A tiny herb plot can pack a big punch, so you don't need much space to enjoy a summer of homegrown spices. You won't need expertise or long hours, either. Herbs are easy, friendly and the perfect addition to any yard.

1 Grow what you like
A good garden starts in your cookbook, not at the nursery. You should grow what you like to eat and avoid trying something simply because it's exotic or fancy.

2 Experiment Wisely
Experiment with unique varieties of herbs you already enjoy. For example, try lemon or Thai basil if you're already fond of the Italian type.

3 Keep It Simple
If this is your first year growing herbs, limit selections to three or four. Chives, thyme, sage and oregano are among the easiest to grow
and require bare-minimum maintenance.

4 Enjoy the Aromatherapy
Herbs delight the eyes and the taste buds, as well as your sense of smell. You can now buy "stepable" herbs, which tolerate foot traffic and often release amazing aromas when agitated.

5 Cut Often
Herbs like to be used, so plant them in high-traffic areas. Try growing along patios, near the front door or in window boxes to encourage frequent cutting.

6 Welcome Old Friends
Nothing beats seeing an old friend pop up in the spring. Plant a few winter-hardy herbs able to withstand Ohio snows. This way, you don't have to start from scratch.

7 Store For More
Herbs including lavender, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon and sage dry quickly without expensive equipment. You can store them in jars to enjoy all year long.

Sources: Helen M. Tramte at the Herb Society of America and Bill Dawson at Franklin Park Conservatory

Away We Grow
Want to learn more? Try these groups!

Franklin Park Conservatory
www.fpConservatory.org

Herb Society of America
www.herbsociety.org

Ohio Herb Education Center
Gahanna.gov/departments/parks/
herbcenter.asp

For more gardening tips and outdoor escapades, click to the Ohio Adventure Map atColumbusAlive.com/Venture.