How to Plant, Grow & Cook With Herbs


Fresh herbs add flavor and depth to your cooking and can be grown year round in your home. Many herb varieties are simple plants for beginning gardeners and can be used for decoration, crafts and cooking. Herbs grow well in containers and do not require a lot of space. With a bit of preparation and a lot of patience, you can plant, grow and cook with herbs from your personal herb garden.

Growing Herbs

Step 1

Choose a location for your herb garden. Most herbs require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Southern and western exposed rooms tend to be warmer and receive more sunlight.

Step 2

Select the herb varieties you wish to plant. If you have a location with plenty of sunlight, basil, dill, rosemary, thyme and oregano will prosper. For shadier locations, consider mint, parsley or lemon balm.

Step 3

Mix a bag of potting soil with equal parts peat moss and vermiculite. Add an inch of small stones or pot shards to the bottom of your container and fill halfway with the potting soil mix.

Step 4

Transplant your herbs with their root bundles to your container. Place taller varieties behind shorter ones. Fill in around the roots with the potting soil mixture.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist but not water logged. Pinch back growth at the tops of your herbs to promote bushier plants.

Cooking with Herbs

Step 1

Harvest your herbs first thing in the morning on the day you wish to use them. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator if you don't plan to use them right away.

Step 2

Add 2 to 4 tsp. of fresh herbs for every 1/4 tsp. of powdered herbs called for in your recipe.

Step 3

Mix chopped herbs with butter, cream cheese or yogurt for an infused spread or dip and let stand in your refrigerator for an hour.

Step 4

Add more herbs to foods with strong flavors and less to delicate foods for a balanced taste.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never spray herbs intended for cooking with pesticides or fertilizers unless you know and feel comfortable with what is in them.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Herb starting plants


  • Gourmet Spot: Grow an Herb Garden
  • A Pinch Of: The Simple, Essential Herb Garden
  • Culinary Herb Guide: Herb Gardens
  • Culinary Herb Guide: Using Herbs in Cooking
Keywords: planting herbs, growing herbs, cooking with herbs

About this Author

Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, and various other Web sites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.