There a number of ways you can go in order to establish your own herb garden. What you choose to go with will depend on how much time you have to tend to your garden, the funds available for purchasing items for it, and the size of the area you have to work with. However, as long as you have sunlight or natural light and drainage enough you will be sorted. Remember, the better the soil and fertiliser you use the more bountiful your produce will be!
Rosemary and lavender putting on a wonderful show in the left corner of this garden.
Already bought a bunch of herbs in plastic pots? Fear not! They will survive quite happily for a while depending on how established they are. As long as you make sure you water them and keep them for a few hours a day in natural light, they will give you some happy leaves! The little plastic pots do indeed dry out quickly though, so it is best to get cracking and set them up with the right stuff, so they live longer.
Seeds in the packet waiting to be introduced to soil and water? Read on to help them prepare their lives in the fresh open air!
Growing Herbs From Seed
If you’re new at this whole gardening thing or limited with time, you may want to skip this part and head right to seedlings below… If you’re still reading, you’re feeling pretty confident to give growing from seeds a go and hopefully have some garden tending time available … First up it is pretty safe to say that some plants are easier to grow from seed than others. If you do wish to start from seed, you’ll need some additional equipment and a few steps extra. How to store your seeds for the best results is also important. This goes for any type including seeds for your lawn or your garden.
- The National Gardening Association Learning Library. Here you’ll find some handy tips on how to best plant from seed and which herb varieties to choose
- Gardening Australia features an article from Jerry whose grandmother taught him how to lay the perfect seedbed in the garden – check it out here
- Certified organic seeds from the Diggers Club are a real hit. Not only are you promised fantastic quality, but it’s great for the environment, and their range is phenomenal. You can order online and have them delivered in days
Starting At Seedlings
Having gardened for a squillion millennia it feels (not always entirely successfully, but overall awesomely and therapeutically!) I still usually opt for seedlings. They’re much less expensive than established plants, they seem easier to grow than from seed, and I can see what I am getting in the punnet in front of me. Not to mention, I’m a little impatient, so when I plant my herbs I want to be able to start using them pronto! Remember, it’s also important to know how to store your seedlings properly and when to plant seedlings so they have the best chance of survival.
A little helper enjoys planting some seedlings.
You can easily head to one of the major garden centres nearby to collect some great herbs. However, I’ve found purchasing them at smaller, local nurseries or from markets are a fantastic way to usually get herbs to plant that are used to living outdoors. Also, you are usually helping out some locals and small businesses in the community which is a real plus!
Seedlings are fairly inexpensive, and you usually get a few (4-8) in a punnet, so you’ve got some chance of at least a few of those thriving. Remember to consider the space required for each plant – you may like to plant some in different places around the garden or in a pot on the windowsill, so you always have at least some of each herb nearby.
I’ve also found splitting up the punnets means you can quickly see which area is the best for that particular herb to thrive. You may be surprised! I found parsley did much better underneath some zucchini plants than it did up on our verandah with the other herbs (watering frequency, soil, amount of sunshine all play a part).
Mature And Established Plants
More expensive but sometimes a great option, l more matured plants have already spent their days their days getting bigger and now they are sturdy. When paying more for a larger plant, consider however whether they are annual and only to last a year, or perennial and with you for the long-term (in the right conditions)! I’ve found going straight up for a small kaffir lime tree, a bay leaf tree, a larger sage and a fairly robust clump of lemongrass gave me the results I was after straight away. I could regularly and instantly start harvesting from them and knew there would be plenty leftover to continue to keep the plant flourishing.
Create an instant green splash by buying established herbs, such as these (from L-R thyme, mint, tin chook, thyme)
When Failed Attempts Lead To Glorious Success
I’ve been growing rosemary in a pot on the verandah, and it’s doing very well. Recently, however, I noticed a puny little cutting of rosemary that I attempted to grow in a pot downstairs next to a geranium has come alive and thriving. I thought it was too shady down there for rosemary. Though, as it turns out, that particular corner of the garden gets the perfect amount of light. And, because it’s done so well I started to see whether other herbs that enjoy similar conditions may grow. As it turns out I now have a little lavender garden accompanying it. The sweetest most Frenchie corner of the garden 🙂
This rosemary bush is still going strong after being roughly planted in the spur of the moment. It was just a little sprig I had in the kitchen in a bottle of water. It ended up growing roots while in the bottle, so I quickly dug it into a pot on my way through the garden to attend to something else. Now it is an established plant that has even survived neglect and drought!
Once you’ve decided which route you’ll take in terms of starting to grow herbs from seed, seedling or established plants, you can have a quick think about what kinds of herbs you would actually use. Have a look at the examples of what to plant in your herb garden and ideas on where to begin. You’ve got annual (need to be replanted each year) and perennial herbs (those that die back and come back year on year). Make sure you know what’s what so when you are planting you can also consider whether they’ll be a long-term Larry in your garden or more of a Stopover Steve 🙂 (Sorry about that, I love naming my plants). Also, here’s a nice little story which runs through some other ideas of what to plant.