Growing your own herbs at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. Not only do you get to enjoy the delicious flavors of fresh herbs, but you also get to reap the many health benefits that they offer. But before you can start enjoying your very own home-grown herbs, there are a few things you need to know. In this blog post, we’ll share with you the top 8 must-haves for your home herb garden, as well as some tips on how to grow and care for your herbs.
The Top 8 Must-Haves for Your Home Herb Garden.
Basil is an annual herb that grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It can be started from seed, but transplants are often easier to find and get a head start on the growing season. Basil is a tender plant that doesn’t like frost, so wait to plant it until all danger of frost has passed.
Cilantro is another annual herb that prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. Like basil, it can be started from seed or transplanted as a young plant. Cilantro does not like heat, so sow the seeds in early spring or late summer/early fall when the weather is cooler.
Mint is a perennial herb that spreads rapidly and can become invasive if not kept in check. It prefers partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Mint can be started from seed, but it is easier to find transplants or rooted cuttings to get started.
Rosemary is a perennial herb that grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It can be difficult to start from seed, so look for transplants or rooted cuttings at your local garden center or nursery. Once established, rosemary is quite drought tolerant and doesn’t need much water beyond what falls naturally from the sky.
Oregano is a hardy herb that is easy to grow in well-draining soil and full sun. It can be started from seeds or purchased as a young plant from a nursery. Oregano plants are drought-tolerant and can be grown in containers or in the ground.
Chives are a perennial herb that belongs to the onion family. They are easy to grow from seeds or from small bulbs called “sets.” Chives prefer well-draining soil and full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade. They are drought-tolerant and can be grown in containers or in the ground.
Parsley is a biennial herb that is easy to grow from seeds or from small plants purchased at a nursery. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade. Parsley is drought-tolerant and can be grown in containers or in the ground.
Basil is an annual herb that is easy to grow from seeds or from small plants purchased at a nursery. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade. Basil is sensitive to cold temperatures, so it is best to start seeds indoors in the early spring and transplant them outside once the weather warms up. Basil can be grown in containers or in the ground.
Sage is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region and belongs to the mint family. It is easy to grow from seeds or from small plants purchased at a nursery. Sage prefers well-draining soil and full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade. It is drought-tolerant and can be grown in containers or in the ground.
How to grow Sage at home: the complete guide
To grow lavender at home, start with young plants or seeds in well-draining soil and full sun. Lavender is drought-tolerant and easy to care for, with uses in cooking, natural remedies, and homemade beauty products.
How to Grow and Care for Your Herbs.
When selecting a location for your herb garden, choose a spot that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. If you live in a hot climate, choose a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Herbs also prefer well-drained soil, so if your yard tends to be soggy, look for a raised bed or another elevated spot. Once you’ve selected the perfect location, it’s time to prepare the soil.
Prepare the Soil.
The best way to prepare the soil for your herb garden is to do a simple soil test. You can purchase a soil testing kit at your local nursery or home improvement store, or you can have your soil professionally tested. Test results will tell you what amendments, if any, need to be added to the soil to create optimal growing conditions for herbs. In general, most herbs prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
Once you know what amendments need to be added to the soil, it’s time to incorporate them using one of these methods:
– Digging: Incorporate amendments into the top 12 inches of soil using a spade or shovel prior to planting.
– Rototilling: Incorporate amendments into the top 6 inches of soil using a rototiller prior to planting. This is an especially good method if you have large areas to amend or very compacted soils.
– Top dressing: Incorporate amendments into the top 2 inches of loosened soil after plants are already growing in the garden beds.
Sow the Seeds or Plant the Transplants.
If you’re starting your herbs from seeds, sow them indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date in your area. Sow the seeds in a seed-starting mix in a shallow tray or pot. After sowing, keep the soil moist but not wet and place the tray or pot in a location that receives plenty of bright, indirect light. Once the seedlings have germinated and are large enough to handle, transplant them into individual pots filled with potting mix. Allow the transplants to grow indoors until all danger of frost has passed, then transplant them into your herb garden bed.
If you’re purchasing transplants from a nursery or garden center, look for healthy plants with vibrant green leaves. Avoid any plants that are wilted, yellowing, or have signs of disease. When you’re ready to plant, dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the root ball and just deep enough so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Gently remove the plant from its container and loosen any roots that are circling the root ball. Place the plant in the prepared hole and backfill with soil, tamping it down gently as you go. Water well to settle the soil around the roots.
Water and Fertilize.
Most herbs prefer consistent moisture levels and will need watering on a regular basis – especially during hot, dry weather – to prevent stress and maintain healthy growth. To check if your herbs need water, stick your finger into the soil near the base of the plant – if it feels dry several inches below the surface, it’s time to water. When watering herb plants, always apply water directly to their roots using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system rather than watering from above which can encourage fungal diseases such as powdery mildew (a particular problem for basil).
In general, young herb plants will need 1 inch of water per week – either from rainfall or supplemental irrigation – while established plants will need 1 to 2 inches per week during periods of active growth (spring and summer). During periods of slower growth (fall and winter), established herb plants will only need supplemental watering every 2 to 3 weeks unless rainfall is extremely low in your area.
It’s best to fertilize herbs sparingly since too much fertilizer can actually diminish their flavor (a little goes a long way!). A slow-release fertilizer applied once per season is usually sufficient for most herbs; however, very heavy feeders such as dill may benefit from an additional application mid-season if they appear particularly lush or produce fewer flowers than normal (fewer flowers means fewer seeds!).
Harvesting and Preserving Your Herbs
The best time to harvest most herbs is just before they flower – at this point their flavor is typically at its peak. However, there are exceptions: mint should be harvested after flowering because it quickly becomes woody; cilantro should be harvested when its leaves are still fresh but before it bolts (forms flowers); dill should be harvested when its seed heads are brown but before they release their seeds; chives can be harvested anytime throughout their growing season; oregano can be harvested anytime but is especially good when cut back after flowering; rosemary can be harvested anytime but may become somewhat woody if not trimmed regularly; thyme can be harvested anytime but may become somewhat woody if not trimmed regularly.
To harvest most herbs, simply snip off individual leaves as needed using sharp scissors or pruning shears. To harvest larger quantities, cut the entire plant back to about 6 inches above ground level. New growth will quickly emerge and the plant will be ready for another harvest in 4 to 6 weeks.
Once you’ve harvested your herbs, there are several different ways to preserve them:
– Drying: Hang small bundles of herbs upside down in a dark, well-ventilated location until the leaves are completely dry (this could take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks). Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems, crumble them into small pieces, and store in an airtight container.
– Freezing: Chop fresh herb leaves and stems into small pieces and place in a freezer-safe bag or container. Or, for a quicker method, place whole sprigs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the leaves or sprigs to a freezer-safe bag or container.
– Infusing oils: Fill a clean glass jar with fresh herb leaves (try not to pack them too tightly) then pour olive oil over top until the herbs are completely covered. Seal the jar tightly then place it in a sunny spot for 2 to 3 weeks – this will allow the herbs to infuse their flavor into the oil. After 2 to 3 weeks, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth then transfer the infused oil to a new clean jar or bottle. Store in a cool dark place and use within 6 months
It is easy to grow your own herbs at home with a little planning and effort. By following the tips in this blog post, you will be well on your way to having a thriving herb garden. Basil, cilantro, mint, rosemary, and thyme are all essential herbs that should be included in your garden. Be sure to select the right location for your garden and prepare the soil properly before planting. water and fertilize regularly, and harvest your herbs when they are ready. With a little care, you will be able to enjoy fresh herbs all year round.
Do you want to learn more about growing herbs? Our guides will help you get started
How to grow rosemary at home: the complete guide
How to grow oregano at home: the complete guide
How to Grow Cilantro at Home: The Complete Guide
How to grow chives at home the complete guide
How to grow parsley at home: the complete guide
How to grow basil at home: the complete guide
How to grow mint at home: the complete guide