Where to grow herbs?

Herb Garden Design – Choosing A Site For Your Herb Garden

When choosing a site for your herb garden, there are several important factors you need to consider before selecting a permanent location.

Sunlight for Your Herb Garden

First and foremost, you’ll need to choose a site that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Most herbs need plenty of sunshine in order to grow and reach their full potential. Herbs, like most sun-loving plants that don’t receive their minimum daily allowance of sunlight, will end up leggy, awkward-looking and unproductive instead of lush, beautiful, and useful.

Before digging, spend a day making note of all the sunny spots in your yard. Check on these spots at hourly intervals to see exactly how long the sun remains at any given location in your yard. Trees, bushes, building structures, and even tall-growing flowers or vegetables can cast shade at different times during the day. Knowing the sunny spots in your yard will make your garden planning easier.

Of course, there are some shade-loving herbs, but you will find that your choices among them are very limited, and aside from parsley, most of these herbs are not useful for cooking.

If sunlight in your yard is in short supply, you may want to think about container gardening. By growing your herbs in containers, you will be able to easily move them to follow that much needed sunlight.

Well-Drained Soil for Your Herb Garden

Herbs need well-drained soil to be able to do their best. The soil needs to be somewhat light and easy to till. When choosing a site for your herb garden, check the quality of your soil by running a hose at the chosen location for several minutes. If the water from the hose puddles up, you will need to amend the soil, possibly by adding some sand, peat, or compost. Be careful when adding compost though. You don’t want to make the soil too rich. If the soil is too rich, your herbs will become weak and more prone to diseases.

The perfect pH level for most herbs is 6.5, but herbs are frequently forgiving and can grow in soil that is slightly acidic or alkaline. For best results, they usually only need moderate fertilization.

Location of Herb Gardens

Herb gardens are meant to be used and admired; that’s why it’s important to consider practicality when choosing a site for your herb garden. No one wants to traipse across a dark yard at night or during a rainstorm in order to harvest a few leaves of basil or oregano. Choosing a site that is nearby will eliminate this problem and make it easy to reap the rewards of your herb-gardening efforts.

One of the best places to put your herb garden is right outside your back door, where not only can you get to it easily, but you can enjoy the rich, savory scents that emanate from it every time you walk outside.

If planting next to your back door isn’t convenient or isn’t an option for you, think about including some herbs in and among the shrubbery in your front yard. Most herbs are extremely attractive on their own and can make a lovely and somewhat unusual display when mixed in with the bushes and flowers of your landscape, helping to beautify your yard while also keeping the herbs handy for their appropriate uses.

Choosing a site for your herb garden that is close by will also make it easier to water, prune, and tend to your herbs as needed.

Spending a little extra time before choosing a site for your herb garden will ensure you of having the best producing, easily accessible, and most useful herb garden possible. After all, that’s what it’s all about.

Herbs that love the heat – Summer herbs

Basil

Plant basil in a sheltered position and keep it well-watered in the heat of summer. Pruning (or regular harvest) can keep the plants compact and also extend their productive life. Unlike most herbs, its flavour increases with cooking. Includes sweet basil, purple basil, etc.

Chives

Hardy in garden beds or in pots, plant chives in full sun but don’t let them dry out. If the weeding gets away from you, chives can be distinguished from surrounding grass by its hollow stems and pungent aroma. Remove flowers to promote a long life.

Chilli

Chillies are really just tiny capsicums — with a much hotter taste! They grow in sun or part shade and are tolerant of a range of soil types. They also grow well in pots. Keep them moist and lightly mulched. Chillies come in a range of different ‘temperatures’ and also a range of colours. Regular harvest promotes further fruit development. Chillies won’t ripen off the bush.

Mint

Mint is easy to grow and can actually become a little invasive if allowed to escape from its pot. It grows in either full sun or shade and likes a well-drained soil. Keep it moist for best results and remove flowers for a longer productive season. Look out for peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint or chocolate mint.

Lemongrass

Lemon grass is delicious in cooling summer drinks like fruity iced teas. Its 1.5 metre tall, grassy clumps will grow in pots or garden beds. In stir fries or curries, only the soft, inner stem is used — give it a whack with the back of a knife to release its flavours before using it. Grow lemon grass in a full sun position with plenty of moisture.

Thyme

Thyme is an easy low growing plant to grow all year around. Loves the dry and warmer weather in a sunny spot with well drained soil. They flourish well in soils full of well composted manures and benefit from a liquid feed of SeaMax Fish & Kelp for strong growth. Try not to over-water thyme. They like the dry. Once a week in warmer weather is sufficient. To promote vigorous thick growth, cut back after the flowering period. Look out in gardening outlets for varying varieties of flavours and flower types thyme grows as.


Related article: Growing Asian Herbs

Are you starting an indoor herb garden? Find out 12 best herbs to grow indoors. These are easiest to grow and require less care.

1. Lemongrass

This herb grows wild in tropics. You can also grow it in temperate climates. It requires slightly moist soil and partial sun, and it can even adjust itself in a small container.

2. Mint

In the garden, mint becomes very invasive and grows like a weed. It doesn’t require plenty of sun too. You can even keep your potted mint plant in a spot that receives bright indirect sun.

3. Parsley

Grow it in a medium-large pot and keep that in a spot that receives part sun. In a moderate room temperature, you can grow it year-round. Just propagate new plants time to time from cuttings, and it will last forever in your indoor herb garden.

4. Chives

Herbs that require less sunlight and moist soil to thrive are most suitable for growing indoors. Chives can grow in part sun. Just place the pot near a bright window facing east or west. You can multiply chives from an already established plant by division. Learn more about growing chives here.

5. Garden Cress

You can grow this cool-season annual indoors easily. Plant seeds in a shallow but wide container and keep the pot on a windowsill that receives partial sun. Soil should be moist, for the regular harvest of cress microgreens, plant seeds in a regular interval of every two weeks. You can cut and harvest the garden cress 3-4 times. If there is no sun, you can grow it under fluorescent lamps and T5 fluorescent plant lights.

6. Catnip

Growing catnip indoors is hard if you have cats. Apart from that, it is one of the easiest herbs. Once you germinate seeds, you can grow it forever from cuttings. Place the pot on a sunny windowsill and keep it well watered.

7. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm grows year-round in warmer zones. Some gardeners even consider it a weed. Growing lemon balm indoors is super easy if you can provide it exposure to 4 hours of sunlight daily. When growing indoors, water the plant only when topsoil is dry.

8. Chervil

Chervil is one of the herbs you can grow indoors smoothly. Room temperature around 60-70 F is optimum for it. It can also adapt to low light conditions.

Best Herbs to Grow Indoors in More Sun

9. Dill

The secret of growing dill successfully in a container is to grow it in a deep one. A minimum of 10 inches deep container is required. For growing dill indoors keep it in a spot that receives at least 5 hours of sunlight daily, provide good air circulation and water it only when the top 1 inch surface of potting soil seems dry.

10. Cilantro

Image Credit: Gardening Know How

Cilantro is extremely easy to germinate but hard to maintain in containers. The trick is to grow cilantro in a deep container. It bolts quickly, so it is better to plant seeds from time to time. Keep cilantro in the south or west-facing window.

11. Sage

Grow sage indoors only if you have a South or West facing window and that receives minimum 5-6 hours of direct sun. This perennial herb takes a lot of time to get established when grown from seeds, so it is better to take a tip cutting and propagate it.

12. Thyme

Thyme can adjust itself to partial sun and if you can provide 5 hours of sunlight daily, growing thyme indoors is possible.

A few more herbs you can grow indoors on a windowsill

  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Basil

Without any question, water is the most important substance for almost all plants, which is why watering herbs properly is the most essential job in herb gardening.

At the same time, however, watering is easy. You definitely don’t need to overthink the small details here. Instead, you should focus on the big picture and just make sure your herbs are getting watered routinely.

There has been much debate among gardeners as to how often herbs should be watered, but no general agreement has been reached.

For you, that means one thing: more flexibility. In other words, you can compare different gardeners’ watering approaches and choose the one that suits you best.

Let’s consider this subject in more detail.

How Often Should You Water Herbs?

In general, herbs require less water than flowers and vegetables because most species of herbs have adapted to grow in dry conditions. Some herbs also taste better when they’re given their minimum water requirements.

Let’s not overgeneralize though. The best way to look at your herbs in this case is to categorize them into two groups: moisture-loving herbs and drought-tolerant herbs.

  • Moisture-loving Herbs:

Moisture-loving herbs usually do better in wet rather than dry soil. These include mint, dill, chervil, and bee balm.

Interestingly, most of these herbs are annual or treated as such, which means they live only for one year and usually die at the beginning of winter.

  • Drought-tolerant Herbs:

Herbs that can grow normally in dry soil are considered drought-tolerant or drought-loving herbs. Rosemary, thyme, and sage are all considered to be drought-tolerant herbs.

A few perennials, such as oregano and catnip, are even said to be xeriscape species that can survive on very little water.

Some herbs fall between these two categories but can be treated as moisture-loving herbs.

Refer to a plant encyclopedia to know your herbs’ water requirements. After you have found out into which category a particular herb falls, you can easily decide how to water it.

Actually, expert gardeners recommend that you only water herbs according to their needs and not according to a schedule.

Most plants, especially herbs, prefer to be watered when the soil is almost dry.

A rule of thumb in knowing when to water your moisture-loving herbs is to check the first few top inches of your soil. If it is completely dry, the roots need water. Don’t be afraid to use your finger in this case to feel the soil.

Drought-loving herbs have deeper and wider root systems, so you can water them when you feel that the soil is extremely dry.

On the other hand, it’s certainly valid to follow a watering schedule as long as you’re doing it properly.

It’s important to note that herbs growing in the yard require a different watering schedule than potted ones.

In general, moisture-loving herbs need a ½ liter of water for each square foot (nearly 0.1 square meters) of soil every week.

However, you can’t use that measurement with potted plants. Instead, you should water your moisture-loving potted herbs once or twice every day, especially in hot seasons.

You don’t need to follow a strict schedule with your potted drought-loving herbs. You can water them every few days or each week, depending on the season.

In all cases, remember the best time to water your herbs is very early in the morning or in the evening so that they don’t lose water by evaporation.

How to Know if You’re Doing Things Right

Don’t worry if you’re unsure about your watering skills, as you can improve with just a little bit of effort.

Herbs are honest about their needs and will warn you when they’re disturbed by the amount of water they’re getting.

There are several signs you should look out for in such a situation:

Overwatering Signs:

  • Leaves may become discolored (brown)

  • Blisters and lesions appear
  • Herbs will wilt when the soil isn’t dry
  • They will also become more prone to a fungal attack

Underwatering Signs:

  • Herbs will wilt in soil that appears to be dry
  • Leaves will be curly and yellow and sometimes decay

It’s very unlikely that you’ll encounter these symptoms, but if you do, you should act quickly, especially in drought conditions.

Add one drop of biodegradable liquid soap to each ½ liter of water before you feed your thirsty herbs. This will allow the dry soil to open and help water penetrate to reach the roots.

In both cases, change your watering routine to a more balanced one by increasing or decreasing the amount of water and the number of watering days per month.

Tips and Advice to Water Efficiently:

Besides knowing when to water your herbs, you should also learn a few important tips that make a big difference.

Soil:

What is mentioned above applies to herbs growing in a well-drained soil. You should always avoid clay soil that traps a lot of water and sandy soil that drains too quickly.

Focus your choices on a premium fast-draining or organic soil that traps a balanced amount of water and allows the roots to breathe.

Organic Matter and Compost:

The best way to keep your moisture-loving herbs happy all the time is by using organic substances in your garden.

Any organic matter, such as compost, can retain water and trap it. Such a feature allows you to use less water.

You can use compost or any other organic matter, such as shredded bark, to cover the soil. We call that “top-dressing.” Check this article: “Compost For Herbs: Say Goodbye to Garden Chemicals” to know more about compost for herbs.

Water Your Herbs Deeply:

Nearly all gardeners don’t measure the amount of water their herb garden needs weekly. Instead, they do things intuitively.

That’s fine as long as the herbs are being watered “deeply.” In other words, be sure you’re not watering only the first few inches of soil at the top. You need to cover 6 inches (15 cm) of soil in depth with herbs growing in the yard.

If you’re not measuring your water quantities, be patient while watering and don’t stop immediately. Most importantly, make sure to water right at the base of the herb and not far around it.

Different Phases, Different Water Requirements:

It’s important to bear in mind that seeds and seedlings shouldn’t be treated the same as grown herbs.

Seeds should be watered gently every day so that the soil stays moist, but at the same time you shouldn’t overwater them or else they will rot and fail to sprout.

Seedlings also require a lot of water. They should be watered in small amounts once or twice daily because their roots are shallow.

The Weather:

Growing herbs under unregulated conditions would require you to monitor the weather carefully.

You’ll need to water your herbs more frequently when it’s hot because water is lost at a higher rate by evaporation.

The Environment Comes First:

A large amount of water can be wasted when growing herbs or any other plants. This has a significant negative effect on the environment and freshwater sources.

Now that you know the recommended methods of herb watering, try not to do things differently and waste a lot of water in the process.

Don’t forget to tell us about your watering experience, and be sure to leave any questions in the comments below!

Essential Guide to Growing Amazing Herbs

Growing herbs can be fun, easy and low maintenance. You don’t need a lot of time or knowhow to have a successful and rewarding herb garden that will brighten both your yard and your culinary masterpieces. Read on to learn more about how to grow herbs and which are the easy herbs to grow, even for beginning gardeners.

  • How Much Sunlight Do Herbs Need?
  • What Type of Soil Do Herbs Grow Best In?
  • How Often Should I Water Herbs?
  • Do Herbs Grow Better Inside or Outside?
  • Which Herbs Can Be Planted Together?
  • List of Easy-to-Grow Herbs

How Much Sunlight Do Herbs Need?

Most herbs need a fair amount of sunlight. As long as an herb is growing in a space where it gets at least 4 hours of sunlight a day, it will most likely do well. Most can tolerate much more sunlight, though, with herbs like rosemary, lavender and basil thriving in full sun (6 – 8 hours a day). Looking for herbs to plant in either a partially shaded area or one that receives filtered light? Try planting chervil or parsley.

What Type of Soil Do Herbs Grow Best In?

Different herbs may need to be planted in different soil types, but grouping herbs that have similar needs is easy to do, once you learn what those are. Most herbs need rich, moist soil that’s well-drained and moderately fertile. Keeping soil healthy is imperative regardless of what type of herb you will grow. Testing pH levels is important any time you are growing herbs, and for the most part, they need a pH somewhere between 6 and 7. Herbs will do best in loose soil that allows roots to take hold. If needed, adding a liquid micronutrient fertilizer can offer mineral-deficient plants the balance they need to thrive.

How Often Should I Water Herbs?

All plants need regular watering, although certain herbs need more water than others. The majority of herbs need water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Take the time to find out what each individual herb needs in terms of moisture, and remember to group like-minded plants together when planting. For example, basil likes more water than lavender, which likes to have completely dry soil in between watering, so do not plant these two herbs together. A good rule of thumb for most herbs is to water about once per week. During extreme heat or drought conditions, sometimes twice per week will be needed. Water in the cooler hours of the morning, between 6 – 10 am, to avoid evaporation and allow for deep root soaking.

Do Herbs Grow Better Inside or Outside?

There are benefits to growing herbs both indoors and outdoors. Growing them outdoors can be beneficial as they will produce a much larger yield when planted in a larger space. You can also choose an ideal location with optimal lighting and drainage. That said, growing them indoors means less garden care in general and the possibility of year-round herbs.

Which Herbs Can Be Planted Together?

Planting certain herbs together can be a win-win for you and your plants. Some herbs will thrive when they are planted as companions, as growing herbs together can promote and encourage overall health and growth in a garden. It is also potentially easier on the gardener to have herbs planted together, since watering, harvesting and pruning are more convenient.

List of Easy-to-Grow Herbs

Basil is a sweet, fragrant herb that is often used in Mediterranean, Italian and Thai dishes as an accent flavor. It’s synonymous with summer and pairs extremely well with off-the-vine tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, as well as in a variety of other dishes. There are a multitude of basil varieties, all with slight variations of scent and flavor, including cinnamon basil, lemon basil and Thai or purple basil, which is sweet.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 6 – 8 weeks
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): Anytime after
Planting Zone: Zones 10 and above
Soil Type: Rich, moist
Sunlight Preference: Full sun
Height / Spacing (in.): 12 – 24” / 12”
Time to Harvest: 70 – 75 days
Growth Type: Annual

Oregano

Oregano has a strong, almost robust scent and its flavor matches. It is an easy-to-grow herb that does well in containers. It blooms small, white flowers in the late summer and needs ample sun and heat to thrive.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 6 – 10 weeks
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): Anytime after
Planting Zone: Zones 5 – 10
Soil Type: Poor
Sunlight Preference: Full sun
Height / Spacing (in.): 12 – 24” / 18”
Time to Harvest: 60 days
Growth Type: Hardy perennial

Rosemary

Rosemary is a native Mediterranean herb that is used in everything from soaps and lotions to soups and marinades. It is strong in fragrance and has needle-like leaves and pink, purple, white or blue flowers. Rosemary is used a lot in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine like pastas, vegetables and soups.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 6 – 10
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): 1 – 2 before
Planting Zone: Zones 6 – 9
Soil Type: Not too acidic, loamy, sandy
Sunlight Preference: Full sun
Height / Spacing (in.): 48 – 72” / 48”
Time to Harvest: 40 – 42 days
Growth Type: Tender perennial

A close relative to shallots, leaks, scallions and garlic, chives are a drought tolerant perennial that grow to be about 1 foot tall. They are dark green and grow in clumps, producing thin, round, hollow strands that resemble a tiny green onion. Their oniony flavor is a wonderful addition to a large variety of foods as a garnish.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 8 – 10
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): 3 – 4 before
Planting Zone: Zones 3 – 10
Soil Type: Rich, moist
Sunlight Preference: Full sun
Height / Spacing (in.): 12 – 18” / 18”
Time to Harvest: 30 days
Growth Type: Perennial

Mint is a very distinct, well-known flavored plant that is fast growing and used in a variety of culinary dishes from sweet to savory. It is hardy and aggressive and will take over if not contained. It does well in pots and likes moist growing conditions.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 6 – 10
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): Anytime after the last frost
Planting Zone: Zones 4 – 9
Soil Type: Loamy or sandy
Sunlight Preference: Full sun
Height / Spacing (in.): 12 – 24” / 18”
Time to Harvest: 90 days
Growth Type: Perennial

Sage

Sage has silvery, soft greyish green leaves and grows delicate pink, purple, white or blue flowers in the spring. While not all varieties of sage are edible, the ones that are for culinary use are often used to flavor meats and soups. Sage is a hardy plant and thrives in full sun. Plant sage as a perennial border for a unique touch to the garden area.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 6 – 10
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): 1 – 2 before
Planting Zone: Zones 5 – 9
Soil Type: Loamy, sandy
Sunlight Preference: Full sun
Height / Spacing (in.): 12 – 49” / 30”
Time to Harvest: 75 days
Growth Type: Perennial

Cilantro

Cilantro is an herb widely used in both Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has bright green leaves and grows best in full sun to partial shade. If growing to harvest the leaves, be careful not to let cilantro bolt (or go to flower) as the flavor of the herb will change, often giving somewhat of a soapy flavor to it. If wanting to harvest coriander seeds, after the plant goes to flower, seeds will appear along the stem in clusters.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): Not recommended
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): Anytime after
Planting Zone: Zones 3 – 11
Soil Type: Light, loamy or sandy
Sunlight Preference: Full sun to partial shade
Height / Spacing (in.): 12 – 36” / 12”
Time to Harvest: 21 – 28 days
Growth Type: Annual

Thyme has delicate-looking, tiny green leaves and grows well in very dry, hot conditions. Native to the Mediterranean, thyme adds flavor to many dishes and can be versatile in the kitchen. It makes a lovely ground cover in the yard if allowed to go wild, and it does very well when left alone.

Indoor Planting Date (Weeks before last spring frost): 6 – 10
Outdoor Planting Date (Weeks before/after last spring frost): 2 – 3 before
Planting Zone: Zones 5 – 9
Soil Type: Fertile, well drained
Sunlight Preference: Full sun to partial shade
Height / Spacing (in.): 6 – 24” / 10”
Time to Harvest: 14 – 28 days
Growth Type: Perennial

Growing herbs is easy and well worth the little time it takes. Whether you’re trying to learn more about growing herbs in pots or just looking to find the best herbs to grow in general, the abundance of color and flavor they add to your yard and cuisine make them the golden child of the garden.

Helpful Tips On Watering Indoor Herb
Gardens  

by Carmel Baird

Herbs add flavor to any dish whether it is cooked or a salad and when the herbs are used fresh from your indoor garden it is all the more tasty. Placing your indoor herb garden in your kitchen will provide such a wonderful aroma and will turn your cooking into dishes like the gourmet chefs serve.

Watching where you place your herb garden, getting the correct temperature, light and water, will allow you to have your herbs indoors, ready to use, even if you cook a midnight snack, no going out into the garden after dark to find your herbs. Here are a few tips to help you get your indoor herb garden going

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Herb Catalog

Start Off The Right Way

It is important to take into consideration the size of the pots you wish to grow the herbs in. If you want larger pots, then your best choice would be to grow several plants in the one pot. This is ideal if you want to group your herbs, like the ones that are best with Italian cooking or Thai or French cuisine. Single variety herbs can be grown in pots that are approximately six to twelve inches deep.

The pots you choose will determine how you water your indoor herb garden. You choose what will work for you in your home. You can get self watering pots, with these, you fill a reservoir with water and it is released slowly to the plant week, you can also add the liquid fertilizer this way too. Self watering pots come with all the instructions for their use.

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One of the biggest causes of plant loss with potted plants is, over-watering. I think most people have been guilty of this at some stage. Always do the finger test. Before giving your herb garden some water, test with your finger by poking your finger into the potting mix, you need to go down a little way. Depending on how damp the soil is, will be how much water you add to the pot.

Finding The Right Spot For Your Indoor Herb Garden

The ideal place for your indoor herb garden is in the kitchen. What an indoor herb garden needs is, mostly the temperature in a kitchen is fine for a herb garden. Natural or artificial light is also needed. A dry atmosphere is not ideal, if you are able to install a humidifier that would compensate but if not then get a hand spray for watering. Indoor herb gardens need the outside growing conditions replicated inside as much as is possible.

Helpful Tip For Watering Indoor Herb Gardens.

Most herbs require the same amount of water with rare exceptions therefore try and check when you purchase the herb for gardening and/or read carefully the seeds package and if extra care and watering required place that particular herb in a separate pots.

Try to group herbs with the same growing requirements for your indoor herb garden, this will make the watering and care much easier. As they are in separate pots, placing herbs with like requirements together should makes things easier for you.

About the Author

©2007 CTBaird. Carmel Baird contributes to Online Gardening Information where you will find gardening information, helpful garden tips and garden hints with new articles about many aspects of gardening added every week. Find out more about indoor hydroponics here

If you’re a cooking enthusiast or fancy yourself a bit of an at-home chef, then you’ve probably dropped some serious coin on expensive supermarket herbs in the past.

If you have a recipe that calls for a combination of flavours it’s easy to clock $10 at the checkout on herbs alone, which isn’t the most financially sustainable way to cook.

The good news is that growing herbs at home is both affordable and accessible – you just need to know what herbs are easy to grow, where to put them and how to take care of them.

With that in mind, here’s our guide to seven of the easiest herbs to grow at home and some essential things you should know before you get started.

Read more: How to grow herbs

1. Basil

Basil is a leafy and fragrant herb that grows beautifully in full sunlight. Basil loves moist but well drained soil and requires lots of pruning when it’s in full season.

When a branch of your basil has seven or eight leaves, it’s time to give it a prune to allow for new growth.

Basil works well in Italian dishes and can be made into pesto pasta sauces or added to salads.

Read more: How to grow basil

What herbs are easy to grow? Basil! What’s more, fresh basil leaves go brilliantly in a salad or pasta. Picture: Getty

2. Coriander

Summer is not ideal for coriander to grow but spring, winter and autumn should see your coriander plant in full bloom.

Coriander plants like sunny spots in the garden, well drained soil, regular watering and fertilising.

When embarking on a journey to learn how to grow herbs in pots, coriander is your go-to. While it also grows well in the ground, coriander makes for an excellent container mate for other plants and herbs. Coriander is a pungent herb that complements Indian and Asian dishes.

Coriander is a great herb to grow in pots. Picture: Getty

3. Rosemary

Rosemary is arguably the easiest herb to grow. If you plant it in a good spot, it will provide you with more rosemary than you’ll ever be able to cook with.

Rosemary plants can grow quite tall and wide but can still live happily in large pots and containers. It can survive well in hot and dry climates so be careful not to over water or over fertilise it.

Rosemary is a hearty herb that works well with winter foods like soups, stews and baked potatoes.

Read more: How to grow rosemary

Rosemary is one of the easiest herbs to grow, so even black thumbs can get in on the action. Picture: Erinna Giblin

4. Parsley

If you want to discover how to grow herbs inside, or more importantly, what herbs are easy to grow inside, then look no further than parsley. Not unlike other herbs, parsley flourishes in sunny areas, but it’s a hardy, versatile herb making it one of the easiest herbs to grow in the kitchen. There are two basic varieties of parsley – flat leaf and curly. Both are excellent for cooking, particularly in Italian dishes, and both will grow well in most gardens or containers.

Parsley likes to be planted in spring and needs a moderate to low amount of water and fertilisation.

Read more: How to grow parsley

Growing herbs doesn’t have to be hard work, especially when it’s parsley you’re growing. Picture: Erinna Giblin

5. Lavender

While Lavender isn’t technically a herb, it’s still a wonderful plant to grow as a part of an edible garden. You can use it for baking, making your drawers smell sweet and for adding fragrance to bathroom products.

Lavender loves full sun so make sure you can accommodate its needs before you plant it. Lavender likes a well drained pot, but give it lots of water at least once a week.

If your lavender is growing well it will need pruning regularly to keep it under control – lavender thrives under the right conditions so make sure you keep an eye on it.

Read more: How to grow lavender

No garden is complete without a bed of dusky lavender plants. Picture: Three Birds Renovations

6. Chives

Chives like the cold weather so winter is when you’ll get the best out of your chive plants.

If you plant chives under the right conditions they can overwhelm your garden so make sure you keep an eye on any neighbouring plants. Chives love full sun, cool weather and moist soil that’s fertile and well-drained.

Chives are a delicious addition to winter soups and are also fantastic when stirred into dips and sauces.

Read more: How to grow chives

If you’re looking for how to grow herbs inside, chives is not for you. They love full sun, so keep them outside. Picture: Getty

7. Mint

Keen to start growing herbs and seeing your produce flourish fast? Fragrant and fast growing, mint is an easy-to-grow and very useful addition to an at-home herb garden.

Mint likes a nice mixture of sun and shade and thrives well in gardens, pots and containers. Make sure you place mint plants about 40cm apart to allow for rapid growth and to discourage the roots from over crowding.

Peppermint tea is a healthy and refreshing drink you can make straight from your garden. Picture: Getty

Mint can be used in a variety of different dishes including salads, stir-frys and even in hot drinks.

Read more: How to grow mint

Check out some more of the easiest herbs to grow in our Green Space video…

Find out how to grow herbs at home and which herb plants are best for herb gardens.

Nothing beats cooking with home-grown herbs so we called upon the expert knowledge of RHS chief of horticulture, Guy Barter, and asked for his advice on what herbs are the best to grow in the garden and how we should take care of them to help…

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN GROWING HERBS…

1. Herbs can be grown in any reasonably fertile, well-drained soil. Where drainage is questionable, create raised beds or plant your herbs in pots.

2. Good, all weather access is vital to growing herbs. If a hard path of light-coloured, reflective paving can be created, so much the better. At RHS Wisley, pebble/concrete panels are used in the herb garden, which reflect light back into the plants, and create warmth to ameliorate chilly nights.

3. Herbs generally need little fertiliser and crop well without much feeding. Over feeing can in fact decrease the concentration of flavours.

4. Most herbs need a neutral to alkaline soil.

5. High levels of sunlight is particularly important for obtaining good herb flavour, and so herbs should be planted in the best lit area of the garden.

These are Guy Barter’s favourite garden herbs…

1. BASIL – Ocimium basilicum

A key ingredient in many recipes, especially summer salads and Mediterranean classics, basil is Britain’s most widely sold herb. Although originally from India, where it is considered sacred, it thrives in British soil, and thus is perfect for your kitchen garden.

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How to grow…

  • A tender annual, unable to withstand cold weather and frost, basil can only be grown outdoors in the summer, and so must be moved inside during the winter months.
  • The herb must be planted in fertile soil, and receive as much warmth and light as possible.
  • Greenhouses are ideal, as are kitchen windowsills, for helping basil to survive for long periods.
  • With so many varieties of basil available to grow, why not experiment with a few this summer and enjoy the different tastes on your home-made salads and pasta dishes.

Buy here: £2.16 for seeds, Amazon

2. CHIVES – Allium schoenoprasum

A hardy perennial and especially easy to grow, chives are a superb addition to your kitchen garden. They were once hung in bunches around the house to fend off evil spirits but, today, they are popular as boarder plants with their pretty, purple blossoms.

As the entire chive plant is edible, they are extremely versatile. Their flowers can be picked and used as garnishes, and their bulb and leaves can also be eaten. With their light onion flavour, chives can be used in all sorts of summer dishes, from the classic potato salad, to soups and omelets.

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How to grow…

  • Chives are low maintenance. Simply plant them in the ground or in any pot, and place them in a sunny spot where they can soak up four to five hours of sunlight a day.

Buy here: £1.30 for seeds, Amazon

3. MINT – Mentha spicata

Common mint, otherwise known as spearmint, is a fantastically hardy herb that is easy to grow in the garden.

Flowering light purple blossoms from August to September, the herb is a perennial, and so can be relied upon to grace your kitchen garden year upon year.

Its vigorous nature means it can sometimes be invasive, so to avoid it taking over, grow it in a bottomless bucket set in the soil. With its refreshing and pleasant spearmint flavour, the herb is often used to flavour salads and sauces, such as mint sauce. Its leaves can also be dried or used fresh to create herbal tea, and are often used in domestic herbal remedies.

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How to grow…

  • Its only requirements being moist ,fertile soil and plenty of sun, mint can be grown in almost any situation, and is not susceptible to frost damage.

Buy here: £1.99 for seeds, Amazon

4. CORIANDER – Corinadrum sativum

Also known as Chinese parsley, coriander is a short-lived, tender annual, which is grown from seeds sown at intervals during the growing season.

As the whole plant is edible, it is highly popular in culinary dishes and is often used in Asian cooking, including curries, Chinese and Thai meals.

The seeds and leaves have distinct flavours – the seeds have a more lemony taste and can be ground down and used as a spice. The leaves, a little more bitter, are often chopped up and used as a garnish. As well as its culinary uses, coriander has many health benefits and is used all around the world in herbal remedies.

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How to grow…

  • It appreciates fertile soil and a sunny position, however partial shade is preferable, as shade helps prevent premature setting of the seeds.

Buy here: £1.49 for seeds, Amazon

5. DILL – Anethum graveolens

A short lived but hardy annual, dill can be raised from seeds with relative ease in your kitchen garden. Its versatile nature, from its use in culinary dishes to its contribution to the production of soaps and oils, makes it appealing to grow.

Fresh and dried dill leaves, with their wonderfully aromatic smell, pair beautifully with seafood such as smoked salmon. The herb is also popular matched with potatoes and soups.

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How to grow…

  • Plant in moist soil, where the herb can receive plenty of warmth. Partial shade is ideal, as this can slow the seed setting that brings cropping to a finish.

Buy here: £1.49 for seeds, Amazon

6. FENNEL – Foeniculum vulgare

Although indigenous to the Mediterranean, fennel can be grown easily from seeds in the UK, and is a brilliant addition to your garden.

Although a hardy perennial, fennel is often sown every year to maintain its crop. Its highly aromatic nature and aniseed flavour makes it a wonderful ingredient for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Its young tender leaves can be used for garnishes, in a salad, in soups and with fish sauce, as well as in sweet, sticky sauces and delicious puddings. The edible nature of the whole plant makes it very versatile.

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How to grow…

  • A particularly robust herb, fennel will grow well in any garden soil, providing it is placed in a sunny spot.

Buy here: £1.49 for seeds, Amazon

7. FRENCH TARRAGON – Artemisia dracunculus

Although a little more tricky to grow, French tarragon is a must for any culinary enthusiasts, and those who particularly love French cuisine.

With its aromatic, sweet anise scent and liquorice flavour, French tarragon is considered the finest variety of tarragon in the kitchen. It is particularly delicious when paired with chicken, and can also be used to flavour vinegars and oils, as well as make a béarnaise sauce.

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How to grow…

  • Although a perennial, it can rot out in wet regions and overly saturated soils, so be careful to plant in drier soils and not over water.
  • Plant in fertile soil, where it can receive warmth and a good amount of sunlight, and the herb will provide an abundance of shoots.
  • As French tarragon rarely flowers, and thus has limited seed production, it cannot be grown from seed and must instead by raised by root division.
  • Divide the plants in spring to retain the health of the plant, and replant the herbs every two to three years.

Buy here: £0.99 for seeds, Amazon

8. PARSLEY – Petroselinum crispum

One of the most popular herbs in British cooking, parsley is an absolute must to grow in your garden. A hardy biennial, it is sown each year from seed in spring and summer.

It can be used in Middle Eastern salads, combined with basil to make pesto, and used in stews and fishcakes. Curly parsley, with its decorative curled leaves, is often used as a garnish to dishes.

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How to grow…

  • For the best results, grow in the fertile soil of the vegetable plot, along with ample water in dry weather.
  • Partial shade is tolerated, although full sunlight is preferable.
  • Of the two types of parsley grown in the UK, curly and flat leaf, flat leaf tends to be more popular, as it is more tolerant of rain and sunshine, and according to some, has a stronger flavour.

Buy here: £1.39 for seeds, Amazon

9. ROSEMARY – Rosmarinus officinalis

Believed by the Greeks to be excellent for the brain, and associated in traditional medicine with having a good memory, rosemary is a particularly nutritious herb to grow in your garden. As an evergreen shrub, its fragrant needle-like leaves are available fresh all year so it can continually grace your table and decorate your garden.

Blossoming white, pink, purple and blue flowers, rosemary is often used as a decorative plant in many gardens, and is a frequent herb in landscape gardens.

Pair rosemary with roast meats such as lamb and chicken, and use it to flavour stuffings and Yorkshire puddings.

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How to grow…

  • It does best in well-drained soil, in a sunny spot. It is drought tolerant and pest resistant.

Buy here: £1.49 for seeds, Amazon

10. SAGE – Salvia officinalis

The intense flavour of sage, with its savoury and slightly peppery taste, makes it one of the most widely used and grown herbs in Britain.

Its variegated (green and white) and purple forms, make excellent sources of colour for a herb garden, and can double as an ornamental boarder. Essential to British cooking, it is often paired with pork and used in stuffing.

Unusually, sage’s flavour increases as its leaves grow, meaning larger leaves can be used to create tasty dishes as well as small. A good source of vitamin C and rich minerals like potassium, sage has many health benefits.

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How to grow…

  • A low-growing evergreen shrub, it is available to pick all year round, and thrives best in well drained sunny areas.

Buy here: £1.49 for seeds, Amazon

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Growing Herbs

Herbs are hands down the most utilised and important plants of the garden. To leave them out of the patch is like leaving your 8-year-old son, Kevin, home alone while you go on holiday to France. Sure, the consequences are outrageous and hilarious, but who forgets their son and catches a plane to Paris? Probably the same kind of people who don’t plant herbs in the veggie patch.

Nothing breaks our heart more than having to buy herbs from the supermarket. They are easy to grow and most will produce year-round, so if you have the right sort of foresight there should be a little of everything in your patch at all times (the exception being basil). They will also provide a range of scents and colours when in flower to attract beneficial insects into the patch. If you build a mini ecosystem of plants and good insects, the veggie patch will always operate with greater ease and efficiency.

Rather than head to the supermarket with heads bowed – shaming ourselves into buying fresh herbs for the meal that wouldn’t be the same without them – our first course of action is always to scout the neighbourhood. We know there are entire nature strips full of rosemary less than a block away from my house. Parsley protrudes from our next-door neighbour’s fence, as does sage. Of
course you should always ask your neighbour first, but as you do remind them that growth of the plant is stimulated by a small haircut. What you take will quickly regenerate on the plant, so everyone is a winner.

While winter is a perfectly happy time for nearly every herb in the garden – particularly for coriander, despite what most people would assume – it really isn’t the best time for planting. Early spring is that moment. Since we’re absolute optimists, and see that as being not too far off, it’s time to take stock of what you have and then what you have to do in the new season.

Planting
All plants have an preferred soil temperature to stimulate optimal growth. For most herbs, particularly the perennial varieties such as oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary, this is in the range of 18 – 21 degrees. This will give you some idea as to the best time to plant new seedlings. Early spring combines balmy soil temperatures with the most consistent rain of the year, so this is the time that nearly every herb will want to enter the veggie patch.

Before planting, prepare the soil with a healthy dose of compost and slow release fertiliser, and ensure it is free draining. No plants like to have their roots sitting in stagnant water, but some herbs – in particular thyme and oregano – have very thinly matted roots that are particularly susceptible to rotting. When planting ensure you break free this excess root matter.

If you decide to plant very early in the spring piece, you will need to provide some form of overnight protection from the frosty nights. A large plastic drink bottle, with the bottom cut out, can sit over the plants to do this job, as well as providing a shield from hungry possums and rats. Even some fine insect netting over the garden will help break the cold and keep damaging cold dew off the
young plants.

No doubt everyone will be impatient to grow basil – rightly known by the French as l’herb royal (or King of Herbs) – however this is one best planted very late in the spring piece. We time our basil to match the planting date of our tomatoes, if not a bit later. There’s no benefit from rushing, if anything, only heartache.

Herbs will perform better, and for much longer, if they are given sufficient space in the soil, so do your best to allocate them their own part of the patch. This is particularly important with perennial herbs that you hope will become the mainstays of the garden. When planting in pots choose an appropriately sized vessel that will allow room to move. Like when buying your 10 year old kid a
pair of sneakers a couple of sizes too big, you want a pot that will look ridiculous at first but then quickly fill out.

Harvesting
If there’s one thing we rush it’s collecting our herbs. It is something that requires a little more time and care if you want to get most out of the plants. The biggest mistakes we see are over enthusiastic haircuts and premature harvests, leaving plants naked and unable to reproduce at a rate they would otherwise.

First it’s worth noting that not all herbs are made the same and each group has its own particular style of harvest. With herbs such as basil and sage, cut down the stem at a junction of leaves rather than randomly picking off the leaves that you fancy. This allows the plant to recover most efficiently at one point where new growth will come, rather than having to deal with a number of smaller wounds.

Parsley and coriander on the other hand can be picked much like any leafy green. Take from the outer more mature stems (and their leaves) first, leaving the younger growth to become the next generation. This is much more effective than only picking the leaves, leaving the stems to sit idle on the plant. Stems are also part of the produce with these plants.

The perennial herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage will grow hard and stemmy at the base, and be young and tasty on their tops. For these varieties, tip pruning is recommended, which is harvesting the younger, more tender tops. This then encourages the plant to fill out with new growth again and is the best method for perpetual harvesting throughout the warmer times of
the year and even through the earlier parts of winter. But as herbs become woody and go dormant later in the cold season, a severe cutback is required.

Seasonal Cutback
As temperatures change, so do your herb plants. The change is probably most noticed in basil, which starts to develop hard, dark stems as the autumn temperatures drop. The plants quickly flower and go to seed, and being an annual (much like coriander) there is little to do but save the seeds and remove the plants. Parsley, a bi-annual, will take two years before its ultimate decline. It
usually enters a state of dormancy in the colder months of the first year, but then will recover, only to flower and seed in the second year.

Perennial herbs harden up too and you will notice them becoming woodier at their bases as we move through winter. The drop in temperature makes the plant unable to process moisture and energy through its stems, and they become harder as a result. Plants then enter a stage of dormancy, will flower around the same time, and production comes to a grinding halt.

At the end of winter a hard (and somewhat brutal) cut back of these plants is required to free them up, allowing for new spring growth.

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