. As a bonus, their pink-purple flowers are pretty.

Mint

Mint is so easy to grow, it can even get a little out of hand. It’s an excellent choice for a container garden, since the pot keeps mint’s aggressive nature in check. Varieties include peppermint (best for zones 3 to 8), spearmint (best for zones 5 to 10), apple mint (best for zones 5 to 10) and lemon mint (best for zones 5 to 9. Peppermint is the most popular and versatile.

Plant mint after the last frost if you live in a zone that experiences winter. Otherwise, it’s fine to plant mint throughout the season. Morning sun, afternoon shade, and rich, well-draining soil are its favorite conditions, but it will grow relatively well even if you can’t give it a perfect environment.

Harvest mint sprigs before the plant begins to flower, and prolong the life of your harvest season by pinching off the flowers as soon as you see them.

Rosemary

This evergreen is a good choice for containers, and if you live in a frost-free climate, you can plant and grow it any time of year. Or, if you place your rosemary in a small pot, you can simply bring it indoors for the winter. Like thyme, rosemary is a Mediterranean plant and prefers hot, dry conditions. It thrives best in six to eight hours of full sun, and in slightly sandy soil.4. Basil

Basil

Basil is a crowd-pleaser, excellent for summer pastas and a tomato’s best friend. Plant basil in full sun, keep the soil moist and you’ll have an ample supply of leaves. It works in pots, and even indoors on a sunny windowsill. Pinch off the flowers when they appear to prolong your harvest.

Thyme

With its little lavender flowers and delicate leaves, thyme is lovely as well as fragrant. It’s an easy-going perennial—just put it in full sun and give it relatively dry soil. (As a Mediterranean herb, it prefers conditions on the warm and arid side.) Thyme thrives best in zones 5 to 9. To harvest, snip a few stems at a time. Even the flowers are edible when freshly bloomed.

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