Basil is an annual with tender aromatic leaves. Basil needs a warm, sunny location and rich garden soil. Seedlings started indoors or purchased should not be planted in the garden until June. Keep spikes of flowers pinched out to encourage bushiness. Harvest individual leaves or shoots as needed. Successive plantings over several weeks will give you a long harvest season. Many varieties are available.
Chives, a perennial, have small onion-like leaves and tiny bulbs. Chives will grow in sunny or lightly shaded areas and moist, rich soil. Most chives are propagated from bulb divisions, but they can also be grown from seed. Chives are hardy and will be available for cutting most of the year. Leaves and flowers are edible.
Cilantro is an annual with fernlike aromatic foliage and flat clusters of pinkish-white flowers. This herb needs sun and well-drained soil. Sow as soon as danger of frost has passed. Harvest leaves as needed and before flowering for best flavor. Cilantro will tend to bolt (flower) quickly in hot weather. Harvest seeds to use as coriander as soon as they turn beige, because they fall quickly after maturing. To dry seed heads, hang in bunches in a dark, dry place in paper bags or with paper spread beneath to catch the seeds. Successive plantings over several weeks will give you a long harvest season.
Dill is an annual that gets tall and bushy with feathery leaves and wide clusters of yellow flowers, both with a strong fragrance. Dill prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It can be sown several times during spring, starting as soon as the ground warms up. Harvest leaves as needed and before flower buds appear. Harvest seed heads after the seeds have turned brown. Seed heads can be cut and hung to dry like cilantro.
Mint is a perennial with square stems and aromatic leaves. Most mints like partial shade and moist soil, but they will grow almost anywhere. Mint should be grown in containers as it is invasive. Pinch stems and leaves and use as needed. Several culinary varieties are available.
Oregano is a perennial that prefers full sun and good drainage. Marjoram, related to oregano, can be grown the same way. Several culinary varieties are available.
Parsley is a biennial usually grown as an annual. Parsley likes partial shade or full sun and well-drained soil. Set plants out in April or sow directly in the garden. Harvest older leaves as needed. Parsley is semi-hardy and can usually be grown in protected areas during the winter.
Rosemary is an evergreen perennial that works well as a landscape plant but can also be grown in a container. Sun and good drainage are essential. Leaves and flowers are edible.
Sage is an evergreen perennial with gray-green, aromatic leaves. Sage likes sunny areas with dry, welldrained soil. Sage can be trimmed back in spring for bushier, fuller growth. Pick leaves as needed.
Thyme is a perennial with small aromatic leaves that prefers full sun and good drainage. Several culinary varieties are available.