Its hard to imagine what cooking would be like without the flavor of herbs and spices. Since herbs are best when theyre freshly picked, its well worth growing your own and its easy, too.

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Herbs for the Kitchen

In front of me we have some fennel. Fennel can be chopped up and put in salads or stir fries. It’s what we call a reseeding annual. So, if you put a sign here next to it, you can see where it’s going to come up next year, and keep a little patch of it going.

The same thing is true of dill. Some of the best dill that I’ve ever grown has been a reseeded patch that I keep going year after year. Those two plants are in the annual family.

We also have examples of perennials here in the garden. We have creeping thyme – it’s a low growing plant that’s just now starting to green up. And we have some oregano, and some marjoram that are coming back. So, if you like pizza, you should definitely grow some oregano.

The only plant that I’d suggest to wait on would be basil. It’s a tender annual. You can find it in the greenhouses now for sale as a transplant. Or, you can grow your own transplant. But, I’m not going to put my basil out until about the 10th of May. It’s very sensitive to frost. I love basil, but I’ll have to wait on it just a bit.

Another nice aspect about this garden is that we do have some signage so that we can remember where plants are going to be put year after year. And the other thing I really like about this garden is that we’ve got a mulch layer here. It helps protect the plant roots in the winter from the cold. And it helps protect the roots in the summer from the heat that we get. So, it’s a garden that has good drainage and it has adequate water. The mulch helps buffer everything, and it’s good for the soil quality around the herbs.

Most herbs do require good drainage. If you have trouble growing herbs, make sure that you have soil that drains well – either a sandy soil, or add some compost to your soil, or make a raised bed. But other than that, herbs are probably one of the easiest plants you can grow.

This feature story prepared with Rhonda Janke, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Sustainable Cropping Systems. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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