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How to Grow Fresh Herbs

By Amma Marfo ; Updated September 21, 2017
Fresh herbs can add flavor to any dish.

There’s nothing quite like growing fresh herbs for use in the kitchen, in decorative displays or for drying. There are so many varieties of herbs with different fragrances and flavors that you can grow dozens of herbs and never have more than one of any variety. Select the herbs you want to grow and use, whether annuals or perennials. Just by preparing a bed and planting them, you will be ready to start collecting fresh herbs as soon as your plants are large enough.

Prepare the herb bed by loosening the soil, digging up to 8 inches deep and using the shovel to break apart clumps of dirt. Spread a layer of garden soil or compost 4 inches deep over the herb bed, and work it into the soil by digging the area again and turning the soil to mix it.

Follow the spacing guidelines for the types of herb you are growing, and plant your seeds and seedlings at the appropriate depth. Cover seeds lightly and press the soil around transplants gently, so neither are packed in without room to grow.

Water the soil well to moisten it, and keep the soil fairly moist for the first few weeks as the seeds come up and the seedlings show new growth. Water twice weekly, as needed, to keep the herbs lush.

Feed your herbs by working well-composted manure into the top few inches of soil in the spring each year before planting or around existing plants.

Clip usable fresh herbs as soon as available based on the type of plant you’re growing. While some herbs can be clipped here or there, others do better if you wait until just before flowering.

Use fresh herbs immediately, or place them in a plastic baggie and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you aren’t going to use your herbs fresh, then hang them upside down in bunches to dry.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Potting soil or compost
  • Hand trowel
  • Herb seeds or seedlings
  • Well-composted manure
  • Herb scissors


  • Where you place your herb garden should be determined by the types of plants you plan to grow and their light requirements. While many herbs are fine in full sun, others may do better in partial shade, so consult the seed packet or plant stake for information.
  • Depending on your garden area and preference, you can use mulch around your herbs to help keep moisture in the soil and stop weeds from growing.