Fresh herbs can be inexpensively available all summer from a well planned and cared for garden. Ideally it should be conveniently close to the kitchen. It also needs rich well drained soil, partial to full sun, and preferably be confined to keep out unwanted plants and aid self re-seeding.
My two gardens are bordered by sidewalks and a garage wall. They do not get late afternoon sun and still do quite well. One bed only has parsley, which is a biennial herb (ie. it takes two years to flower and re-seed itself). The larger flowering plants you see in the picture below are second year growth. They will continue to mature, form seed and die this year (just as the original purchased seeds did many generations ago - proving to be an excellent investment). I will scatter the dry seed for next year. The smaller new plants are from last years re-seeding and are for this years use. I allow the new plants to grow densely and thus crowd out most of the weeds. I grow both curly leaf parsley (for table use) and flat leaf parsley (commonly called Italian - to combine with basil to make pesto in the fall). Whatever is left of either variety in the fall is picked and de-hydrated. For a clear, complete, and concise Wikipedi explanation, click here.
The other garden has a variety, including, on the left of the picture, garden sage (or salvia, which is a perennial - ie. it flowers and re-seeds every year). It has gray fuzzy leaves and purple flowers (to delay seed formation, pick them off). For a Wikipedia explanation, click here.
To the far right is cilantro (coriander) which is an annual herb (it only lives one year but re-seeds itself for the next year). To know more, click here.
This covers the characteristics of the three basic types of plants (biennial, perennial, and annual). My remaining plants fall into one of these groups so I'll just touch on them and give you a link to more info.
Next to the sage is dill (a perennial which I planted from seed and is still small, but hope to have produce and re-seed for next year) For more info click here.
Next are two thyme plants (perennials) For more info click here.
Then I have two basil plants (a perennial treated as an annual) For more info click here.
Lastly see two oregano (another perennial) For more info click here