Growing & Using Fresh Herbs


An herb is "any plant used whole or in part as an ingredient for health, flavor or fragrance," according to North Carolina State University Extension. Herbs are used to flavor meats and sauces or are ground for making potpourri and teas. Some herbs like lavender are extracted for fragrance and used to make candles, oils and perfume. With a little garden soil, sunlight and the ideal environment, most herbs are easy to grow.

Growing Herbs

Step 1

Pick only herbs you enjoy and use the most. Make sure that the area where the herbs will be housed has adequate drainage. If it doesn't, then modify the area or consider using raised beds and containers for growing herbs.

Step 2

Choose a growing site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. According to the University of Missouri, the oils, which account for the herb's flavor, are produced in the greatest quantity when plants receive 6 to 8 hours of full sunlight each day.

Step 3

Plant the herbs in neutral soil that has a pH reading of 6.5 to 7.0. Remember that most herbs don't require a high nutrient-laden soil, which can produce an overabundance of foliage that produces a flavorless plant.

Step 4

Add 4 inches of compost into the planting site to help the herbs retain moisture and improve the condition of the soil. Dig down 12 to 18 inches to create an area for planting the herbs.

Step 5

Place one herb per hole into the freshly dug soil. Gently press down and around the newly planted herb to ensure a snug fit.

Using Herbs

Step 1

Harvest the herb, always cutting the stem as the flower buds are opening.

Step 2

Wash the herbs in cool water after cutting from the bed to use for cooking. Pat them with a dry towel before using the herbs in a favorite dish.

Step 3

Add chopped basil herbs to a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad. Chop chives and parsley to throw over a baked potato or chili.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always avoid areas where water stands after a heavy rainfall.

Things You'll Need

  • Herbs
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Baking sheet


  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Herbs at Home
  • North Carolina State University Extension: Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener
Keywords: growing fresh herbs, using fresh herbs, nutrient-laden soil

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in and and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and