Some commonly used herbs include basil, chives, cilantro, dill and parsley. Basil is a summer annual that is tender to frost and comes in many cultivars. It is used to flavor tomato dishes as well as eggs, meat and fish.
Chives are cool-weather plants that are hardy enough to remain in the garden year-round. They prefer full sun and good, loamy soil that drains well. Ideally, chives should be used when they're fresh or placed in the freezer right after harvesting. Eventually, the plants produce purple flowers that are also edible.
Cilantro, or coriander is a plant of southern Europe and western Asia that has been used for centuries. Every part of this herb is edible. Cilantro is used in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Mexico and South America.
Though dill is an annual plant, it is often grown as a perennial because it self-seeds abundantly. It is used in pickling and also in soups and stews. It is grown next to other plants because it attracts beneficial insects.
Parsley is related to the carrot and comes in curly and flat-leaved varieties. Though it requires patience to germinate the seeds, the plant is fairly easy to grow. Harvesting leaves from the bottom of the plant encourages more growth.