Photo: How to choose the best herbs to grow

Grow chives, dill, peppermint, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, cilantro and lavender in containers! (Credit: Jennifer Higgs)

My container garden varies year-to-year. But it always includes plants to help bees. Some are just for eating. And most are staples in my DIY cosmetics recipes!

Plants for DIY recipes:

I quizzed Tara, herbalist with the Rocky Mountain Soap Company (@RockyMtnSoap), for her tips and tricks:

If you could grow only one herb, what would it be?

Peppermint! It aids digestion and treats nausea and headaches. You can use it in teas, tinctures, compresses, poultices, salves, syrups and in water.
For example, combine peppermint with elder and yarrow to treat fevers. Or use as a cold tea for a compress to relive puffy or swollen eyes. (Lindsay: I've used it to treat sunburn!)

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Which herbs grow best in containers?

Try chives, dill, peppermint, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, cilantro and lavender.

Which herbs are easy to forage?

It depends on where you are and the time of year. Try dandelion, chickweed, fireweed, lamb's quarters, shepherd's purse, plantain, and nettle shoots or leaves. Buy a book!

Is it better to grow herbs from seed or plants?

Some herbs are easy to start from seed. Others take long to germinate and grow. Plants from seed tend to grow stronger but need more time and effort.

Try basil, borage, calendula, chervil, coriander, dill, lemon balm, parsley and sage. Before you start, always check the seed packet for germination requirements.

What else should herb growers ask of their garden stores?

Choose non-GMO and medicinal-grade seeds guaranteed to be fresh. Freshness will be better from retailers that specialize in seed sales.

Share your DIY garden herb recipe in the comments to win a Rocky Mountain Soap Company prize package. (Draw date: August 15.)

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

July 18, 2016

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Feb 15, 2017
7:48 AM

I would like info on growing herbs and flowers that will attract bees and butterflies

Aug 04, 2016
7:51 AM

Rosemary, sage, basil and mint to help deter bugs on the patio. Also love just grabbing some freshness for cooking, and mint for teas and drinks!!!

Aug 04, 2016
7:46 AM

Rosemary, sage and mint to help deter bugs from my patio. Also to use in my cooking, mint for teas

Aug 03, 2016
1:00 PM

I grow mint and rosemary. I don’t have a green thumb so I pick herbs that even I can’t kill. We use the fresh mint in tabbouleh, in teas, in mojitos, sprinkled on pineapple or watermelon, with my favourite recipe being mojito chicken. We marinate the chicken in lime juice, salt and pepper, fresh garlic, fresh mint leaves and a small amount of sugar. It’s the perfect meat for a summer barbecue.

Aug 03, 2016
11:58 AM

I make an apple tea mix that I love. Dried Apples, lemon juice, small amount of sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks and some loose black tea. The aroma is heavenly and it tastes wonderful!

Jul 27, 2016
4:18 PM

My Garlic Chives are a decade old now, growing between strawberries in terracotta on my east facing balcony. They manage to survive despite me, and overwinter just fine out there. Wonderful raw, I pick and eat the buds between the morning strawberry treats, and sautéed garlic ‘scapes’ are heavenly with most everything! I also slice and freeze them in fall for a adding a strong green bite to whatever recipe whim. Garlicky Heaven!

Jul 23, 2016
10:23 AM

Truly. The best herb company (fresh or dried) in Canada is, Richters Herbs! Non-gmo and organic.

Jul 21, 2016
2:40 PM

Hand Salve I set calendula, yarrow, plantain, comfrey and rosemary in organic olive oil and leave for 3-6 weeks. Then I combine with beeswax and Shea butter. Cool and add copious amounts of lavender essential oil. It’s divine.

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