4. Lemon Balm
I had grown lemon balm for a few reasons. It's easy, has a nice shape and fresh green leaf color (and sometimes that's all I want in a garden plant), and my whole family enjoys walking by it and pinching off a leaf and giving it a good sniff and so relaxing.
Favorite uses: Trim leaves, and use either fresh or dried, (dry leaves in a paper bag and store in a dark place) steep in hot water. Strain with a tea strainer and serve the best cuppa afternoon tea.
I happily discovered last year that parsley, which is normally grown as an annual, can overwinter. This spring, the seeds I put in the ground are once again growing.
Favorite uses: Parsley is ones of those super foods that do more good things for a body than seems possible for such a little leafy green plant. Among other things, it contains more vitamin C than than bascially anything else you can eat. You can make lots of things with it.
Another perennial favorite. I have two plants, timed differently. One stays outside planted in the ground and its natural calendar supplies me with snips this time of year. The other is at the base of a potted orange tree that I haul in and out of the house seasonally. It shoots up tasty green stems in the dead of winter. It's worth having both so that my harvesting season is longer.
Favorite uses: I add it to salads (along with other other leafy herbs like basil) to give what would appear to be a boring lettuce mix a hidden kick.
I usually give the plant a good sniff to make sure I have cilantro and not its very similar looking friend, parsley. Cilantro is easy to grow from seed and I start planting it around May every spring. I find that it bolts easily so it's handy to plant a few seeds now and then a few more every few weeks for the next month. This way, you will have a ready supply through out the summer.
Favorite uses: While there are many other ingredients you could add to make a great guacamole, I think that can get away with only two: cilantro and avocado.