How to Grow Herbs for Home Use


Herbs have been used in various cultures for centuries for culinary, medicinal or aromatic uses. Mint once was used as an aromatic after-bath lotion by Greek athletes. Dill was used aromatically in the banquet halls of the Romans and to crown Greek and Roman heroes. Many herbs were brought by early settlers to America for their personal home use. Homegrown herbs can add flavor, aroma and beauty to a home. There also are a wide variety of herbs to choose from.

Step 1

Set aside seeds for coriander, dill, anise or fennel plants. Sow your remaining seeds in starter flats by planting each at a depth twice the circumference of the seed size. Put two seeds into each section of the tray. Label each section so you know what type of herb is growing in the flat. Begin about six weeks before the last frost in spring. Thin seedlings to one seed per section once they get their second true set of leaves.

Step 2

Choose an outdoor location for your garden that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight after the last frost has passed. This is the optimal amount of sunlight for most herbs to produce the best flavor.

Step 3

Rake back the topsoil in your garden into a mound. Use a shovel to dig about 12 inches deep in the rest of the garden space. Mix about two bushels of peat moss and compost into each 100 square feet of garden area evenly. Rake the topsoil back over top when you are done.

Step 4

Divide the seedlings you would like to plant in the outdoor garden space from those you want to put in containers. Some plants, such as mint, are best grown in containers because they can spread rapidly and take over a garden.

Step 5

Transplant your herbs by digging a hole in the garden area that is large enough for the root ball of each plant. Remove the root ball from the starter tray. Bury the roots into each hole. Firm the soil around the base of each plant. Space each herb plant about a foot apart in rows a foot apart.

Step 6

Directly sow dill, coriander, anise and fennel seed at a depth twice their circumference in your garden area. Space each seed planting about a foot apart. These plants must be directly seeded in the garden area because they don't respond well to being transplanted.

Step 7

Fill 5-inch plant pots with one part perlite to two parts potting soil. Mix 1 tsp. of lime into each pot. Plant your mint and any other plant seeds you would like to have available indoors into each pot.

Step 8

Give your indoor and outdoor herb garden enough water to moisten the soil each day. Harvest fresh leaves and flowers throughout the growing season to add to recipes. Seeds and roots can be harvested in the fall. Spread 4 inches of straw over your perennial and biennial herbs after the first time the ground freezes to protect your herbs over the winter, so that they come up the following spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Variety of herb seeds
  • Starter flats
  • Labels
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Plant pot
  • Perlite
  • Potting soil
  • Straw


  • West Virginia University: Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
  • Savvy Gardener: Growing Herbs at Home
Keywords: herb growing, culinary herbs, medicinal herbs

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.