Herb Gardening 101

via Instagram @leeksandhighheels /Universal Pictures

Ready to grow a green thumb?

Thinking About Starting an Herb Garden? Here's What You Need to Know

Herbs are among the most underrated cooking ingredients. They allow us to add a savory element, a peppery bite, or perhaps even a citrusy zing to the dishes we make.

It’s even better if you have fresh herbs around.

According to Michigan State University, fresh herbs contain plenty of great nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K. You’re also getting a good amount of polyphenols from fresh herbs. Polyphenols are good for you because they have antioxidant properties that are essential for fighting off serious diseases such as cancer.

Plus, adding that dash of green to a dish can really brighten it up and make it even more appetizing.

Fresh herbs definitely deserve a place in your kitchen but purchasing them regularly from the supermarket can be expensive. Instead of buying your fresh herbs, why not grow them yourself?

In this article, we'll provide you the essential tips for growing and maintaining a flourishing herb garden. Read on if you want fresh herbs available on demand inside your kitchen!

Choosing the Right Pot

To get started, you’ll first have to find the right pots to hold your growing herbs. You can choose from clay, plastic, or stone pots.

Clay pots are the classic options but they don’t hold water very well. That can be an issue if you’re growing an herb that requires plenty of moisture. Plastic pots are lightweight but prone to damage while stone pots are heavy but remarkably durable.

There is no one right option so just consider the pot characteristics carefully before making a purchase.

As for the size, SFGate says that a pot with a 14-inch diameter should work for most herbs. The smallest pot you can use is one with an 8-inch diameter.

If what you have at home is a larger pot, you can use it to grow multiple herbs. Just make sure that the herbs you’re growing have similar nourishment requirements. Alternatively, you can also fill the larger pot with some compost and rubble to make it cozier for the herb you’re growing.

Keeping Herbs Fresh

Next up, let’s discuss the challenge of keeping your growing herbs fresh. Among the factors you need to consider if you want to maintain freshness are temperature and humidity.

According to the University of New Hampshire, the right temperature for herbs is somewhere in the range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Your herbs won’t reach their full potential if they aren’t growing in those temperatures.

Humidity typically isn’t an issue for most of the year but the winter season can cause your herbs to dry out. Counter that potential problem by using a humidifier or periodically misting the herbs.

Watering Your Herbs

Herbs consume water at different rates. Because of that, the rate at which they need to be watered also varies.

Gilmour recommends touching the soil to find out if your plant needs to be watered. As soon as the soil feels dry, go ahead and sprinkle the plant with water.

Be careful not to go overboard with watering because that can be damaging to your plant which can be a beautiful decoration for your home. Excess water can cause the plant to wilt or become discolored. If that happens, all the efforts that you poured into growing that plant will just be for naught.

Rooting Your Herb Cuttings

You can grow herbs by using seeds or bulbs but you don’t necessarily have to look for those items. Through the process of propagation and rooting, you can grow new herbs using the plants you already have.

Start by picking out a section from your plant to cut. Make sure that the section you choose has a growth node.

Pick up your cutting tool disinfected with rubbing alcohol and take out the piece of the plant. Ideally, the piece of the plant you cut should be about four to six inches in length, according to Garden Therapy. If there are leaves along the lower two inches of the cutting, you need to remove them.

You can now start rooting your new cutting. The cutting can be rooted in either a glass of water or a growing medium.

To root the cutting in water, place it in a glass and make sure that the stems are submerged. Cover the cutting with a plastic bag and place it somewhere bright. Your cutting should start rooting in about three to four weeks.

Using the growing medium means you can place the cutting in a pot for herbs right away. Water the cutting next and then cover it with a plastic bag. It should start sprouting roots after about three to four weeks as well.

Securing the Right Amount of Sunlight

Plants need sufficient sunlight to grow and your herbs are no different. Position your herbs in a spot where they can soak in the sun for about four hours.

Don’t worry if the herbs stay in the sun for an extra hour or two longer but refrain from keeping them exposed to the heat all day because that could dry them out.

Which Herbs Can Grow in the Shade?

Certain herbs can continue to thrive even if they are grown in spots that receive plenty of shade for example, herbs include chives, lemon balm, mint, parsley, and thyme.

Homeowners who don’t have ideal spots remaining in their garden for growing herbs may want to cultivate those plants because they can do just fine without that much sunlight.

Herbs can work wonders for your dishes and your health if you consume them regularly. Ensure that you always have a steady supply of delicious herbs on hand by growing them at home. Refer to the tips featured in this article so that you can cultivate a bumper crop of herbs easily!