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  • Jennifer Hoglin

Annual Culinary Herbs

There are an amazing number of herbs that we can grow in our climate. Some are annuals, some are herbaceous perennials and some are shrubs or trees. I have divided them up into 3 different articles to make them a bit easier to navigate. Yes, there are that many! Today, we are going to start with the annual herbs. I have also included here biennial plants that we typically grow as annuals. Plants that we grow solely for seeds (such as poppy or nigella) have been excluded as we will do a future article specifically on them. Check out the introduction to culinary herbs article here to see more detail on the growing, maintaining, harvesting, propagating and storing methods mentioned below.



Anise (Pimpinella anisum)


Anise is that well known black licorice flavour that you either love or hate. Honestly, this herb is not often grown here, because it needs quite a long growing season to produce seeds (around 140 days), which we don't really get in our climate. Your only chance is to start seeds indoors and very carefully transplant them outside when temperatures warm up. They also are not impressed with being transplanted so you need to take great care with this step. It may be worth growing them directly in a container that gets moved outside. Once plants are established and growing, provide support for the tender stems (such as stakes) especially if they are in windy area. If you are up for the challenge, give Anise a shot in your garden. At the very least, you will get some yummy leaves to use.


A1online2020, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: enriched, light, well drained soil.

Start seeds indoors: 8 weeks before LFD

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD (once nighttime temperatures warm)

Direct seed outdoors: n/a

Mature size: 18-24" tall and 8" wide

Edible parts: leaves and seeds

Harvest: leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season. Cut off seed heads when well developed, hang upside down in a paper bag and allow dry seeds to fall into the bag.

Best way to propagate: best from seed each year.

Best way to store: leaves best used fresh. Store dried seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. Grind seeds as needed for the best flavour.

Flavour description: sweet black licorice.

Best used: Fresh used sparingly in salads, fish dishes, fruit salads and cooked vegetables. Seeds can be used in tea, in tons of liquors (such as pastis, ouzo, absinthe, raki and sambuca), baked goods, confections, tomato dishes, vegetables, seafood, curries, pickles, soups and stews.

Good varieties: sold as just Anise. There is also Chinese star anise (Illicium verum), a tree which produces the star shaped spice and Aniseeed Myrtle (Syzygium anisatum), also known as Ringwood, with an anise flavoured leaf. Toxic and inedible relatives include the Japanese Star Anise (Illicium anisatum) and the Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum). Licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota), although it has a similar flavour, is a completely different tree with edible roots.


Basil (Ocimum spp.)


This is a very familiar culinary herb that you can find in a wide range of flavours. There is everything from lemon, lime, anise, spice, cinnamon and thyme to the more medicinal varieties that smell of camphor and incense. There are over 150 different species with many cultivars and varieties of each. If you want the most options, look to seed companies instead of starter plants from garden centres. Richters has 33 varieties in their catalog (as of 2021)! Plants produce far more foliage when regularly pinched back to promote bushy growth. It is also good practice to pinch or prune off flower buds as you see them. This ensures the best flavour in the leaves. Basil is the perfect companion plant for tomatoes. They are not only used together in the kitchen, basil really does improve the flavour of tomatoes when they are grown together.


photo by Pixaby

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun. Plants will get leggy with shade.

Soil requirement: consistently moist, but well drained soil.

Start seeds indoors: 5 weeks before LFD

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD (once nighttime temperatures warm)

Direct seed outdoors: n/a

Mature size: up to 2' tall by 1' wide, but varies by type.

Edible parts: leaves (soft stems also) and flowers.

Harvest: leaves and flower spikes can be harvested throughout the growing season (use those pinched off parts). Basil is very frost sensitive, so the entire plant should be harvested before any chance of frost.

Best way to propagate: best from seed each year or propagated via soft root cuttings. Basils tend to cross-pollinate readily, so plants may not be true to seed if collected from a site with multiple varieties.

Best way to store: best used fresh as dried basil has a completely different (and not as good) flavour. Many people turn fresh basil into pesto and freeze it to get that fresh basil flavour year round. Basil oil is another option for prolonging that summer taste.

Flavour description: savoury, sweet clove fragrance. Young leaves have better flavour than older, larger ones.

Best used: tomato recipes, sauces, soups, pastas, poultry, fish, vegetables, egg and rice dishes.

Good varieties:

Sweet basils (O. basilicum): Genovese, Lettuce leaf, Green globe, Purple ruffles, Thai bail (Siam queen), Anise basil

Holy basil or Tulsi: (O. tenuiflorum)

Citrus basils (O. americanum): Lemon (Mrs. Burns Lemon or Sweet Dani), Lime is one of my absolute favourite herbs of all time!


Borage (Borago offincinalis)


Borage is one of the most used companion plants for me in the vegetable garden. It is an absolute star at attracting pollinators, especially bees! It is also good for deterring tomato hornworm and Japanese beetles. But wait, there's more! Borage also improves the flavour and growth of squashes and strawberries. This herb is a super easy to grow, do-it-all in the veggie garden. And it's edible too!


Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: well, drained, slightly moist soil with lots of compost.

Start seeds indoors: n/a

Transplant outdoors: best to direct seed in its permanent spot, as it has a fairly large tap root.

Direct seed outdoors: 2 weeks before LFD

Mature size: 3' tall by 2' wide.

Edible parts: flowers (remove the bitter pistils and stamens), leaves (usually cooked as the hairiness can be off-putting raw).

Harvest: fresh leaves and flowers can be harvested throughout the growing season.

Best way to propagate: easily self-seeds so watch for it to pop up and then move it when very small to wherever you want it live for the season. It is easy to identify when just a shoot by its hairy leaves.

Best way to store: leaves can be dried out of direct sunlight and stored in an airtight container, but flowers will lose colour if dried. They are best used fresh.

Flavour description: light cucumber flavour.

Best used: salads, candied flowers for desserts, frozen in ice cubes for drink garnishes, leaves cooked (sautéed or steamed) like any other green.

Good varieties: comes in common (blue), pink or white flowered.


Caraway (Carum carvi)


Typically, it is only the seeds of caraway that we use. However, the leaves can also be utilized in the kitchen. Caraway is a biennial plant that we don't usually bother growing into the second year, unless we want to gather seeds. Because they are not overly hardy in our winters (similar to other biennials like parsley, carrots and parsnips), that means digging them up, storing them in a cold cellar, and replanting them in the spring. If you can provide really good protection and insulation over the winter, it may be worth trying to plant in autumn so that you get flowers and seeds the next summer. Like all umbellifers, Caraway is a great companion plant, attracting many predatory insects that feed on pest species in our veggie gardens.


By H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10309739

Plant type: biennial herb we grow as an annual.

Hardiness zone: 5 - 8

Sun requirement: sun to part shade

Soil requirement: prefers good drainage, but will tolerate clay soil. Likes a neutral to acidic soil.

Start seeds indoors: not recommended, as they have a very delicate tap root.

Transplant outdoors: n/a

Direct seed outdoors: 2 weeks before LFD

Mature size: 1 - 2' tall by 1' wide

Edible parts: seeds and leaves.

Harvest: leaves may be picked throughout the growing season. Seed heads should be collected when the seeds begin to darken after the second year of growth. Hang the seed heads to air dry and shake into a paper bag to remove seeds. Seeds should be frozen before storing to kill any insects within them. The root can also be dug up and eaten (it is similar to parsnip).

Best way to propagate: best from seed.

Best way to store: dried seed in a cool, dark place within an airtight container. Leaves best used fresh, but can be frozen in ice cube trays or whole in zip top bags.

Flavour description: a cross between parsley and dill.

Best used: seeds with cabbage (especially sauerkraut), bread (especially rye), crackers, cakes, soups, stew, sausages, pork dishes, apple dishes, many liquors and spirits (such as schnapps). Leaves with all vegetables and as a garnish. If adding seeds to a dish, do it in the last 30 minutes or less, as they tend to go bitter if cooked for longer than that.

Good varieties: I've only ever found plain Caraway, but if you see Sprinter Caraway anywhere, it is supposed to be a good one.


Celery Leaf (Apium graveolens)


We don't often think of celery as an herb, just as a vegetable. But, besides the crunchy stems, this plant also has a bounty of flavourful leaves that we can use just like any other herb. Not only that, we can also use the aromatic seeds in our cooking and even the bulbous roots (called celeriac) of some varieties as a vegetable. Now that's versatility!


Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: well drained soils with lots of compost. Tolerant of high salinity soils.

Start seeds indoors: 7 weeds before LFD. Seeds take awhile to germinate so be patient.

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD

Direct seed outdoors: n/a

Mature size: varies by type, but up to 2 1/2' tall and 1 1/2' wide.

Edible parts: leaves, stems, root and seeds.

Harvest: fresh leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season. Stems and roots can be harvested as soon as they are at the desired size. If you remove outside stems, the plant will continue to produce new stems from the centre. Pick seeds when they are fully ripe and air dry.

Best way to propagate: best started from seed. Seeds do not last long, so ensure you have fresh seed each year.

Best way to store: use leaves fresh or freeze whole in zip top bags. Give seeds a go in the freezer for several days to kill any insect eggs and then store in an airtight container in a cool, dark location.

Flavour description: leaves have a rich celery flavour with a nutty undertone. Seeds are quite aromatic with a slight bitterness.

Best used: Leaves in soups, stew, salads, as a garnish. Use celery leaf anywhere you would use parsley for an extra burst of flavour. Seeds with fish, seafood, pickles, relishes, egg dishes, salad dressings, breads, biscuits, soups and stews.

Good varieties: Kintsai or Amersterdam for leaf and seed varieties, Tango for stem celery and Brilliant for celeriac.


Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita)


There are three major types of plants that we call chamomile: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) which is a taller annual, Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis syn. Chamaemelum nobile) which is a ground cover zone 5 perennial, and Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricariodes) an annual common weed here. All three are typically used in herbal medicine. However, it is usually German chamomile that is used in the kitchen. The flowers of Roman chamomile can also be used, but the flowers are much more tiny (and therefore harder to pick), a bit less sweet and more bitter. Chamomile is the quintessential tea for calming.


photo by Pixaby

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: will tolerate poor soils. In fact, it will flower more if the soil isn't too rich. It does not like to have soggy roots, so ensure soil is well drained, and be sure you don't overwater.

Start seeds indoors: n/a

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD

Direct seed outdoors: 1 week before LFD

Mature size: 2' tall. Plants can get a bit floppy so group them together so they can support each other.

Edible parts: flowers

Harvest: fresh flowers can be harvested throughout the growing season.

Best way to propagate: may self seed in the garden, but also very easy to start from seed each year.

Best way to store: fresh or dried.

Flavour description: apple like.

Best used: mainly used for tea.

Good varieties: usually sold just as German Chamomile, but there is a newly introduced Bodegold Chamomile, with larger flowers, that is supposed to be quite good.


Chervil


Chervil is a quintessential French herb. It's ferny leaves work perfectly in light, delicate, sophisticated dishes. But don't let its snobby history deter you. Try this herb anywhere you use parsley or cilantro for an instantly updated meal with great flavour.


photo by Pixaby

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: sun to part shade. May bolt with too much heat and sun so keep it on the shadier side in the mid-summer and ensure it has lots of water.

Soil requirement: moist soil with good drainage and lots of compost.

Start seeds indoors: not recommended, as they have a very delicate tap root.

Transplant outdoors: n/a

Direct seed outdoors: 2 weeks before LFD

Mature size: approximately 1' tall by 1' wide

Edible parts: leaves, stems, flowers and roots

Harvest: clip leaves from the outside edges of the plant throughout the growing season and new growth will continue to emerge from the centre. It can withstand light frosts (especially the Brussels Winter variety).

Best way to propagate: best from seed.

Best way to store: Looses almost all of its flavour when dried, so using fresh is best. May be chopped and frozen into ice cubes or frozen whole in a zip top bag. Also great made into a compound butter or to flavour vinegars.

Flavour description: somewhere between tarragon and parsley, it is sweet with a hint of anise.

Best used: fish, shellfish, chicken, salads, carrots, egg dishes, béarnaise sauce, a component of fines herbs. Add it at the last minute in cooked dishes to retain its flavour. The compound butter works on breads and grilled meats. Try frozen ice cubes in summer fruit drinks.

Good varieties: are both curly an flat leaf types available. Look for slow bolting varieties.


Cilantro/Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)


Cilantro is what we call the leaves and stems when we eat them fresh (and sometimes dried) while coriander is what we call the seeds of the same plant. They have fairly different flavours, are used differently in the kitchen and are associated with different food cultures as well. It is one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Some people find the flavour of fresh cilantro soapy and this is thought to be a genetic trait. Coriander seed seems to be fine with people adverse to cilantro. When choosing varieties to grow, look for ones that are slow bolting as any touch of high summer heat will send these to flower. You can also look for part sun locations to reduce heat gain, or just plant during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when it is cooler. Although, you do get seeds more quickly when they bolt! Look for Vietnamese or Mexican Coriander (Persicaria odorata) (also known as Culantro), if you want a herb with similar flavour but with far greater heat tolerance (and it is cut and come again herb too). Cilantro will do well as a short lived indoor plants well.


photo by Pixaby

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: sun to part shade

Soil requirement: slightly moist soil will produce more flowers.

Start seeds indoors: n/a

Transplant outdoors: 1 week after LFD

Direct seed outdoors: 1 week after LFD

Mature size: 2-3" tall by 1' wide if allowed to grow to full size without picking.

Edible parts: leaves and stems (cilantro), seeds (known as coriander)

Harvest: leaves can be picked throughout the growing season, seeds are ready when they turn brown.

Best way to propagate: best grown from seed fresh each year.

Best way to store: Looses almost all of its flavour when dried, so using fresh is best. May be chopped and frozen in ice cubes or used to flavour oils and vinegars too.

Flavour description: fresh and citrus-like leaves (although some people find them soapy flavoured), nuttier citrus-like seeds.

Best used: in salads, curries, salsas, sauces, in tea, as a garnish and in many liquors. Found in cuisines from Mexico, South America, China, Southeast Asia, Philippines, North Africa, East India, the Caribbean, Ethiopia, and Southern Europe.

Good varieties: Calypso, Santo, Genesis


Dill (Anethum graveolens)


Everyone is familiar with dill, right? Pickles just wouldn't be the same without them! All three forms of dill: the leaves, flower heads and seeds can be used in pickles. But this is a versatile herb as well. It is a knock out flavour for all vegetables, especially potatoes, and a standard with fish. Be aware that dill is famous at self-seeding. Be prepared for sprouts coming up in the following years. It is also called dillweed, after all. Simply "weed" out the ones you don't want to grow (and eat those shoots too!). Think of all the money you will save on seeds!


Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: well drained and slightly moist.

Start seeds indoors: n/a

Transplant outdoors: 1 week after LFD

Direct seed outdoors: 1 week after LFD

Mature size: 2-3' tall and 1' wide, although this varies with cultivar type.

Edible parts: leaves, seeds, flower heads.

Harvest: leaves may be picked throughout the growing season. Flower heads can be cut off as soon as the flowers begin to open. Seeds should be left on the plant until completely dry, then shaken into a paper bag to harvest.

Best way to propagate: self-seeds very easily. Plant it once and you will have it for years. If you want leaves and flowers for pickling your fall harvest, save some seeds and plant them mid summer so they mature later than seeds germinating in spring.

Best way to store: leaves can be used fresh, dried (microwave is the best method) or chopped and frozen in ice cube trays. Seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location.

Flavour description: slight caraway taste or a combination of anise and parsley.

Best used: leaves in pickling, soups, fish dishes, egg dishes, chicken, potatoes, salad, soup, dressings, cooked vegetables. Seeds in pickling spice, ras el hanout, breads (especially rye) and meat seasonings.

Good varieties: Hercules or Dukat for leaves, Bouquet for container growing, Mammoth for seeds.


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)


Often used in Asian cuisine, fenugreek seed (also called methi) is a standard component of many curry blends. It is a member of the legume family, which means it forms pods with seeds in them. It also means that Fenugreek is a nitrogen fixer, making it beneficial for increasing nutrients in our soil and for use as a cover crop. If you want to harvest seeds, start your plants indoors and transplant outside. It can take 105-140 days to get fully formed seeds. If you just want leaves, they can be direct seeded outdoors at the same time as your green beans.


photo by Pixaby

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: well drained and slightly moist.

Start seeds indoors: 4 weeks before LFD

Transplant outdoors: 1 week after LFD

Direct seed outdoors: 1 week after LFD for just leaves.

Mature size: 24" tall and 12" wide.

Edible parts: leaves, sprouts and seeds.

Harvest: leaves may be picked throughout the growing season. Harvest the seeds when the pods turn a straw colour.

Best way to propagate: best from seed.

Best way to store: leaves can be used fresh or frozen whole in zip top bags. Seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location.

Flavour description: tangy, bitter burnt sugar flavour.

Best used: sauces, soup, stew, in curry blends and for preserving butter. Great grown for sprouts too! Interestingly, fenugreek is also used for making imitation maple, vanilla, caramel and butterscotch flavours.

Good varieties: usually sold just as Fenugreek.


Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)


Nasturtium is a companion planting superstar in my veggie garden. It can be used as a trap crop for cabbage moths and aphids, deters white fly, improves the flavour and growth of cucumber, and can be used as a groundcover to inhibit weeds and reduce soil moisture evaporation. Plus it is yummy! See the article on Companion Planting for the Veggie Garden for more details. The stunning flowers on this plant come in a multitude of colours and the plants themselves come in various heights, from dwarf to climbers. You are sure to find one that fits your needs.


Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: well drained, average soils. Will produce less flowers if soil is too rich.

Start seeds indoors: n/a

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD (once nighttime temperatures warm).

Direct seed outdoors: 1 week after LFD

Mature size: varies hugely with variety.

Edible parts: leaves, flowers, seeds.

Harvest: leaves and flowers may be picked throughout the growing season. Pick seeds for pickling when they are just formed and still green. Collect seeds for sowing when they are dry and brown.

Best way to propagate: seeds are easy to collect and store for the following season. Do not store seed for longer than 1-2 years, as they lose viability quickly.

Best way to store: leaves and flowers are best eaten fresh but can also frozen in ice cubes or made into a sauce like pesto.

Flavour description: peppery watercress flavour.

Best used: salads and sandwiches (just like lettuce), soups, sauces for fish, pesto, all parts in compound butter, garnishes, flowers frozen in ice cubes, seeds pickled for faux capers.

Good varieties: any cultivar or variety is good. Choose colours that you enjoy and plant sizes that fit your garden space.


Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)


You need parsley in your garden; everyone does. It goes on and in just about every single savoury dish in existence and there is no other herb as versatile. Plus, it is super healthy for you. Do you really need any more reasons to grow it? Parsley comes in both curly (P. crispum var. crispum) and flat leafed (P. crispum var. neapolitanum) types. The flat leaf or plainleaf types (also called Italian or French parsley) tend to have a bit richer flavour. You can also find Hamburg parsley (P. crispum var. tuberosum) which is grown mainly for its large edible root.


Plant type: biennial we grow as an annual.

Hardiness zone: 6 - 9

Sun requirement: sun to part shade. Parsley doesn't like too much heat, so a bit of shade in the hot afternoon and during mid summer is helpful.

Soil requirement: well composted, well drained, moist soil.

Start seeds indoors: 11 weeks before LFD. Note that seeds are slow to germinate.

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks before LFD when still small (has a tap root that makes larger specimens tricky).

Direct seed outdoors: 2 weeks before LFD. Note that seeds are slow to germinate.

Mature size: 2-3' tall by 10" wide.

Edible parts: leaves and stems, roots of some varieties, seeds can also be used in tea.

Harvest: leaves and stems may be picked throughout the growing season. Pick from the outside of the plant so new leaves will emerge from the centre. Parsley will take a light frost with no problems.

Best way to propagate: by seed only. Collect dry, brown seeds in the plant's second year. Seed germination can be speeded up by soaking in warm water overnight or by scarifying with boiling water just before planting.

Best way to store: fresh is best. Parsley can also be frozen whole in a plastic bag. Drying is a convenient method, but know you will lose some flavour in this process.

Flavour description: strong, bold, refreshing.

Best used: tea, pasta, eggs, cooked vegetables, potatoes, cheese dishes, garnishes, a constituent of bouquet garni, in many sauces (such as chimichurri, gremolata and salsa verde)

Good varieties: Forest Green for curly, Dark Italian for flat leaf.


Perilla or Shiso (Perilla frutescens syn. P. ocimoides)


You may have seen this herb in with the annual bedding plants. It is that pretty! With its curly and often colourful leaves, it fits right in with the ornamentals. But don't let that deter you from using it in the kitchen. You may have seen this herb in Japanese restaurants where it is often placed in between pieces of sushi and sashimi (although many restaurants now use plastic versions of the herb). Be aware there is another herb that is sometimes called perilla: Mosquito flower (Lopezia racemosa) that is inedible.


photo by iStock

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun to part shade.

Moisture requirement: slightly moist.

Start seeds indoors: 1 week after LFD. Chill seeds for 3 days in the refrigerator before sowing. Use bottom heat during germination and until potted up. Seeds need light to germinate so cover very lightly with soil.

Transplant outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD (once nighttime temperatures warm).

Direct seed outdoors: 2 weeks after LFD. Perilla will take around 2 months to mature, so you may not get a harvest until the end of the our season.

Mature size: up to 4' tall if started early and not pruned. It can get big, so make sure you have the room for it. Pinch back to encourage bushiness.

Edible parts: leaves, flowers and seeds.

Harvest: leaves may be picked throughout the growing season.

Best way to propagate: best from seed but can also be propagated by soft cuttings.

Best way to store: fresh or air dried. Can also be frozen whole in a zip top bag.

Flavour description: varies between varieties, but all are strong and spicy.

Best used: raw fish, pickled plums, preserved ginger, tempura, salads, as a garnish. Korean perilla in soups, stew, pickles or kimchi. Seeds from Korean perilla may be roasted and used like sesame.

Good varieties: Green (or Aoshiso or Green Cumin) and Purple (Akashisho or Purple Cumin) have cumin and cinnamon flavours. Aojiso and Akajiso (also called Red) have a more ginger flavour. Thai perilla is a stronger flavoured variety. Korean perilla (Kkaennip) has a different flavour (more minty, apple and lemon like) with larger leaves that are used more like a green than an herb.


Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)


Savory is another one of those underrated herbs that more people should be using. There are two major types: summer savoury (which is an annual) and winter savory (Satureja montana), which is a zone 4 perennial and therefore covered in the Hardy Perennials article. The summer types are the most preferred in terms of flavour, and tend to be easier to grow as well, but is less ornamental than the winter one. Either one can be used interchangeably in recipes. Savory is a classic flavouring for beans, and is a great companion plant for them too.


photo by Pixaby

Plant type: annual herb

Hardiness zone: n/a

Sun requirement: full sun

Soil requirement: drought tolerant, prefers well drained neutral to alkaline soils.

Start seeds indoors: 5 weeks before LFD. Seeds need light to germinate so sow them on the soil surface.

Transplant outdoors: 1 week after LFD. Seedlings are not great at transplanting so do it carefully and when well watered.

Direct seed outdoors: n/a

Mature size: 1' tall by 1 1/2' wide.

Edible parts: leaves

Harvest: pick leaves before flowering for the best flavour. Harvest and dry the entire plant at the end of the season.

Best way to propagate: best from seed.

Best way to store: fresh or dried. Savory retains its flavour when dried, making this a great option for storage.

Flavour description: full bodied pepper taste with a hint of thyme. Summer savory is stronger but less pungent than winter savory.

Best used: beans, lentils, peas, egg dishes, olives, fish and seafood, soups, stews, casseroles, sauces, sausages (especially salami), a component of herb de provence.

Good varieties: typically sold as just Summer Savory.


Yummy gardening everyone!


Related Articles


Culinary Herbs - Growing, Harvesting and Preserving


Tender Perennial Culinary Herbs (link coming soon)


Hardy Perennial Culinary Herbs (link coming soon)


Recipes That Feature Herbs



Further Reading and Resources


  • Pursell, J.J. "The Herbal Apothecary" 2015 Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA

  • Keville, Kathi "Herbs An Illustrated Encyclopedia. A Complete Culinary, Cosmetic, Medicinal, and Ornamental Guide" 1994 Friedman Publishing Group, New York, New York, USA

  • Helmer, Jodi "Growing Your Own Tea Garden. The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard" 2019 Fox Chapel Publishers, Mount Joy, PA, USA

  • Reader's Digest "The Essential Book of Herbs. Gardening. Health. Cooking." 2021 Trusted Media Brands, New York, USA

  • Clarke, Graham and Toogood, Alan "The Complete book of Plant Propagation" 1992, Ward Lock Limited, London, England

  • Richters (www.richters.com) for seeds, accessories, growing and medicinal information.

  • Veseys Seeds (https://www.veseys.com/ca/) for seeds and growing information.

  • West Coast Seeds (www.westcoastseeds.com) for seeds and growing information.




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