Our herb garden for beginners guide will teach you the basics of growing herbs and give easy tips that will help you grow herbs successfully.
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If you are a beginner gardener and learning how to start a vegetable garden, then growing your very own herb garden first is a great place to start.
A herb garden can be any size you want it to be, a small and easy-to-handle herb garden can help you build the confidence you need to grow more food.
If you do some home cooking?.. How convenient would it be to use fresh herbs when cooking.
Save money, and make the most of growing the herbs that will give you a great aroma, beautiful greenery, and enhance your cooking.
Herb Garden for Beginners Table of Contents
Learning how to grow herbs will set you up for more successful gardening in your garden journey.
Give herb gardening a chance and let it show you how wonderful growing your food is.
Now let get into this herb garden for beginners guide!
Herb Garden for Beginners Benefits
Herbs are one the most diverse plants to grow because they are beneficial in so many areas of your life and overall health and wellness.
Many scientific studies show how different kinds of herbs benefit the body. Below I have referenced one of my favorite herb books Rosemary Gladsatr’s Medicinal Herbs a Beginners Guide, and according to Rosemary:
Sage-Fights cold and flu symptoms reduce inflammation in throat issues and can be known to help cholesterol levels. (Nursing mothers should be aware of sage as it can affect their milk.)
Basil– Decreases issues like anxiety, depression and can also reduce fatigue.
Calendula– helps treat stomach issues, throat issues, and has anti-inflammation and healing properties.
Rosemary– Known to help blood circulation, cholesterol and can improve headaches.
Growing anything in the garden can help mother nature. Growing food benefits pollinators like bees and other insects. The flowers of medical herbs like calendula, echinacea, and chamomile are great pollinator herbs.
Kitchen herbs like dill and chives can also help the bees if you let them grow long enough to make their beautiful flowers.
Start making an environmentally friendly impact on mother nature, and start your herb garden today!
Filling your vegetable garden with herbs of all kinds is a great way to give more nutrients to your soil and prevent various pests. You will soon find out that herbs are great companion plants!
Chives help pests when planted next to carrots, tomatoes, and mustard greens.
Oregano reduces pests from squash, beans, and peppers.
Basil is great companion plant for tomatoes, eggplants, beets, and potatoes
Having to herb garden is highly effective at saving you money. I’m sure you have bought herbs at your local supermarket, and they can be a bit pricey at times.
I know little packets of basil, rosemary, or seasoning jars can start adding up…especially buying organic.
Remember that you have full control over how you grow your herbs and can have yourself high-quality herbs that won’t break the bank.
Types of herbs
Now, one of the first things you should know before growing herbs is some of the types of herbs you can grow.
Narrow down what type of herbs you want to grow by knowing more about them. It’s great to research which herbs thrive in your climate.
Perennial herbs will return year after year when you plant them just once.
Best Perennial herbs to grow
Thyme- Used mostly in food but can have disinfectant and antiseptic properties. You can use the flowers and when growing them give thyme full sun. Thyme is a very hardy plant that is drought resistant.
Chives- Known to re-seed itself, and can be used in the kitchen or on the skin for insect repellant. Grow in full sun and partial shade. Its beautiful purple and fluffy flowers are also edible. A cool-weather plant that is a “cut and come again” plant.
Rosemary- Drought-tolerant plant that is known to be difficult to start from seed. Plant in full sun and parietal shade. Water rosemary well but also let the soil dry at times. If you’re having problems growing it, it may be because you are overwatering.
Lavender- Drought tolerant plant that also needs the soil to be dry before you water again. Can be used in many dishes as well as body products.
Mint- Super easy plant to grow and is a well-known invasive grower. Be sure to place this herb in a container as it will take over any area it is planted in. Mint can survive in drought environments and withstand extreme temperatures hot or cold.
Echinacea- Also known as a Coneflower, it is a well-known low-maintenance medical herb. Be sure to cut back these flowers to get more yield out of them and be sure to give them full sun when growing.
According to mountsinai.org, “ Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that boost immune function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. “
Yarrow- After your yarrow plant has established itself, this medical herb is self-sufficient and drought tolerant. Yarrow has many great medical properties, especially if you drink it as tea.
Healthline.com states, “Yarrow tea contains flavonoids and alkaloids that may relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
Oregano– Great for beginner gardeners since it’s hard to kill and easy to grow. Will grow well in partial sun but can’t withstand freezing temperatures.
Annual herbs have an expiration date to their growth and will complete their whole life system in one year, which means you have to plant these herbs again the next year.
Best Annual Herbs to Grow
Basil- Unable to tolerate cold temperature below 50 and should be grown in full sun. Leaves of the plant can be harvest at any time and their flavor will depend on how old the leaves are (newer leaves have a better taste).
Basil can act like a perennial since you can pinch off parts of the plant and it will give you more basil throughout your growing season.
Dill – known to reseeds itself as an annual herb and can survive drought conditions. After its beautiful flowers start to grow no more dill will grow. Notorious to be used for pickling all types of vegetables, especially cucumbers to make pickles.
Marjoram – Needs full sun and needs at least the temperature to be at 60 degrees Fahrenheit for it to grow successfully. Pinching off some of the stems of the plant will give you more yield in the long run.
Biennial herbs take up to 2 years to get to its’s full potential than will die off. The primary growth of the plants from its roots to its leaves grows in the first year, then it will go dormant until the following year when it will flower and produce seeds.
Best Biennial Herbs to grow
Parsely- Can also be considered as an annual and will come back if you cut it back. Great to grow indoors or outdoors and will grow in full or partial sun. Easy to grow for beginner herb gardeners.
Stevia- Needs full sun to grow properly and can take up to a little over a month to harvest. Used to garnish dishes, make tea, and sweet stevia powder used as a sugar alternative.
According to sweetleaf.com, “ 1 teaspoon of sugar equals ⅛ teaspoon of stevia powder.”
Sage- This soft and fuzzy plant grows great in cool weather and needs full sun. This classic herb does not like to be dried out and will keep your herb garden smelling amazing.
Fennel – Also seen as a perennial, fennel can survive a light frost and take up to 3 months to grow to its full potential.
As this herb is treated as annual, sweet fennel is known to be a perennial. A whole fennel plant from its roots to its flowers is edible!
Herb garden for beginners: Best herbs to grow
Narrow down your needs when planning what herbs you want to grow.
Ask yourself, what role will my herb garden play, and what is my goal for growing a herb garden?
Nevertheless, there are so many ways to use herbs, and depending on your overall need for them you, choose the reason why you want to grow herbs.
You might want to grow herbs that you cook with, or make products with.
Culinary Herbs (kitchen herbs)
If you need to spruce up your spices while cooking, you can use certain herbs straight out of your herb garden or preserve them for later.
Growing your kitchen herb garden will take your cooking to another level. Start with a few culinary herbs below.
Easy to grow Kitchen Herb Garden:
Rosemary, dill, chives, oregano, parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, and sage
Want to grow herbs to help with healing, comfort, and improve your health?
Well then choosing to grow medicinal herbs is the way to go.
Regardless of what type of medicinal herbs you want to grow, be mindful that plants used for medicine can be very powerful, have lots of benefits, but can be questionable.
Using certain herbs might cause risk or harm depending on an individual certain medical situation or affect their medication regime.
Please use herbs with caution, talk to your doctor about using herbs and do your research.
Easy to Grow Medicinal herbs
lavender, chamomile, dandelion, Echinacea, lemon balm, Calendula, Peppermint, cilantro
After you have recognized your goals and herbs you will grow, now you can get ready to start a herb garden.
Herb garden for beginners -Grow In 5 Steps
Get organized by making some herb garden decisions. Knowing some gardening basics before growing anything is helpful.
If you never gardened before, reading how to Start a Vegetable Garden from Scratch would be a great guide to follow.
#1 How to choose a location for your herb garden
First and foremost be sure to look up your USDA hardiness zone for your location.
This will help you know the right time to grow plants, sow your seeds or place your plants outside.
Depending on your available space and goals for your herb garden, choose a location that gets a lot of sunshine, air circulation, and a place that is easily accessible to water and you.
Growing herbs indoors or in Small spaces
If you’re growing indoors or have minimum space to grow, place a kitchen herb garden by a window seal, porch, or balcony.
Growing Herbs Outdoors
A spot right next to your home outdoors right by a water source will be easier to maintain and harvest.
Medicinal herbs can be used along the pavement, garden beds, or containers in between flowers or vegetables.
Growing a perennial and annuals can change the look of your garden. It helps to envision how a herb will look through certain stages of its growing cycle.
Environmental considerations are crucial to the overall health and growth of your herbs.
#2 Where to buy herb starter plants and seeds
Buying starter plants from a local nursery or big box stores is the easiest to do for beginners who want to start a herb garden right away.
All you have to do is to transplant the already grown plants into the location of your choice.
Some herbs are easy to grow from seed while others are not so easy. Each type of herb, like any other plant, has a specific temperature it will germinate at.
Herb seeds easy to grow: Basil, Dill, Mint, Chives, Cilantro, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Calendula, Parsley, Sage
Almost all herb seeds should be started indoors, but Dill, Chamomile, and cilantro can be started outside.
A good rule of thumb is to wait to sow seeds after your last frost date.
#3 Find ways to plant your Herb garden
Containers are a great option if you have minimal space or live in a colder climate and need to place your plant indoors from time to time.
Container Herb Gardening
Using containers is one of the easiest ways to plant your herb garden and is great for moving plants around if needed.
Drilling holes on the bottom of your container first (if it doesn’t have it already) before filling your container with quality potting soil mix is important for proper drainage.
Caution: It will be less of a headache if you grow mint, sage, and lemon balm in a container so they won’t take over.
For sowing seeds in a container:
Depending on the size of your container, follow the sowing direction on your seed packet on how to deep to sow your seeds.
After sowing seeds in your container soil, lightly sprinkle some more soil on top, water, and make sure you give the seeds plenty of light.
Transplants start plants:
You can use the same type of soil mentioned above, dig a hole to palace your plant in, and cover the soil around it.
Best herbs to grow indoors in containers: chives, parsley, basil, coriander, marjoram, dill and mint, and oregano
Filling your raise beds with organic matter like tree branches, newspaper, hay, or grass clipping can save you money on buying soil and compost. Depending on the size of your raised bed, the amount of space will be enough for herbs.
Fitting herbs around flowers, vegetables, and places where the ground gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight Is a great place to grow herbs in-ground.
#4 Herb Garden for Beginners: Tips to know
For the type of soil, I have personally used PROMIX Ultimate Organic Veg & Herb Mix for my herbs plants and my herbs had no issues. I would also mix in some compost for added nutrients that will help your herb plants grow.
Any organic soil, potting mix, or compost will do!
Each herb has a specific spacing it requires depending if your planting in a container or a bigger space like a raised bed.
Some plants get bigger than others and depending on their size at full growth you want to make sure that all your herbs won’t overshadow each other.
My rule of thumb for spacing is to at least space each plant every 12 inches if possible. No need to stress out too much about space, your experience with each herb will come through time.
Some herbs work well with Partial shade. Overall, all herbs need at least six hours of sunlight to grow.
Living in an extremely hot and sunny place can hurt your herbs, so if you have that problem, placing a shade cloth over your herbs with a DIY low tunnel will prevent heat damage.
Having sufficient water for all your herbs is crucial and only some herbs have a drought tolerance, but not all.
Overwatering can be a problem too, so a good rule of thumb is if you stick your knuckle in the soil, and it feels moist, then your planta have sufficient water.
When I start from seeds, I like to pre-water my soil first before planting my seeds.
High-quality soil is made up of rich organic matter, which is nature’s best fertilizer. Fertilizing your herbs is an important step that you can do at least once every 1 -2 weeks.
NPK is crucial for the growth of leaves, roots, and overplant health on all plants.
(N) nitrogen: Helps the growth of leaves, a green pigment, and overall cell growth
(P) phosphorous: Great to help root and flower/fruit growth
(K) potassium: increases blooms and overall health immunity of a plant.
Nitrogen-rich fertilizer works well with herbs, and fertilizer rich in Nitrogen like Fish emulsion is a great fast-acting fertilizer to use (beware that it does smell).
Compost tea and fertilizers specifically made for herbs are other great options. Always follow the directions on your bag of fertilizer and be sure to not overfertilize.
Using your hands to harvest is an easy way to harvest, but investing in a quality pair of garden clippers will help you harvest herbs faster and without damaging your herbs.
Cutting off some plant growth of established foliage herb plants like Tarragon, Rosemary, mint, sage, chives, parsley, and basil can promote new growth.
Cutting off the whole stem leaving ½ inch of the plant of Chives, cilantro, and thyme is a good way to keep the production of the herb.
Harvesting herbs earlier in the day is the best time to harvest for quality flavor.
#5 Know Which herbs to plant together
Companion planting is a great way to keep your herbs happy and thriving. Some kitchen herbs that grow well next to each other:
- Dill- lavender, cilantro, basil
- Basil- thyme, oregano, parsley
- Cilantro- parsley, mint, basil, dill
- Parsley: chives, basil, cilantro
- Rosemary- sage, chives
Ways to preserve herbs for your garden
Dry herbs by air drying, using an oven, dehydrator, or even by a Microwave.
For air drying: Cut a medium size bouquet of herbs, wrap a string around it (burlap or garden string), and hang it in a dry place with good ventilation.
Oven drying: set oven at the lowest temperature to dry for as little as 20 minutes (like drying oregano) or 1-3 hours for other herbs.
Or till the herb is bone dry or easy to crumble, depending on the type of herb you are drying (medicinal herbs or culinary herbs ).
Check on your herbs in the oven every 15-30 min to make sure your herbs don’t burn.
Other ways to preserve:
- Making pesto and freezing it in an ice tray.
- Purée herbs and freeze for longer preservation. Make a grid indentation on the bag to quickly break off a piece when needed.
- Freeze in a plastic bag by leaving leaves in a freezer bag, remove air, and place in a deep freezer or regular freezer.
Herb garden for beginners: Conclusion
You will surely find out how wonderful and easy-growing herbs are. There are as many benefits and uses for herbs and lovely to have fresh herbs growing in your garden.
After you start growing herbs, you can’t imagine not growing them!
With the tips in this herb garden for beginners post and your personal experiences, every year you will get better and better at growing them.
Rewarding is one word that describes growing a herb garden. From herbs foliage to its flowers, they are is so much you use all year round.
Don’t forget to leave a comment on how this post helped you grow your herb garden.
For more gardening tips, check out the other helpful post below.
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