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Gardening Techniques For Herbs: How To Successfully Grow Your Favorite Herbs

Updated on February 28, 2011

Culinary Basics - How to Grow Your Own Herbs

Part of culinary basics and cooking ingredients is all about herbs. Herbs make up a vital part of healthy recipes and it pays to have the best ingredients to work with.

There are numerous ways to grow your own herbs. Herbs are one of those plants that seem to pretty much take care of themselves if properly planted and cared for.

Herbs do require well-drained soil.

Herbs prefer a sunny location – no matter where they are planted.

Fertilizer is not mandatory but can be used. I use a soil mixture with fertilizer mixed in and also use an organic mulch.

courtesy wikicommons
courtesy wikicommons

Culinary Basics - Growing Your Own Herbs

Some herbs are more aggressive than others and will take over a garden. The most aggressive herb I have ever encountered is mint. While I love mint, it spreads like wildfire and unless you have the space to handle THAT MUCH MINT (I could go into business making mint tea) – it is a little daunting. I also planted several kinds so that multiplied my problem with the dastardly mint!

Only in the case of mint and its brethren, I think I would recommend planting the mint in the container. I think in hindsight that might help stop its spread. It does send out roots and feeders like an internet backlink - so it is best to pull upstarts or give to friends. Planting on a hill works great for this particular herb as it will literally cover the entire slope.

I grow as many of my own herbs as I can in summer and then cut them throughout summer and into early fall. I dry them throughout this period and save them in airtight containers or zip-lock bags. Some I freeze such as chives.

I have my own stash of herbs that lasts me the full year until the next planting.

Certain herbs attract bees and butterflies. I’ve also noticed that certain herbs attract birds as well.

Many Ways To Grow Herbs

If you have the room, an herb garden is a wonderful way to grow them. Let your imagination be your guide.

Check your area for what herbs do best and be aware of the growing season. Cutting the herbs and drying them periodically forces more growth, thus more herbs!


If you have limited space or pesky malamutes as I do that think herbs are part of the plan you have to feed them, planting them in pots may be your best bet!

Make sure if planting in pots that you give them a big enough pot to expand their root system. Add in some peat moss or gravel in the bottom to promote good drainage.

Add good quality potting soil (with fertilizer if you want to stimulate growth).

Harvest often and you will get a higher yield.

The biggest problem with this method is having the herbs in containers that are too small. The advantage of this method is being able to move them anywhere you like!


Herbs can be grown in containers inside on a windowsill. I found that this method did not work as well even though we have constant light where we live. Indoors the herbs seemed to attract insects or gnats while outside I have no problem with them.

If you grow herbs inside, make sure that they have as much exposure to light as possible. Also make sure that the pots are big enough to contain the herbs and again, allow for root spread.


There are special containers such as topsy-turvy containers now to grow herbs. I have not tried them though I’m tempted! I have seen the new topsy-turvy's planted with herbs all mixed together - and also have seen them with tomatoes, peppers, chilies, etc.

Just the other day I saw someone with a garden full of herbs all planted in a traditional bed but they had a small tire containing each specific herb.  Different! I'm not sure if there is any health 'risk' about that but it was clever.


Many stores offer several herbs in a container of various kinds and they all grow together. I’ve done this myself planting in large containers. The only downfall with this method was that I did not buy a large enough container to get a high yield. Herbs like to spread out and grow so make sure you always allow lots of room.


Rule of thumb for herbs is that 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs will equal 1 teaspoon of the same herb in the dried state.


You can air-dry herbs or you can oven-dry herbs. You can also purchase a commercial dehydrator and dry them that way. I make bouquets of herbs with kitchen twine after washing and drying them in a salad spinner – and hang them from my pot rack to dry out.


Try a raised bed of herbs

  • Make a stair step garden set in a corner which is very attractive (and easy on the back) You can go up as high as you're able to reach
  • Do a raised bed allowing plenty of room for each kind
  • Mint might need its own bed

Plant a culinary garden (for all our cooks out there) My garden has

  • Several kinds of basil (you can’t have too much basil)
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Several kinds of parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Several kinds of thyme
  • Several kinds of oregano
  • Lavender
  • The cursed mint.

I want to plan space to grow

  • Caraway
  • Chervil
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Nasturtiums
  • Onion

These are all part of culinary basics when it comes to herbs and the kitchen

A garden of flowering herbs can be a beautiful addition to any yard.

  • They attract bees and butterflies.
  • Herbs like lavendar are a wonderful addition. Dry and use in foods or in sachets

Create a patio garden of herbs. Sit out and enjoy the scents in the summer!

Wall planting - Place different pots of herbs along the top of a wall in pots. This is what I do now to keep them safe from malamute consumption. They are super easy to harvest!


You can start herbs from seed indoors or outdoors. In most climates, it is best to start indoors or in a greenhouse. Check your climate zone for planting time so that they will be ready to go outdoors at the right time.

Purchase can start at the nursery, what most of us do. The plants should say they are hardy to what temperature. If they are grown somewhere else and brought in, they may be hardy to another climate region's temperature zone and they will not come back in your garden no matter what. In that case, you will need to replace them each year.

Wherever you plant your herbs, turn the soil over. Make sure it is fresh well aerated soil.

Dig a hole about twice the size of the bottom of the plant and then fill it with some compost or other organic material.

Take the plant from the container (unless it is mint) and place in the ground or the container. Fill the hole with soil and water.

Trim back just as with any plant if it becomes too leggy, if it is growing out of its perimeter. In the case of mint, you will not know until it comes up somewhere else – usually 5 feet away, so pull any unwanted starts before they begin to send off more feeders.

Herbs love sun, sun and more sun!

As part of expanding our cooking skills and learning the culinary basics, herbs play a pivotal role in the creation of healthy and delicious recipes.  They can also provide us with sensory stimulation and healing properties when they are made into teas, concoctions, tisanes, and herbal remedies.

As in all gardening, I love seeing my herbs grow and flourish.  I also love the reward of having fresh, organic herbs for an entire season.  Happy herbing!

Culinary Basics - How to Grow Basil


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