Creating a flourishing herb garden is pretty simple, even for new gardeners. You can either plant seeds (which takes more time and planning ahead) or purchase herb plants (which is the route that I took).
Prior to planting my herb garden, I did just a little bit of research (mostly in the form of asking advice from friends who already had herb gardens). I found out which herbs tended to grow the best with little maintenance and which were a little more finicky.
I had an idea of which herbs I wanted to plant and headed out to get all of my supplies. To my surprise, all of the herb plants (and plants in general) were very well marked with what type of sunlight they would thrive the best in. Since I knew that I wanted to place my herb garden in the front of my house, which faces south, I looked for herb plants that would do well in full to mostly full sunlight. I ended up taking home eight different herb plants: Rosemary, Basil, Mint, Sage, Dill, Oregano, Lemon Thyme and Chives.
As I said, I looked for herbs that would do well in full sun and these eight fit the bill. Also, I would recommend only planting herbs that you will actually use (think about the herbs that you most commonly buy from the grocery store to cook with). In my kitchen, I most often use basil, rosemary, dill and mint, and I can easily think of ideas for the other four that I picked up.
Besides the herb plants, I also picked up two planters and some potting mix. There are a ton of different planter varieties (you can also use raised garden beds), but I happen to like the look of these barrel-style planters. You can even buy (actual) whiskey barrel planters to use as well (most home improvement stores carry them)!
I would also recommend picking up a small gardening shovel and some gardening gloves (which I already had at home).
I noticed that most of the plants that I found were in biodegradable containers, which makes planting them super easy.
You can just plant the entire pot (and not worry about the mess of digging the plant and it's roots out of a pot!)!
I decided to put four different herb plants in each planter (for two planters total). I didn't want the plants to be crowded, so I made sure to plant the larger and smaller plants together, leaving space around each of them. Ideally, you'll want to leave a good amount of room between your herb plants so that they don't overpower each other.
To get started, I dug a hole roughly the same depth as the plant itself. Then I placed the plant (in the biodegradable pot!) into the hole and covered it with dirt.
Repeat this process until are herbs are planted, then use a hose or watering can to generously water. Remember to water plants every single day (once or twice) to keep them alive and flourishing. Over time, the biodegradable pots will become part of the potting soil. If you are planting mint, consider the fact that it grows really well really easily, but can eventually overtake (and even kill) the plants around it. You may want to even plant the mint in a separate container (like a small plastic tub) and then place it into your planter with everything else.
The best thing above having an herb garden is having access to fresh herbs any time you want!
Some of my favorite (simple) uses for the herbs that I'm growing are placing chopped up dill in salads, tearing up a few mint leaves to place in my water or tea and cut up basil on top of pizza. And, there's a million more possibilities for the rest of the herbs!
*Photos courtesy Lauren Martin. Featured image courtesy weissertstier, via flickr.
The Newbie's Guide to Planting an Herb Garden
By Lauren Martin
July 06, 2016
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