Homeowners are always seeking ways to breathe new life into the spaces in their homes. Using nature to achieve this transformation is beneficial in several ways. Planting an herb garden not only helps to make your kitchen feel fresh and sustainable, but it can make your food taste better, too. Here are some tips for getting your herb garden started.
How to Plant an Herb Garden
Like other indoor plants, the key to properly supporting your herb garden is to cultivate fertile growing conditions. Herbs love sun, so you’ll want to position your plants in an area where they have access to sunlight. If sunlight is hard to come by in your local climate, consider investing in a grow light. Even if space is limited, the following locations can be a fitting home for your herb garden:
Container gardens give you the flexibility to move your herbs around the house. This can be especially helpful if you get inconsistent or spotty sunlight.
There are various options when choosing materials for your containers. Terra cotta, plastic, and ceramic planters all have their respective advantages, but what’s most important is that you pair the herbs with a container whose size is conducive to its growth and has proper drainage holes.
A hanging garden is a stylish way to incorporate nature into your home. To properly set up your hanging garden, you’ll need adequate wall space. Again, prioritize access to sunlight and easy accessibility. Vertical bookshelves can make for a simple, multifunctional hanging garden, while other DIY options can help to spruce up your kitchen. Whichever route you choose, consider using lightweight materials. A mobile hanging garden can come in handy when doing chores and rearranging the house.
Window Box Garden
Box gardens are a fixture of landscaping and gardening design and can help to improve your home’s curb appeal. Once they’re filled with soil, plants, and water, window boxes can be much heavier than you’d expect, so sturdy woods that don’t rot easily—cedar, mahogany, redwood, etc.—are popular material choices. As always, proper drainage is important when crafting your window box garden. If you’re building your window box yourself, drill the proper drainage holes before assembly. Add a layer of landscaping fabric along the bottom to prevent soil from leaking.
Easy Herbs to Grow in Your Garden
After you’ve decided where you’ll set up your garden, there’s the question of which herbs to grow. The following herbs are perfectly suited for a beginner gardener’s touch and happen to be culinary staples.
- Basil: Fresh basil is a game changer. Sow basil seeds around twelve inches apart to allow them to reach their full potential. This herb will take your homemade pizzas to the next level, kick your pesto recipe up a notch, and provide the perfect garnish for countless other dishes.
- Thyme: Rich soil fused with organic matter will create ideal growing conditions for thyme. This herb loves the sun, so making sure it gets plenty of sunlight will maximize its flavor. Thyme pairs perfectly with roasted and slow-cooked dishes, adding a perfect layer of warmth and depth.
- Cilantro: Make taco night unforgettable with fresh cilantro. With enough heat, cilantro plants will grow quickly and are known to self-sow for multiple rounds. To clear up confusion, cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. “Cilantro” refers to the leaves, while “coriander” is the name for the plant’s seeds, which are often ground up when used in cooking.
- Mint: Potting mint is key to keeping it well maintained. Without a proper container, it will run wild. There are many varieties of mint, ranging from classics like spearmint and peppermint to exotic strands such as chocolate and cinnamon mint.
- Parsley: Parsley takes its sweet time to germinate, so consider buying plants rather than seeds to speed up the growing process. Countless recipes lean on the fresh taste of parsley, so you can’t go wrong dedicating a decent amount of real estate in your herb garden to it.
- Oregano: Oregano thrives in sunny conditions. To maximize growth, plant its seeds some time in spring when the soil is warm. A staple of Italian cooking, having fresh oregano in your herb garden will give your pizza and pasta recipes an extra kick.
- Chives: Known for their grass-like look, chives are closely related to onions but have their own distinct taste. Sow their seeds in spring and water regularly to keep their soil moist. Chives are a flavorful alternate for onions or scallions, while their bright green color makes them a perfect garnish for soups, salads, and sauces.
For more information on cultivating your home garden, read our Quick Guide to Urban Farming.