One of the best things about having a garden at your home, even a small balcony, window, or container garden is the moment when you get to enjoy the harvest from all of your labors.  Fresh herbs are a particularly delightful crop for anyone who enjoys cooking.  Another great benefit to growing your own herb garden is that it is a great way to save some money on your grocery budget!  With a few thoughtful choices as to which ones you plant, you can be enjoying cuisine from a variety of international destinations in no time!

 

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Basil:

This easy-to-grow plant is great for the beginning gardener.  Most commonly used in Italian cooking, the deep green leaves give a bright and fresh taste to many dishes.  Basil is the star of the show if you are looking to create a traditional pesto sauce, great for pasta dishes, pizzas, and sandwiches.  To keep your basil plants growing strong and producing make sure to prune back the flowering blossoms on mature growth.  Additionally, basil is very sensitive to frost so make sure to put out your plants after any threat of frost has past.

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    Dill:

This herb has a strong, slightly spicy taste to it.  Dill makes a great addition to seafood dishes, salads, and is often combined with sliced cucumbers for a light summer salad or sandwich.  This annual plant can grow very large, even up to 4 feet tall so make sure you give it plenty of space to grow and mature

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  Mint:

This versatile and useful herb is great for its wide range of uses for the at home cook.  You can brew some fresh mint leaves in with tea, add it to sauces, make jellies, and use it for a variety of desserts.  These plants can grow very large and have a tendency to take over open garden areas so growing your mint in a pot to contain it to a certain area is a good idea.

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      Parsley:

This mild herb is fantastic to keep on hand.  Use it to brighten up many dishes, both to cook with and as a fresh garnish.  During its second year of growth, parsley plants can grow to a large flowering stalk.  At this point the herb itself will become bitter, but you can harvest the seeds from the flowering tops for replanting.

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      Thyme:

This herb is great for the at home cook and gardener because it is very easy to dry for long term storage in addition to its wonderful fresh flavor when used during the growing season.  Thyme is widely used in many dishes, from beef and chicken to vegetable side dishes, rice, soups, and stews.  Thyme plants also looking beautiful as a creeping ground cover that will help to keep weeds at bay.  To promote healthy growth during the growing season regularly harvest the tender tips of the stems.

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