Herbs can be both great indoor and outdoor plants – they’re relatively easy to take care of and tend to stay fairly compact. An herb garden can also be the perfect addition to any kitchen for added health and home benefits as well as being a great source of flavor for your favorite meal.
Whether you’re using basil to brighten up your homemade spaghetti, or adding a pinch of mint to brighten up a pitcher of lemonade, herb gardens are a great way to get fresh ingredients for little cost into your everyday diet. But if you’re intimidated by the prospect of starting your own herb garden, here are 5 need-to-know tips!
1. Sunlight vs. Shade
Most herbs will grow just fine if they’re sitting next to a sunny window with minimal shade. However, more sun-loving herbs will flourish in continuous direct sunlight and warm weather, such as basil. Other herbs, like cilantro, tend to like more cool spring-time temperatures and shade.
So if you notice that one of your herbs is not looking so green, you might try checking if your plant is getting enough or not enough sunlight.
2. Finding the Right Container
Despite how cute those mason jar gardens look, they can be really tricky for first-time gardeners. Most herbs need drainage – and mason jars provide absolutely no drainage. Make sure to find containers with holes in the bottom to allow any extra water to drain off so your herbs don’t down.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider what kind of soil you’ll be putting into these containers. For herbs, who tend to like their water (more on that to come), make sure your soil has an even mixture of soil, compost and peat to trap in moisture. If you notice your plants’ soil getting too dry, try adding more peat and watering more frequently.
3. Watering – How & When
The biggest issue when it comes to gardening is how often you should water. Most herb care tags will tell you that they like “normal” amounts of water, but how much is that really? You’ll want to water about every 2 to 3 days, or any time that the top inch of soil feels dry.
But is there a certain time of day that you should water? For herb gardens located in direct sunlight or outdoors, watering during the morning and evening can keep your plants hydrated longer.
4. How to Prune Correctly
Most people didn’t know that herbs tend to produce flowers, and most people also didn’t know that these flowers can actually change the flavor of your herbs. Yep – that’s right. If you notice little white flowers popping up on your basil plant, make sure to prune these little buggers away!
Make sure to use sharpened and cleaned shears for even cuts to prevent spreading any kind of disease to your garden.
5. Harvest Time!
When harvesting your herbs, you’ll want to make sure you don’t harvest too much in one go. Just like pruning, harvesting is a careful balance where you don’t want to cut back too much, otherwise you risk the health of your plants.
Pro-tip: If you’re looking to save some money, try drying your herbs – it’s much cheaper than buying the bottled store-bought versions!
As always, happy planting!
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