6 best herbs to grow in spring

As spring blooms, exercising your green thumb can be a great way to boost your health – particularly if herbs are part of your planting plans.

Herbs are typically more nutrition-packed than other healthy foods, including green vegetables.

Sydney nutritionist Jennifer May says they also add flavour to dishes without the need for too much salt or other unhealthy condiments.

“I always recommend using fresh herbs and spices wherever possible to support health and wellbeing,” says Jennifer.

Australian Institute of Horticulture horticulturist David Thompson recommends growing herbs in full sunlight. Once established, deep watering them once a week is better than daily sprinkles.

He advises to keep plants well mulched to help maintain moisture.

So which are the best herbs to plant in spring?

1.     Rosemary

Great for beginners, rosemary is perfect for the Australian sun.

Once established, the hardy plant needs little water or maintenance, says David.

“It copes really well with the dry and you just give it a little trim now and then and chop up the little leaves.”

Rosemary contains vitamins A, B6, C and folate and dietary fibre.

2.     Basil

Another easy choice for first timers, basil goes with a variety of foods, especially tomatoes.

“It’s a nice, versatile, attractive plant, both ornamental and flavoursome,” says David.

“They’ll grow lots of nice glossy green leaves that you can use in salads or chop them up for pesto.”

Basil is a rich source of vitamin K and magnesium and dietary fibre.

3.     Sage

Sage pairs perfectly with roasts.

As with most herbs, the flavour is more concentrated when grown in hot, dry conditions.

“They say herbs are great when you treat them mean and keep them keen,” David adds.

Sage contains vitamins A, B6, C and folate and minerals such as iron and copper. It also contains dietary fibre.

Nutritionist Jennifer May says sage tea is also great for reducing hot flushes in menopausal women.

4.     Thyme

Like rosemary, thyme is a hardy Mediterranean species used to warmer, drier climates. But don’t overwater it.

“That concentrates the oils and that’s where the flavour comes from. You can basically go without watering them pretty much ever,” says David.

Thyme contains vitamins A, C and B6, minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium and dietary fibre.

5.     Borage

Borage is a leafy herb featuring a blue flower.

It grows better in the shade and its dried leaves go well in soups, stews, salads and cooked vegetables.

“It’s quite ornamental and doesn’t like the heat as much, so use a bit more water and care,” says David.

The herb is best known for being high in B3, which helps regulate cholesterol, support natural energy production and manufacture of serotonin, meaning it may help reduce depression, Jennifer says.

6.     Chives

Chives grow well any time but particularly in spring, David says.

They grow short bunches of leaves and have a mild onion flavour.

Easily grown from seed or seedlings, snip off what you need and enjoy it as a garnish sprinkled over dinner or a salad.

Chives contain vitamins A and C, minerals such as potassium and manganese and dietary fibre.

They also contain vitamin K, folate and sulphur, which is essential for hormonal balance, Jennifer says.

Written by Melissa Iaria.