How to Plan a Kitchen Herb Garden

Overview

Fresh herbs make even mundane meals more interesting. Adding your own herbs to canned soups or packaged dinners can transform them into something special. Herbs also can be made into teas, or infused in vinegars or oils to be given as gifts or used in your own cooking. Growing your own herbs allows you to experiment with varieties not found at your grocer, and to learn new recipes and cooking techniques.

Step 1

Consider your growing space. You can plant herbs in a garden bed or in pots on a deck. Whichever you choose, the location should receive six to eight hours of sunlight a day, be near a water source and close enough to the kitchen to make it convenient for you to harvest the herbs regularly.

Step 2

Review your cooking habits. You should plant the herbs you use most often. If your family loves pesto or Thai food, plant several varieties of basil. If you make Mexican food often, plan to grow garlic and cilantro; French cooks will want fennel, tarragon and thyme. If you want to make herbal teas, you might plant chamomile and lemon balm.

Step 3

Add a couple of new varieties of herbs you aren't familiar with. Having fresh marjoram or sage on hand will encourage you to find new ways to use it and expand your cooking repertoire.

Step 4

Group varieties of herbs that like similar growing conditions together. Herbs that enjoy moist soil, such as mint, should be planted separately from varieties, such as rosemary, that prefer much drier conditions. Taller plants, such as rosemary or yarrow, need to be planted where they won't shade smaller plants, such as thyme. A paper plan of your garden can help you place plants properly and find room for everything you want to grow.

Step 5

Mark the plants for easy reference. To the untrained eye, many herbs may look alike. Write the name of the herb on a wooden tongue depressor with a marker and stick it in the soil near the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil and paper
  • Tongue depressors
  • Marker

References

  • Savvygardener.com: Growing Herbs at Home
  • University of Illinois Extension: Kitchen Herb Garden

Who Can Help

  • University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension: Healthy Cooking With Fresh Herbs
Keywords: kitchen herb garden, plant herbs, fresh herbs

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.