There’s nothing quite like an herb garden. Not only do herbs ward off some pests who are repelled by their strong scent, they just look beautiful, and the taste of fresh herbs in your cooking cannot be beat. You will wonder how you ever cooked with that dried stuff in the bottles at the supermarket.
Herbs are divided into three categories, regarding when to plant and how to grow them:
These are planted every year and harvested, like most of the rest of your garden, by removing the spent plant from the soil and adding to the compost pile or yard waste to be taken away by the garbage truck.
Annual herbs include anise, arugula, basil, borage, calendula, cayenne, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, German chamomile, and summer savory. These are the herbs you want to companion plant with your vegetables for pest control purposes, as they will come out of the ground every year and can be rotated with the rest of your crops.
These are planted the same time you plant your annual herbs (generally in the late winter/early spring), but they will not bloom until their second season…after which they will die. Your best bet is to plant them each year in order to harvest each year.
Biennial herbs include caraway, evening primrose, and parsley (both the French curly and Italian flat-leaf). These are not suited to interplanting among vegetables due to crop rotation issues, but can easily live among the perennial herbs below.
Like your fruit trees, bushes, and brambles, these go in the ground and stay there, so plan carefully where you want them to be. An edible landscape-style perennial herb garden planted around the border of your vegetable beds or winding through them (but separate from the actual beds) will assist with pest control.
Perennial herbs (by far the largest category) include aloe, angelica, bay laurel, catnip, chicory, chives, cornflower, dandelion, echinacea, fennel, feverfew, gingko, ginseng, goldenseal, green tea, horehound, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, plantain, poppy, rosemary, sage, St. John’s wort, scented geranium, tarragon, thyme, true chamomile, valerian, violet, winter savory, and yarrow.