Learning how to grow your own herbs is exciting, rewarding and can save you money. Whether you like using herbs in cooking, for fragrance or for their beauty, herbs can be grown easily at home in the garden or indoors. While all herbs can be grown outside, some cannot withstand winter temperatures and must be brought indoors prior to the first frost. Perennials, however, can be grown outdoors without risk of freezing temperatures. You may want to begin an herb garden by growing herbs used most often such as parsley, basil, sage and mint.
Select an area that receives at least six hours of full sun and drains well. Herbs do not grow well in wet soil. The size of the area will depend on how many herbs you intend on planting and the size of each plant once it reaches maturity.
Remove all weeds, grass and debris. Using a shovel, hoe or garden tiller, loosen the soil and make it workable for planting.
Add one part commercial potting soil to two parts compost in a large container and mix thoroughly.
Add the enriched soil evenly to your garden area. Use a hoe or tiller to lightly blend the enriched soil with the garden soil. If using a tiller, allow the tines to work the surface of the soil.
Use a garden hose to water the surface of the herb garden lightly. This will compact the soil somewhat and ready the area for planting. Be sure not to saturate the soil. You do not want standing water or mud.
Sprinkle seeds over the prepared soil. You can choose to plant in rows, sections or patterns. Herb gardens often grow with little effort and this is when you can allow your creativity to flow. Whether you plant in rows, sections or patterns, it is recommended to keep each type of herb together so you will know what plants are growing when seedlings emerge.
Cover seeds lightly with soil. Seeds should be covered with 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of soil. The looser the soil is the deeper they can be covered and still sprout sufficiently.
Provide a light mist or shower of water, enough to thoroughly moisten seeds. Repeat watering daily to keep the herb garden moist until sprouts appear. Continue assisting with water until small leaves appear and plants are stable.
Thin sprouts once they emerge from the soil if necessary. Thin by removing sprouts that are growing within 4 to 6 inches of each other. Depending on the variety of herb your growing, some plants may require additional space between them. Thinning permits growing plants to receive adequate nutrients and the space to grow in order to become mature, healthy plants.
Add compost to herb gardens. Compost is recommended over fertilizer because fertilizer tends to increase foliage and decrease flavor.