My Chives and Thyme very happy together

Grow It – Urbanites Make Perfect Herbanites


It’s garden center time, farmer’s market time, spring time – are you growing herbs yet?

“Herbs are easy” reaches mantra status as new gardeners ask gardening friends what they should grow.

Herbs are easy for us city folks because they don’t require a trip to the burbs to get started. Every retailer remotely qualified to sell them has displays at the entrance: hardware stores, grocery stores, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, farmer’s markets, and of course, actual garden centers and home improvement stores. You can get a few herbs, a container(s) for them and a small bag of potting mix and lug it home on your bike, the bus or your feet. No car required. (If garden centers aren’t your thing, Target has everything you need except the herbs.)

Instead of my own Top 10 Herb List, see Apartment Therapy’s 10 Best & Easiest to Grow Herbs, I really can’t improve upon theirs.

Instead, here’s my

Why Herbs are Awesome for Every Gardener List:

1. They’re Cheap: Herb seedlings cost about the same as a plastic pack of cut culinary herbs at the grocery store. Even after you buy a container and potting soil, they pay for themselves quickly.

2. Pests Don’t Bother: Herbs are not indestructible but they just don’t attract as many destructive insects as vegetables.

3. Compact: Common culinary herbs do well both in containers and in the ground. For tiny city yards or two-person balconies, you can trim them to fit your space as they grow.

4. They Love Company: Most herbs grow great in containers with buddies. Check companion planting lists to see which herbs do well paired with other herbs, flowers and vegetables.

5. Easy to Preserve: Freeze them, dry them, put them in oil, mix with butter, make herb vinegars – no special equipment required.

6. Easy to Give: Friends sending me home with baggies of fresh-cut herbs is the number one reason I now grow them. So fresh! So awesome!

7. You’ll Cook Tastier Food: Want to turn scrambled eggs into amazing eggs? Chop a few basil leaves and add with garlic to the hot pan before pouring in your scrambled eggs. Turn grilled cheese into grilled fantastic by laying a few rosemary leaves under the bread in the skillet. Fancy. Easy. Fast.

8. High in Vitamins: Add a few flat leaf parsley leaves and chives to your sandwich and you just ate Vitamin C!

9. There’s Nothing to Rot on the Vine: When veggies are ready to harvest it’s go time.  That’s great, but it’s summer! You have beaches to hit, BBQs to attend, roof decks to drink on, trips to take and music festivals to recover from!  Set your herbs up with a little self-waterer and go enjoy summer!  Once established, they’re ready to harvest when you need them, not when they say so.

10. You’ll Want More: Herbs are the gateway drug to gardening.

Speaking of drugs, here’s a very short intro to herb healing properties.

If you’ve had your herbs for a few years and think perhaps they need a little attention this spring, The Herb Guide rounds up a few common herb maintenance items.

My herb box begs for a division session. It works out, I want to give a friend an herb box. Once divided and on their feet again, she’ll have what I have, only at her place.

You should have herbs at your place.