Learning how to grow herbs can be purely for culinary purposes or for herbal home remedies. Either way it is always easy to find a little spot in the sun for these welcome plants in any garden.
Others may want a medicinal herb garden to prepare herbal remedies at home. Perhaps you just like the aroma of herbs and would prefer to plant strong pleasant smelling herbs or you may want to grow herbs that you can pick and eat as a salad. All these things need to be taken into account when you determine your herb garden.When you decide to grow herbs you need to determine the main reason for growing them. I use my herbs for cooking so I have a cooks herb garden. I also know that many of these culinary herbs are fabulous companion plants for my vegetables.
Other things to consider is soil type and sun. Herbs grow best in full sun and in well drained, fairly rich soil. As herbs originally came from the hot dry Mediterranean regions they can tolerate heat and lack of water fairly well. Do not confuse this with neglect!
Lastly, consider what you want your herb garden to look like – rambling with no plan, formal with paving, or somewhere in between.
As with all gardening you need to start by feeding your soil with compost and eliminating weeds which will compete for water and nutrients.
Below you will find some indepth info on my favourite herbs that I grow in my herb kitchen garden.
How To Grow Cilantro
Cilantro (coriander/dhania) is a welcome addition to Mexican meals, Thai and Indian cooking. Coriander prefers a loamy soil in full sun protected from strong winds. You can eat it green or allow it to go to seed and use the seeds. Cilantro grows better in cooler seasons and tends to bolt in hot weather. A layer of mulch will help to keep the roots moist in hot weather.
How To Grow Chives
Chives are related to the onion family. They enjoy good soil in full sun. Chives are a perrenial meaning that they will die down in winter and mid summer heat bt will shoot up again in favourable conditions. You should divide your clumps every 3 years. You can grow chives from seed or buy punnets from your garden centre. Use the outermost leaves first.
How To Grow Herbs – Dill
Dill is an acid loving plant. It enjoys full sun but as it grows tall, it needs to be planted in a position where it can be protected from strong winds. Allow the dill to flower. Pick the flowers as soon as they seed for a strong dill flavour.
How To Grow Fennel
I have never grown fennel from seed, only bought it in punnets. Fennel should be cut back before it goes to seed as it can take over your herb garden. I normally only use the fronds as decoration on meals, but the bulbs are delicious in fennel soup. Fennel grows to about 2m in height and needs well drained soil. It can grow in semi-shade quite successfully.
How To Grow Mint
Growing up I remember my mom’s mint which was planted under every tap in the garden. She also had Penny Royal planted between stepping stones that I loved to walk down because of the pungent aroma that rose from the squashed leaves. All mints do best in semi-shade where they can have moist conditions. Mints can take over a small place quite quickly, so they must be kept under control by pinching back.
How To Grow Herbs – Oregano & Majoram
These are great pizza herbs and should be in all culinary herb gardens. The seeds of these plants are very fine so it is often easier to buy seedlings. You can also take soft wood cuttings to start new plants. After the plants have flowered it is best to trim them so that they remain bushy rather than becoming spindly. Pick your leaves whenever available and fresh.
How To Grow Parsley
Parsley is a great herb for cooking. It likes full sun and rich soil. The more you pick your parsley the more it will grow. It can be easily grow from seed all year round but does best in summer.
How To Grow Rosemary
Rosemary has so many culinary purposes and each garden should have a pot of this growing somewhere. Rosemary does not like “wet feet” but cannot long periods of drought. It also likes rich soil so when you plant your rosemary make sure that you have dug in lots of well rotted compost. Get into the habit of cutting it back to keep it bushy. Cut back stems can be dried and used as well.
How To Grow Herbs – Thyme
There are many different types of thyme that you can grow. We love Lemon Thyme as it is a perennial. It is rather like mint in that it is a prolific grower in the right conditions. Thyme loves well drained soil in full sun. Can be grown from cuttings.
How To Grow Sage
Sage is a perennial (all year) and does best in a sunny to semi-shade position. Also hates “wet feet” so make sure the soild where you plant is well drained. Sage can also be grown from cuttings, so if you have a friend with a sage plant ask them for some, and when you trim it back annually, make sure to give your friends some.
How To Grow Herbs – Indoors
If you have a sunny windowsill you can learn how to grow herbs indoors. Be sure to read through my indoor veggie section Herbs can be grown indoors in just the same way.