Are you looking to pick up a new hobby? Or maybe you’ve been meaning to diversify your gardening skills. In either case, building a herb garden can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life.
Whether you’re an avid gardener or just getting started, growing herbs will give you a much-needed confidence boost. Better still, you’ll enjoy the luxury of having fresh basil and oregano at your disposal every time you’re making your signature pizza sauce.
The best thing about a herb garden is that it doesn’t demand a ton of outdoor space. All you need is a well-lit, windy, and easily accessible corner in your home. With the right container gardening tools, you can create a thriving herb garden on a countertop or windowsill.
While herbs don’t need as much TLC as other plants, you’re still responsible for their wellbeing. From watering and pruning to grouping the right herbs together – growing your own herbs involves a ton of technicalities.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a few useful tips that’ll come in handy when you’re getting started with your herb garden. Let’s dive right in.
1. Avoid Using Seeds
Growing herbs indoors isn’t as simple as throwing a bunch of seeds into potting soil. You need to germinate the seeds and harden the seedlings before they’re ready to be transferred to a planter.
Germinating and hardening seeds indoors is a slow and time-consuming process. Also, it may not give you the bountiful herbs you set out to grow.
An easy way of speeding up the process is to use starter plants. They cost almost the same as a pack of seeds and can be directly transferred to the soil. You can easily find starter plants at a local nursery in your neighborhood.
If you’re struggling to get starter plants for a specific herb, you could always use stem cuttings. Find a friend or acquaintance who’s growing the same herb, and ask them for a 4-inch long stem cutting.
Remove the leaves towards the bottom, and let the stem cutting rest in a glass of water. It’ll take anywhere between two and four weeks for it to develop a root system. And that’s it. You’re now ready to grow a rare, exotic herb in your garden.
2. Don’t Obsess Over the Soil
It’s natural to believe that rich and fertilized soil helps plants grow faster and better. While that’s true for annuals and perennials, it isn’t the case with herbs. On the contrary, most herbs don’t thrive in rich soil. Also, it takes a toll on their taste and flavor profile.
That’s why it is wiser to avoid overfertilizing your herb garden. Any regular potting soil available at a nursery or an online store will provide your plants with adequate nutrients. If your plants have been growing in the same soil for a while, you could consider adding vegetable scraps and peels to enrich the soil.
Also, make sure you get containers with proper drainage holes. That’s because herbs need well-drained soil to grow. Stagnant water in planters could take a toll on the roots, and cause your plants to die.
3. Watch the Sunlight
Herbs need plenty of sunlight throughout the day to survive. But if your herb garden is hit by direct sun rays during summer, it could wreak havoc on your plants. That means you might have to move your plants around depending on the weather.
As a ground rule, find an accessible section in your home that receives daylight for at least 6 to 8 hours. Make sure the area is well-ventilated too. A south-facing window or countertop is often the ideal location for a herb garden.
4. Be Mindful About Mixing Herbs
One of the biggest benefits of container gardening is that you can grow multiple herbs in the same planter. Nevertheless, most gardeners struggle with identifying the right grouping of herbs. While there’s no secret formula, you must analyze the soil, light, and watering requirements of individual plants before grouping them in a container.
For instance, while rosemary flourishes in a hot and arid environment, thyme needs moist soil. Adding these plants to the same container will make it difficult to balance their individual preferences.
Also, avoid grouping fast-growing plants, such as mint, with other herbs. Otherwise, the fast-grower will give all the other plants a run for essential nutrients.
Building a herb garden isn’t rocket science. All you need is a deep understanding of what each plant needs to survive. Use starter plants instead of seeds for faster and fuller growth. If you’re adding multiple herbs to the same planter, make sure their water, nutrient, and sunlight preferences are in sync.