These space-saving varieties will grow both indoors or outdoors. Plant them in pots or directly in the ground. Herbs can be grown anywhere, by anyone and are great for beginner gardeners as there are heat and drought tolerant. Suitable for your window sill, balcony, or patio; or go big with an outdoor herb garden. Selected for our short growing season and Canadian climate.
Arugula - Common
Arugula is an annual green/herb that has a mustard-like flavor and can be a great addition to sandwiches and salad dressings. Resistant to aphids and wild birds, low-maintenance and drought-tolerant.
Starting: Sow directly at any time once the soil warms up and can be worked. Sow seeds 1.3cm (0.5”) deep and 10cm (4”) apart with row spacing of 30cm (12”) in nutrient-rich soil. Plant every 2-3 weeks for continuous harvest. For fall harvest, plant in late summer. Seeds germinate in 4-7 days. Arugula thrives in full sun.
Growing: As soon as seedlings emerge, thin them and use harvested seedlings in cooking. Thin seedlings to 15cm (6”) apart. Keep soil evenly watered. Arugula can be grown in containers indoors.
Harvesting: Maturity in 35-45 days with a height of 30-35cm (12-14”) and width of 10cm (4”). In 4 weeks’ time, when 5-8cm (2-3”) long, start removing outer leaves for regular use. Arugula can also be harvested by pulling the entire plant out. Flowers are also edible. Fresh Arugula Can be stored in cold, dry places for 7 to 10 days.
Seed Saving: When the plant blooms and seeds mature, cut the stalks and keep them in a dry place so they can mature fully. Keep drying until the seeds become hard. Rub seed stalks together to remove all seeds. When the pods are dried all the way, the seeds come out easily. Store in a dry and cool place.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Chives, Thyme, Mint, Dill, and Basil. Don’t plant with: Peppers, Tomatoes, Strawberries, or Potatoes.
Basil -Sweet Genovese
Green, vigorous leaves that can be harvested all season long. Can be grown indoors in containers, or outdoors in the garden. Can be used fresh, dried, or frozen.
Starting: Sow indoors 1-2 months before the last spring frost or sow directly in the ground after the threat of frost has passed. Sow seeds 0.3-0.6cm (0.25”) deep and 30cm (12”) apart; if indoors sow 3-5 seeds per pot. Recommended row spacing is 30cm (12”). Germination in 7-14 days. Likes rich and well-draining soil. If you’re planning to keep your basil indoors indefinitely, the seeds can be sown at any time, it’s not necessary to wait for spring.
Growing: If started outdoors, thin the seedlings to 38-35cm (15-18”) inches apart when the seedlings are 8cm (3”) high. If you see flowers, remove them, flowers can make the plants taste bitter. Likes full direct sun and can tolerate partial shade. If kept indoors in containers, provide very bright light.
Harvesting: Mature in 85 days if harvesting all at once. Can also be harvested continually as soon as a few sets of leaves have developed. Height of a mature plant is 30-60cm (12-24”). Harvest basil by pinching off the stem or picking individual leaves. Do not use a knife, because it can leave bruises. Make sure to leave at least 3 leaves on the bottom of the stem so that plant can regrow. Frequent harvest will prolonged the plant’s life.
Seed Saving: To save seeds, do not pinch off the flowers. Instead, let the flowers mature. After flowering, seeds will develop. When the seed pods turn yellowish-brown, remove them and let them further dry for 1-2 weeks. Remove seeds.
Companion Planting: Plant with: pepper, tomato, chamomile, and oregano. Don’t plant with: Cucumber, fennel, thyme, or sage.
Chamomile - German
Our favourite, fragrant, annual herb. Used fresh or dried. Best for a soothing tea. Supports beneficial insects. Edible flowers can be used in salads. High tolerance to drought and easily adaptable. Because of its Daisy-like white flowers with yellow hearts is the perfect choice for xeriscaping.
Starting: Sow directly outdoors 3mm (0.1”) deep and 2.5 cm (1”) after the frost threat has passed. Or start indoors 10 weeks prior to the last frost. Recommended row spacing 30cm (12”). Germinates in 10-15 days. Prefers well-drained soil and full sun. Firm the soil lightly on top of the seeds. Bottom heat supports quick germination.
Growing: Transplant or thin 10-15cm (4-6”) apart when the seeds have at least two sets of leaves. If started indoors, harden off before transplant. To prevent self-sowing, deadhead. Increase the watering frequency in dry and hot weather. Can be grown in containers.
Harvesting: Mature in 80 days, with height up to 75cm (30”). Harvest flowers when they get fully open. Gather flowers in the morning using scissors. Spread flowers on paper and keep them in a dry and cool place so they can dry out. Store dried heads in an airtight jar. Gather leaves in spring or early summer.
Seed Saving: Let flower heads mature on the stem and dry up. When they become brown, remove them from the stem and lay them out in a dry and cool place. Rub the flower heads to remove the seeds. Store seeds in a cool and dry place.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Onions, collards, kale, dill, and mint. Don’t plant with: Peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, or eggplants.
Chives – Common Onion Chives
A hardy perennial plant with the flavor of mild green onion. High tolerance to drought. Beneficial for bumblebees, hoverflies, and insects. Utilized in salads and sandwiches. Can be grown in containers. Produces lavender-pink flowers. Can be utilized either frozen, dried, or fresh.
Starting: Sow directly in average soil 0.5-1cm (0,25-0.5”) deep and 15 cm (6") apart after the frost threat has passed. Recommended row spacing is 30cm (12"). Start indoors late winter to mid-spring after the frost threat has passed. Germinates in 7-14 days. Seedlings like warm temperatures and constant moisture.
Growing: When the plant becomes 45cm (1.5’) tall, thin 1m (3’) apart (or once the seedlings are 4 weeks old). If sown indoors, transplant them into a larger container or in the garden when the soil warms up. Harden off the plant before transplanting to avoid scalding and shock. Place them 15 cm (6″) apart in full sun. Keep weeds under control. Water evenly to keep the plant well-hydrated. Divide it every 3 years to keep it vigorous.
Harvesting: Mature in 80 days with an average height of 20-30cm (8-12”). When the plant reaches a length of 15cm (6”) start snipping the leaves for eating. With the use of scissors, onion chives can be entirely cut down to 4cm (2”) and will regrow. When protected from frost, it can be harvested all winter in Canada’s warm regions.
Seed Saving: Let flower pods mature. After the flowers bloom, remove the seeds immediately so they do not spread to nearby areas. Place the container around the flowering pod and shake it gently until all seeds are out. Keep seeds in a cool and dry place for up to 3 years.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Potatoes, Cabbage, Beets, Carrots, Mustard, and Rhubarb. Don’t plant with: Beans, Asparagus, Spinach, and Peas.
Cilantro - Common
This bolt-resistant, high-yielding herb is a popular ingredient in various dishes around the world. The plant is grown for its leaves which are called Cilantro and seeds called Coriander. It grows very quickly and in a wide range of environments. It can survive both frost and drought. Annual.
Starting: Sow directly into the ground in the late spring when the frost has passed, 0.6cm (0.25”) deep. Sow again in the fall for a winter harvest. Needs 7-14 days for germination. Keep 20cm (8”) between seeds. Row spacing 25cm (10”). Likes full direct sun but tolerates shade. Plant every 2-3 weeks for continuous harvest. For growing indoors, start at any time of year, plant 3-5 seeds per pot.
Growing: Thin seedlings to 23-30cm (9-12”) apart when the leaves start to appear. Water cilantro evenly and keep it hydrated. Control and remove any weeds.
Harvesting: Average height when mature is 70cm (28”) tall. Mature in 60 days. Harvest weekly. Cut the top ⅓ of the plant, leaving several leaves still on the plant so it can continue to grow.
Seed Saving: Once the flowers mature, the seeds will develop. When they become straw coloured, remove the seed heads and lay in them the shade. Once dried completely, remove seeds and keep them in a cool and dry place.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Mint, yarrow, basil, tansy. Don’t plant with Tomato, pepper, eggplants, or potato.
Dill - Bouquet
A great addition to any garden. The main ingredient for pickling. Attractive to birds, butterflies, and bees. Nice-looking plant with lacy foliage, fragrant colors, and yellow flowers. Grows 90-120cm (36-48”) tall. Annual.
Starting: Can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Doesn’t like to be transplanted. Start in early spring for a summer harvest and again in fall for a winter harvest. Sow 0.6cm (0.25”) deep and 2.5cm (1”) apart. Average row spacing is 60cm (24”). Needs 10-21 days to germinate. Likes full direct sun and well-draining, fertile soil. If growing indoors, plant 3-5 sees per pot at any time of year.
Growing: Thin to 15cm (6”) apart once the seedlings develop. Keep seedlings watered evenly and constantly moist. Control weeds.
Harvesting: Mature in 70 days. When the plant is 15cm (6”) tall you can start harvesting. Harvest the heads (before they flower). It’s best to remove heads in the morning.
Seed Saving: Let the dill plant flowers bloom and produce seeds (instead of picking them to eat). After the seed heads finish forming, around 12 weeks, cut off the flower heads once the seeds turn brown and hang them upside down for drying. Keep them away from direct sunlight. After drying, rub and remove seeds.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Lettuce, onion, cucumber, and corn. Don’t plant with: Carrots, tomatoes, or pepper.
Mustard - Tendergreen
Annual. Great spinach substitute with smooth, glossy leaves and mild flavor. Can be utilized fresh or cooked. Perfect additions to salads. Drought tolerant. Can be grown in containers.
Starting: Sow directly outdoors in full sun and rich soil 4 weeks before the last expected frost. Sow 6mm (0.25”) deep and 12-15cm (5-6”) apart. Recommended row spacing 25-30cm (10-12”). Plant every 2 weeks for continual harvest. Can be grown as a fall crop when planted in late summer or early fall 10 weeks before the first winter frost. Germination in 10-21 days.
Growing: Thin 30cm (12”) apart when the plant reaches the height of 2-5cm (1-2”). Control the weeds and keep plants evenly moist. Monitor diseases and pests.
Harvesting: Mature in 25-45 days with a height of 40-60cm (16-24”). When the plant becomes 10-12cm (4-5”) long, start picking the fresh leaves. Take leaves for continual harvest or remove the entire plant. Mature leaves have a strong flavor and taste best. Keep harvested greens in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Flowers are edible too. Can be frozen when blanched. When leaves become bitter, stop harvesting.
Seed Saving: Let the Tendergreen mustard overwinter before harvesting seeds. Remove the plant and cut half of the stem off. Keep in a humid area where the temperature range is between 0-4°C (32-40°F). Once the temperature outside warms up, replant. Let it produce flower heads. Remove mature heads when they become brown by cutting them off with scissors. Let it dry out some more and remove the seeds by threshing. Seeds can be saved in dry and cool places for up to 4 years.
Companion Planting: Plant with: dill, chamomile, mint, yarrow, and celery. Don’t plant with: soybeans, beans, or sunflowers.
Oregano - Common
Perennial, easy-to-grow herb with an intense aroma. Widely utilized in cooking as a seasoning. Comes with dark green, oval leaves. Produces white and pink flowers through summer. Can be used dried or fresh. High tolerance towards drought and cold weather.
Starting: Start directly outdoors in early spring after frost danger has passed. Sow 3mm (1/8") deep and 30cm (12") apart. Do not bury or only lightly bury seeds. Recommended row spacing is 30cm (12"). Start indoors 6 weeks prior to the last frost. The best pot diameter when starting indoors is 30cm (12") and more. Plant in nutrient-rich, loose, well-drained soil in partial sun. 7 to 21 days are required for germination. Can be started by cuttings and divisions too.
Growing: Thin to 23-38cm (9-15") apart when the plant reaches a height of 15cm (6"). Can be grown indoors as a potted plant. Water occasionally to keep the soil moist. Pinch back foliage to encourage bushy growth.
Harvesting: Maturity in 90 days, height 50cm (20"). Harvest before flowering to keep for drying. For better drying, remove the whole branch or stem. For fresh use pick the leaves once the plant becomes 10-12cm (4-5") tall.
Seed Saving: Flowers appear after 4 weeks from planting. Let the flowers develop. Once they are dried, shake the flower heads in a bag to remove the seeds. Separate stem and seeds. Keep seeds in a dry and cool location.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Peppers, Squash, strawberries, and kohlrabi. Don’t plant with: Broccoli, Cabbage, Collards, or Celery.
Parsley -Moss Curled
This annual parsley has deep-green, curled leaves with deep crevasses. Matures early. One of the most important herbs in cuisine worldwide. Tolerates cold weather very well.
Starting: To start outdoors, sow seeds 3cm (1.25”) deep and 8cm (3”) apart in early spring. If using a cloche, parsley can be grown outdoors during winter in many parts of Canada. Row spacing 30cm (12”). To start indoors, sow (0.5”) deep, 3-5 seeds per pot. Germinates slowly, takes 10 to 28 days. Likes full, direct sun and partial shade. Prefers well-draining soil.
Growing: Keep soil hydrated and evenly moist. Thin seedlings to 15cm (6”) apart. If started indoors, transplant when the soil warms up (late spring), 15cm (6”) apart.
Harvesting: Mature in 70 days if harvesting all at once. Can also be harvested continually as soon as a few sets of leaves have developed. Grows 30cm (12”) tall. Remove the largest leaves first. To keep the plant healthy, remove 25cm (10”) of stem along with the leaves. You can cut the entire plant if you want rather than harvesting a little at a time; to do so, cut it off slightly above ground level, it will regrow.
Seed Saving: Stop harvesting from the plant to let the flowers and seeds develop. Pick one by one as they get dry. Further dry them in indirect sunlight for 1-2 weeks.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, and chives. Don’t plant with: Onions, shallots, garlic, or lettuce.
Summer savory - Common
An aromatic and delicately flavoured herb. Can be used both fresh and dried. Used in recipes with salads, eggs, meat, and beans, and Italian dishes. Annual plant that repels insects.
Starting: Can be started outdoors directly in late spring, or started indoors 6-8 weeks prior to the last spring frost. Germinates without soil cover in 10-21 days. Lay seeds on top of the soil or sow shallowly with a depth of 0.6cm (0.25”) and 30cm (12”) apart. The average row spacing is 45cm (12”). Likes full direct sun and rich, well-draining, sandy soil. If only growing inside, plant 3-5 seed per pot, any time of year.
Growing: Don’t over-water once seedlings are established, prefers a dry environment. If started indoors, transplant when the seedlings are 15cm (6”) high and the risk of frost has passed.
Harvesting: Mature in 60 days. Grows 45cm (18”) high. Once the plant reaches the height of 15cm (6”) start harvesting leaves. Pick them in the morning for delicious taste and fresh flavor. Remove the whole stem and hand it upside down to keep it dry.
Seed Saving: Can be propagated from cutting or from seed. Once seed heads have matured, remove them from the stem and let them dry out. After drying, remove the seeds and keep them in a dry and cool place.
Companion Planting: Plant with: Tomato, beans, rosemary, and marigolds. Don’t plant with: Fennel, kohlrabi, brassicas.