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GROW IN ABUNDANCE: Stop Buying And Start Growing These Five Kitchen Herbs

By Sommer Cartier, for Let’s Talk Plants! March 2024.

Rosemary and Thyme "Fresh herbs rosemary and thyme on a white background" by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Stop Buying and Start Growing These Five Kitchen Herbs

In the pursuit of culinary excellence and a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle, the trend of growing your own kitchen herbs has taken root. Beyond the convenience of a steady supply of fresh flavors just steps away from your kitchen, cultivating an herb garden offers several benefits, both for your palate and your well-being. In this article, we explore the benefits of growing your own herbs as well as five culinary herbs that are easy to grow yourself.

There are many benefits to growing your own vegetables, starting with having access to fresh, nutrient dense herbs that are more flavorful and aromatic than their store-bought counterparts. Fresh cut herbs can provide more health benefits since their nutrients have not been compromised by travel time from farm, to store and finally, your plate.

There is something to be said about the convenience of growing your own food, including herbs. Having an herb garden means you have immediate access to a variety of herbs when you need them and in the amount that you need them, no more and no less. No need to run to the store or worry about herbs wilting in your fridge.

Growing your own herbs can be a culinary experiment that encourages you to try or create new recipes, combine new flavors, and use new cooking techniques. How can you not find inspiration from the aesthetic appeal of an herb garden? From the vibrant green hues of basil to the aromatic allure of rosemary, cultivating herbs at home offers a tangible connection to nature and a sustainable source of culinary inspiration.

Finally, growing your own herbs can be a cost-effective way to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your meals. Purchasing herbs from the store can add up quickly. Instead, place your money toward seed, soil and possibly containers to grow your own.

Below are five popular herbs you can easily grow from home.

Oregano "Oregano brujo" by rauljcolon is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

1. Oregano is a popular culinary herb that can be found in many cuisines including Italian, Mexican, and Spanish dishes. Oregano is a perennial plant that is easy to grow and incredibly hardy. It prefers full sun but can thrive in partial shade. Be careful not to overwater. Oregano prefers soil to dry out between waterings.

Sage. WiX and SD Hort site files.

2. Sage is an evergreen perennial subshrub that provides a musky, earthy flavor to foods and is one of the easiest herbs to grow. It prefers full sun but can tolerate afternoon shade. Sage is very drought tolerant and prefers soil to dry between waterings. If left to live in damp soil, sage becomes susceptible to white powdery mildew.

Rosemary. WiX stock photo.

3. Rosemary is an incredibly versatile plant, often used in both edible and ornamental gardens and landscapes. Rosemary thrives in warm sunny conditions. Similar to the herbs mentioned above, it prefers soil to completely dry between waterings. If the soil is left too moist, the plant becomes susceptible to root rot.

Blue Basil "Cadet Herb Garden" by US Coast Guard Academy is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

4. Basil is part of the mint family and is largely associated with Italian cooking. Depending on the variety, their delightfully aromatic leaves can provide a range of flavors from lemon to cinnamon to hints of licorice. In cooler climates, basil is an annual plant that dies back with the first frost. However, in our warmer San Diego climate, it has a more perennial nature. To extend the longevity of your plant, begin pinching off the top set of leaves once the plant has reached a height of 6 inches.

Thyme. WiX stock photo.

5. Thyme is a highly aromatic Mediterranean herb that thrives in dry, sunny conditions. Similar to basil, there are a number of varieties that provide different flavors and scents from lemon to orange to coconut.

When growing herbs at home, consider their sunlight and water requirements, and choose appropriate containers or garden spots according to their growing needs. Regularly harvest and prune your herbs to ensure fresh ingredients for your kitchen but also help the plants stay healthy and productive.

As your herb garden thrives, so too will your culinary palette, enriched by the vibrant flavors and aromas of your homegrown herbs. Cultivating your own herbs will not only elevate your dishes, but it will also foster a deeper appreciation for the impact of your herb garden, even a small one, on your overall well-being and your connection to the natural world.


Sommer Cartier

Master of Arts, International Development and Social Change

Clark University




If you enjoyed reading this article, consider joining (or renewing your membership with) the San Diego Horticultural Society.




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