Herbs are one of the most popular edible plants for gardeners to grow. Even with limited gardening experience, you can achieve success growing these aromatic and flavorful plants. Below are some herb garden tips and tricks to get you started.
Container Herb Garden Tips and Tricks
- Buy plants – If this is your first experience container gardening with herbs, you may have more success by purchasing seedlings from your local nursery rather than starting plants from seed. Germinating plants in the microclimate of a container requires stricter adherence to soil moisture levels and sunlight requirements.
- Use quality potting soil – Garden soil from the backyard can introduce pests and disease into an indoor herb garden. Purchasing quality potting soil is one of the herb growing secrets expert gardeners rely upon when growing herbs in containers.
- Adequate drainage – Good drainage is essential for healthy herbs. Choose planters with large drainage holes. A coir liner or coffee filter works perfectly to keep the soil inside the pot.
- Clay vs. plastic pots – One of the clever hacks for the herb garden is the use of clay pots. The porous nature of clay allows planters to dry quicker, especially when overwatered.
- Provide plenty of sunlight – Placing the planter in a sunny, southern-facing window is one the best tips for herb growing inside the house. Most herbs grow faster and have a more compact shape when they receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Harvest often – One of the herb-growing secrets of expert gardeners is regularly harvesting container grown herbs. Pinching back the growing tips keeps the plants from becoming spindly and prevents early blooming. Many types of herbs have a richer, stronger flavor prior to flowering.
Tips for Herb Growing Outdoors
- Location, location, location – Most herbs love full sun, so choose an outside location which receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal for keeping herbs growing their best during the dog days of summer.
- Proper drainage – When gardening with herbs, avoid planting in wet, soggy soil with poor percolation. Too much water inhibits proper growth and creates ideal conditions for fungal diseases. Amend the soil with compost and organic material to help improve drainage.
- Wait to plant – Patience is one of the herb-growing secrets of expert gardeners. It’s easy to try and jump start the growing season by planting as soon as the weather gets warm. Many herbs, such as basil, are frost tender. Wait until night temperatures remain above 50 degrees F. (10 C.) before planting annual herbs in the garden.
- Corral aggressive herbs – Try one of these popular hacks for the herb garden to prevent fast-spreading herbs, like mint, from overtaking the garden. Sink clay or freeze-resistant plastic pots in the ground, line the herb bed with patio stones, or build a raised bed to contain the roots from escaping.