Starting An Herb Garden At Home 101
Fresh Herbs, if you follow a few a general guidelines, are very easy to grow. The versatility of herbs allows you to keep them potted (indoors or outdoors) or simply plant them outside in the ground. These beautiful plants are perfect for the aroma in the space, as well as adding fresh flavors to your meals. These delicate yet timeless plants are great for getting the kids involved in the gardening experience as well. A simple herb garden, potted or not, is a wonderful addition to any home or outdoor space.
Selecting The Right Place to Grow Herbs Around Your Home
Deciding between potted herbs or planting your herbs in the ground? Consider this. Planting herbs in pots in the kitchen or window sill is an excellent option if you are limited on your outdoor space. Your plants will grow well and you will have fresh herbs for easy access as you prepare a delicious meal for your friends and family. However, you may find it surprising to hear that many of these herbs can grow to be fairly large (4-6 feet) when not planted in pots. Pots do tend to stunt the growth of the herbs, and can affect the quality of the plant. If you have the space outside to plant them in the ground you may want to do so to get the most out of your plants. Your herbs may surprise you at how much they spread and produce for you outside. We will be focusing on outdoor planting first. To learn more about growing potted herbs scroll down.
When selecting an outdoor planting location, be sure to observe the sunlight distribution throughout the day. Generally speaking, most herbs prefer full sun during the day. However if you live in a location where summer days rise above 90 degrees you will want to consider adding some shade for your plants. For example, choosing a space next to a gardening shed or garage where it will receive sun for half of the day and shade the second half. Another option would be near a tree or large plant that provides partial sun and shade throughout the day. Before planting simply ensure that the herbs are getting at least 4 to 6 hours of sun.
Planting Tips For Growing Healthy Herbs
Every plant is different. Every herb is different. When deciding where to plant you will also want to consider how much space your plant prefers. For example, most herbs will want either 1 to 4 feet in diameter for each plant.
Here is a general guideline:
- 3-4 Feet – Rosemary, Sage, Mint Tea, Oregano
- 2 Feet – Basil, Thyme, Tarragon
- 1 Foot – Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Parsely
However, you may find that different spacing may work better for your plants. If you don’t have the space to allow for this spacing, work with what you have in your location. As you may know, some of the herbs above tend to spread so that is a large reason for the spacing. This allows the herbs to happily grow and produce the most for you.
Preparing Soil for Your Herb Garden
The next key to a healthy herb garden: soil that drains properly. You don’t want your plant to be sitting in flooded soil for large stretches of time. Once you select a spot that wont hold large amounts of water you can move on. When preparing the soil you will want to use your gardening tools to loosen up the ground and undo all of the compacting that has occurred over the years. Loose-soft soil will allow it to drain and provide a comfortable location for your herbs. Want to go the extra mile? Get some organic compost and spread an inch or two on top of the loosened soil then mix it in. This will provide extra nutrients for your herbs to feed on, as well as assist with water drainage.
I Planted My Herbs. Now What?
You planted your herbs and they look beautiful. Let’s keep them that way! You will want to water them as soon as the soil feels dry a couple inches down around the plant. Don’t neglect your plants you will want to check them often as nature can bring many variables that can change the drying period form week to week. Be sure not to over water your herbs! Remember that draining soil is key.
Harvesting Herbs A General Guide
You will need to simply pay attention to how your plant is doing. Is your plant healthy and strong? When your plant reaches about 7″ tall, give or take, you will be able to harvest about one third of the leaves. When cutting the leaves you will want to cut close to the leaf intersection. Several herbs actually grow up from the center, so a little research will solve this. Also, paying attention as to where your leaves are growing will clear this up as well.
Planting My Herbs In Containers
Surprising to many, herbs can often be easier to grow than a lot of traditional houseplants. Simply follow the same principles as the outdoor tips and you should have healthy herbs growing in no time. Growing in pots can be an easier way to have fresh herbs available to you.
Keys To Healthy Potted Herbs:
- Sunny Warmspace: Patios, Decks, etc.
- Healthy Soil That Drains: Good potting soil in a container that drains easily.
- Space: Choose a large enough container for your herbs to grow and spread.
You can start your plants about 8″ apart when they are small, but you will want to transplant your herbs to larger containers as they grow. If you transplant your starter herbs to larger containers or to the ground outside you will want to: handle them gently, water them immediately after transplanting too.
Regardless of what you choose to do, enjoy the process! Adding potted herbs around your outdoor patio furniture not only looks beautiful and smell delicious, but it is very practical as well. Growing herbs can be such a rewarding experience. To have grown something that your family and friends will enjoy is a blessing. Not only can you add these herbs to cooked meals, pastas and more. You will definitely want to add your fresh herbs to your favorite green salad. Fresh Cilantro in a salad or dish can be a refreshing change to a traditional dish; for example this delicious salsa recipe. Let us know what your favorite herbs are!
Gardening advice and tips can vary from person to person, however this is a good place to start.