Plants from an herb garden are used for more than seasonings. Try some leaves or flowers in a salad or on a sandwich. Clip leaves and make your own, fresh herbal teas. Plant the herbs close to the kitchen or grow them in pots in the kitchen window where you can just snip whenever you feel like adding a fresh touch to your meal.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is also known as common basil and sweet basil and is a member of the mint family. The plant is an annual that grows from 2 to 3 feet tall with leaves that grow from 2 to 4 inches long. The purple or white flowers grow in clusters that encircle the stem. Basil is used to make pesto and the leaves are cut up and added to salads. Leaves can also be dried and crumbled to use as seasoning. Plant basil in full sun or partial shade and in a soil that is moist and well drained.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) produce tiny bulbs and hollow leaves that grow from 10 to 15 inches tall. The plant is a perennial with purple or lilac flowers growing in clusters about 1 inch in diameter. The leaves are chopped and used with eggs, potatoes and in soups and the flowers are used in salads. Plant chives in full sun and a moist soil. The plant is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is also known as cilantro, Arab parsley or Chinese parsley. Both the leaves and the seeds are edible. The plant grows from 2 to 3 feet tall with a spread of 1 to 2 feet. The lower leaves are lobed and measure 1 to 2 inches across and the the upper leaves resemble those of a fern. The plant produces white or pink flowers growing in flat-topped clusters up to 2 inches across. The flowers produce tiny, yellow -brown seed pods. The leaves are cilantro and the seeds themselves are the coriander. Plant coriander in full sun or partial shade in slightly moist to dry soil. The herb can be grown in all of the United States--during the summer in the milder climates and in the winter in the hottest.
Peppermint (Mentha X piperita) is a perennial that spreads aggressively and is hard to stop once it gets started. The plant grows to 12 inches tall, producing leaves that grow up to 3 1/2 inches long and tiny pink-purple flowers at the tip of the stems. Plant peppermint in full sun or partial shade moist to wet soils. The leaves can be used to make herbal tea and other beverages. The plant is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7.