Savory, zesty, mild or flavorful. Even a novice chef will tell you that fresh herbs can add a robust flavor to almost any dish. From meats and fish to veggies and even smoothies, a dash of fresh dill, cilantro or mint can make all the difference in your flavor profile. Herbs are fairly easy to grow, and with a little help, you’ll be well on your way to trying some delicious new recipes.
Create your Space
Herbs are mostly sun-loving plants, so the ideal space will include a sunny spot with good drainage. Ideally your new plants will need at least 6 hours of sunlight, but if the temperatures reach above 90-degrees, you may want to locate them in an area that gets morning sun only. You’ll also want to locate the herbs in a place that is visible, and if possible, near the kitchen so you will use your herbs more frequently.
Containers vs. Garden Beds
Depending on the location you’ve chosen, herbs can grow in ceramic pots or window boxes on your deck or patio. If you’re fortunate to have garden space that fits the parameters above, most plants will reach their full growing potential in the ground. However, limitations on space and imperfect sun and drainage conditions will still allow you to create your own herb garden in containers.
If choosing to pot your herbs, ensure your planter is at least 8” in diameter and find a container that allows for ample drainage. Overwatering is a common mistake for potted herbs.
Pick your Plants
If you are a first time herb gardener, the rule of thumb is to plant what you like. Pick flavors you will typically use and enjoy in the kitchen. Herbs are a fairly easy plant to start from seed, but many gardeners prefer the already sprouted varieties that you can find in pots at your local garden center.
Popular herbs to consider include basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, dill and cilantro. You can grow by culinary dish preference and create an Italian chef garden, or grow for your drinking preferences and create a cup-of-tea garden or even an herb garden dedicated to your favorite cocktails. This is your chance to be creative! If you’re not sure what you like, Bonnie Plants is a great resource for learning the differences in herbs as well as soil, light and spacing recommendations.
Prepare and Plant
Whether you are planting in a garden bed or in containers, the first step is to ensure proper drainage. Add holes and rocks or pebbles to the bottom of pots, and loosen compacted soils in garden beds. Use good potting soil or mix in compost into your existing soil to create a richer planting environment. If container gardening, you can combine several herbs into a single larger pot. Just group them by their watering requirements.
Water and Care
Once your plants have found their new home, it’s best to water them in. Many herbs will show you when they need to be watered, and will immediately perk up when you respond. Since drying times will vary by location and by week, it’s best to check in often and water when the soil is dry to the touch. You can also use specific fertilizers made for edible plants which will help give your herbs a bit of a boost.
Now that you’ve planted your herb garden, it’s time to start using them! Well-harvested herbs will actually respond with new growth and will result in healthier, thicker plants. Harvest your herbs frequently by using scissors or garden shears and cutting close to the leaf intersection. Be mindful of the size of your plant and try not to remove more than one-third of the plant at any one time.
Your flavor exploration is about to begin! It’s now time to check out some new recipes and enjoy your new savory hobby. If you need help maintaining your garden beds, trust OneNeighbor’s weed pulling service, where landscape experts carefully remove all of your pesky flower bed weeds by hand. We can also assist with mulch installation, fertilization and weed control and regular lawn mowing. See how OneNeighbor makes all of your home services easier and more affordable in Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX, Tampa Bay, FL and Houston, TX.