Top Ten herbs you should never be without. How to grow your own.

10 herbs to grow for health this summer, don't delay!

Herbs make your cooking come alive. These flavoursome plants are invaluable in the kitchen – so why not grow your own? There’s a herb for almost every occasion you can think of, from the spiciest dish to the most delicate of cakes. Herbs and spices are good for you. And it’s well known that the dried goods on most supermarket shelves have been sitting there for a long time - their nutritional value has therefore been depleted. Lavender, herbs, growing, grow your own, garden, health Growing herbs is easy and it's a great way to improve your health - and the taste of your daily food. So the answer is clear: start a herb garden this spring. Just a few pots on the windowsill or a whole garden dedicated to herbs, there’s magic awaiting at your fingertips.

Which herbs are the most useful? Here’s the top ten for the ultimate flavour and fun:

Rosemary:

Rosemary grows so easily and the blue flowers attract insects so it’s great for bio-diversity in the garden too. Pinch out the fresh growing shoots for cooking. These are the most flavourful and you’ll get the full benefit of its luscious pine/lemony scent and subtle flavour. Great with meat, especially lamb, it has a high concentration of antioxidants and is sometimes used in the treatment of cancer. You might be surprised just how many uses Rosemary has! Take a look at these 15 'Awesome Benefits by Balancemebeautiful.com Rosemary, herb, grow your own, garden, growing, plant Rosemary is a great herb to grow in the garden. It's so easy, and it tastes great too.

Thyme:

It blends so well with Rosemary. This is a member of the mint family and it is another great antioxidant which is good for healing. Use it as a tea or sprinkle it in almost any baked dishes. Allow its flavour to seep through the dish as it bakes – it will improve the flavour the longer it stays cooking. Thyme, garden, grow your own, cooking, plants, health Make some time for Thyme. It's a great herb.

Oregano:

Oregano is a form of Marjoram and a key ingredient in pizza and pasta sauces. It contains compounds that sooth coughs and help the digestive process. Oregano is also said to help lower blood pressure. It can be used in marinades and tastes wonderful with beans, salad and feta cheese. In fact, Oregano can be used with almost every type of dish you can think of. Some people even sprinkle it on toast with cheese. Use it with beans and meat – what an amazingly versatile herb this is. Oregano, plant, herb, garden, grow your own, health Oregano is a key ingredient in many different dishes. It's aromatic and a delicious herb. Be sure to include it in your herb garden.

Parsley:

This is a great tonic for the bladder as it helps to cleanse the urinary tract. Great for the prevention of kidney stones and infections. What’s more, parsley is said to be good for neutralising the effects of smoke inhalation and helps prevent damage to cells. It’s a great source of both A and C vitamins and is good at reducing inflammation that happens as a result of health conditions such as arthritis. parsley, herb, garden, health, growing, plants, grow your own Parsley is another good herb that you shouldn't be without. It has multiple health properties.

Basil:

Basil is well known as a key ingredient in pesto sauce. It’s also an amazing herb because it helps to prevent bacterial growth. Studies show that the oil of basil has demonstrated the ability to inhibit some bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. Use basil combined with thyme and you have a highly effective (and tasty) preservative which keeps food fresh. This is particularly useful for foods that are not cooked such as salads. Basil, herb, pesto, grow your own, plants, garden Basil can be used fresh or dried. It can grow in your garden in the summer but will need winter protection

Sage.

This is sometimes a forgotten herb. Sage is such a popular ornamental plant that it can be overlooked in the kitchen. It has antiseptic and bacteria-killing properties and has also been used for decades for muscle aches and rheumatism. What’s more, it is said to enhance mental clarity and has been used to treat those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Make a tea with this herb, or use it with meats such as turkey. Sage and onion stuffing is well known. Sage, herb, ornamental, salvia, plant, garden, health, grow your own Sage is one of the most versatile plants in the garden. It has both ornamental and culinary uses.

Magnificent Mint:

Use it with potatoes, as a tea and in drinks. Mint is highly versatile and unmistakable. Did you know there are dozens of different varieties? Banana mint, chocolate mint and strawberry mint are just a few. Mint promotes digestion and soothes stomachs. It can help to reduce inflammation and sooth headaches. What’s more, it tastes amazing. Want to learn more about the health benefits of mint? This guide details 23 health benefits of mint leaves according to science, and includes 11 delicious mint leave recipes. Mint, herb, garden, growing, grow your own, health, tea How many different varieties of mint have you tried? There are dozens. Pineapple mint, strawberry mint, banana and chocolate mint! Minty heaven.

Coriander:

What an amazing herb this is! Good for reducing inflammation; lowering cholesterol levels, helping with digestion, improving blood sugar disorders, coriander can even be used in the treatment of smallpox!  Eat it with your salad or use it as a garnish. Use it raw or dried, it has dozens of uses. Coriander, herb, grow your own, garden, growing, plants Coriander is aromatic and delicious. Grow some for its taste and its health properties too.

Chives:

Don’t forget to use them! They look so ornamental with their vertical, hollow stems and pom-pom flowers, but they make great flavour too. Did you know that this member of the allium family is also related to garlic and leek?  You can add them to salads, use them in garnishes and in soup. Try adding a sprinkle to mashed potato and sprinkle chives over vegetables. Some people believe that chives help to strengthen bones and can even be used to limit brain damage of the sort seen in Alzheimer’s.  Many people know that the herb also acts as a laxative and is a source of iron, magnesium and potassium. Chives, herbs, plants, health, grow your own, growing, cooking Chives are remarkably versatile. But most people forget to use them. They taste like mild onions. And they are very healthy too.

Bay:

Another forgotten herb, so many people have laurus noblis in the garden but they don’t get around to using the leaves. These have impressive health benefits including detoxification, slowing the aging process, speeding up wound healing and protecting the body from bacterial infections. Bay tree pyramid, bay, herb, garden, growing, grow your own, health Bay, or Laurus nobilis, is decorative as well as tasty.

How to grow herbs

Did you know that you can use lavender for cooking? A lavender hedge alongside your garden path, therefore, will have enormous appeal. Not only does the aromatic foliage smell wonderful when touched, but the purple flowers are glorious too. You can use lavender to aid healing of wounds; also use it as an antiseptic, include it in soaps and shampoos and utilise its brilliant anti-fungal properties. Lavender, garden, perennial, herb, growing, plant, scent, sub shrub Beautiful lavender looks and smells wonderful in a garden. The foliage is aromatic all year round. What's more you can use it as a herb. Try growing herbs in a specific portion of your garden, or consider a ‘herb wheel’ which has separate compartments for each herb. These are fun ways of growing within a contained space. Contain your herbs where possible as some roots can be vigorous - also ensure they have good drainage. Alternatively you can dot your herbs around the herbaceous borders. Just don’t forget they are there! Herb wheel, herbs, grow your own, gardening, garden, cooking, growing A herb wheel is such a simple but clever device. This self-contained planter for herbs makes the growing process easy! Herbs in pots and containers work very well. They generally like to occupy a hot, sunny position and they can withstand a certain amount of neglect. herbs, grow your own, pots, containers, kitchen, garden, health, cooking Grow your own kitchen garden. It looks great and tastes wonderful too. Get into the habit of picking herbs every day for the kitchen and your positive pruning will therefore keep them in check.