Wednesday, July 24, 2019 / by Natasha McNealy
Some things are better fresh and homemade (and with a little dirt between your fingers) which is why we want to share with you the steps to creating your own little herb garden! Having the ability to go to your backyard or patio and pluck some fresh herbs for the evening’s dinner is so rewarding, delicious and fun!
Here are the main steps involved in creating and tending an herb garden:
1. Choose where you want your herb garden to be. Herbs can grow just about anywhere as long as they are receiving at least six hours of sunlight, some (like parsley, mint, and cilantro) can even do well in 3 or 4 hours of sunlight. If you are stuck on where you want it to be, take this into consideration - put it in a place where you will be able to see it from your window or nearby your kitchen. It will inspire you to use the herbs more often so they won’t be forgotten and also, to keep tabs on when they may need to be cared for or watered.
2. Choose how you want to grow them. Some yards may have a well-draining soil in a sunny spot that is ideal for growing herbs. However, this space also needs to be free from trees, bushes, and animals (which would require a little garden fence for protection). A lot of the times, gardeners prefer to use raised garden beds that won’t require any bending down and is raised away from critters. Raised garden beds or tables also allow you to buy soil with the correct texture and weight for planting an herb garden, in case you are unsure of the soil in your yard. Your containers also don’t have to be a traditional raised bed garden but you can also grow herbs in window boxes or ceramic pots as well, as long as there are holes for drainage.
3. Pick your herbs. The fun part! Which flavors do you like the most out of your herbs? Which one do you use a lot of? Are you doing it more for looks? When an herb garden is healthy, you are going to get so much use out of it and a little goes a long way! You’ll be able to think ahead and freeze or dry some up for wintertime use. If you are big on cooking, consider planting Herbes de Provence which is rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano and savory. If you are planting this garden for pleasure, a fun fact is that dill serves as a host plant for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars!
4. Time to plant. Make sure you have read each plant tag thoroughly to ensure that you are planting your chosen herbs in the right conditions. Space is the most important. You want to make sure you are planting your herbs with the recommended amount of space for the proper airflow. There are even some herbs (like mint) that may need their own container because they tend to spread and take over the garden. You can still place it in the same bed, just keep it in its container. Dig your hole to the same depth as the original containers they came in, place the herb into the hole and fill in around the plant and gently pat down the soil. Once you have them planted in, water them well.
5. Check up on your herbs. Herbs are a little needy in that they will need to be checked on every day. Especially during the hot summertime, they will need watering if the top inch of the soil is dry. Every other week or two, they will need to be fed with liquid plant food.
6. Don’t forget to harvest. Weirdly enough, herbs actually grow stronger, thicker and bushier when they are being harvested. Using garden scissors, snip the pieces you would like, but never more than one-third of the plant. Time to enjoy in your next meal!