How to Grow Herbs

Опубликовал Admin
30-07-2021, 14:10
If you love to season your cooking with fresh herbs, growing your own is an inexpensive and rewarding option. Herbs are unfussy plants that can grow indoors or outdoors, in pots or in the ground - all you need is a warm, sunny spot and a few basic supplies. Gather your supplies, start some seedlings, and plant and care for your new herbs.

Getting Started

  1. Choose herbs to grow. What herbs do you like to use in your cooking? When choosing what herbs to grow, start by thinking about your own preferences. Since herbs are easy and fun to grow, you might want to try your hand at growing an herb or two that you wouldn't normally buy at the grocery store. When you have a few in mind, buy packets of seeds at your local nursery or online.
    • Basil, dill, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint are wonderful herbs that are used in many cuisines. If you'd like to grow a variety of herbs, these would make a good foundation for an herb garden. You can also grow an herbal tea garden.
    • If you're planning on growing your herbs outside, you'll need to take your region's climate and soil properties into account. Determine what regional growing zone you fall into and make sure the herbs you pick out are able to thrive in your area.
  2. Decide where to grow the herbs. Herbs are easy to grow both outdoors and indoors. You can also choose between planting them directly in the ground or in a growing container. Most herbs need plenty of direct sunlight, although some need only partial sunlight. It's best to research which herbs suit which conditions before planting.
    • If you're growing herbs as part of your vegetable garden, plant to separate the herbs from the vegetables with about 6–12 inches (15.2–30.5 cm) of space.
    • You can grow herbs in separate pots, or buy a large pot and grow several types of herbs together.
  3. Get potting soil. Soil composition is an important factor for successful herb gardening. Herbs thrive in a somewhat neutral pH (between 6.5 and 7), but soil need not be especially fertile. In fact, if it is too rich, growth will be rampant and flavor, diluted. More important than fertility is drainage. The soil should be loose and crumbly so that it drains well.
    • If you're starting your herbs from seed, look for a seed starter potting soil that has not been enriched with extra nutrients, since seeds contain the nutrition they need to sprout and take root.
    • For older seedlings, choose potting soil that hasn't been treated with pesticides.
    • You can mix commercial soil with compost to help the herbs grow strong and healthy.

Starting Seeds

  1. Start in early spring. The best time to start seeds is when temperatures are still cool and the growing season has yet to get underway. This gives the seeds time to sprout and become established; they should be ready for planting when the temperature begins to rise.
    • If you can, wait until after the last frost.
  2. Prepare seed containers. Herb seeds can be started in any type of small container, like an old egg carton, yogurt cups, or containers available for purchase at the nursery. Label the containers so you'll know what seeds you're planting in which. Fill each one with potting soil, then dampen the soil with a bit of water. Place the containers in a sunny area with a steady temperature around 70 degrees. At this early stage the seeds should not get hours of direct sunlight, or they may overheat.
    • Even if you plan to grow your herbs outdoors, it's easier to start the seeds inside, where you can control the water and temperature.
    • Most herbs need a humid environment to germinate. If you live in an area where the air is very dry, cover the seed pots lightly with plastic wrap. Don't wrap them too tightly, though - the seeds need air flow to germinate.
  3. Soak the seeds. This step helps to get the seeds ready to germinate. Place the seeds in an even layer between two damp paper towels. Let them soak for about 4 hours on the day you are going to plant them.
  4. Plant the seeds. Check the seed packages to determine how each type of herb should be planted. Some just need to be scattered evenly across the surface of the soil, while others won't germinate unless they are buried under the surface. Over the next few weeks, the seeds will germinate and begin to sprout and grow leaves. Keep the temperature and sunlight steady, and make sure the soil never gets the chance to dry out.
  5. Thin the seedlings. Once the seedlings have grown leaves, you'll need to remove some of them from the pots so that the stronger ones have room to grow. Take out the less developed seedlings and leave about an inch of space between the remaining plants.

Planting Herbs

  1. Prepare the planting bed. Use a garden rake to loosen the dirt and rake in the soil mixture you purchased for the herbs to a depth of about 6 inches (15.2 cm). Sprinkle water over the soil to moisten it. Dig holes several inches apart in preparation for planting the herbs.
    • If you're planting the herbs in pots, determine how many will fit in each one. Many herbs get quite large as they grow, so you may not want to plant more than 2 - 3 seedlings in each container.
    • You can add a bit of fertilizer to the soil, but again, don't over-fertilize or the herbs won't thrive.
  2. Plant the seedlings. The herbs are ready to plant when they are well-established and have sprouted several mature leaves. Plant them when outdoor temperatures are above 50 degrees, and the chance of frost is gone. Carefully lift the seedlings from the pots, loosen their roots, and plant them in the ground. Pat soil around the base of the stems, then dampen the area with water.
    • If you're planting the herbs outside, it's a good idea to transition them to outdoor temperatures by allowing them to "harden off" in a garage or other covered outdoor space for a few days before you plant them in the ground.
  3. Care for the herbs. Now that the herbs are established, you have only to care for them by making sure they consistently get enough sunlight and water. Pay attention to the moisture level of the soil, and never let it get dried out. Your herbs will grow healthy and strong, and soon it will be time to harvest them.
  4. Fertilize your herbs. One good way to keep your herbs healthy and happy is to add fertilizer to the soil. You can sprinkle fertilizer around the bases of your plants after they are already established, or add slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting. Container-grown herbs will need more fertilizer than those grown in the ground. A few good fertilizer options are:
    • Organic slow-release granules. It is best to add these to the soil before planting.
    • Water-soluble fertilizer. This type of fertilizer can be added to your plants’ soil at any point during the growing season. It does not last as long as slow-release granules, so you may wish to give your herbs several treatments.
    • Compost. You can make your own natural fertilizer by composting your food and yard waste. Good compost material includes things like grass clippings, dead leaves, fruit and vegetable waste, stale bread, egg shells, and coffee grounds.
  5. Use natural pest control methods. If your herb garden is troubled by pests, you may need to apply some gentle pesticides or repellents to your plants. Try one or a combination of these safe and natural pest control methods:
    • Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, is a type of bacterium that naturally occurs in soil and contains insecticidal compounds. A variety of Bt-based pesticide products are available on the market. Bt is safe for humans and pets.
    • Diatomaceous earth is a natural rock powder that kills slugs and many insects. Sprinkle a little of it around the bases of your plants to create a barrier, or puff some onto the leaves with a puffer bottle.
    • Ladybugs are attractive, harmless to your plants, and happy to chow down on aphids and other small insect pests. Buy a box of ladybugs at your local garden center and turn them loose in your herb garden. Spray your plants with a dilute sugar-water solution first to make them more appealing to the ladybugs.


  • Some gardeners go one step further in the pursuit of perfect drainage and raise beds a few inches off the ground. An edging of bricks, logs, or stones does the trick and, as a bonus, neatly defines the beds. An advantage of raised beds is quick construction. You can lay out the edging in the design of your choice—right on top of the lawn. Mound each section with four to six inches of imported soil that has been amended to suit the herbs. The turf under the imported soil will die for lack of light and air and, as it decomposes, add organic matter. Cover the paths with four to six inches of mulch and remove any grass that manages to survive. A combination of full sun and fast-draining soil will foster lusty growth and discourage fungal diseases, keeping your plants healthy. Dry heat will also concentrate the essential oils in the leaves for the best flavor.


  • Some types of herbs, such as garlic, may be toxic to pets. If you have pets and plan to grow herbs in your home or garden, find out if they are safe for your pets. Make sure that your pets do not have access to any toxic herbs.
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