How to Grow Herbs in Kentucky


Herbs require well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight to grow well. Fortunately for many residents of Kentucky, sunlight and well-drained soil are two resources that they have in abundance. Over 500,000 acres of Kentucky soil is Crider series soil. This soil is comprised of a rich loam over limestone. Though Crider soil is largely used by farmers to grow crops such as corn, hay, soybeans and tobacco, it also makes a good soil for planting and growing herbs.

Step 1

Test your soil before planting your herb garden. The University of Kentucky maintains a soil testing laboratory in conjunction with their community and continuing educational program. Residents of Kentucky can access this lab through their local county extension service. You can contact your local county extension service agent for paperwork and instructions on how to take and package core samples of soil for submitting to the soil testing facility.

Step 2

Purchase soil amendments based on the test results in step 1. Typical soil amendments for Kentucky soils include organic material such as finished compost and well-rotted manure. Lime can help raise the pH of highly acidic soils, while sulfur can lower the pH.

Step 3

Break up the soil to a depth of 6 inches with a rototiller. Remove any rocks, sticks or large debris. Spread soil amendments over the soil to a depth of 4 inches. Mix the amendments into the soil with the rototiller.

Step 4

Dig planting holes for nursery grown herbs. Place the root ball of the herbs in the planting holes and cover the root ball with soil.

Step 5

Dig furrows in the soil with a garden hoe for herbs that you plan to start from seed. These furrows should be twice as deep as the width of the seed. Place the seeds in the furrows and cover with soil.

Step 6

Water your herb garden with a garden hose and sprinkler. The water should remain as damp as a wrung out sponge. Thin seedlings to the heartiest plants once they have produced their first two true leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Lime
  • Sulfur
  • Rototiller
  • Garden hoe
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler


  • University of Ilinois Extension: Crider---Kentucky State Soil
  • Grow It: KENTUCKY USDA Hardiness Zone Map
  • Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources: Soil Amendments

Who Can Help

  • University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Culinary Herbs
  • University of Kentucky: Changes to UK Soil Tests Will Increase Accuracy
Keywords: growing herbs, amending Kentucky soil, planting herb gardens

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."