How to Create a Herb Garden

Herbs are one of the easiest and most satisfying things to grow in the garden. And why spend a

fortune on herbs at the supermarket or local greengrocer when you can easily grow them

yourself? There is nothing more satisfying than nipping outside and picking the herbs that you

have nurtured before adding them to your culinary creations.

Herbs also have many medicinal and practical purposes, such as creating a natural breath

freshener or relieving the symptoms of the common cold. And the great thing is, it takes very

little time to create a herb garden filled with your favourite varieties.

Here are our top tips for creating a successful herb garden:

Choose the Best Spot

Most people like to grow herbs close to the kitchen so that you can quickly pick whatever you

need while you are cooking. Having to run to the bottom of the garden in the pouring rain may

mean that your tomato and basil pasta sauce ends up being a tomato only sauce.

Herbs need two things to grow well – a good amount of sunlight and well-drained soil so

choose a spot that will give you both of these. Sufficient sunlight helps produce herbs with the

best flavour and fragrance. Having said that, many herbs, such as chervil, mint, coriander and

parsley, will also grow well in the shade. Meanwhile herbs that grow profusely, such as lemon

balm and comfrey, are often better off in the shade.

Soil Preparation

Herbs grow best in well-drained soil, so if your soil has a high clay content or is sandy then add

some organic mulch and compost. Don’t use manure in your herb garden as the high nitrogen

content will make them grow too quickly and they will lose a lot of their flavour. Many

gardeners swear by adding liquid seaweed to the soil, as it’s packed with trace elements and

minerals. Just make sure you don’t go for any chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

Before planting your herbs, make a plan, taking into account how tall they will grow and how

much they will spread. Herbs, such as mint, which spread quickly. can be grown in a sunken pot

to stop them from taking over the whole herb bed. Once you have planted them, water well,

stand back and watch them grow.

Don’t overwater your young plants. As a rule of thumb, it is best to water them when the soil is

feeling dry around an inch below the surface. Check regularly as obviously different weather

conditions require different watering regimes.

Favourite Herbs for Favourite Foods: Some Suggestions


If French cuisine is your passion, why not plant a bed with traditional French herbs? As you walk

past your herb garden, you will be transported to Provence and its culinary delights. Thyme,

basil, lavender, rosemary, chervil and tarragon are all great choices.


The Spanish use herbs and spices in almost every dish they create. Plant your own Spanish herb

garden and notice the difference in the flavour of your favourite meal. Parsley, sage, rosemary

and thyme, plus mint, basil, oregano and tarragon are all seen in Spanish cuisine.


Recreating that amazing dish you experienced in Tuscany needs freshly picked herbs. Sage,

thyme, fennel, oregano, basil and rosemary are the basic herbs used by Italians to create their

exciting fare.

You’ll find lots of delicious recipes that use traditional garden herbs on the BBC Good Food

website, such as this Garden Herb Pesto.

Herb Gardens in Tiny Spots

Herb gardens are great for small spaces. In fact, you don’t need a garden at all to grow your

own herbs as you can create a mini herb garden for your windowsill, patio or balcony. Herbs

such as parsley, rosemary, chives and borage grow well in hanging baskets. Just remember to

position them to take full advantage of the sun and keep them out of the wind.

You can also grow herbs in tiered pots on the ground or use vertical containers on the wall to

save space. Your herbs will cascade over the side, creating a wonderful display.

Discover more space saving tips for small gardens.

We hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have any comments or would like to share your

herb gardening experiences, please use the comment box below.