Complimentary Herbs for an Herb Garden

Herbs have a variety of uses from food to fragrance to gardening aids. There are many complementary herbs that you can plant in an herb garden that have multiple uses. Planting an herb garden within a vegetable garden and then using the herbs for recipes after harvesting ensures getting the most from the garden.

Basil

Find basil in many Italian recipes from sauces to pesto. Grow this herb alongside other Italian favorites including oregano, marjoram and rosemary. Basil can also be a companion plant with vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes to improve flavor and growth in each.

Oregano

Add oregano to various Italian dishes when you want a stronger peppery flavor. Use caution when cooking with or growing this herb; it can overpower both food and gardens because oregano spreads quickly in the garden and gains stronger flavor as it ages. Oregano is a companion plant to vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower by providing ground cover and maintaining humidity for the roots of the vegetables.

Mint

The mint family covers herbs such as peppermint, wintergreen and spearmint. Use mint when you want a cool refreshing flavor in hot or cold drinks, ice cream and cookies. Mint also works as a fragrance, either fresh or dried. Use caution when growing mint because, like oregano, the plant spreads quickly and can overtake the garden.

Chamomile

Chamomile comes in two varieties, German and Roman. Use either type in tea blends to add a smooth flavor to the drink. Use this herb in companion gardening with vegetables such as cucumber or cabbage.

Dill

Dill is most associated with cucumbers and pickling. Use dill and vinegar to create pickled eggs, pork and relishes. Dill can grow as a companion plant for vegetables such as onion, lettuce, corn, cabbage and cucumber.

Tarragon

Use tarragon in recipes with potato, fish, egg, mushrooms and chicken. There are two types of tarragon, Russian and French with French tarragon having a stronger flavor. Tarragon is a possible growing aid for almost any plant. Plant the herb near other food ingredients such as parsley, dill or mushroom.

Rosemary

Plant rosemary for use in both recipes and fragrances. Grow rosemary either upright or as a spreading vine. Prune the upright variety to be used as a topiary. Limit the use of this herb in foods because it has a strong flavor. Plant with sage, cabbage, carrots and beans to repel pests.

Parsley

Observe the leaves of this herb to help determine the type of recipe it will be used in; the flat-leaf variety is used in Italian cooking, while the curly leaf variety is reserved for French cooking. Look for this herb mainly in soup and pasta dishes. The flat-leaf variety is harder to start from seed and has a stronger taste than does the curly leaf variety. Parsley doesn't aid other plants in the garden, but it can be planted with other food ingredients such as oregano or tarragon.

Keywords: companion planting, herb gardening, companion herb plants

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Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.