Herbs are one of the most rewarding plants a gardener can grow, proving sweet and fragrant aromas as well as fresh edible herbs that dried supermarket brands can't compete with. Herbs are generally sun-loving plants that you can grow with a little patience.
A member of the mint family, sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a frost-sensitive herb that produces full-flavored leaves, a staple in Italian cooking. Basil can be grown both indoors and outdoors, although it will generally do better outdoors. Basil does well in a number of soils, and mulch is recommended to retain moisture. Full sun and a warm climate are ideal for sweet basil, which will quickly react to frost. A plastic sheet placed over the ground about two weeks before planting will help warm the soil for the plant in cooler regions.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herbaceous perennial from the mint family that has a slight fragrance of lemon. The low-growing plant boasts toothed oval leaves and tiny white or pinkish flowers. In addition to its use as a fragrant essential oil, the herb is commonly used in teas and as a flavoring in ice cream. Lemon balm will thrive in full sun, although the plant is more shade tolerant than many other herbs. Well-drained sandy soil, as well as a winter layer of mulch, is ideal for the lemon balm plant.
Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) is a species of oregano native to Southwest Asia and Northern Africa. The bushy plant has soft oval, slightly fuzzy leaves that are a light grayish green. Sweet Marjoram is frequently used as a flavoring for sausage and heavier dishes like lasagna. The plant is not frost hardy, preferring full sunlight and a little shade in the summer. The ideal soil for sweet marjoram is well-drained soil with a little bit of lime. The plant should be watered frequently in warmer months to keep it from drying out.