There are so many reasons to decide to grow your own herbs. Expense, availability, freshness, health, and the advantages they provide in the garden are just a few of the reasons we cram as many herbs as we can into our growing space.
Whether you live in the city and have only a small patio with room for a few containers, or you live in the country and have acres upon acres of growing space, herbs are definitely worth a little growing room. You could always trade in a little of that lawn. 😉 Here are a few reasons why we think you might want to do so…
1. Save more money by growing your own herbs than any other garden crop.
Pound for pound, if you do a good job of making use of the herbs you grow, they will save you more money than any other garden crop. Do you know dried dill costs something like $175 a pound? A package of cilantro seed, at about the same price of one of those little bunches from the market, will keep you in this favored herb for months. One little mint plant from the nursery will spread and provide you with endless amounts of mint tea.
2. Herbs, like everything else, taste better when home grown.
Have you ever compared homegrown and store-bought tomatoes? What about lettuce or cucumbers? Herbs are the same! Nothing beats the freshness, quality, and taste of homegrown herbs.
3. Cooking with our own homegrown herbs, not only tastes better, it is so rewarding!
There is something deep down satisfying about providing for your own needs. To prepare a meal entirely (or even just supplemented) with homegrown ingredients nourishes more than your physical being.
4. Brew up your own herbal tea blends!
Try drying some herbs, not just for cooking but also to make your own tea blends. You will be hooked! I love being able to brew up a pot of homegrown herbal tea for guests. I also love the flexibility of customizing the herbal tea blends for what is needed for the day whether something to help relax, combat a cold, or increase concentration. To be on the safe side, start with common herbs you find in blends in the tea aisle at the market. Try a little blackberry leaf, lemon balm, and chamomile flowers for a lovely herbal blend.
Here is our recipe for Cedar Leaf Herbal Tea: PNW ‘Winter Day’ Blend
What is the difference between Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions: How To Make Your Own and What is the Difference?
5. You will have fresh herbs available.
During the growing season, you will always have fresh herbs to gather from your own herb garden. How long does that bunch of cilantro from the market stay fresh in the refrigerator? If you are lucky enough to have mild winters where you live, you might even have fresh herbs available to you year round. We learned last winter that cilantro stays nice in our Pacific Northwest garden all winter as long as it is protected it from the rain.
6. You will have fresh herbs available at a whim.
You will love being able to go to your own garden for a handful of herbs on a whim having decided to whip up a marinara sauce or herb butter. Having fresh ingredients available without adding them to a shopping list and waiting for a trip to the grocery store is a huge convenience. Sow parsley once a year in your herb garden for a constant supply. A rosemary shrub will give you fresh springs year round. Chives are one of the first herbs available for harvest in early spring.
7. There are so many different varieties of herbs you can grow!
How many kinds of basil can you find at the grocery store? How many kinds of mint or oregano? We have five kinds of basil in the greenhouse at the moment, three kinds of oregano in the garden, and I’ve lost count of the various kinds of mint. Branch out and learn to appreciate the differences!
8. Availability of uncommon herbs that are otherwise hard to find.
Have you ever even seen Lovage at the market? Lovage is a nice old world medicinal and a great substitute for celery. Lovage is also one of the many perennial herbs, once established it is quite easy to grow.
9. Many herbs are very easy to grow once established.
Herbs such as lemon balm, mint, and oregano grow so effortlessly that I like to plant them where they stay self-contained so that they don’t take over. Put these aggressive herbs in a bed with a border or next to a path where they can only spread so far. Allow annual herbs such as cilantro and dill to flower and go to seed to let them volunteer around your garden, no sowing required.
10. Grow your own pharmacy!
…or ‘farmacy’ 😉
Lemon balm is great for nervous tension. Chamomile and hops will help you relax before bed. Echinacea will boost your immune system. Dandelion root serves to detoxify your liver. Stinging nettle is a great source of nutrients and iron, a common supplement during pregnancy and for those who struggle with anemia. And everyone knows lavender is excellent for anxiety and depression. I could go on, and on… Get yourself a good herbal medicine book and study up!
This is one of our favorite recipes: Sage & Echinacea Chicken Soup – Easy Herbal Remedy Cold & Flu Care Recipe
11. Herbs are good for you!
The more you incorporate herbs into your diet and daily habits, the healthier you will be! The tradition of herbal medicine teaches that herbs are best used preventatively to maintain a state of health and well-being. Add herbs to all your recipes… dill on eggs; cilantro, parsley, and basil in your salads; lovage in your soups and chowders; tea, tea, and more tea… hot and iced!
12. Herbs are great for your garden too!
Herbs in your garden can serve many purposes. Many herbs help attract beneficial insects and repel pests. When arranged as companion plants they can increase yields and quality of the plants around them. Mint repels cabbage caterpillars. Yarrow increases the aromatic quality of other herbs. Garlic can help control blight on potatoes and tomatoes!
Get out there and plant some herbs!
When planning your herb garden, decide which herbs to grow based on what you like to use. I like to keep the herbs close to the house and easily accessible so that even in poor weather they are easy to get to for harvesting. For best success, try to group herbs together according to their light and water needs. Some herbs don’t like a ton of water so don’t plant those together with herbs that do. I prefer to stay away from containers because of the time it takes to water them in the summer heat but if that’s all you have room for it is better than nothing.
I love having herbs in the garden because at our place plants have to earn their keep. While we have five acres, most of it is sloped timber. Our gardening area is actually not very large so we focus on edible landscaping. We have a few plants that are there simply because we enjoy their presence. But for the most part, plants we choose to grow need to fulfill multiple purposes. Herbs are edible, medicinal, and either attract beneficial insects or repel pests. If for some reason we could no longer have a large garden and I had to downsize, herbs would definitely take priority over other plant selections.
Want to know more? Check out this post: PNW Medicinal Tea Garden – 14 medicinal plants for herbal tea that you can grow!