Growing Herbs for the Kitchen 5 Herbs You Should Grow

By Melissa Norris | Gardening

Apr 21

Growing herbs for the kitchen is something everyone should and can do. Specifically today, I’m sharing my top 5 perennial herbs as well as two wild edibles that can be used both culinary, aka in your food, and in your natural medicine cabinet. Can I get a holler for things that serve two purposes in the home?

We’re going talking strategies and creative ways that can help you supplement what you’ve got in your home for groceries and some ways to do it without having to grow or plant anything which means you might not even have to worry about having your own land to finding some of these food in today’s episode #105 Growing Herbs for the Kitchen- 5 Herbs You Should be Growing

One of my favorite ways to grow our own food is with the use of perennials. In last week’s episode, episode #104 Permaculture Gardening, A Beginner’s Guide-9  easy tips for you to implement today within your garden, we discussed using perennials.

We’re going to take that a little but further even today and talk about some other creative ways that you can go and get food that doesn’t involve the grocery store or you necessarily planting anything with both foraging and growing herbs to create a kithen herb garden.

Full disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a medical professional. I’m not a certified herbalist or anything like that. I am in no way diagnosing or prescribing for you. I am just simply sharing what we forage and what we do at home for natural medicine cabinet and growing things like that as far as our herbs, and so I’m just sharing with you what works for us.

The pioneers and homes of old grew their food, with creating a kitchen herb garden being at the top of the list. People of old would step right outside their door, instead of going to a grocery store, to flavor their foods and health use. Every home can and should be growing herbs.

What I love about a kitchen herb garden is most of the herbs that I’m going to be giving you today are considered culinary herbs, so they’ll be used in our cooking, but they can also double and have medicinal purposes.

We’ll be having some future episodes on using herbs to create a natural medicine cabinet. Below are some common garden herbs that shine in a kitchen herb garden.

5 Best Herbs to Grow In Pots for A Kitchen Herb Garden

  1. Chives are a great culinary herb. They come back every year. They die after in the winter months but then they come up without any work. They’re the one of the first ones to come up in the spring and of course, with chives, we can use them as we would similarly to green onions, anything in the allium family, scallions, that type of thing, to get that flavor with your chives.
  2. Rosemary is another one of my favorite herbs. Now, rosemary, if you get really cold down into like the zeros and the single digits, it can be really hard to overwinter rosemary. If you’re in a really harsh climate, you might not be able to get it to overwinter and being in gardening zone 7, I have had some issues with that overwintering in the past. It would die every single winter and I would have to buy a new plant and put it in come spring time. But, for the past four years, I have not had to do that.
    One of the things that I discovered with the rosemary is I moved it from the more exposed regular garden area into a large container that has southern exposure that’s tucked right up against our house on our back patio. By doing that, it has made it through. It’s now a four-year-old plants and I haven’t lost it even though we did have zero degree weather and those single digits this winter. If you can find a southern exposure sheltered area for those things that are borderline on whether or not they’ll make it through the winter, rosemary being a primary one, take a look and see if you can add it in to a better area on your property or if you’re planting it for the first time, make sure that you’re checking that out and taking that in to consideration.
  3. Mint– both peppermint and spearmint. I have a chocolate mint plant though I have to tell you, I was really excited because I thought it would have the flavor of chocolate with the mint. No, that’s not the case. It’s actually a brown stem and then the mint leaves come off of there so it looks like because of the brown chocolate mint but it doesn’t have a flavor profile of chocolate mint but it’s still a great mint plant to add in.
    When you are planting anything in the mint family that’s related to mint, they spread the via the runner system just like I mentioned with the stinging nettle. That’s something you’re going to want to put in either a container or an area that you don’t care if it spreads because it will spread like mint going crazy all over the homestead.
  4. Sage is a great culinary herb and also has its place in the medicine cabinet. Sage can be really soothing to the throat and one of the things I love about sage is it’s very flavorful, I like to throw it in soups and stews and of course, with meats and all of that type of stuff, casseroles, but sage is so pretty. It’s got a very silvery-almost-velvety-feeling leaf. It’s really soft and it’s that silvery green color. It pops gorgeously when you’ve got it out in your flowerbeds or in containers.
  5. Thyme. Here, I need to actually put thyme in. I don’t have a current patch of thyme but my oregano….
  6. Oregano-I can pretty much harvest oregano all year round. Now, thyme and oregano both are spreading so they will send out spreaders and go all over. Again, put them in an area that you don’t care that they sprawl out or make sure that you have them in a container.
    The great thing that I love about the oregano is I can harvest that almost year round. It’s in the southern exposure next to our back deck near my container of the rosemary and even if it’s been covered in snow, as soon as the snow melts off, I can usually find little bits of green and it’s one of the first herbs to turn really green that I can start harvesting in the early spring. I can already go out and harvest fresh oregano right now along with the rosemary.

The list above, with the exception of the rosemary (but even that one’s not that hard) are the best herbs for beginners to start with.

Want an even easier way to bring in edibles and stock the natural medicine cabinet without having to plant or grow anything? Then my friend, foraging is for you! While growing herbs and creating a kitchen herb garden are great, there’s something to be said for plucking fresh food without putting in any work.

New to foraging? Check out this episode #66 5 Rules for Foraging + 25 wild edibles. It’s a great way to supplement what you’re growing and to bring food in, and a lot of the things that you will be foraging wildly and also some of the things that we’re going to be talking about today and bringing it and planting on the homestead or in your garden area are plants, like I said, that served two purposes.

One of the first things that we like to forage and it comes up seasonally for us as well, so at the time of this recording, we are about mid-April in 2017. One of the very first crops that come up around here as far as the foraging goes are stinging nettles.

Stinging nettles come up and they grow in shady woody areas, and they’re one of the first things that pop up in the spring. Now, when I was a kid, they are very well named. They will sting. If you go out to forage for those, make sure that you’re wearing protective clothing, long pants, jeans, long sleeves and gloves. They are not something that we’re going to be picking with our bare hands because they really do sting, drive you crazy.

Check out our video on how to forage Stinging Nettles Here
They are an excellent source in the early springtime, especially because that’s when the leaves and that’s what we are harvesting off of them is the leaves, they are more tender. The leaves are a great green. We use them like you would a spinach. They’re great sauteed. You can put them in soups and stews. I will pop them in bone broth for an added boost when we’re making homemade broth. They also can be used as a tea, so they’re our all around green.

Another early spring one that you don’t have to plant and almost every yard has are dandelions. Dandelions are a great plant. You can use them especially when they’re young.

Spring time is best just like with the stinging nettles to do your harvesting of them because the leaves are more tender and if they get older and further into the season, they can often have a bitter taste which we don’t really want. The dandelion is great because we can harvest the leaves on there to put into salads as you would a regular green. You can also take the blossoms and dip the blossoms in batter and then fry them up. Here’s How to Fry Dandelion Blossoms

You can also harvest the root. Dandelions have a really long big tap root. All parts of a dandelion can be harvested and are edible and can be used for different things and not to mention, they’re pretty much everywhere.

You want to make sure that you’re not harvesting from somewhere that’s been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals and oftentimes in yards, people are looking for that manicured look and they will use Roundup. Make sure no chemicals have been sprayed where you are harvesting.

You don’t want to harvest next to a roadway for the same reason. You’ve got pollution coming off from the vehicles. You’ve got runoff that are on the road and then most counties will go through an spray to keep the weeds down so they’re spraying weed killer right along the edge of the road.

You always want to rinse it and wash everything before you use it and know without a doubt what it is that you are harvesting before you ever eat it. You need to know that it’s safe, that it’s been properly identified and that you know 100% without a shadow of a doubt that it is a safe edible before you ever go about eating it.
I will be sharing on an upcoming Pioneering Today live show. We’ll be going more in depth on harvesting and using the dandelions and if you want to get a reminder you want to be subscribed to the email list.

Secondly, for the live show, go here and type in “Remind me,” I’ve got this awesome software that will then register you and then about five minutes before we go live on Thursday mornings, it will shoot you a message.

That’s great because we’re all super busy. There are so many times where I have meant to catch something and I’ve totally forgot so that’s where this will come in and that way, you’ll be able to make the show live. You’ll get that reminder because it’s really fun because you get to ask questions and see everything in lifetime as I’m demonstrating and actually doing what we’re talking about. You want to make sure that you take advantage of that.

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Today’s episode is brought to you by The Pioneering Today Academy.

The Pioneering Today Academy is the membership site that documents and follows everything that we do on the homestead with video lessons, download tutorials and I walk you through how we grow and harvest and preserve, and everything that we do here in creating a self-sufficient, old-fashioned homestead in a modern world.

There you have it, how to start growing herbs for a kitchen herb garden and my top pick of 5 easy herbs to grow in containers that come back every year! Which ones are you putting in? Have you started creating a kitchen herb garden?

About the Author

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.