Herbal Garden Tips for the Newbie

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Yesterday we touched on indoor herb gardening basics and what’s good for indoor herbs is also good for outdoor herbs, more or less. These tips will help you learn to place your herb plants in the right locations, water them correctly, harvest tips and more ‘basics’.


Leave Room For Growth

Your outdoor herb garden should be in a spot with lots of direct sunlight, decent ground with good drainage. I’ve found that herbs don’t necessarily need ‘potting mix’ or compost. Many herbs started life as ‘weeds’! Around here the poorer the dirt the better the herb crop, but I’m not opposed to compost. A little natural fertilizer never hurt anything. Emphasis on little.

Once you’ve found a spot and prepared the ground (remove all weeds) start planting! Follow the directions on the seed packet or the seedling pot.
When planting from seed be sure to leave sufficient room between the seeds. Most seed packets will tell you how far apart to plant. This allows room for growth.

Planting pre-grown seedlings also requires adequate room. Plants like dill and parsley need about a foot between them. Basil and thyme need about two feet and sprawling plants like oregano or sage may need three to four.

Choose Easy Herbs

Don’t go hog wild picking and choosing herb plants for your new herb bed. Not everything is easy to grow. For instance, at least in this area, I (and my folks) have trouble with thyme, and mint can easily get out of hand. Choose easy to grow herbs, especially if you are a beginner. Basil grows practically hands free here as does dill and sage. You might want to try these as well as other easy herbs like rosemary, lavender, or parsley.

Choose Herbs You’ll Use

Start small and start with herbs you already use in your regular cooking. There’s no sense planting a flavored mint if you only make one cup of mint tea a year. What do you use often in your recipes? Plant those. I’m betting basil and rosemary and maybe sage are winners in most kitchens.

Once you know you have the hang of growing herbs you can plant additional kinds of herbs or different varieties.

Water Water Water
An herb garden doesn’t do you any good if you forget to water them, or intend to just let natural rainfall take care of them. No, your herb garden will probably need watering (unless you live in a rainy environment). When the soil is dry, it’s time to water.

With just a little fore-thought, some preparation, time and watering you should be able to walk outside and snip some fresh herbs to flavor your dinner. What herbs are you planting this year?