How To Start An Herb Garden

Wanting to grow your own herbs, but not sure how? Learn everything you need to know about how to start an herb garden in your backyard. Having fresh herbs available is a wonderful thing- especially if you love to cook. It doesn’t matter how much room you have, you can start an herb garden. 

Growing your own herbs is a wonderful hobby, with wonderful benefits. There is such a wide range of herbs that you can grow at home! 

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How To Start An Herb Garden For Beginners

Ready to dive into everything you need to know how to start an herb garden? Starting an herb garden can feel a little overwhelming at times, but I promise it isn’t that hard. 

Are Herbs Difficult To Grow?

Most herbs are surprisingly easy to grow! Some can be a little harder than others but they are absolutely worth it. With a bit of sunshine, well-draining soil, consistent watering, and some well-rotted compost you will have beautiful herbs to enjoy. 

When Should You Start An Herb Garden

Spring is the perfect time to start an outdoor herb garden, but if you plan to grow your herbs inside when to start an herb garden is much more flexible. Here’s a good guide for when to plant herbs outside. 

Starting An Herb Garden From Scratch

Do Herbs Need Full Sun

For the most part, you don’t have to grow your herbs in full sun and can get away with growing them in more shady areas. Granted there are a few that do better with some sunshine. 

How To Start An Herb Garden: Basic Garden Layouts

Herb gardens layouts differ greatly from simple rows to stunning spirals and raised beds. Pick a layout that you love and go with that (even if it’s a row of pots in your window). 

Here are some herb garden layout ideas:

  • Spiral – An herb spiral is a wonderful way to grow herbs in your yard, that allows you to grow your herbs vertically. 
  • Rows – Simple beds with rows is another lovely herb garden layout. 
  • Raised Bed – A raised bed is another great way to start an herb garden. 
  • Pots – Simple pots or planters are an adorable way to grow herbs in a window, on a porch, or patio. 

How To Start An Herb Garden: Preparing Your Soil

Herbs like any plant need soil that will nurture its needs, if you are lucky enough to have rich soil count your blessings. If not you’ll need to amend your soil (don’t worry this won’t be completed all in one year, soil improves with years of gardening). 

Remove the weeds from your new herb garden bed, and work in several inches of well-rotted manure or compost several months before you intend to plant. You may also want to do a soil test on your ground and add the recommended amendments. 

If you have very poor soil or clay soil it may be best to go with a raised bed option to grow herbs. Check out our tutorial for making raised bed garden soil

How Deep Should Herb Gardens Be?

Most herbs don’t need deep soil to be productive, usually, 3 to 12 inches is deep enough for your herb garden.

Learn More About How To Use Herbs!

Do Herbs Grow Better In Pots?

Herbs can do very well in pots but tend to prefer to be in the ground. This doesn’t mean that you can put them in pots, just make sure they are well watered and have enough warmth, sunshine, and nutrients. 

Do Herbs Need Manure?

Herbs do best when they have something to feed them, while you don’t absolutely have to use manure you do need to feed them through compost or organic box fertilizer. 

How Do You Maintain An Herb Garden?

The next step in how to start an herb garden is learning to maintain it. Maintaining an herb garden is pretty easy, especially if you grow your herbs in pots. The most important things to keep up with is:

  • Watering – especially in very hot weather. Keep the soil moist, if your plants show signs of wilting make sure you water soon. 
  • Harvesting – harvest your herbs often to keep them from bolting and going to seed. 
  • And weeding – don’t let weeds overwhelm your herb plants, they need plenty of space to thrive so they aren’t competing for nutrients. 

How To Start An Herb Garden In An Apartment

Yes, it is still possible to grow herbs when you live in an apartment! You just have to be a little bit more creative. 

Growing Herbs In Containers

There are tons of herbs that you can grow in pots on your counter or in your window, or even on a small balcony. Herbs like:

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Mints
  • Parsley 
  • and Cilantro can all be grown in pots for fresh herbs in an apartment. 

How To Start An Herb Garden: What Plants Should Go In An Herb Garden

What you should plant in your new herb garden is going to depend on your unique tastes and what your end goal is. Do you want a culinary herb garden, a medicinal herb garden, or a mix?  Some of our favorite herbs to include in our herb garden are:

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Bee Balm
  • Lavender
  • Calendula
  • Yarrow
  • St. John’s Wart 
  • Motherwort 
  • Prim Rose
  • Valarian
  • Mullen
  • Peppermint
  • Catnip
  • and Lemon Balm

Make sure you pick up a copy of our herb garden handbook to learn how to use these herbs and what they are good for.

Which Herbs Can Be Planted Together?

The next step in how to start an herb garden is figuring out what to plant. Some herbs that are commonly planted together are sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, and oregano. Try to avoid planting mint and other spreading herbs near each other herbs because they are very invasive and can smother your other plants.  

 

What Herbs Shouldn’t Be Planted Together?

Another part of knowing how to start an herb garden is what shouldn’t be planted together. Most herbs can be planted together, especially if they are being planted in the ground. Avoid planting water-loving herbs (Vietnamese coriander, mint, chervil, chives, coriander), with those that like drier soil ( oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay, and sage) in pots together.

What Herbs Come Back Every Year?

Another important part of how to start an herb garden is knowing what herbs come back every year, plants like rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, bee balm, valerian, lavender,  and mints will die back for the winter and then come back in the spring. Others will self-seed to come back in the spring. 

Tips To Make A Beautiful Herb Garden

Here are some of our best tips for how to start an herb garden:

  • Plot your beds before planting, try staggering your plants to create patterns.
  • Use stepping stones for a walkway in your herb garden.
  • Make a border along the outside of your herb garden to create a crisp line.
  • Use architectural pieces to create a focal point in your new herb garden.
 

What Can I Do With Herbs From My Garden?

The final step in how to start an herb garden is what to do with all of the herbs. Herbs harvested in your garden can be used in delicious recipes like:

You can also preserve your herbs for later in the year, or to make tinctures and salves.

Did we answer all of your questions on how to start an herb garden? If not drop them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them!

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