A Word of Encourage-mint for Cultivating Herbs

Think you’ll never have green thumbs? Think again! Culinary herbs are honestly no big dill to take care of

THYME

Drought-tolerant thyme is a perennial, low-growing herb, which makes it a good addition to flower beds as a border or a ground cover. It’s a great companion to rosemary—plant them close to each other in the same conditions, and watch them thrive.

ROSEMARY

Can’t get anything to grow? Give this hardy, woody herb a try. It prefers a drier soil and plenty of sunshine—think Mediterranean seaside hills—so be sure to plant it somewhere it’ll receive six to eight hours of good strong light each day. Bonus: It’s a perennial and fares well through our mild winters.

BASIL

Think of peppy, plucky basil as the plant equivalent of a beach bum: loves the water, loves the sun. Water your plants in early morning, if possible, and be sure to prune regularly to keep them from flowering (otherwise they’ll turn in for the season).

DILL

This easy-to-grow biennial doesn’t require much effort, but since it’s known to grow quite tall—2 to 4 feet—make sure you’re bedding it down where its fragile stalks are protected from wind.

OREGANO

A good starter herb for first-time gardeners, this perennial thrives in containers, in beds or indoors. Just make sure the soil’s moist but not too moist, and give it plenty of sunshine.

MINT

Hope you like mojitos—like, really like them. Mint is a beastly thing, and if it’s planted in the soil, it’s likely to take over the garden. Keep it in a pot in the partial shade, or try this trick: Plant it in a terra cotta pot, then bury it in the garden. The pot will restrict the mint’s root growth, keeping it (somewhat) contained.

CHIVES

Chives are basically goof-proof. Plant them in full sun or partial shade, in a container or in the ground. (Their purple or white flowers look lovely in a landscape.) When harvesting, clip the leaves along the outside first, taking them down to about an inch. Keep the plant’s soil nice and moist.

LAVENDER

Lavender loves sun, but it doesn’t love humidity—and lord knows, we have plenty of that. Be sure to plant lavender in a well-draining soil, and give the plants plenty of breathing room. Let the soil dry between waterings. Think of lavender as a gulper, not a sipper.