Whether you are a novice cook or an accomplished gourmet chef, food tastes better when you add herbs. There is something so Mother Earth feeling when you can just step outside your back door and cut some fresh herbs for a dish you are creating. A versatile herb garden will contain popular herbs as well as some less used ones that can accentuate a special dish.
Oregano is popular in Italian cooking and comes in several varieties. A low ground cover plant, it stays pretty self contained, and the leaves are easy to gather for use. Use in tomato sauces, on pizza and in Italian vinaigrette.
Cilantro is very easy to confuse with parsley but just placing a leaf under your nose will tell you which is which, as it has a distinctive aroma. Sow the seeds right in your garden in the spring, and you will have plenty all summer long. Cilantro is a necessity for Mexican dishes, and perks up your guacamole.
Thyme is another low growing plant and is excellent to use as an edge plant in your herb garden. It is a great addition for many soups, stews and marinades.
A woody herb that can grow leggy and bushy is sage, and would do best in the back of a garden or even in a pot. The silvery leaves offer a nice contrast next to deeper green herbs. Sage is a wonderful accent for your Thanksgiving stuffing and goes well with poultry.
An herb that grows as easily as grass is chives. It is also hard to kill, and you may even see it’s tubular green leaves pop up through the snow. Chives have an onion like flavor, and even the pretty light purple flower can be eaten. They can be added to salads, cream cheese, dips, and baked potatoes.