How to Start a Small Herb Garden


An herb is a type of seed plant grown especially for its aromatic properties and flavor. Herbs have been used thousands of years for culinary and medicinal purposes, but have also been used for spiritual, and even agricultural, purposes. Before the advent of modern supermarkets, herb gardens were regularly cultivated by homeowners to flavor and season their food. Today, the cultivation of herbs is becoming more popular among those homeowners who want to experience the enjoyment and satisfaction of producing these plants in their own gardens.

Step 1

Select the planting location in spring after the danger of frost has passed. Many herbs, particularly culinary herbs, are native to the Mediterranean and require a sunny growing location that provides well-drained soil.

Step 2

Till or hoe the soil eight inches down. Heavy or poorly drained soils can be improved by adding organic compost or a plant potting mix.

Step 3

Purchase young herb transplants from a local nursery or garden center. Select a variety of herbs that may be readily used for cooking purposes. Be sure to check the maturity size of the selected herbs so they will not outgrow the garden area.

Step 4

Dig holes twice the size of the herb root balls, and plant each in the prepared garden area. Plant the perennial herbs away from the annuals, so they will not be disturbed by the next year's planting process. Make sure the herb plants are given plenty of space to grow to their full maturity height and width.

Step 5

Back fill the planting holes with top soil. Cover the herb transplants with soil to their original planting depth only.

Step 6

Water the herbs liberally.

Tips and Warnings

  • Light applications of fertilizer are recommended for herbs to grow well, but over fertilization can cause the foliage to grow rapidly diluting the flavor and aroma of the herb leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Assorted varieties of herb transplants
  • Garden tiller or hoe
  • Organic compost or plant potting mix
  • Garden shovel
  • Top soil


  • Growing Herbs in the Home Garden. West Virginia University Extension Service (Accessed Nov. 12, 2009)
  • Relf, Diane and S.B.Sterrett. Herbs. Virginia Cooperative Extension, May 1, 2009 (Accessed Nov. 12, 2009)

Who Can Help

  • The Herb Society of America
Keywords: small herb garden, grow herb garden, grow herbs

About this Author

Barbara Biehler is a freelance writer who has written articles for and eHow, as well as online specialty courses for She has a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida, and over 15 years experience in business development, sales, and marketing. An avid gardener, cook, and voracious reader, Barbara resides with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.