Everything You Need to Know About Herbs

Renee Valdes
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All about herbs

Aromatic herbs make an excellent staple in any garden. If you’re not growing them, you’re missing out on one of the most versatile and durable edibles.

Here’s a roundup of everything you need to know about herbs.

Potting lavender

Herbs grow well when planted straight in the ground, in small pots, large containers or even hanging baskets. The beauty of containers? You can put your herbs anywhere – on a deck, patio, porch, steps or the edge of a driveway. 

They even love a sunny indoor windowsill. Growing tasty herbs in containers near the kitchen or grill makes it easy to snip fresh stems when you need them. 

If you’re looking for fast results, buy garden-ready herbs, then use them immediately in teas, pastas, sauces — whatever.

When replanting, be sure to use nutrient-rich organic potting mix as most herbs require decent drainage. After they’ve settled a month, add organic fertilizer for continued success.

To keep your herbs happy, pinch them early and often. Regular pinching encourages branching and will help your herbs grows bigger, stronger and more bushy.

Starting herb seeds

GROWING HERBS FROM SEED

If you choose to start herbs from seed, try basil or sage because both grow fast and easily. Other easy-to-grow herbs include chives, thyme and marjoram.

Try starting your seeds in biodegradable peat pots. When you’re ready to transplant, cut off the bottom and pop it into the ground or a container.

Here are more tips:

  • Keep peat pots moist as seeds begin to germinate.
  • Consider using a growing kit or mini greenhouse with a plastic dome to cover the plantings. 
  • Grow seeds in a warm place or use a heated seed mat. Once the first leaves appear, slightly vent your seedling.
  • Take precautions on watering. It’s easy to over-water and under-fertilize.

Herbs with markers in terra cotta pots

PropaGaTing

Create more herbs by propagating your plants. The easiest and best herbs to propagate include rosemary, lavender and oregano. Mint is another easy plant to propagate and is less fussy.

Here’s how:

Keep your herbs organized with decorative markers such as the above, or these colorful DIY herb garden markers

Rosemary

Harvesting

Snip off a stem of rosemary and use it in your next poultry dish. You can also freeze herbs. See more ideas in our story, What To Do with Your Extra Garden Vegetables.

Many subscribe to the medicinal qualities of herbs and brew lavender, rosemary and peppermint in teas, rub in balms infused with herbs on aching joints for arthritis, or bathe in infused salt scrubs to destress. See How to Preserve and Use Your Herbal Harvest for additional ways to enjoy your harvest.

Herbs in crate with hand trowel

Overwintering herbs

Chives, thyme and mint do well in all growing zones as perennials in the garden but almost none are completely cold-hardy. They need protection from cold in winter so mulch them well or add plant covers for overwintering. 

You could also try a cold frame or a portable greenhouse, unless your budget allows for a full-size greenhouse.

Got space indoors? Try extending your growing season by moving less cold-hardy herbs indoors to a warm windowsill.

Got questions about this article or any other garden topic? Go here now to post your gardening ideas, questions, kudos or complaints. We have gardening experts standing by to help you!