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3 Must Grow Summer Herbs

herbs Apr 17, 2024


If you want to grow herbs this season, the time to plant most of them is NOW!  But sometimes, herbs seem to be an afterthought.  We focus on all the veggies, but I don't think you should stop there. Herbs bring so much joy to any garden space.  They enhance the flavors of our garden to table meals, add fragrance and beauty to gardens, and even offer medicinal benefits.  Every wild child garden should include space for herbs!!


Which Herbs To Grow


Even if you only have one empty pot on the patio, you still have room for herbs!  And you probably have more room than you think.  In the Wild Child gardening method, you can plant herbs right in your garden beside your vegetables!  And you will love it!  There are so many benefits to growing herbs, and I promise you won’t be disappointed if you pick up one of these three herbs the next time you are at the local nursery.  Each of these grow great in the hot Louisiana summer, they can be planted right now, and the nurseries carry them all.  They are also super versatile, and have many uses.  BUT, this is your garden and you'll plant what you want to. So be inspired by this list, but always consider the herbs that you will use most in your cooking or are most interested in for their health benefits.


If You Only Have Room For One Herb, Make It Basil


My favorite herb to grow in the warm season garden has to be basil!   There are approximately 100 different varieties of basil, and they are all amazing I am sure.  My favorite three are: 'Genovese' basil, 'Cardinal' basil, and 'Purple' basil.  Each of these will have you enjoying fresh basil from your garden all summer long!  'Genovese,' also known as sweet basil is the traditional basil that you might buy in the grocery store for a recipe and makes an AMAZING pesto!  Keep reading and I will share my favorite simple and delicious pesto recipe at the end. This variety of basil is readily available at most nurseries, so if you are only going to plant one variety, I would recommend starting with this one! 



'Cardinal' basil is a staple in my garden because of the huge purple blooms, they are truly beautiful and the pollinators LOVE them.  The flavor is a little strong for my taste, but some of the gardeners I grow with love the flavor also.   This one is a show stopper though, so don't let its robust flavor stop you from saving her a place in your garden. 



And lastly, 'Purple' basil!  'Purple' basil has a milder flavor than the 'Cardinal' Basil, but it certainly is another beautiful option for your spring garden.  It grows a deep purple leaf that adds so much beauty to any space.  And the pollinators LOVE it.  I will always have some 'Purple' basil tucked in my beds because it makes a great filler for cut flower arrangements! 



Add Rosemary For Perennial Beauty


Another herb I will always have in my Wild Child garden is rosemary.  Rosemary is a hardy herb that can survive almost any weather our crazy South Louisiana climate can throw at it!  And that in itself makes it a must have for me.  Whether it is the heat of summer or the random freeze in winter, the rosemary holds her own.  It is a perennial and every year it just gets better and better.  You can always do a big haircut to kick off the spring season too when the rosemary begins to look shaggy. 


A few years ago I discovered a trailing rosemary, and I LOVE IT.  Those trailing stems looks amazing spilling out of my beds.  It quickly became a Wild Child favorite, and now it is growing in gardens all over the south because wild child gardeners love it so much!  And it isn't just a looker.  Rosemary has lots of uses.  In our house it makes a beautiful garnish for a delicious summer mocktail like this  or this! Bottom line....make sure to add rosemary to your garden plan! 




Don't Miss Out On Lemon Balm


Lemon Balm is amazing, but it comes with a little warning!  While its mild lemon-ny scent and flavor may attract you to this versatile herb, it is in the mint family and it is important to tell you that it can be quite invasive if planted right in your garden bed.  It is also a perennial shrub so it will be very woody.  This is by no means a reason to not grow it, but know how to grow it for best results.  I suggest a beautiful pot for this fun herb.  Lemon Balm can be very prolific, and while she is a beauty, you don’t want her taking over your garden! I treat lemon balm just like mint in my house.  Cut it often and use it in everything.  I love to add it to water for a little added flavor, we put it in cut flower arrangements as a filler, and we add it right to a glass of tea for a summer treat!  YOU CANNOT BEAT LEMON BALM!!


One of my favorite ways to use lemon balm is the super simple lemon balm lemonade.  It is so easy and worth having on hand for summer.  To make this super easy refresher, just pick several cups of leaves in the evening and steep them in boiling water overnight.  Drain and serve over ice the next day with lemons, fresh fruit, or anything else you'd like.  It is the best summer refresher.  Pro Tip:  When you are picking, grab a few extra for a cup of lemon balm tea to wind down from the day.  Lemon balm is a great relaxant and is so calming.  



Plant Herbs For Bugs, For Beauty, And Convenience


Did you know that herbs help attract beneficial insects for pollination?  The bees LOVE when herbs flower!  But herbs also can help deter pests in the garden!  So my number one reason for ALWAYS planting herbs right alongside my veggies is for the bugs!  The second reason I will never have a garden without herbs is because herbs in the vegetable garden add so much beauty! Can you just imagine rosemary spilling over the corner of your raised beds?  Or the contrast of a deep purple basil against the tiny white flowers of something like 'sweet alyssum'?  They add so much beauty! The last reason I grow herbs in my vegetable garden extends from the garden to the kitchen, but after all, doesn't everything begin in the garden?  The health benefits of herbs grown in my very own garden never cease to amaze me!  And who doesn't love grocery shopping in their garden?  And having your own supply of fresh herbs every day is pretty darn amazing! 


If you are wondering how to get started with herbs, sign up for my brand new class Herbs Are For Everyone. This one hour class will be LIVE on April 30th at 12:00PM and on demand after.  In this class I am going to show you various ways to grow herbs, how to keep them thriving, and how to harvest and store them.  This class will take your herb growing, and using, to the next level.  Herbs really are for everyone, every garden, and every gardener.  Don't miss out on them this season!  



Now I have to share that pesto recipe that I promised!  I have tried literally every pesto recipe on the internet, and I have decided that you cannot beat  Homestead and Chill's recipe!  She has some really fantastic pointers on her blog about making and storing a large batch!  So head there for a fantastic pesto that you can freeze and have at the ready!


The joy of growing herbs and the added flavor and freshness they bring to the kitchen is not even a question.  There is no debating it, and you can't ever overestimate the value they will bring to your garden experience. While herbs I shared with you are my top three for summer, experiment with different herbs and share your successes and lessons learned with me by tagging me in your posts about your herb garden!  Got questions about starting your own herb garden, or have some favorites that haven't been mentioned??  Let me know if the comments!  Let's keep talking herbs there!  And join me on April 30th for Herbs Are For Everyone.  In our one hour together, you will see that they truly are!


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