Easy Herbs for a Beginner Green-Thumb

More than just flavour, herb gardening means a low-stakes investment for your physical and mental wellness this spring

We all know spring as a time for regrowth, warmer weather, and longer sunlight hours, but it can also turn into a stressful time for the average household—a never-ending cycle of birthday parties, sports tournaments, recitals, award ceremonies and graduations, and the start to all summer-related projects. Some say it trumps December! 

That’s why it’s never too late to try your hand at a new, calming activity: gardening.

Sometimes referred to as “horticultural therapy,” gardening is chemically proven to reduce stress-levels and alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. According to University Canada West, there’s a correlation between hand-to-mind activities or repetitive actions like planting, weeding, and watering that help induce a meditative state and quiet everyday worries. Not to mention it gets you soaking in vitamin B from natural sunlight—an easy way to release serotonin into your system.

As for physical health, it’s a great moderate-intensity workout that improves muscle strength without straining joints, and is a known way to improve cardiovascular health. Exposure to all the microbes in soil helps boost your immune system, and fresh air is a known contributor to reducing inflammation and strengthening overall well-being. 

The benefits of just a few minutes of gardening each day are quite staggering, and worth getting a little dirty for. So how to start? 

As with any new activity, it’s good to begin small and build up. Set yourself up for success with a manageable space and easy-to-care-for plants—you don’t need an entire backyard, just a small corner or a spot on your deck is fine. And there’s nothing wrong with just a few pots along your windowsill! Just design your area with the intention of creating a meditative space you can retreat to for some moments of calm.

As a beginner green thumb, herbs are great low-stakes, easy-to-maintain plants to test out at home—and bring fresh, flavourful ingredients to your kitchen. Whether you want them for culinary or medicinal purposes, they offer a variety of shapes, sizes, and scents, and can also attract pollinators!

To get you started, we’ve got a few specific herbs known to thrive on BC’s West Coast… 


A widely used herb, basil is full of flavour and the perfect addition to any soup, salad, pasta, or tomato dish. It’s also an herb not meant to take root until late spring, so you’ve got plenty of time to get it in the ground. Just be sure to plant before September—it’s fairly cold sensitive. Thankfully, you can transfer to a pot and bring indoors over the winter months.


A welcome sign of spring, chives bloom with purple flowers later in the season—you can use these cuttings in salads or as a garnish. The herb itself is a classic addition to any soups, vegetables, or baked potatoes. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at growing garlic chives for an even greater kitchen staple.


A distinctly aromatic herb, dill leaves and seeds are a known classic for a variety of foods like pickles, soups, sauces, fish, and the perfect springtime salad—but try it on your popcorn next time for an extra twist! Dill is a great choice to plant now until late August because it grows better in spring than summer, and thrives in full-sun.


Did someone say taco night? A Mediterranean native, this herb is the perfect springtime addition to your garden because it’s a cut-and-grow-again plant, meaning you’ll have fresh leaves to harvest all season long. Just make sure you keep an eye out when first planted so it doesn’t dry out—however once fully established, it’s fairly drought hardy and grows best in full sun. And to help clarify: if you grow its leaves, you call it cilantro; if you harvest the seeds, you call it coriander.


Quite possibly one of our favourites for the spring and summer season—I can practically taste the mojitos! Mint is such a versatile herb and a great addition to salads, cooked vegetables, any yoghurt based sauce, and refreshing drinks. It also grows so quickly it might even appear aggressive—making it perfect for any beginner gardener, but with a bit of preparation when you plant so it doesn’t take over.


Anyone else in the mood for Greek salad or Italian food? Oregano is a versatile herb that adds a lot of flavour to pasta sauces, stews, marinades, salad dressings, or soups. It requires warmth, and lots of sun—so get it rooted and start cooking!


Plant this spring, harvest all summer long, and then place into a pot for the colder months and BOOM, you’ve got fresh parsley all year long. This herb is a great addition to your garden because it can go into soups, stews, vegetables, pastas, and salads—giving you versatility in your kitchen. Just be sure to get it in the ground now before mid-summer.

Overall, whatever you decided to plant this spring, it’s more than just a new addition to your kitchen—it’s an investment in your mental and physical well-being. Think of it as an inexpensive way to get back in touch with nature and carve out some much deserved moments of peace in an otherwise busy time of the year. 

If you’re still uncertain about where to begin, there are plenty of resources to get you started—just visit your local plant nursery and they’ll be excited to set you up for your new horticultural journey.