Grow Your Own Herbs: Green Thumb Optional!

by Stacy RisenmaySeptember 17, 2014

Some of my very favorite things to grow are herbs. Nothing takes an ordinary meal up a notch like adding fresh herbs. And knowing you have grown them yourself is even more satisfying. Growing herbs is easier than you might think. You just need to know a little bit about them first.
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I have a large garden and I plant herbs in it every year. But I also live in a state that has a very long winter. So I try to have some growing in pots as well. All herbs grow well in pots so you don’t need to have a garden to enjoy them year round. They do require a lot of sun however. They will do better outside on a patio, deck, balcony, or porch but will do fine inside if they have access to a south facing window. They need 6-8 hours of sun a day.
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Aside from a lot of sun, the other thing they need in order to do well is good drainage. Some houseplants can get away with poor soil and poor (or no) drainage holes but herbs can’t. They can’t have their roots sitting in water or very wet soil for very long before they rot. Make sure whatever container you use, that it has a nice big drainage hole. It is also important to use potting mix instead of potting soil. Potting soil tends to be more dense and doesn’t drain as well.

Make sure not to overwater. Since most herbs originally come from regions where it is hot and dry, some do better if the dirt is a little on the dry side.
Are you new to using fresh herbs in your cooking? This Better Homes and Gardens article on growing herbs shares the most common herbs and how they are used in the kitchen. I promise once you start, you will never go back to the store bought dried stuff in the bottle. It is a game changer!
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If you are planting herbs in your garden directly in the ground, then it is good to know which ones are perennial (come back every year) and which ones are annual (only grow for one season). It helps you with your space planning. There are also some herbs, like mint, that are very invasive and will take over your garden if you don’t watch out. Those are best contained by keeping them in their pots when you place them in the ground. You still run the risk of them escaping since they spread with underground suckers. Sometimes the suckers go through the drainage hole. Just keep an eye on them.

Lemongrass, lavender, mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and tarragon are examples of perennial herbs while basil, dill, garlic, chamomile and coriander are all annual herbs.

Whether you grow them indoors or out, herbs will add so much to your space! They are easy to grow, beautiful, and best of all edible. What is your favorite herb? And what is your favorite dish you prepare using it?

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Stacy Risenmay
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