Helpful Tips for Starting a DIY Herb Garden
Not everyone has the room or the skill to grow a full-scale garden. Gardening takes time and patience, and this is a daunting take for many people. For beginners, it is best to start small and learn to take care of plants indoors. One great way to cultivate your green thumb is to start your own DIY herb garden. This practice will help you learn how to garden, but it will also give you fresh herbs to use in your cooking all year long. The following tips will help you get started.
Choose Your Favorite Herbs
You cannot have a DIY herb garden without the herbs, so you will need to choose a handful to start. While some of the exotic herbs may sound exciting, you are better off choosing ones that you will use regularly. Think of the kinds of meals that you regularly cook, and then choose your plants accordingly. It is important to choose ones you will use often because regular use will promote the growth of the plant. Here are some examples of great herbs to start with.
- Basil: This herb is a great addition to foods like pizza and tomato soup. It is also the main ingredient in pesto.
- Chives: This is especially good with potato and egg dishes, but you will likely find yourself adding it to most of your dishes. It adds a subtle onion flavor to each dish.
- Cilantro: Most people love cilantro with their Mexican food, like enchiladas and salsa. However, not everyone likes the taste.
- Mint: You can use mint in a variety of beverages or as an edible garnish. Some people also use it in salads and dressings.
- Oregano: If you like making Italian food, especially pizza or pasta sauce, oregano is the herb for you. It is also a great addition to soups and salads.
- Parsley: This herb can go with practically anything you want to make and is a great herb to start with. You can add it to soups, sauces, marinades, and much more.
- Rosemary: Add rosemary to chicken and roasted potatoes for a great taste. It also compliments most Italian dishes.
- Thyme: This is another herb that can go with just about any dish, including meats, soups, sauces, and vegetables.
The number of herbs you decide to grow really depends on your preferences. If you want to start small, you can start with only a few plants. Not everyone has a ton of space either, so take the space in your home or on your patio into consideration. If space is not an issue, you can do whatever you want.
Gather Herbs and Supplies
Once you have decided which plants you want in your DIY herb garden, you need to buy the plants. Some people prefer to buy the seeds and start growing herbs at the very beginning of the process. This takes a bit more time and skill to do right, so the confident gardeners are probably the only ones who will take this route. It is better to buy young plants from a local greenhouse or farm because those plants are much less likely to die in their infancy. This also makes it so that you can start harvesting herbs from your plant much sooner.
Here are the other supplies you will need to put together your DIY herb garden.
- Pots or Planters: While some people will put different herbs in the same planter, we do not advise this for beginning gardeners. You will want to buy as many pots or planters for as you have herbs. Keeping each of them in their own pot will help you to address individual needs if one plant is struggling. When buying pots, you will also want to make sure there are holes in the bottom to promote drainage. If the pot does not come with its own tray, you will want one to catch all the extra water that drains from the pot.
- Potting Mix: Believe it or not, there is a difference between potting mix and potting soil. Potting mix is much better for growing herbs because they are lighter and help promote proper draining. You will also want to check the packaging to make sure the mix is ideal for indoor plants. Whatever you do, do not use soil from your yard because it is too dense and does not contain everything you need to grow the plants inside.
- Small Shovel or Trowel: This is especially useful and you fill the pots with the potting mix. We are all about working smarter, not harder, and this will help you work much faster.
Plan Your DIY Herb Garden Layout
Another aspect of your DIY herb garden that you must consider is the layout. There are several different ways to arrange your herbs, but you have to do it in the right location if you want them to grow properly. Every plant needs the right amount of sunlight and water, as well as stable temperature and air flow. Take a look at the following to make sure your herbs stay healthy after planting them.
In order to grow a healthy herb garden, you need to allow space between each of the plants. If they are too close together, it can limit how much air can circulate around them. A lack of air circulation then contributes to the spread of disease between your plants. It is also not a bad idea to occasionally rearrange your plants.
Sunlight is crucial to healthy herbs. Most of them prefer six to eight hours of sunlight, but parsley, mint, and chives will be just fine with six hours or less. A great place to keep your herbs is in front of a south-facing window because it will have sunlight for a good amount of time. However, if you do not have any windows that let in enough light, you will want to invest in a light. You should also not let the leaves us the plants touch the windows because the glass can get too hot during the day and burn the leaves.
The temperature will likely not be a problem for most homes. Herbs like temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Basil, in particular, loves the warmth and will also thrive when temperatures hit 75 degrees. However, if you want to slow the growth of your plants, you can reduce the temperature between 60 and 65 degrees. If your windows are drafty, this can allow too much cool air to reach the plants and make them wilt. If needed, add some insulation (like a towel) to the window to reduce the draft.
As stated previously, you will want to plant your herbs in pots that have holes in the bottom. This will help any extra water to drain out. If you do not have a way for the water to drain, the roots can rot and kill the plant. It is best to water the herbs until water starts to drain out the bottom because this shows that all of the soil in the pot is wet. You should also water them slowly so that the soil has the opportunity to absorb the water. After this, wait until the top two inches or so of soil is dry before you water again. It is also a good idea to mist the plants regularly to help them keep humidity around them.
Use the Herbs Regularly
As you watch the plants in your DIY herb garden grow, do not get lost in watching them grow. If you do not regularly use the herbs, the plants will go to seed. Once they do this, they will no longer grow and instead put any future growth into the seeds they provide. Instead of waiting for this to happen, be sure to use herbs in your cooking regularly. Be sure to always snip from the top because taking from the bottom or sides will make the plant lanky. When you take from the top, it encourages more dense growth. Just be sure that you do not cut off more than one-third of the stem or growth will slow down. You did not grow these plants for nothing, so be sure to take advantage of it!
Starting your own DIY herb garden comes with many benefits. It helps you learn to cultivate your green thumb, and it provides great flavor to your food at the same time. You will no longer have to go buy herbs from the store because you will always have a fresh supply at home. Each of the tips listed above will help you make the most of your herb garden and ensure that it grows properly. If you follow these tips, you will be enjoying fresh herbs in no time!