Grow Your Own Herbs

May 3, 2021

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This is the time that Gardeners minds turn to gardening. The long weekend in May has typically been the time to ready your garden and start planting.

Many people living in Toronto live in high-rises with balconies. So, container gardening has become more and more popular over the years. One of the plantings I love to have at hand are herbs. Here is a quick overview of herbs that are easy to grow and great to add to your recipes.


Basil needs a lot of sunshine (it is originally from India where it receives more than a lot of sun and heat). Basil is very susceptible to frost – so don’t plant it outside too early. Always use fresh and quality planting mix (do not use last year’s as it is old and doesn’t have as much nutrition in it.

Pinch back new growth as it matures. And use the cuttings in your cooking and enjoy the thickening of the plant.


This herb is an appetite stimulant. If you find yourself with no appetite, run your hands through the plant and inhale the scent as you activate the essential oils. After a few minutes you will find yourself ravenous.

Rosemary grows well in containers and when you cut back the foliage for use in the kitchen, it gets thicker and better looking. Rosemary will not thrive over the winter, mine generally die by January.


Parsley is a bi-annual. It grows for 2 years, then dies. This plant only needs 4 hours of sun per day to grow well. Look for the curly  leafed parsley for garnishing your dishes. Italian parsley is tougher, grows more quickly and is useful in cooking. Personally I don’t like Italian parsley raw, but I am sure some people eat it.


Dill is a cinch in any spot with a minimum of six hours of sunshine. It prefers an open, fertile soil but it is not all that fussy.
Harvest the leaves as the plant matures for fish dishes and the seeds make great pickles.


This herb is really easy to grow even for people who say they can’t grow anything. Sow seeds directly into a container or plant store-bought versions right into the container. Chives are winter hardy.

Remember all herbs with the exception of Basil, love heat but do tolerate cool temperatures. You can plant Dill, Chives, Rosemary and Parsley early, but ensure they are in a protected area, or wait until end of May to plant when the risk of frost is less likely.

Allow herbs to become dry between watering and do not fertilize any of them although Basil will respond well to plant food.

Original article written by Mark Cullen
Adapted by Gillian Tenneson