How to Grow Herbs in the South

Overview

Most of the South is known for short, mild winters and long, hot summers. This is the best type of environment for herbs to thrive in. The challenge that many Southern gardeners face when they grow herbs is how to raise healthy plants in the heavy clay soil that dominates most of the region. Southern gardeners can choose to grow herbs in containers or they can amend their soil to improve drainage.

Growing Herbs in the Ground

Step 1

Select a planting location for the herbs that has full sun for at least six hours daily.

Step 2

Test the soil before planting herbs to determine the soil structure, nutrient content and pH.

Step 3

Break up the soil of your garden plot with a rototiller or a garden spade and rake to a depth of 12 inches. Spread any soil amendments as recommended by the test.

Step 4

Mix the soil amendments into the soil with a rake or rototiller.

Step 5

Start herbs from seeds by opening drill holes or furrows into the soil with a rake, hoe or dowel rod. Drop seeds into the soil to a depth that is twice as deep as the seed at its widest point. Water the soil often enough to keep it as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 6

Plant herb transplants by opening a planting pocket in the soil with a shovel. Place the rootball of the herb into the planting pocket and cover with soil.

Step 7

Water the plants when the soil is dry to the wetness of a wrung-out sponge.

Container Herbs

Step 1

Blend a potting mix of 1 part sand, 1 part peat moss and 1 part compost.

Step 2

Fill a container with the soil. Plant one herb plant or seed per 4-inch container, two herb plants per 6-inch container or four plants per 12-inch diameter container. Too few seeds in big containers can lead to water retention and root rot.

Step 3

Plant seeds in drill holes that are twice as deep as the seed at the widest diameter.

Step 4

Open a planting pocket for transplants in the container. Place the rootball of transplant herbs into the soil. Cover the roots with soil and water to dislodge air pockets.

Step 5

Place the container in a location that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily.

Step 6

Check the soil daily and water any time the soil is dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Garden spade
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Garden hose
  • Herb seeds
  • Herb transplants

References

  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
  • NC State University Extension: Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener
  • Colorado State University Extension: Choosing a Soil Amendment

Who Can Help

  • University of Idaho: Ultisols
Keywords: growing herbs, amending soil, southern 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."