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Easy To Grow Herbs For Beginner Gardeners

Embracing My Herb Garden Journey

When I first started having success as a gardener – like filling-entire-baskets-with-delicious-harvests-type of success – it was with herbs. There was the rosemary plant that I managed to keep alive all winter in my kitchen window and then planted outdoors in the spring. There was the oregano that my mom planted by seed after I’d had my second baby, and that grew and grew even though I did nothing to tend it (the herbs, not the baby). And there were the chives that I kept in a little pot by the back door, snipping from whenever I needed a fresh flavor for a dish.

As I think back on these early herb garden triumphs, I recall the pride I felt at keeping a plant alive for the first time, the awe at how hardy those oregano plants were in the face of my pretty severe neglect, and the excitement at the prospect of never having to buy rosemary from the grocery store again. Herbs were the perfect starter plants for this new and would-be gardener. They didn’t require much space, much sunlight, or even much tending. If you’re looking for a place to start your gardening journey, you’ve come to the right place.

Understanding Herb Plant Families

Before you start your herb garden, it’s important to get to know herb plants and understand their needs. Herb plants are quite different from most other plants in the vegetable garden – their needs and care demands are unique to them, unlike tomatoes, squash, beans, or even lettuces. My favorite way to dive into this is to learn which plant family each herb plant belongs to. In fact, I love this method so much I made a whole video about it! You can watch it here.

By learning the key herb plant families, you’ll begin to be able to categorize the herb plants you want to grow and understand each plant’s unique growing needs. For example, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, and marjoram all belong to the mint family. Winter savory, summer savory, and lavender are in the mint family as well. Anise hyssop, basil, and lemon balm are in the mint family too. Cilantro, dill, and parsley are in the carrot family. Chamomile, calendula, and marigold are in the daisy family. And chives are in the allium family, along with onions and ornamental alliums.

Understanding these plant family connections is key, because it allows you to anticipate the unique growing needs of each herb. Mint family herbs tend to be aggressive growers that can take over a garden if not contained. Carrot family herbs like cilantro and dill bolt quickly in the heat. Daisy family herbs like chamomile and calendula thrive in full sun. And alliums like chives and garlic chives spread prolifically. Knowing these tendencies upfront will set you up for herb garden success.

Creating an Herb-Friendly Environment

Once you begin to understand herb plant families and their unique needs, it’s time to create a special space for them to grow. As you’ll learn, few of the herbs we enjoy in our kitchen originated in our home state. So when you set up your herb garden, your main goal is to re-create an environment for your herbs that feels like home to them.

In other words, setting up an herb garden usually requires you to engineer a unique space with a different soil blend, perhaps a different level of water, and maybe even a raised garden. Creating a space that will feel similar to the area where your herb plant originated will make your herb garden so much more successful. Your herbs will literally be making themselves at home.

I’ve found the most success with starting an herb garden in a raised garden or container, rather than growing herbs directly in the ground. This is mostly because I’ve usually gardened in areas with clay soil, and few if any herbs originated in an area with heavy and wet clay soil. A raised garden or containers provide a much better soil for herbs to grow, one that feels a lot more like home – particularly if you add a soil that drains quickly.

Instead of growing each herb separately in its own little pot, I’ve found better success growing several herbs together in one larger container. Herbs don’t need a lot of space to themselves, and larger containers allow them to reach for more resources like water and nutrients from the soil when they’re struggling. If you’ve killed your fair share of herbs before, it might have been due to growing them in a small container that dried out very quickly.

Sourcing Healthy Herb Plants

Just buying an herb plant from a big box hardware store is likely not the best way to start out your herb garden, at least in my experience. Most of these herb plants at large franchise stores have traveled quite a distance before reaching the store, and have most likely been treated with fungicide or synthetic fertilizers so they look great when you see them. But if you don’t continue to feed them the same fertilizers or fungicides when you get them home, chances are they’ll either just sit there and not grow, or just give up being green entirely.

So where can you get great herb sources for your herb garden? Some herbs are best started from seed in your garden – these include cilantro, parsley, dill, and basil. Other herbs are better to purchase from a local nursery or grower, or propagate from a neighbor or friend’s cutting. When buying herbs from a local store, be sure to ask your grower how they grew your herbs, if they used any synthetic fertilizers, and if they have any recommendations for growing them at home. In my experience, the more local the nursery you buy your herb plants from, the better.

When buying herb seeds, be sure you’re buying from a source that’s serving up organic, non-GMO seeds. Some of my favorite sources are Baker Creek, Botanical Interests, Southern Exposure, and High Mowing. Just one packet of each variety is plenty to fill your herb garden with loads and loads of fresh herbs.

Starting Your Herb Garden Journey

You can absolutely have a ton of success in your herb garden. Herbs are one of the simplest and most prolific things to grow in your kitchen garden. The trick to success, though, is not to head to the plant store and definitely not to the hardware store right away. Instead, learn first. Discover the plant family each herb you want to grow belongs to, and create a special space for your herbs that will feel like home to them. Then, and only then, can you head to the plant store – but make it a local one.

When you learn first and buy last, you save tons of money and frustration, and those plants that were going to die anyway don’t end up doing so under your watch. And just like me, you’ll soon look back on years of gardening and remember the herbs that first made you believe you actually had a green thumb. Because you definitely do – you just needed to give your herbs the right environment to thrive.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to dive into the wonderful world of herbs. Head over to https://todaysgardens.org to get started on planning your dream herb garden, and get ready to reap the delicious (and fragrant) rewards. Your culinary creations will never be the same.

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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