Herb gardens are hip and happening nowadays. Neighbours, friends, family... everybody has one. Whether you have a large or a small garden, there is always a spot where you can grow some herbs. But how to get started? Below, you will find 7 tips that will help you get started with your herb garden.
1. Choose your favourite herbs
Before you begin making your own herb garden, you should choose which herbs to grow. Choose the herbs that you like using best. Consider which meals you prepare the most, and which ingredients you need for those. Or think of combinations of herbs that you can use in a summery cocktail. For instance, rosemary is delicious in a refreshing Gin and Tonic. But hey, you didn't hear it from me. ;-)
If you grow a lot of different herbs at once, it might become labour-intensive. That's because all herbs require a specific care regimen, and before you know it you're spending hours on them. So make a selection and focus on those. Success is guaranteed!
Family tip: Cress is super easy to maintain and is great fun for the kids. They love following the growth process closely.
2. Keep your herbs indoors at first
If you want to sow the herbs yourself, it's best to start indoors. This way, the seeds will germinate much faster. Sow them in small flower pots and make sure that excess water can drain. When it stops freezing at night, you can gradually start putting the plants outside. Put them out a little longer each time so that they can get used to the temperatures.
Extra tip: Basil, coriander and tarragon grow very easily. Make sure there is enough space between the seeds and cover them with a thin layer of potting soil.
3. Don't wait too long to transfer your herbs to a vegetable garden box
If you start growing your herbs indoors, don't wait too long to transfer them outside. If you do, they will turn into long floppy stalks, trying to grow towards the light. As soon as the weather permits, you should repot them to a planter or vegetable garden box. Speaking of which, those are also ideal for a balcony or patio. That way, you always have your herbs within reach. If the weather is bad, you can just put them inside.
One thing you should really pay attention to when choosing a vegetable garden box, is that you choose one that is made of sustainable materials that are resistant to wind and weather. It is best to pick one made of aluminium, a tropic wood type or weatherproof pine. That will ensure that you can enjoy it for years without too much maintenance. More about choosing the right type of wood.
4. Combine the right herbs
Not all herbs require the same care, which is why it is best to combine herbs with the same care regimen in the same planter or herb bed. Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano and sage enjoy full sun and not too much water. Basil, chives and parsley, on the other hand, prefer drinking a little more.
Extra tip: There are also fun planters out there that consist of different levels. This makes it easier to group the herbs.
5. Avoid overgrowing, create herb beds
Do you like a fresh mint tea? Or a salad with a fresh note? Then you should certainly consider growing mint in your garden. This herb is very easy to grow, however, it does have a tendency to overgrow. So definitely remember to corral them with garden wood borders so that they don't start growing in your neighbour's garden too :-) You could also plant them in a vegetable garden box or planter.
Mint tea tip: Add some liquorice to your fresh mint tea, it is delicious and very healthy!
6. Sow or plant in rows
If you prefer to buy herbs in a garden center, it is best to plant them directly in soil outside. If the weather permits, of course. Plant them in rows, so you can pluck any weeds growing between your plants quickly and easily. Do the same when sowing herbs. Work in rows and leave enough space between the seeds.
7. Keep your herbs for the winter
Do you like cooking with herbs from your own garden throughout the winter? Then make small bundles of the herbs and hang them upside down in a dry and warm area. When they have dried, you can store them in a cool and dark place, in a container or resealable bag. Do you prefer freezing your herbs? Then keep them in the freezer for a maximum of six months.
P.S.: Dried herbs always lose a bit of flavour. But don't worry: thyme, mint, rosemary and oregano will still retain plenty of aroma.
Good luck with your herb garden!