There are many different kinds of herbs, including culinary, aromatic, ornamental and medicinal. Other types are annuals, biennials and perennials. Herbs grow in a variety of soils, climates and watering schedules. They are typically a vigorous and easy-to-grow crop. Most are drought- and pest-resistant. The best herb gardens are the ones you can plant and neglect. Every herb gardener can create improvements to their herb gardens to promote the low maintenance aspect of the plant.
Mulching your herb garden conserves moisture, prevents mud splashing and reduces weed growth. Use 1 to 2 inches of bark and sawdust mixed together. Mulching around the base of the herbs also slows the creeping of invasive herbs such as mint. Use white gravel to improve drainage and add reflected light to your herb garden. This keeps the growing site dry and warm when raising Mediterranean perennial herbs. Mediterranean herbs include lavender, rosemary, thyme, bay laurel, marjoram, dill and oregano.
Containers are useful for patio, balcony and doorstep herb gardens when a gardener has limited space. The best location for containers has full sun exposure in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Place the containerized herbs near a water source to make watering more convenient and next to the kitchen so you are more likely to use the herbs in cooking. Always use potting soil when planting a container. Regular garden soil is not a good choice because it tends to become compacted by frequent watering. Annual herbs grow well in containers as well as compact herbs. Avoid extremely tall herbs because they become top heavy and cause the container to tip over. Some good herbs to plant in a container are basil, pot marigold, catmint, chives, cilantro, lavender, lemon balm, sweet marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Cylinder planters are used for limited gardening space or just as an unusual herb garden feature. Create a cylinder out of wire fencing and place it on top of a board with wheels. This will make it easier to rotate the planter periodically to provide equal sun exposure to each side. Line the wire with sphagnum moss and place a 2-inch-diameter plastic pipe with holes drilled in the sides in the center of the cylinder. This pipe will provide water to the roots of the herbs. Fill the cylinder with potting soil. Poke the roots of the herb seedlings into the soil through the moss between the wires.
Purchase a wooden window box and attach it securely to the house under the window. Drill holes in the bottom of the box to ensure good drainage. Fill the window box with lightweight soil. Plant your herb seedlings after all danger of a spring frost is done. Trailing herbs will drape over the edge of the window box. Herbs such as oregano, rosemary, pineapple sage and basil grow well in window boxes. For more dramatic color, add edible flowers such as nasturtiums, violas and begonias.