Herbs are a great addition to your home garden. They can be grown around the perimeter of your other plants or in pots, indoors or out. They’ll spice up your kitchen and are surprisingly easy to grow. Growing conditions and care will vary slightly from herb to herb, so it’s always best to follow specific instructions on your seed packet, but here are some basic guidelines on how to grow herbs to get you started.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, oregano, thyme, chives, bay tree and lemongrass are just a few examples of easy-to-grow herbs. Some are easier to grow than others and light, watering and fertilizer may vary from herb to herb. Some herbs are perennials, like chives, thyme, mint and fennel. You plant them once and enjoy them all season long. Annuals, like dill, basil, coriander and chervil bloom for only one season and must be planted again and again. Basil, cilantro and sage are among the more difficult herbs to grow. Lemongrass is grown in water, not soil, similarly to bamboo.
WHEN TO GROW
Herbs can be grown anytime if you are growing indoors. Just be sure they get plenty of light, warmth and water. If you are growing outside, depending on your region, your growing may be limited to the warmer growing months of spring to fall. Most seedlings can be transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed, though some herbs, like dill and chervil, are difficult to transplant.
WHERE TO GROW
Most herbs need lots of full sunlight, 6 to 10 hours per day, in order to thrive. However, some varieties will need to be planted in partial or full shade. Check the instructions on your seed packet. For indoor growing, place your herbs in a window that gets lots of light or supplement with growing lights. For outside, try planting them around your other plants, along the perimeter of your garden bed.
Soilless potting mix is best for growing herbs indoors. For outdoors, they do well in just about any soil type, either alongside your other garden vegetables or in individual containers or beds. Herbs like rich soil, like most any other plants. Enrich your soil with compost before planting.
GROWING HERBS FROM SEEDLINGS
Herbs are best grown from already established seedlings. They will be ready for more immediate use and much more likely to thrive. If growing in a pot, use a container with at least 6” of soil depth that is about 12″ wide.
GROWING HERBS FROM SEEDS
Herb seeds can be sown in small containers and then transferred into a larger pot later. Use moist, lite potting mix. Sprinkle seeds on the top of the soil and cover lightly with a dusting of potting mix. Transfer to larger growing pot once they are about 3 inches tall. Depending on the variety of herb, it may be several months before they are ready for harvest.
Water sparingly. Some herbs require more moisture than others but most don’t need much to thrive and should not be sitting in soggy soil. More sensitive herbs need more regular watering. Water herbs in the morning so they have all day to dry out.
Most herbs will benefit from a monthly feeding. Use a fertilizer labeled for edibles.
If you’re growing from herb seedlings, give them some time to develop. Begin harvesting as needed once new growths are flourishing. Most herbs grown from seeds will take several months to mature. Look for mature dates on the seed packet. Clip off 2 to 3 inches from the tops of herbs or the outside branches to encourage new growth. Avoid harvesting from the bottom of the plants. Best not to harvest more than 1/3 of you herb plant at a time.
TIPS & ADVICE
Prune or harvest regularly. Herbs flourish best when constantly producing fresh leaves.
Do not water like regular houseplants. When growing herbs indoors, its easy to put them in the same routine as plants that do well with only a weekly watering. Most herbs need more regular attention.
Have tips on how to grow herbs? Let us know in the comments section below.