How to Start an Herb Garden

Overview

Grow your own seasonings for the kitchen with an herb garden. Herbs come in both perennial and annual varieties. Perennials will return year after year while annuals need to be replanted each year. Tailor the size of your garden to fit your needs and the types of plants you wish to grow---your herb garden can be as large or as small as you desire. Most herbs die back in winter, so preserve some herbs by drying or freezing them so you have enough to last through the winter months.

Step 1

Choose a well-drained garden bed in full sunlight. Apply a 3-inch layer of compost over the planting area and till it into the soil using a hoe or power tiller.

Step 2

Start seeds indoors in late winter, approximately six weeks before the last predicted frost date in your area. Verify recommended indoor planting time on the particular herb varieties seed envelope prior to sowing.

Step 3

Sow seeds in individual starting pots filled with seed starting mix. Make your own mix by combining 1 part compost, 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite. Sow seeds to a depth twice that of their diameter and water until the soil is evenly moist throughout.

Step 4

Cover pots with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to germinate, approximately seven to 21 days depending on variety. Check daily for sprouting and remove the plastic wrap once seedlings emerge.

Step 5

Move pots to a sunny, south-facing window or place under grow lights. Keep soil moist at all times until it's time for outdoor transplanting.

Step 6

Harden off seedlings once they produce their second set of leaves and after the last frost date in your area. Place outdoors for two hours the first day then bring back inside. Place outside every day, gradually increasing the time until they are spending a full day outside by the end of seven days.

Step 7

Plant seedlings in the garden to the same planting depth they were at in their seedling pots. Space the plants as recommended on the seed envelopes. Keep annual and perennial plants on separate sides of the garden bed.

Step 8

Keep the soil moist, providing approximately 2 inches of water per plant a week. Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around each plant to help preserve soil moisture.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plant herbs in the mint family in containers, otherwise they will quickly take over neighboring garden beds and choke out other plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Spade
  • Power tiller
  • Pots
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Plastic wrap
  • Grow lights
  • Mulch

References

  • West Virginia University Extension
Keywords: outdoor herb gardening, growing kitchen herbs, sowing seeds

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.