If your next recipe calls for fresh oregano, ditch the trip to the grocery store for the overpriced oregano, grow your own in a herb garden! A herb garden is a great way to grow your ingredients. If you can keep houseplants alive, you can tend to a nice herb garden without too much trouble. The first order of business it to decide what you want to grow. Oregano, sage, thyme, basil, cilantro, and dill are just some of the herbs that you can grow. It’s best to grow herbs that you regularly use, then grow other herbs later as you establish your herb garden.
You can start with annual herbs. They are easy to grow and very inexpensive. The perennial woody herbs are best started using cuttings; their seeds can be slightly more expensive, but well worth the cost. Be sure to plant your herb garden in well draining, rich soils. For herbs, you won’t need heavy fertilization of feeding, but you will need plenty of sunlight.
Design Ideas for a Kitchen Herb Garden
Designing a herb garden is fun. You can use a theme as your guide. You can choose herbs you use, or herbs for dyes or teas. You can plant herbs from old family recipes or herbs that are mentioned in the Bible. the possibilities are endless. The first thing to consider is how much of a harvest you need. Also, be aware that some herbs grow bigger than others. Be sure to plant your sections so that all your herbs get ample sunlight. Be sure to keep the design manageable, five feet or less across is a good size. Anything bigger will be a stretch (literally) to manage easily. Many of the top culinary herbs, such as basil, cilantro, and dill are fast-growing annuals, so they are great choices for a new herb garden.
Culinary Herbs taste great and look wonderful. Parsley and bay laurel can be great plants just to look at in your yard, they make great edging plants—as long as you don’t have neighborhood rabbits. Tri-color or golden sage have wonderful accent colors that look as great as they smell. Be aware, some herbs (like mint or oregano) that like to spread can be grown in containers. Simply sink the container in the ground to limit any spreading.
Be sure to pinch and use your herbs as often as possible. By this, we mean as the plants grow, go out and pinch off some of the herb to use for cooking and seasoning. This “pinching” helps promote growth and provides you with fresh herbs. Basil can be pinched when the plant is 3 to 4 inches tall. Herbs taste best before they flower, once the herb flowers, the leaves become smaller and bitter in taste. If your herbs start flowering, shear them back by 1/3 and start pinching the herbs more regularly. Here is a great video on how to plant a kitchen herb garden: