How to start an Herb garden

An herb garden is the perfect addition for the home chef or for creating home beauty products with plants right out of your own garden. Herb gardens can be grown on the patio or in a few pots on the windowsill.  You might also consider having herbs mixed in with flowers in your front flower bed. Most herb plants stay small (like thyme and oregano) and can be tucked into most open areas.   The most important thing to consider is the sunlight needs for the herbs you choose.  The majority of herbs will require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.  So a bright window will work or outdoors for most people.

After you choose where you want your container garden, there are a few tips to make sure that the plants you grow are healthy. If you are planting in a container, make sure there are drainage holes so the plants are not sitting in a soggy wet mess. Give the plants some room to grow.  And if you are planting them in one large container, plant them at least 4-6” away from other plants in all directions. You can also plant a single transplant into a pot and then group all the pots together to create a container garden. If planting directly in the ground, keep the same spacing distance for smaller plants but with larger plants like parsley or rosemary, give them at least 12” to grow.

An essential part of a healthy herb garden is feeding your plants a nutritious mix of fertilizer so they will produce nutrient-rich leaves. This is done simply by adding in both bone meal and blood meal to the potting soil. Bone meal is an organic fertilizer that helps to develop a healthy root system and blood meal is needed for leaf and flower development. It is best to apply the fertilizer at least monthly and water it in well when you do.

The most popular herbs to grow in an herb garden are basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and lavender. Each of these herbs have tons of different varieties and can grow in most areas of the US. Most herbs need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight a day. Keep in mind that all herbs are perennials by nature but some do act like annuals in particular zones.

Water the herb garden daily the first week and then back off to twice a week. If the temperature rises above 90 degrees, water daily in the morning hours. Once the plants are 6” tall, snip off a few leaves to go into your favorite recipe as clipping the head leaves off signals to the plant to keep growing – so make sure you are harvesting at least a few times a month. Enjoy your herb garden!