Herb Gardening Tips for Beginners

Featured Article, In Season, Spring
on May 10, 2011

Are your thyme, oregano and mint back like the plague? If so, now's the time for jerk chicken (which uses an abundance of the tiny thyme leaves), chimichurri, salsa verde or pesto. If those don’t float your boat settle back with a mojito, with plenty of fresh mint instead. To get ready for basil and parsley, here are some planting tips for these peak summer herbs plus a recipe or two for use once those aromatic crops come in.

  • Choose containers that feature several small drainage holes (large cans will do just fine) and find a sunny open spot to put them in. Herbs are by and large sun-seeking plants that require little shade.
  • Fill the bottom of the container with packing peanuts about a couple of inches deep to help promote better drainage and free up space for root growth.
  • Choose a potting soil that is pre-fertilized and safe for edibles—if in doubt, ask someone from your gardening supply store to help you pick the best products for your plants.
  • Place herb plants in the center of the prepared container and fill until the soil reaches three or so inches from the top of the container, packing the dirt around the base of the plant.
  • Water immediately upon planting and then as often as needed. If you're unsure, try the finger test. Stick your finger in the dirt—if it's dry, add a little water, but don't over-water. Soil should be moist, not waterlogged.