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When I first started gardening several years ago, one of the first plants I grew was an herb. Of course, I now cannot remember what kind of herb I grew, I just remember how easy it was to grow in a pot. Today I want to discuss with you how to start an herb garden outdoor.
Herb gardens can be grown inside or outside. My cat Tiger likes to eat houseplants and other plants I’ve tried growing indoors, so I’ve been keeping most of my plants outside to keep them alive.
Target has great herb growing kits that they have available in their dollar section throughout the year. I started with a few of these. I recently bought a culinary garden set from Burpee that contains parsley, basil, dill, and oregano (my favorite!).
I have all four herbs growing in egg crates right now, but they look like they are ready to be transferred to a larger space in my patio garden. Check out this herb garden guide to grow your own!
Herb Garden Space
Before planting, you want to plan out where you are going to grow your herbs. Some herbs are known to take over garden areas, so many gardeners keep herbs in pots and containers.
I have a few cloth vertical planters that will house most of my herbs once I transfer them outside. The wall these are on gets plenty of sun, which is will work well since herbs need full sun, which is 6 to 8 hours of sun a day.
I’m still figuring out the pattern for sunlight on my patio, since we just moved here at the end of last year, but this wall gets plenty of sun most of the day, now that the days are getting longer.
How to Pot Herbs
When planting herbs in containers, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can find containers for free, or even find fancy decorative ones if you don’t mind paying for them. Adding your own style with containers is half the fun!
Set of three containers are popular to start off with. I have seen these made with terra cotta and painted with intricate designs on them. The sky is the limit!
Containers should be at least 12 inches in diameter for each plant, or bigger if you want to grow several herbs in one pot. Make sure your container is at least a little larger than the plant so it has room to grow.
What to Grow in Herb Garden
There are plenty of herbs you can grow. Below are several to try as a beginner:
- Lemon balm
Each herb’s leaves look different and the leaves all have a distinct taste to them. Mix and match herbs in your favorite recipe once they mature!
Seeds vs. Plants
You can start herbs as either seeds or plants. They are quite easy to grow as either, its just up to how comfortable you are and what your personal preferences are. Check out my posts about starting with seeds if you are interested.
Use potting soil to make the most out of your plants and help them grow nice and strong. I usually use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for just about everything I grow in containers. It works great for me and my plants!
Add fertilizer to the soil before planting your herbs. I currently use Dr. Earth Home Grown Fertilizer for tomatoes, vegetables, and herbs. This has a slow release formula that continually feeds the plants.
I’ve used Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food in the past. It’s worked fine with my flowering plants. You just have to remember to water your plants first before adding the fertilizer. If you add fertilizer to dry plants, you can burn and kill your plants!
Also, Miracle-Gro is a synthetic fertilizer, so you have to apply it more frequently to your plants. Dr. Earth is organic and slow release, so you don’t have to apply it as much. I haven’t used Dr. Earth as much so can’t recommend one over the other yet, but its nice having both to compare!
Water more frequently when you first plant your herbs, then slowly lessen how many times you water them. Containers generally need more water than ground plants, since containers cover less ground and dry up faster.
Don’t water too much or you will drown your plants. Watering can be tricky when you are first starting out. To encourage roots to grow deep in the soil, give your plants large amounts of water at one time, then wait until the soil is dry before watering again.
Using Herbs in Recipes
Herbs are a great way to add flavor to recipes, especially when you grow them! Oregano tastes great when its fresh and picked for pizza. Cilantro adds a wonderful taste to salsa, pico de gallo, and other Mexican dishes.
Thyme and rosemary are excellent to sprinkle on steak. Add some mint to water and other drinks for a little taste. There are plenty more foods to add herbs to as well!
Herb Garden Outdoor
I hope this has inspired you to start an herb garden outdoor. What herbs are you planning on growing and using in your recipes? Let me know in the comments section below!