How to Care for Fresh Herb Plants

Overview

If you like to cook, or even if you just like a lot of salads, you may want to plant an herb garden. Easy to start and care for, herb plants fare well in many outdoor garden situations and it is easy to grow them together in a group. You also can grow a small herb garden in your kitchen windowsill if your window gets a lot of sun.

Step 1

Loosen your soil. If you are planting your herb garden in pots or a window box, you can skip this step. Your herbs will need room for their roots to grow and absorb nutrients from the soil, which needs to be loosened to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Step 2

Plant your seedlings or seeds in an area with full sun or partial shade (but leaning toward more sun). If planting seeds, most need to be planted close to the soil's surface, usually between 1/4 and 1/16 inch below the surface. If you have planted grass seeds before, the process is similar. Simply plant the seeds and barely cover them with a tiny bit of soil. If you plant them too deep, they will not grow. You may find it easier to start with seedlings purchased from a nursery or start your herb plants indoors. Do not move your herb plants outdoors until after the last frost has passed in your area. Do not worry too much about how closely together to plant your seeds, as you can thin them later. If planting plants, try to give them 4 inches of space all around.

Step 3

Water the seeds and plants thoroughly and often but do not overwater. To prevent overwatering, spray the dirt with a little water, then stop. Let it soak in. If the ground appears to drink it very quickly, water more and repeat the process. When the ground stops appearing so thirsty, stop watering.

Step 4

Continue watering the herb plants regularly. When weather is moist, water less often. Watering is best done in the early morning or late afternoon hours. Avoid watering during midday; as the weather gets warmer and sunnier, you run the risk of burning the leaves of your herb plants.

Step 5

Harvest your herbs as needed for cooking. Be gentle, using shears to cut the leaves you intend to use rather than ripping them, which can disrupt the plant and tear the roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Basil seeds or plants
  • Oregano seeds or plants
  • Parsley seeds or plants
  • Chive seeds or plants
  • Sage seeds or plants
  • Thyme seeds or plants
  • Rich, well-drained soil
  • Mattock, hoe, spade or other digging implement (optional)
  • Pots or window box for windowsill (optional)

References

  • National Gardening Association: Herb Plant Care Guides
Keywords: care herb garden, caring herb plants, planting herbs garden

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.