Growing Your Own Herb Garden

WhenYouGarden.com Series: Article 11 - Grow Your Own Herbs

Growing Your Own Herb Garden

Professional chefs worldwide love to pinch off some fresh herbs when cooking. The fragrant herbs fresh off the stem adds a unique taste to any dish. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do the same?

Herb gardens do not need to be elaborate or large, and most are grown in containers. Let’s take a look at what it takes to have an herb garden!


Herbs: Uses and Medicinal Benefits

We have listed a few herbs along with their uses and the health benefits each has. Little does one realize that what may enhance the food we eat, also has added health benefits!

Basil

Characteristics:

  • Anise/clove-like aroma and flavor

Cooking:

  • Pairs with tomatoes

  • Soups, Stews, Mediterranean dishes, Italian dishes

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Antioxidant

  • Antimicrobial

  • Stimulate appetite

  • Stomach upset

  • Kidney function

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Earaches

  • Itching

  • Arthritis

  • Anorexia

Parsley

Characteristics:

  • Light peppery flavor

Cooking:

  • Sauces

  • Salads

  • Garnishing

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Urinary Tract Infection

  • Kidney stones

  • Stomach upset

  • Stimulates menses

Mint

Characteristics:

  • Cool peppery aroma and flavor

Cooking: 

  • Middle Eastern and African dishes

  • Teas

  • Salads

  • Tempers curry dishes

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Colic

  • Stomach upset

  • Colds/Flu

  • Congestion

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Liver health

  • Gallbladder

Cilantro (aka coriander)

Characteristics:

  • Sweet 

  • Vibrant flavor

Cooking:

  • Latin and Asian dishes

  • Thai curry paste

  • Pico de gallo

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Antioxidant

  • Skin health

Rosemary

Characteristics:

  • Woody flavor and aroma

Cooking:

  • Long-cooking dishes like stews, sauces, soups, meats

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Stomach upset

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Menstrual disorders

  • Eczema

  • High blood pressure

  • Rheumatism

Sage

Characteristics:

  • Earthy aroma and flavor

Cooking:

  • Thanksgiving stuffing

  • Pork

  • Beans

  • Potatoes

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Anti-Inflammatory

  • Slows breast milk production

Lavender

Characteristics:

  • Earthy floral aroma

Cooking:

  • Pairs with lemon

  • Baking

  • Garnishing

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Stimulates appetite

  • Insomnia

  • Circulation

  • Migraines

  • Cramps

  • Anxiety

Dill

Characteristics:

  • Anise aroma and flavor

Cooking:

  • Pickles

  • Fish

  • Sauces

  • Salads

  • Soups

Medicinal Benefits: 

  • Stomach upset

  • Insomnia

  • Colic

Oregano

Characteristics:

  • Pungent-Grassy aroma and flavor

Cooking:

  • Mediterranean and Mexican dishes

  • Italian dishes

  • Sauces

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Congestion

  • Cough

  • Cramps

  • Antimicrobial


Growing Herbs

Herb gardens are one of the easiest gardens to manage because they are usually small and easily accessible from your back door. Some choose to grow their herbs indoors.

If you decide you want to start your herb plants from seeds, plan ahead accordingly in getting your seedlings going to get them, transplanted at the ideal time. For more information on indoor seeding, see Article 9 in our series.

Prepare Your Soil

Be sure that your soil is ready for your plants and that the necessary fertilizers and compost is worked in.

Planting Guidelines

Each herb plant will easily take up to 4 feet of space in diameter. Be careful not to overcrowd your plants and to space them out.

Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, Sage

  • 3-4 feet apart

  • 4-6” deep

Basil, Thyme, Tarragon

  • 2 feet apart

  • 4-6” deep

Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Parsley, Lavender

  • 1 foot apart

  • 4-6” deep

Picking (Harvesting) Your Herbs

Once your plants have reach 8” tall, you can safely cut ⅓ of the stems / branches off. Cut closely to the intersection of the leaf. Your plant will regrow what you cut off. 

Your freshly cut herbs will last up to a week in the refrigerator. 

Care and Maintenance of Your Herb Garden

Daily care should be given to your herb plants in watering (especially for new plants) as well as monitoring for pests.

Placing mulch around the plants will help to retain moisture and cut down on weed growth.


Let’s “Shovel On!”

Join us now as we continue on to our next article in this series!

Next: “Drying Your Own Flowers & Herbs.”

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