Here are some more herbs that you can easily grow to add flavor and health benefits to your meals:
Oregano – Oregano is widely used in Mediterranean and Spanish cooking and goes well with tomatoes and eggplant. It is a rich source of vitamin K and has anti-bacterial properties. It is also a very powerful antioxidant. Oregano is also rich in fibre, high in iron and manganese and a natural source of Omega 3 fatty acids. What a magical herb to have in your garden!
Oregano is easy to grow and can be grown as a perennial if you live in a mild climate, however if you get frosts over winter you may need to bring some inside in a pot over the colder months. It only requires moderate watering in a well drained soil and loves growing in full sun. If your soil tends to retain a lot of moisture it’s best to grow Oregano in a raised bed to allow adequate drainage as it can be prone to root rot if it stays wet for too long. Frequent harvesting will produce a bushier plant and also keeps the foliage more succulent.
Thyme – Thyme has anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antiseptic and antispasmodic properties. It’s great for digestion which makes it very useful for stomach upsets. If used as an inhalant it can ease respiratory problems like bronchitis. Drying this herb and mixing with water to make a thick paste or poultice makes it useful for skin inflammations and fungal problems like athlete’s foot. It’s also a great source of antioxidants and can help to boost the immune system.
Like Oregano, Thyme prefers hot and dry conditions so its needs a sunny spot and prefers dry and coarse soil. This herb is also easy to propagate from cuttings but the bush forms will quite often seed freely by themselves. To harvest, wait till the plants begin to flower and then cut off the top half and hang to dry in a shady spot or use a food dehydrator if you have one.
Chives – Chives are like little green tubes of onion and are delicious in all types of potato dishes. They’re very pretty with their purple flowers and if you don’t dead head them you’ll find that they will seed freely and you’ll have lots of new plants coming up. They certainly add a spark of color to your herb garden. Plus you can also divide them to grow in other parts of your garden for a bit of color. Apart from being very easy to grow, they like to be harvested so that they can regrow and spread out again. You can even use the flowers in salads and as garnishes, just pull apart the individual florets. Chives also make a very tasty herb butter.
Chives, as they belong to the same family as garlic and onions, have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are also a great source of Vitamin A as well as other antioxidants like carotenes and lutein.
This very attractive herb also makes a great companion plant for broccoli, cabbage, roses and tomatoes, amongst other things, as they have the ability to repel aphids, and who doesn’t want that in their garden! Plus, due to their anti-fungal properties they help to control black spot on roses. Imagine how pretty your rose garden will look with lots of gorgeous chives growing under your roses. You can also make a chive tea by chopping up some chives and boiling them in water and then using this to spray your cucumbers, zucchinis and melons to combat powdery mildew.