5 Tips for Growing Herbs
Herbs have always been a must-have in my garden. You can enjoy growing herbs for your kitchen too with these 5 tips for growing herbs!
Honestly, if you grow your own herbs for any reason the main one should be for the taste!
Herbs that have been just picked have a taste you just can’t compare to “fresh” herbs from the grocery store or dried herbs.
Saving money on herbs is another reason we grow our own. Dried herbs are expensive in our area and fresh herbs are extremely expensive.
Instead of buying dried or cut herbs from the store I put the money towards seeds or seedlings from the nursery and start my own. In the end, we get the best organic herbs we can grow at the lowest possible price.
Growing herbs in your garden also help to reduce garden pests. Did you know that many common kitchen herbs will help to repel mosquitoes from your yard?
Tips For Growing Herbs
Plant Similar Herbs Together
Planting herbs with similar needs together really help to make caring for your garden easier.
Herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano love full sun but prefer to have dryer soil conditions.
While herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro also love full sun but need more water.
By grouping your plantings by their growing needs you can save time and help your plants grow better. Just knowing that certain containers or areas in your garden need more or less watering helps you to get into a good garden routine.
Don’t Water Herbs Too Much
One of the biggest problems when growing herbs is over watering. Herbs will thrive if you make sure they are watered properly.
Normally you want to let the soil start to dry out in between waterings. A good guideline is if you put your finger into the soil and it’s barley damp about an inch down, it’s time to water.
If your growing herbs in containers and the weather is very hot you will need to water more often.
Herbs like basil, parsley, and mints should be watered daily in hot weather while rosemary and lavender will be fine with watering every other day.
Provide Good Drainage
Herbs and most plants do not like to sit in the soggy wet soil, it causes their roots to rot. Make sure where you plant your herbs that you are providing good drainage.
If you have heavy clay soil dig in some compost before planting. It will help to loosen the soil and provide a natural fertilizer for your herbs.
If you’re planting herbs in containers look for ones with large drain holes so the excess water can easily leave. You can also fill the bottom 1 inch with small stones. This helps to keep the soil from washing out of the container and provides excellent drainage.
Give Herbs The Right Amount Of Sunlight
Most herbs need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow well. One of the fastest ways to kill most herbs is to try to grow them in heavy shade.
Herbs like basil, sage, rosemary, and dill all prefer full sun but if you have a shady yard you don’t have to give up on a herb garden. Plants in the mint family including lemon balm and catnip will grow in full sun but will thrive in shady areas. In fact, their taste is improved when grown in shady areas!
Harvest Herbs Often
I know it can be so hard to start cutting away at a plant you’ve worked hard to grow but if you want your herbs to grow well you need to keep up with trimming and harvesting.
As your herbs grow, keep an eye out for flowers and flower buds and trim these off right away. Herbs that are allowed to flower will slow or stop growing and be thinner and leggier plants.
Perennial herbs such as sage, lavender, and rosemary need to be harvested at least once a year. It will encourage fuller growth and your plants will have less dead wood.
Annual herbs like basil will go to seed quickly but by harvesting often you can enjoy fresh basil all summer.
Growing A Successful Herb Garden Requires:
- Well drained soil with lots of compost.
- Removing flowers and harvesting regularly.
- Provide sun-loving herbs like basil with full sun (6+) hours a day for good growth.
- Give your herbs enough room to grow into large healthy plants.
Looking for some great recipes to get started with? Lemon mint ice tea is our favorite drink during the hot summer months. It really helps to use up your fresh mint too!
Our easy oven roasted tomato sauce makes a great use of fresh herbs to really bring out the flavor in this sauce. Really, it’s the only tomato sauce we ever make now.
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.