How to Grow Your Own Herbs at Home

Overview

Growing herbs at home allows you to have a variety of fresh, tasty herbs at your fingertips. When choosing which herbs to buy, think of ones you will use or enjoy most. If you will be using your herbs for cooking, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano are popular choices. For aesthetics and scent alone, herbs such as lavender, mint, lemon balm and clary sage are excellent choices. Many natural remedies are also created with various types of herbs. If you're growing herbs for medicinal purposes, educate yourself in the safe use of herbs beforehand.

Step 1

Choose a location to plant your herbs. Herbs need a minimum of six hours of sun per day, but full sun, all day, is best.

Step 2

Test the soil's pH level, using a home testing kit. Most herbs prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Step 3

Add 8 lbs. of limestone per 100 square feet of soil to raise your soil's pH level, if necessary. Work the limestone into the top 6 inches with a manual or powered tiller. To lower the soil's pH level, add a 1- to 2-inch layer of sphagnum peat to the soil and work into the top 8 inches with a tiller.

Step 4

Buy healthy starter plants from a reputable nursery. Look for plants that are large, fragrant and free of brown, wilted leaves.

Step 5

Remove the herbs from their pot and, using a tape measure, measure the distance from the tip of the roots to where the plant emerged from the soil in its pot.

Step 6

Dig a hole in the garden's soil, 1 to 2 inches deeper than the measurement you took. Place the herb plant in the middle of the hole and fill in around the plant's root system with soil. Press down firmly with your hands to compress the soil.

Step 7

Water the plants immediately after planting to further compact the soil and create optimum contact between soil and roots. After the initial watering, only water the herbs once per week to a soil depth of 8 inches.

Step 8

Fertilize your herb plants only once during the growing season. Use a light fertilizer, such as 5-10-5.

Step 9

Harvest the herbs once they have established multiple leaves or stems. Snip leaves or stems, only on an as-needed basis, to retain their freshness.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not over-fertilize herbs. As with too much water, soil that is too fertile will produce weakly scented and flavored herbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Limestone (optional)
  • Sphagnum peat (optional)
  • Tiller
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Herbs
  • Iowas State University: How to Change Soil's pH

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener
Keywords: growing herbs, planting herb garden, growing fresh herbs

About this Author

Sophia Darby is a former professional hairstylist who has spent the last six years writing hair-related articles for both online and print publications. Her work has appeared in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine, as well as multiple websites.