Gardeners who grow their own herbs don't have to drive to a store when they want to flavor their food. All they need to do step outside to a backyard, balcony, patio or deck to pick freshly grown herbs. Even inexperienced gardeners or people with limited space can grow popular herbs such as oregano, parsley and others, as they can also be grown indoors.
Parsley is one of the most commonly grown garden herbs. It's highly nutritious and an ideal source of both vitamins A and C, according to Desmene. Because its flowers rarely appear the second year, the parsley plant is mostly considered an annual, although it's actually a biennial. Parsley flowers consist of greenish-yellow florets. Its dark green leaves have divided tips that curl. A typical plant grows from 9 to 18 inches tall with a spread of roughly 6 to 9 inches, notes the University of Nebraska Extension. Parsley plants need full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Regularly water young parsley plants until they're established. Harvesting begins when the plants produce three-segmented leaf stems. Dried parsley can be stored in air-tight jars up to a year.
Basil has attractive leaves and aromatic fragrance. This herb originated in India and is a main ingredient in Italian dishes and in pesto sauce. Scented varieties are used to make jellies, jams, teas and vinegars. Colorado State University Extension says to start seeds indoors about six to eight weeks before transplanting them outside. Basil does best in well-drained soil that's enriched with organic material such as peat moss or compost. Only fertilize if soil is extremely nutrient deficient because excessive fertilizing results in less flavor. Leaves should be harvested regularly during a growing season. Watch out for pests including red spiders, slugs and whiteflies.
Oregano is a perennial herb commonly added to Italian dishes, soups and stews. An oregano plant has grayish-green, oval leaves and grows to more than 2 feet tall, notes Herb Gardening.com. This native plant of the Mediterranean region has been used for centuries and continues to be used by contemporary herbalists for health benefits, making it a multipurpose herb. Dividing and then replanting helps the plant, since it can become woody in time. Plant oregano in fairly fertile soil, ensuring the soil drains well. Space plants 12 inches apart after the last frost.
Dill is a hardy annual coming from the Mediterranean area and Southern Russian. It's usually used to flavor fish, soups and pickles. Because butterflies feed on this herb, the dill plant makes an excellent butterfly garden plant. Directly plant seeds in the spring, allowing 10 inches for each plant, notes the University of Rhode Island Horticulture Program. Dill plants have long tap roots, so they shouldn't be transplanted. Harvest fresh leaves before flowering starts and harvest seeds when seed heads become dry and brown. Although dill doesn't have severe disease or pest issues, phoma blight, stem rot and rust rot can be problematic.