Herbs repel pests, attract helpful
insects, and generally bring the garden into balance.
Herbs are closer to the wild than vegetables, more resistant to pests and diseases, and require little care.
Planting herbs nearby improves the growth and yield of most vegetables.
Annual herbs usually do well in the bed with vegetables. Most herbs will want to be planted in spring after all danger of frost is past and the soil is warm; exceptions are clearly noted. Most annual herbs are easy to grow. Many are members of the carrot family, like dill, parsley, and cilantro.
Perennial herbs may take a while to sprout. Starting them in pots will prevent the seeds from being disturbed or forgotten in the garden. Some need a period of moist cold before sprouting, and these should be planted in very early spring or even in the fall. Most herbs will be more potent and more winter-hardy if given excellent drainage. If you have heavy soil or live in a moist climate, consider planting on a mound, terrace, raised bed, herb spiral, or among stones. Adding gravel (not sand) to the top couple of inches of soil can help also. In zone 5 and below, a layer of mulch between plants will help prevent frost heaving, and shelter from wind will improve survival in very cold dry conditions.
Codes used in the Herb descriptions:
A=annual P=perennialUSDA Plant Hardiness Map
B=biennial (lives 2 years)
TP=tender perennial (perennial in frost-free areas)