How to Start an Herb Garden (4 Steps)
Ready to learn how to start an herb garden? You won’t regret it! Nothing beats having a supply of fresh herbs on hand. They add incredible flavor to home-cooked meals and can also be used for a variety of home remedies.
Step 1: Choose the Right Herbs
As you plan how to start an herb garden, one of the most important steps is choosing the right herbs. This will depend on growing conditions and how you plan to use your herbs.
Start with just 2-3 herbs and add more as you become more experienced. (If you’re not sure where to start, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow for beginners.)
The Easiest Herbs to Grow in Shade or Indoors
These herbs are your best bet if you have limited sunlight or want to try an indoor herb garden:
- Lemon Balm
The Best Herbs to Grow for Cooking
For herbs that flavor common dishes, plant a culinary herb garden with these herbs:
The Best Herbs for Home Remedies
If you want your herb garden to serve as a natural medicine cabinet, consider growing these herbs:
- Calendula (make a soothing skin salve or tea for immune support)
- Stinging Nettles (a great tonic for allergies and kidney support)
- Lemon Balm (make a tea for stress relief and immune support)
- Holy Basil (make a tea for stress relief and respiratory support)
- Echinacea (for powerful immune support)
Should you start with seeds or plants?
There’s something romantic and satisfying about growing herbs from seeds, but it does take more time, effort, and patience. For the beginner, I recommend starting with a few healthy plants from your local garden center.
Step 2: The Right Location
Herbs are fairly easy to grow. They can thrive in a backyard plot, on an apartment balcony, or even indoors with the right care. Here are some things to consider:
- Most herbs need at least six hours of sunlight per day. Others need only 3-4 hours of sunlight and can thrive in shady areas or indoors.
- Consider growing your herbs near the kitchen. Quick access will make it easy to snip a few leaves to add to your next meal.
- If you’re not sure if your soil is right for growing herbs, create a raised bed or simply grow your herbs in containers. This gives you more control over soil quality and moisture.
- Container gardening also allows you to move your herbs indoors when it’s cold or move them into the sun as needed.
- Different herbs thrive in different regions. Figure out your growing zone here and decide which herbs will grow best in your climate.
Step 3: Prep Your Soil
Even the easiest herbs to grow need good soil to thrive. Keep these tips in mind:
- Loose, well-drained soil is key to a healthy herb garden. If you’re planting in the ground, till the soil well to loosen it up. If your soil has a lot of sand or clay, add compost to improve nutrients and soil condition.
- Potting soil has the perfect consistency for herbs. If you’ve had trouble growing herbs in a garden plot, make the switch to a raised bed or container garden. That way it’s easier to control soil quality.
Step 4: Caring for Your Herbs
Once you’ve learned how to start an herb garden, your plants will need basic maintenance to stay healthy:
- Keep an eye on how much sun they’re getting. Remember, most herbs need at least 6 hours per day. If you grow herbs indoors, you may need special lighting to help your plants thrive.
- Water carefully. A good rule of thumb is to water just a little bit each day – but it’s important to keep an eye on the soil. If the soil is too dry, plants will struggle. If it’s too wet, you’ll risk root rot.
- Fertilize sparingly. Fertilizing too much can lead to weak flavor, so don’t worry about fertilizing your herbs unless they really look like they need it. Because herbs are meant to be consumed, be sure to use a safe fertilizer like compost tea or kelp meal. A little bit goes a long way!
Have you tried growing herbs? Which ones are your favorites? Share your thoughts in the comments!