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.
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
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.
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.