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This is a herb gardening for beginners guide and even if you have never started any type of garden, you’ll know how to grow herbs after reading this.
Actually, it’s not that hard. Okay, I’ve grown a lot of stuff and am probably making light of how intimidating this must seem to you now.
Bit don’t worry, herbs are pretty hardy. You’d have to really “screw things up” to blow this project up.
This guide is just going to concentrate on the “baby steps” required to get your herb garden up and running.
There will be nothing difficult about this process.
In a nutshell, here is a short version.
- Choose the right containers
- Give them room to grow
- Make sure they have proper drainage
- Use a high quality potting mix
- Prepare for prevention of weeds
- Fertilize your herbs regularly
- Water when they need it
- Ensure your herbs are exposed to a sunny spot
Herb Gardening For Beginners – Let’s Begin
A herb gardening for beginners guide should be overwhelming. I’ve kept this pretty simple. Absorb, try it out and once you have your first herbs in the ground, try it again.
Practice makes perfect right?
So let me give you some tips on what to do before planting your first seeds or seedlings in the ground. This will help you get off to an easy start with growing herbs.
1) Think About Which Herbs You Want To Plant
You can choose from many different types of plants when starting out with herb gardening.
Some people like to plant just one kind of herb while others prefer mixing them together.
I personally love having lots of different kinds around because they make great additions to my meals throughout the year.
If you want to try something new though, then go ahead! Just be sure to pick varieties that suit your climate well.
If you live somewhere where winters tend to be cold, then look into freezing tender herbs such as basil or mint.
I like to grow the herbs I use. Don’t grow them just because you can. What’s the point if you’re not going to use them.
2) Important Herb Gardening For Beginners Tip – Get The Right Soil & Fertilizer
The soil should ideally contain plenty of organic matter so that nutrients are available to the roots of the plants.
It also needs to drain well so that water doesn’t sit too long inside the root zone which could cause rot.
Most soils sold at home improvement stores are good enough but if you plan to use manure or composted animal manures, then add these ingredients to the top layer of the soil.
3) Planting Time Is Important
It takes time to establish a healthy herb garden. In fact, most herbs take about two years to mature fully. That means you need to wait until springtime to begin planting your seeds indoors.
It may sound crazy but there are actually ways to speed up the process by using heat mats, warm window sills, etc.
But once you see those little green sprouts poking through the dirt, you won’t care anymore.
4) Water Your Herbs Well
Once you have planted your seeds, keep watering regularly. Don’t forget to check under the leaves every day to ensure no dry areas develop. Also, avoid over-watering since excess moisture encourages diseases.
Another tip is to put herbs with a similar water need in together.
An example to use a mixed herb pot would be to include thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram handle hot dry conditions well. You can put them in the same planter pot. But a herb like mint won’t handle those conditions too well because it loves lots of water.
5) Harvest Your Herbs On A Regular Basis
Harvesting herbs is important for maintaining their health. Pick only the amount needed each week and discard the rest. Try to harvest daily during peak growth periods.
Harvesting herbs regularly promotes new growth. Each time you harvest the leftover can wilt quickly. Remove it as well.
If you have too much to use yourself, share them with family and friends.
6) Keep Insects Away With Good Pest Prevention
Insect pests often attack young plants so watch out for aphids, whiteflies, mites, slugs, snails, caterpillars, worms, etc. These critters can damage both foliage and flowers.
To prevent infestations, apply insecticides according to label directions. Be careful not to spray near edible crops or other sensitive plants. I recommend organic pesticide.
The great thing about some herbs is that they are natural pest repellents anyway. I’ll be presenting a separate article on this in the future. Some people add Nasturtiums to their herb garden and make a great companion plant to any garden variety. If you are planting in small indoor pots then you’re limited by space but adding some Nasturtium will be beneficial.
7) Another Important Herb Gardening For Beginners Tip – Prune When Needed
Pruning helps maintain strong stems and keeps branches free of dead wood. Remove old flower stalks and twigs as soon as possible to encourage more blooms next season.
Pruning also eases congestion within any garden bed. Some plants need a little room to move and herbs are no different.
By pruning them back when necessary, you’re giving them that needed “elbow room”.
8) Make Sure You Mulch
Mulching prevents weeds and adds nutrients to the soil.
Plus, mulched beds stay cooler in summer months than bare ones do.
Mulching is almost like a “booster shot” for plant growth so it’s encouraged in most situations. Again, an indoor pot won’t need much mulch so this “should be a breeze”.
9) Enjoy Them All Year Round
Don’t let winter stop you from enjoying fresh herbs all year round. They taste amazing on soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, stir fries, etc.
If you have an outside garden, consider adding some extra pots inside. When winter hits, you’ll have less anxiety about keeping the frost and snow off your herbs.
Just make sure you can get them to an area that receives good sunlight at various stages during the day.
10) Grow More Next Season
Now that you’re done harvesting, save some seedlings for next year. Then replant them in another spot outdoors.
Yes, some herbs, especially some bushy perennials, may take a year or two to fully mature.
Don’t let this put you off. This doesn’t mean you can’t harvest before that. So always keep a supply for replanting at a later date.
11) Just Repeat As Necessary
The thing about gardening is once you’ve done it, the next time around will be easier. So repeat the process as soon as you are ready.
It’s like a system. What works you keep doing over an over.
If you find yourself growing tired of one particular variety, simply plant different types instead. This will help diversify your herbal collection and make it easier to replace lost favorites when they start looking unappealing.
12) Final Herb Gardening For Beginners Tip – Use Herbs Very Wisely
Some people think that just because an herb has medicinal properties, it automatically makes it safe to consume.
However, many common culinary herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, chives, parsley, dill, fennel, cilantro, tarragon, lemon balm, marjoram, savory, bay leaf, lovage, angelica, caraway, coriander, chervil, mustard greens, arugula, borage, nasturtium, calendulas, catnip, camomile, comfrey, echinacea, feverfew, garlic, ginger, horseradish, hyssop, lemongrass, lavender, licorice, linden blossom, meadowsweet, peppermint, pennyroyal, pine needles, rue, senna, spearmint, sumac, sweet clover, wormwood, yarrow, zucchini blossoms, and others are toxic if consumed in large quantities.
Always consult with a doctor before consuming anything made from wildcrafted herbs.
Good luck with your herb garden journey!