Do you love herbs? Well we do too! Herbs not only add delicious flavor to your favorite recipes, but they also have medicinal, homeopathic properties that your grandmother has been using for ages. Whether you’re adding fresh rosemary to your chicken recipe, or infusing your freshly squeezed lemonade with lavender, we’ve got all of the tips and tricks ready for you to start the herb garden of your dreams.
Choose Your Plants.
Before choosing your herb garden plants, we recommend you start small, and then work your way up from there. Learn to “get the hang” of growing herbs before committing to a HUGE garden. Because herbs do have different needs than other plants, and while normally easier, they can sometimes take some getting use to.
Here is some info and a few examples of how we use our favorite herbs:
+ Rosemary: promotes increased concentration and digestion, but also a delicious addition to chicken.
+ Basil: known for it's use in italian cuisine (especially pesto), rich in antioxidants, and fast growing.
+ Mints: have many varieties. Can take over a garden, so they are best grown in containers. Also make great teas.
+ Oregano: is DELICIOUS when infused in honey or butter.
+ Lavender: is also great for teas. Also fun to make DIY lavender bath salts and candles.
+ Parsley: makes a fresh addition to salads and meats.
And if you’re wanting some perennial options (a plant that will remain more than one year) specific for our zones in North Carolina (6a-8a), here are some great options for you:
+ Catmint: cats LOVE this plant (if you don’t like cats, don’t plant this herb).
Also yummy as a tea.
+ Rosemary: (Rosmarinus Officinalis) looks beautiful and smells amazing. Can be used for not only culinary purposes, but also for decorations at Christmas.
+ Silver Thyme: has a pretty pink blossom in the summer with slight lemon-scented leaves.
+ Berggarten Sage: smells divine, is disease resistant, and makes a beautiful addition to your garden.
+ Chives: grow back even bigger every year, and have a pretty purple flower.
+ Oregano: will return if you cut it back in the fall and cover with mulch.
Choose Your Pots (Or Beds).
If choosing pots, remember that the larger the pot, the larger the crop. For example, mint grows like CRAZY, so if you’re wanting a lot of mint, we recommend planting in a larger pot. If growing in the ground, keep in mind that some plants are more invasive than others, so protect the more delicate plants by keeping the invasive herbs away from them.
Use High Quality Soil
Start your herb garden out on the right foot by choosing a good quality soil. Daddy Pete’s Soil is a great organic option that we carry at our stores in North Carolina, which we mentioned here in this post. And remember, you are most likely going to be eating these herbs, so try and avoid spraying them with a chemical fertilizer. A great alternative to chemical fertilizer would be mixing in some compost to the soil when planting.
Herbs are not like houseplants or succulents because they need a moderate amount of water every day, depending on the specific herb. And usually the best time to water is in the early morning, which allows the sun to dry the water from the leaves and prevent mold and mildew growth. Be careful not to overwater, as some herbs tend to gravitate toward root rot (like Sage).
Choose Your Location Wisely.
Some herbs like a cool, shady spot, and some like a hot, sunny location, so remember to check the tag of your herb before planting. Another tip to keep in mind in regards to location is this: keep your herbs close to the door. For example, you don’t want to be running through a summer rainstorm (or maybe you do) to go and cut the lavender from the garden that you forgot to get earlier that day.
Give It A Haircut… we mean prune.
We like to think of pruning herbs as “giving them haircuts”. If you trim the TOP of your herbs, more will grow back in its place, creating a full and healthier plant. You also want to cut from the top of your herbs, not the bottom. The bottom leaves are the sturdy base to your herb, so don’t cut those gorgeous leaves. And remember to trim often, because some herbs tend to die after blossoming. The leaves age, dry up, and fall off, leaving you with a twig and no leaves, which is sad and disappointing.
Happy Herb Planting! We have all of these herbs mentioned in the above post (and SO MANY more) at all of our Garden Valley Farmers Market locations in North Carolina. And we hope this post gives you the confidence and inspiration you need to get started with the herb garden of your dreams! We can’t wait to see you.