An herb garden doesn't require an abundance of space, can be started in small containers and can be grown just about anywhere. Sunny porches are ideal places to start an herb garden and aside from the epicurean delights that are provided by cooking with fresh herbs, the aroma of an herb garden provides a soothing, calming environment to relax in after a long day.
Choose a collection of herbs from your local nursery or seed catalog. A variety of herbal scents and colors will add interest to the herb garden.
Observe the lighting in the porch for several days to see if there are areas that will need artificial lighting. Herbs should receive four to six hours of sunlight each day. If it is not possible for each plant to get the required sunlight each day, fluorescent lights with specialized grow light bulbs can be used to simulate sunlight. Consult with your local nursery or garden store for the best lighting option for your situation.
Prepare several different planting containers in assorted sizes. The containers you choose help to set the theme of the herb garden. Clay pots painted in bright colors will add some interest to the porch, or find containers that were designed for other uses, such as play sand buckets, large soup mugs, tea pots or mixing bowls.
Drill or poke holes in the bottom of each container using a drill or sharp instrument. One to three holes with a diameter of about 1/4" should be sufficient to permit drainage.
Wash each planting container well in warm soapy water to remove any chemical residue that may be in the container. Rinse well and dry the pot.
Soak any commercial potting mix in water to moisten the mix. Most potting mixes contain peat moss which tends to resist moistening the first time, so this step makes it easier to handle. Drain excess water.
Mix compost into the drained potting mix at a ratio of approximately 1/4 compost to 3/4 potting mix. Pour each ingredient into a 5-gallon bucket or container and mix thoroughly with the garden trowel.
Plant the seeds as directed on their packages, or remove plants from starter pots and set plants into the soil. Water well after planting.
Distribute the potted plants around the porch at different heights or in groups of three or more; one large, one medium and one small, to create a more dramatic effect.
Water your herbs regularly depending on their need for moisture. Most herbs require the soil to be damp, but not wet, so check each plant every day or two and water as the soil begins to dry up. To determine how wet the soil is, dig down into the dirt with one finger to a depth of about one inch.