The physical act of planting an herb garden is fairly simple. The act of choosing herbs to go in that garden, however, may be more difficult. Choose herbs that you know you like and will use often, as well as a few new varieties for culinary experiments. As a rule, if you like basil, plant a lot more of it than you plant of any other herb. Other herbs get used sparingly, but since basil figures heavily in things like pesto, you will need a lot more of it.
Planting from Seed
Prepare your garden soil a week to two weeks ahead of time. Choose an area that gets full sun. Dig in compost in a 1:1 ratio, to a depth of about 12 inches. Herbs enjoy soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Adding compost to any type of soil boosts both qualities.
Choose the herbs you and your family like to eat most, as well as a few new ones that look interesting to you. Note that some herbs are perennials, while many are annuals. Basil, cilantro and dill are all annuals. Tarragon, rosemary, salad burnet, chives and mint are all perennials. If your climate has harsh winters, some perennials like rosemary may need to be grown as annuals.
Sow herb seeds directly in your garden after all danger of frost has passed. Different varieties will require different planting depths which will be specified on each herb's seed packets.
Thin herb seedlings out per the information on the seed packets as soon as the first true leaves have shown themselves. True leaves are the first leaves that appear after the seed case is no longer attached to the seedling. Usually, this is the second set of leaves that will appear. True leaves look like the finished plant, whereas the first leaves usually have a different shape.
Water using a hose with an adjustable sprayer. Use the mist setting when seeds are still in the ground to avoid disrupting the soil or the seeds.
Prepare your garden soil with compost as you would when planting from seed.
Squeeze the sides of the plastic containers your transplants are in to help loosen the root balls.
Lower each transplant into a hole in your garden that is twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball.
Cover each root ball with soil and tamp it down. Do not leave any roots exposed.
Water using a hose with an adjustable sprayer.