I love to grow herbs. After all, they are at the heart of good cooking.
They bring flavour, aroma, and beautiful garnish – the fact is, if you love food, you love herbs.
The great thing is, growing them is just as satisfying and rewarding as using them. And I find that with a little careful planting and thought, you’ll end up with fresh herbs available all year round to use in your kitchen. In my experience, there’s nothing like opening your back door and snipping a bit of fresh mint for your roast lamb, some gorgeous basil for your pasta sauce, or even a little fresh parsley to flavour your omelette.
They can be grown outside in the ground, in containers or pots, and even on a windowsill inside. Here’s my brief guide to growing herbs to help you get started.
Choosing Which to Grow
These will grow quite quickly and will need to be sown every few weeks throughout spring and summer to ensure you have a continuous fresh supply.
Here are a few you could try:
- German Chamomile
Perennial versions are slower growing and will need to be sown in a permanent area. They’ll give you a continuous harvest for your kitchen, so just think about how much you’ll save!
I would recommend that you make sure you do your research before you start to grow. This way you can be sure that you can establish what soil requirements they have and how to care for them. And I always recommend that you grow mint and horseradish in a container. From experience, I can tell you that they can grow and spread very rapidly.
Check out my article on the eight best herbs to grow in a beginner’s herb garden.
Having a section of your garden dedicated to growing these plants is a delight for all your senses!
The wonderful scents fill the air, and the colours of the green and silver foliage look incredible when combined.
You could create a dedicated area in your garden by planting directly in the ground, but I find raised planters more beneficial for drainage
There are a few things to consider before you start to grow herbs outdoors:
Pretty much every herb relies on plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil, so I recommend that whether you’re planting in a border or a window box, you need to make sure you can provide that sunlight.
If you are planting directly into the ground and your
soil is heavy clay, I would advise that you add some organic manure or compost to improve it.
Pots and containers
Growing produce in pots and containers is a superb way to make the most of the available space. Pots can be placed on a bright patio, right by the back door for easy access when cooking too!
Choose pots or containers that are relatively deep and make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom. You can recycle medium-sized crates into miniature gardens – these are great as they can be moved around easily and you can pack loads of herbs into one.
If you are looking for something different, then I would try a herb wheel. These are a perfect way to grow lots of different varieties when you are short on space in the garden. You can make your own wheel, or you can purchase them in varying sizes from your local garden centre.
Each wheel segment can have a different herb, but remember to label up each section!
Over winter, protect your herbs by placing them against a house wall or wrapping the pot in bubble wrap.
Growing Herbs Indoors
I like to grow them indoors, which you can do quite easily on a bright windowsill. Once you have sown your seeds, cover the pot and put it somewhere bright and warm to germinate. One sprouted, you can uncover and let the herb flourish.
Remember, placement is still important for indoor herbs, they do require a decent amount of natural light at least 4 hours of sunlight a day is recommended. And ensure that the typical indoor temperature is comfortable, they like warmth, but don’t stick them above a radiator!
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.