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Herb gardens can be a good way to ease into vegetable gardening – they’re a sort of a gateway garden. Many herbs are perennial in the Bay Area – they continue to grow year after year, so they don’t require as much care. You can grow them in dedicated herb or vegetable beds, containers or pots, or weave them into your ornamental landscape. They are beautiful, fragrant and tasty.

herbs in pot

Some varieties provide fresh herbs year round – even in winter when not much else is growing. It’s incredibly satisfying to read a recipe that requires Italian parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme or oregano, and grab your scissors and dash out to the backyard to pick your herbs.

Some herbs are annuals – like basil, dill and cilantro – and they’re worth planting each spring because they taste so fresh. Pesto made from your own fresh basil is divine (but you do need to plant a good number to have enough).

Plant the herbs you use most often – your culinary best friends. It’s also fun to try new ones – maybe from places you’ve traveled or would like to visit. It’s also fun to share excess bounty with your friends, family and neighbors. Some are easy to grow from seed, but seedlings give you a head start, and many herbs reseed themselves, so it’s good not to pull them out too soon.

Here are some of our SFLA team’s favorite herbs (and other edible plants) to grow in the garden:

Susan grows rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage and parsley. When they are ready, she harvests and dehydrates them to make her own Italian herb mix to send to her family in Chicago so they enjoy a taste of California. 


Ian likes to grow Fresno chili peppers and pole beans. He makes fun structures with the pole beans.

Audrey likes to grow Meyer lemons and Mandarin oranges. She makes great lemon bars with them!

Michelle grows chives, rosemary, lavender and sage and citrus, because the critters don’t eat them!

Karyn likes to grow the standards – Italian herbs – especially basil, lettuce, arugula, and tomatoes – as well as pomegranates and lemon verbena to make tea. 

We’d love to hear about your favorite edibles to grow. Leave us a comment.

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