How to start your own herb garden

Are you interested in growing your own herbs but don’t know where to start? Starting an herb garden is a great way to add fresh flavors to your meals and enhance the beauty of your garden. Whether you have a large backyard or a small balcony, you can start your own herb garden with just a few simple steps.

The first step in starting your own herb garden is deciding what herbs to grow. Consider what herbs you use most in your cooking and what will thrive in your climate. Some popular herbs to grow include basil, parsley, thyme, and mint. Once you have chosen your herbs, you can start them from seeds or purchase seedlings from a nursery.

Next, you will need to choose a location for your herb garden. Most herbs require at least six hours of sunlight per day, so choose a spot that gets plenty of sun. You can plant your herbs in containers, raised beds, or directly in the ground. Make sure the soil is well-draining and rich in nutrients to ensure healthy growth. With a little bit of planning and care, you can enjoy fresh herbs all season long!

Choosing the Right Location

Choosing the right location for your herb garden is crucial for its success. Here are some factors to consider:

Sunlight Requirements

Most herbs require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, so it’s important to choose a location that gets enough sun. Some herbs, such as thyme and cilantro, can tolerate some shade, but most prefer full sun. Take note of the amount of sunlight your chosen location receives throughout the day to ensure it’s suitable for your herbs.

Soil Quality

The quality of the rich soil in your chosen location is also crucial. Herbs need well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. If your soil is too compacted or clay-like, consider amending it with compost or sand to improve drainage. You can also opt to plant your herbs in raised beds or containers filled with high-quality potting soil.


Good drainage is essential for the health of your herbs. If your chosen location is prone to flooding or standing water, it’s not a suitable spot for your herb garden. Make sure the soil in your chosen location drains well to prevent root rot and other issues.

By considering these factors, you can choose a location that will provide your herbs with the sunlight, soil quality, and drainage they need to thrive.

Selecting Herbs to Grow

Popular Herbs for Beginners

When starting an herb garden, it’s important to choose herbs that are easy to grow and maintain. Here are some popular herbs for beginners:

BasilA fragrant herb that is great in Italian dishes and salads.
MintA refreshing herb that is perfect for teas, cocktails, and desserts.
ParsleyA versatile herb that can be used in many dishes, including soups, stews, and sauces.
ThymeA flavorful herb that is commonly used in Mediterranean and French cuisine.

Annual vs. Perennial Herbs

It’s also important to consider whether you want to grow annual or perennial herbs. Annual herbs, like basil and cilantro, only last for one growing season and need to be replanted each year. Perennial herbs, like thyme and sage, come back year after year and require less maintenance.

Starting from Seeds vs. Seedlings

You can start your herb garden from seeds or seedlings. Starting from seeds is more cost-effective, but it takes longer for the herbs to grow. Seedlings are more expensive, but they are already established and will grow faster.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to follow the planting instructions carefully and provide your herbs with the right growing conditions, including the right amount of sunlight, water, and soil nutrients.

4. Preparing the Garden Bed

Clearing the Area

Before you start planting your herb garden, you need to clear the area of any debris, weeds, or grass. You can do this by hand or with a garden tool like a hoe or rake. Make sure you remove all the roots, rocks, and other debris that can hinder the growth of your herbs.

Amending the Soil

The soil is the foundation of your herb garden, so it’s important to make sure it’s healthy and fertile. Most herbs require well-draining soil, so if your soil is heavy clay or compacted, you may need to amend it with organic matter like compost, aged manure, or peat moss. These amendments can improve the soil structure, add nutrients, and help retain moisture.

It’s also important to test the soil pH to make sure it’s suitable for your herbs. Most herbs prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. You can test the soil pH with a soil test kit or by sending a soil sample to a local extension service or lab.

Creating Raised Beds

Raised beds can be a great option for herb gardening, especially if you have poor soil or limited space. Raised beds can be built with wood, stone, or other materials and filled with a mixture of soil and compost. They provide good drainage, better soil structure, and can be easier to maintain than traditional gardens.

When creating raised beds, make sure they are at least 6 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the herbs you want to grow. You can also add a layer of mulch or gravel to the bottom of the bed to improve drainage and prevent weeds.

Gardening Methods


If you have a large yard, you can create a dedicated herb garden in a sunny spot. This can be done by tilling the soil and adding compost to improve soil quality. You can also create raised beds using wood or stone borders. Planting herbs in landscapes can add both beauty and function to your yard. You can plant herbs with contrasting colors and textures to create a visually appealing garden.

Herb Spiral

If you have limited space or want a unique garden design, consider building an herb spiral. This is a raised bed that is constructed in a spiral shape, with the tallest plants in the center and shorter plants towards the outside. The herb spiral is designed to maximize growing space and to provide different microclimates for different herbs. The top of the spiral is the warmest and driest, while the bottom is the coolest and wettest. This allows you to grow a variety of herbs that require different growing conditions in a small space.


If you have a small yard or only a balcony or patio, you can still grow herbs in containers. Planters can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, clay, or wood. Choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the root system of your herbs and has drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the container with a good quality potting mix and plant your herbs. Make sure to water your plants regularly and fertilize as needed.

Window Boxes

Window boxes are another option for growing herbs in a small space. They can be attached to the outside of a window or balcony railing. Choose a window box that is deep enough to accommodate the root system of your herbs and has drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the window box with a good quality potting mix and plant your herbs. Make sure to water your plants regularly and fertilize as needed.


There are many different methods for starting an herb garden, from landscapes to herb spirals to planters and window boxes. Choose the method that works best for your space and needs. With a little effort and care, you can enjoy fresh herbs all season long.

Planting and Caring for Your Herbs

Planting Tips

Starting an herb garden can be a fun and rewarding experience. When planting your herbs, it’s important to choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Most herbs prefer well-draining soil, so it’s important to amend your soil with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage. When planting your herbs, make sure to space them out according to their specific needs. Some herbs, like basil, prefer to be planted closer together, while others, like rosemary, need more space to grow.

You can start your herbs from seeds, cuttings, or transplants. If starting from seeds, make sure to follow the instructions on the seed packet for planting depth and spacing. If starting from cuttings or transplants, gently remove the plant from its container and loosen the roots before planting in the ground.

Watering and Fertilizing

Proper watering and fertilization are key to ensuring the health and growth of your herbs. Most herbs prefer to be watered deeply but infrequently, so make sure to water your herbs when the soil feels dry to the touch. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, so it’s important not to water your herbs too much.

When it comes to fertilizing, most herbs don’t require heavy fertilization. You can use a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season to help promote healthy growth. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for application rates and frequency.

Pruning and Harvesting

Pruning your herbs can help promote healthy growth and prevent them from becoming too leggy. You can prune your herbs by pinching off the tips of the stems or by cutting back the plant by one-third to one-half of its height. When harvesting your herbs, make sure to only take what you need and avoid harvesting more than one-third of the plant at a time.

Herbs can be harvested throughout the growing season, but it’s important to harvest them before they start to flower. Once herbs start to flower, their flavor can become bitter and less potent. You can dry your herbs for later use by hanging them upside down in a cool, dry place.