If you’re new to gardening, an herb garden is an incredible way to step into the growing world. Herbs are particularly hardy and provide successful growers with quick and abundant harvests. With big flavor and intense aromas, herbs are exciting to grow and lovely to have around.
Plus, their harvests are useful daily — if not for cooking, then for aromatherapy, medicine, natural skincare, and more. The health benefits are immense!
We’ve assembled a guide to herb gardening for beginners. It includes everything you need to know that you can get growing now.
Choose Your Style
When it comes to herb gardening for beginners, there are several styles of growing. Each comes with its own benefits and hardships. Consider your location, climate, gardening skill, and desires when choosing your style of growing. At the end of the day, it’s about what you want.
Garden Plot/Raised Bed
This style of herb gardening is an outdoor style of growing. It requires that you have a yard and a friendly climate for herb growing (not too hot, not too cold). Seasons matter when growing this way — consider the time of year it is and whether or not you can plant now.
When growing in a yard or raised bed, you’ll need well-draining soil that’s free from competing trees and shrubs. Raised beds are particularly good options if your ground soil isn’t naturally rich. By sectioning off the soil in a raised bed, you give yourself more control over the herb’s environment and therefore growing experience.
Container gardens are our favorite way of herb gardening for beginners and intermediate gardeners. Additionally, container gardens are a perfect option for urbanites, the elderly, and more.
Container gardens are easy to access and tend to. Additionally, their mobility makes it so you can easily move the gardens into areas to either chase the sun or avoid extreme weather.
In a container garden, you can grow on a patio, balcony, or porch. Just be sure to pick a container that is wide and deep enough for your plant(s) — otherwise, your plant won’t grow a deep and secure root system. We recommend the MoGrow system. The MoGrow bag is a well-draining and lightweight container, specially designed to maximize your herbs’ health.
The Herb Garden Kit System comes with everything you need to ensure a successful herb harvest
Herbs are also a great candidate for indoor gardening. You can try a full-size container garden in a sunny space or you can grow a mini herb garden like the Indoor herb garden.
Place it on a windowsill or a kitchen countertop that gets plenty of
Find a Home for Your Garden
Next, find a home for your herb garden. Herbs are quite hardy, so they’ll grow as well on a balcony as a windowsill as a garden plot. Basically, they’ll grow anywhere that gets full sun — about 6 hours of sunlight per day.
In really hot areas, shoot for a little less sunlight per day. Find a space that gets morning sun and afternoon shade OR that receives filtered light throughout the day.
Herbs like mint, cilantro, and parsley do well with even less (about 3-4 hours). They’re particularly good options for indoor growers and gloomy climates.
When growing indoors, it’s helpful to note these few things.
Southwest facing windowsills offer the most light. A corner with two windows — one south facing and one west facing — is the ideal situation. If you don’t have a southwest
Besides sunlight, consider what you want out of your herb garden when selecting a location.
Many gardeners begin herb gardening for the sole purpose of cooking with them. In this case, it’s nice to have your herb garden close to
Consider your purpose for your herb garden and choose its home accordingly!
Lastly, remember that herb gardens are beautiful accent pieces for a home, so, wherever you place it, be sure its visible to you and your guests.
Pick Your Plants
Once you’ve established style and location, it’s time for the fun part: picking your plant. The options for herbs are endless. When choosing your plant, you’ll need to consider your climate and the time of year. However, you mostly just need to choose an herb variety that interests you!
Ask yourself: What do you want? What flavors do you use most often? What holistic benefits are you searching for? What kind of visual appeal do you want to place in your home?
Here are a few of the most popular growing options and a description to ease you into choosing.
Rosemary is a woodsy evergreen native to the Mediterranean. It’s a delicious addition to culinary dishes like roasted veggies and meats, and it is a good source or iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6. Health benefits include improved concentration, digestion, and reduced brain aging.
Mint is a great option for low-light growers, thriving in 3-4 hours of sunlight of day rather than the usual 6. It’s a perfect plant to pluck from for desserts and tea, offering a
Basil is a culinary herb that belongs to the mint family; the most popular varietal is sweet basil. It’s an Italian chef’s dream (hello, fresh pizza!), but also creates the iconic pesto and more. Studies have shown that basil contains extreme anti-inflammatory properties and may even fight cancer.
Thyme is a beautiful herb that grows with clusters of small green leaves on long stems. With sharp grass, wood, and floral notes, it works well with protein and vegetables and often in combination with other herbs. Thymol, which is contained in thyme, offers relief from respiratory ailments and stimulates your immune system.
With incredible floral scent and flavor, lavender is a simply stunning herb. Growing for the looks alone is worth it.
These purple flowers are for experimental chefs and work well in breads, desserts, and drinks. Lavender’s scent offers soothing effects, reducing anxiety, stress, and is a well-known sleep aid.
Plant Your Plant
Once you’ve chosen your plant, it’s time to plant! Choose first whether you want to grow from seeds or seedlings. Although herbs are fairly easy to grow from seed, we recommend seedlings when herb gardening for beginners & all first-time herb growers. The beginning stages of growth are the most fragile, so by choosing a seedling from a trusted farm partner, you begin at an advanced stage with more chance of success.
Whatever you choose, the process is the same. To plant, dig a hole in your soil, plant, and fill dirt around. Then, fertilize. Water immediately or thoroughly.
Check Daily for Needs
When you plant a garden, you essentially commit to a low-maintenance pet. Check your herb garden daily. Make sure it’s receiving enough sun, offer fertilizer when needed, and most important, water as needed.
To determine whether your garden needs water, stick a thumb into the soil. If it’s moist, wait until the next day. If it’s dry, water immediately. It’s that simple.
Trust the thumb test — overwatering is the number one reason gardens fail!
If you grow from seedlings, your plants are immediately ready for harvest (although you may want to wait a few days so your plant can adjust to its new environment). If you grow from seeds, your plant is ready to harvest as soon as the leaves are big enough for your desires.
To harvest, carefully snip or pinch off leaves — as much as you need the day of. We recommend harvesting regularly and frequently, rather than in big amounts sparingly. This will encourage plant growth and keep your harvest fresh.
For best results, harvest in the morning. When harvesting, never remove more than 1/3 of the plant.
Once you have your harvest, use your herbs as you wish! Check out these 11 exciting things to do with your herbs harvests — from cocktails, to skincare, to cleaning products.
If your plant begins flowering, the harvests are no longer as tasty. Consider replacing with a new herb plant or let it continue to grow for the visual appeal!
If you choose to replace your herb, finish out your harvest before removing the plant from the soil. Then, store your harvests! Store what you’ll use in the next few days between a slightly damp paper towel in a plastic bag.
Store what you won’t use by drying or freezing your herbs.
To dry your herbs, tie stems to create bundles using twist ties. Then hang these bunches in a warm, dry place. Tie a paper bag with several holes around the neck of the bundle. Let hang until dry.
To freeze your herbs, chop your fresh herb into small pieces and place
Freezed, fresh, or dried, you’ll enjoy your herb harvests throughout the season!
If this guide on herb gardening for beginners inspired you to take the leap into herb gardening, be sure to check out our Herb Garden Kits.