You don’t need a green thumb or even a big garden to grow your own kitchen herbs. Chives, basil, parsley and many of the common ingredients in your favorite recipes will thrive in potted pots that you can place right outside your kitchen door, or on a window box outside your kitchen window.
Here are some tips on how to grow kitchen herbs. The seeds are readily available, and the little effort you need to put into taking care of them is well rewarded! You’ll have fresh herbs ready whenever you cook—and a pretty row of plants, too.
1. Choose the best location for your kitchen herbs.
What kind of kitchen herbs do you want to plant, and how much sunlight to they need to thrive? For example, thyme, coriander, bay laurel, basil, dill, parsley, chives, rosemary and sage really love sunlight. You may also want to grow oregano, a ‘trailing’ herb that looks quite decorative—and absolutely essential when you’re making Italian food!
On the other hand, some kitchen herbs grow best in the shade. These include peppermint, parsley, spearmint, Cuban oregano, and lemon balm.
If you’re planting your herbs on a garden bed, pick a spot that receives a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day. Drainage is crucial.
2. Buy the soil.
You’ll find everything you need at the local gardening store. You’ll need potting soil, peat moss, and vermiculite. Mix equal amounts of each into every pot.
3. Choose the right pots for your kitchen herbs.
As for the size of the pot, just remember how big the herb gets when it reaches maturity.
Some herbs are ‘small’ and grow less than one foot tall. These include parsley, cilantro, chives, thyme and Cuban basil. Fernleaf dill is also small, though other varieties grow up to three feet.
‘Medium’ herbs grow to two feet. These include marjoram, chocolate mint, peppermint, tarragon, savory, and most basils.
Other herbs don’t grow in height but spread out very wide—as much as 6 feet! These include spearmint and oregano. Others grow tall and wide. These include rosemary, African blue basic, pineapple sage, lemon verbena, and lavender. You’ll need extra big pots for these. However, the largest herb is the sweet bay laurel, which is a tree. It can reach up to 20 feet tall.
4. Arrange your pots.
Once you’ve placed your herbs in the pots, move them to the best locations. Arrange them as you see fit. You may want to cloister herbs of different colors (like sage, thyme and mint, which come in various shades). Once you’re happy with the positioning, add a final layer of potting soil (up to an inch below the edge of the containers). Pat the soil down with your hands, then sprinkle a generous amount of water.
[…] Instead of planting from a seed, try to get an oregano cutting from other farmers. You’ll get stronger flavors. To preserve that flavor even more, pick it only after its pretty purple flowers have opened. It thrives in hot weather and loves the sun, and can spread quite quickly over the soil (which is why some prefer to plant it in pots). Read our article on tips on growing herbs in pots. […]