As the garden activity winds down, many gardeners forgo planting and to turn to simpler gardening tasks as they prepare their garden for winter. However, fall can be a great time to grow herbs, especially if you are a beginner. As well as adding flavor to dishes as garnishes and condiments, many culinary herbs also have medicinal benefits. An herb garden is considered low maintenance, as they can be grown in raised garden beds, pots or containers – or even on the window sill.
Vego Garden has a collection of Herb Garden twin pack kits for those seeking to exclusively grow herbs in their garden. Alternatively, the Kids Garden kits can also be used to grow herbs and other plants on a small-scale. The types of herbs you can plant in your area depends on your growing zones, though cool-weather herbs may be grown in most conditions. Below is a list of ten herbs to grow during the fall in existing garden beds or containers.
Parsley is an herb in the carrot family that is similar to cilantro, but can be differentiated by its more pointed leaves. A wispy herb commonly used as garnish, parsley has a bright, slightly bitter flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes, from potatoes to pesto and focaccia bread. A fast-growing herb that prefers full sun, it is an ideal herb to set on a sunny spot on your window-sill. Parsley comes in type types: flat-leaf and curly-leaf. Flat-leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley, has a more robust flavor, while curly-leaf parsley has a more muted flavor and is often used for decoration.
Sage is a versatile herb used to infuse bold flavor to meats and poultry, butter, sausage, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes or parsnips. Recognizable by its muted, silvery leaves, it is native to the Mediterranean region, where it grows best in full sun and sandy, loamy soil. Though many herbs thrive in regular garden soil, some herbs, including sage, rosemary, and bay, prefer the gritty, well-drained soil of the Mediterranean. You can either make your own mix, which can be enriched with worm castings, or purchase a loamy, well-drained growing medium from your garden center or online.
A plant with slender, wiry branches featuring small leaves, thyme is a shrubby herb in the mint family with a distinct, earthy flavor. Associated with fairies, water, and magic, thyme has a rich past in folklore and mythology. Possessing both medicinal and culinary uses, it has often been used to treat respiratory problems, inflammation, and bacterial infections. Essential oil derived from thyme contains powerful antibacterial and therapeutic properties that can soothe sore throats. In cooking, it is regularly used to season meat dishes, eggs, soups, and sauces. While thyme can tolerate sub-par soil conditions, including poor, stony soil, it grows best in a location with full-sun and well-drained soil.
A striking herb with aromatic, ever-green, needle-like leaves, rosemary is an herb native to the Mediterranean region. A festive plant, it is not uncommon to see sprigs of rosemary adorning plates as garnish or complimenting poultry, potatoes, beef, and butters. Besides its ornamental and culinary value, it has been added to balms and salves to alleviate muscle pain. Like its appearance suggests, it has a complex flavor reminiscent of pine trees. Until it becomes established, it prefers well-drained-soil that remains moist. Though it is relatively drought-tolerant, it cannot tolerate cold winters, making them suitable for rolling beds, which can be wheeled inside during freezing temperatures.
Lavender is a low-maintenance perennial herb in the mint family with an uplifting, soothing scent. Traditionally, lavender has been used in aromatherapy to cure headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Studies have shown that it may help relieve stress and improve mental well-being. Unlike other herbs such as thyme, oregano, and mint, it does not have a tendency to spread. Lavender requires full-sun and well-draining soil, so plant it in your sunniest site. If the soil in your yard is of subpar quality, consider using a raised garden bed, which drains well and allows you to control the soil composition.
Chives are a cool-season crop related to onions that makes a great companion plant in a vegetable garden. If you live in a cold area, then consider growing this garden staple, which can tolerate zones 3 – 9 – those plants make great additions to borders, raised beds, and herb gardens. A universal seasoning, chives lend a mild, onion flavor to soups, potato dishes, and seafood. Garlic chives, also known as Chinese chives, have a more garlic flavor and grow in flat grass-like blades; common chives impart a subtle flavor to dishes and have hollow stalks.
A common herb in Mediterranean cooking, oregano possesses a strong, piquant flavor that adds a fragrant aroma to marinara, pesto, and pizza. Whether used fresh, dried, or as an oil, it has long been recognized for its potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. Add a few drops of oregano infused oil to boiling water to naturally soothe a sore throat or to help with digestive problems. Oregano prefers climates with low humidity, making it suited for containers or raised garden beds, especially if you have damp or heavy soil. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil for best results.
Known for being a component in dill pickles, dill is an herb in the celery family with a wispy, fern-like appearance. Sometimes used as a substitute for parsley, it has a grassy, citrus-like taste, with a note of licorice. A delicious complement to fish, especially salmon, dill can also be used dips, soups, salads, and potato dishes. If you live in zones 9 – 11, dill can be planted during early fall. In zones 3 – 7, plant dill in during periods of mild weather, in late spring. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, it will grow in most types of soil, though it prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
Marjoram is a perennial herb that is often confused for oregano. Though they have a similar appearance and can be substituted for one another, marjoram has a sweeter and more refined flavor. In zones 7 and above, marjoram can be planted in the fall in indoor containers. If grown from seed, it is recommended that you start seeds indoors during late winter or early spring. For a hassle-free way to grow herbs indoors before transplanting them outside, try Vego Garden seedling trays with drip irrigation. When harvesting, select younger leaves for optimal flavor.
Cilantro is a very polarizing plant: some people like it, others hate it, finding the flavor unpalatable. For those gardeners that don’t mind the taste of cilantro, they can consider growing this fast-growing herb, which can be easily grown in containers or pots. If you have ever been to the foreign section of a grocery store, you may have noticed coriander sitting on the shelves. Popular in Indian cuisines and Spanish dishes, coriander is the spice that is derived from the dried seeds of the cilantro plant. Cilantro is a common ingredient in guacamole, tacos, salsa, and other Latin-inspired foods.