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Nothing gives a garden salad more of a lift than adding a sprinkling of freshly chopped chives. Or how about a bit of minced dill drizzled over your broiled salmon? Simply delicious!

Chives, dill, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil, parsley, marjoram, cilantro, peppermint, and lemon balm -- these are a few herbs that can add flavour and zest to your everyday meals and summer drinks. They are also herbs that you can easily and inexpensively grow in your very own kitchen garden.

What is a kitchen garden? Simply put, a window box or a collection of smaller containers set outside on your patio or balcony. Containers come in all shapes and sizes. Shop around and see what’s available and what’s the most appropriate for your needs and location.

Most herbs will flourish in containers. Choose the herbs you reach for most often when cooking, and maybe even a few you’ve never heard of before. With a little care and attention, a moderately sunny location and regular watering and fertilizing, herbs will produce abundantly all summer long. Snipping them regularly will maintain thick and healthy growth. If you’re afraid of pests invading your little herb patch, plant a garlic clove or two among your collection. Garlic is a natural and effective bug repellent.

Garden centres and nurseries carry all of today’s essential herbs. Select healthy specimens and ones that are insect and fungus free. Check the plants for excessive roots -- yellowed growth hanging down through the drainage holes.

Once you get your herbs home, transfer them into the window box or selected pots. If you’re using clay, soak them first. Clay is porous and tends to soak up water at a faster rate than other types of container material. A regular potting soil mix is usually adequate. If you’re unsure about the right type of mix to use for your herb kitchen, ask the experts at the garden centre. Consult them as well about fertilizing requirements.

Your herbs will quickly begin to thrive and soon you’ll probably have more than you can use. Dry the herbs and store in glass jars. Most varieties will keep well for many months.

Growing herbs really is easy. So what are you waiting for? Organize your window box herb kitchen today!