Of all of the things I enjoy on our homestead, my outdoor herb garden is one of the things I enjoy the most! Not only are herbs beautiful to grow, but the aroma of an herb garden cannot be matched! Let me show you some ideas for “How to Start an Outdoor Herb Garden” of your own!
Should you start a container herb garden?
Or should you plant in the ground?
In a raised bed?
Can I inter-plant herbs in my vegetable garden?
The answer is a resounding “Yes” to all of those questions! However, your place of residence will do more to determine what type of herb garden suits you best.
Buying the best quality seeds and plants that you can afford is your first priority!
I strongly urge you to buy organic, non-GMO seeds and plants from a reputable nursery. Your herbs will be an investment for you and your family, don’t shortchange the process buy using cheap seeds.
I am a big fan of True Leaf Market, you might want to check them out as well!
Next, let’s discuss the conditions that are needed in order for herbs to thrive.
What Conditions Do Herbs Need?
While every plant has it’s own unique needs, most herbs have two “non-negotiables”.
- Sun for at least 6 hours a day.
- Well-drained, fertile soil.
Regardless of how you plant your herbs, remember that they are sun lovers!
Some herbs will grow well in areas that get sun most of the day (6 hours), however, you’ll find that most herbs do best on a sunny slope.
Why the slope?
Herbs will not flourish with soggy roots.
Actually, most plants won’t, making good drainage very important if you want to protect your investment.
Soil is important for any plants, herbs are no exception. Amend your soil with good quality compost, but don’t over do it.
Many herbs do well in poor soil, although I wouldn’t recommend that.
Here is an example of how an ugly corner of your yard can become a useful and beautiful herb garden.
Albeit an eyesore, this neglected corner of the yard is the perfect spot for an herb garden.
It gets full sun and has great drainage.
A work in process
Once cleared out and fertilized with homegrown compost, this corner of the yard, which is just outside the back door, makes a wonderful place for a culinary herb garden! It’s so convenient to just walk a few steps, clip what herbs you need for dinner and head back to the kitchen!
After adding a solar fountain, some stepping stones and gravel, this unattractive corner of the yard becomes a place that butterflies and hummingbirds love to visit!
What are the Different Kinds of Herbs?
The types of herbs you grow will depend upon what you’re trying to achieve.
However, I find that I enjoy lots of different kinds of herbs! You can interplant various herbs to your heart’s desire, but remember that herbs roots tend to spread quickly when in the ground. Keep them in containers if that would be an issue for you.
If you love to cook and enhance the flavor of your meals with fresh herbs, then you might want to grow a culinary garden.
Your meals will taste even better with fresh cut herbs from your garden:
*Dill (butterflies love!)
If you’re looking to make herbal teas, salves and herbal remedies, then you will want to grow a medicinal garden.
Herbs included in a medicinal garden:
You’ll notice that many culinary herbs cross over as medicinal herbs as well!
If you love watching the pollinators come to your yard, then a butterfly garden will suit you just fine! Attracting the right pollinators to your home will greatly enhance your vegetable garden as well!
*New England Aster
Herb Garden Ideas
Herbs grow exceptionally well in containers!
Especially if you’re pressed for space, containers take up very little space on a patio or balcony!
Hanging pots and window sill boxes work well for herbs, too!
You can grow herbs in everything from an old weathered box to an old boot to an old terra-cotta pot that you picked up second hand!
Herbs as Companion Plants
Finally, herbs have a very special purpose in my vegetable garden and that’s as “companion plants”.
If you aren’t familiar with companion planting, it’s simply planting two or more plant species in close proximity in order to mutually benefit from each other.
For example, planting chives with strawberries helps to enhance both plants!
Besides the exchange of minerals, chives go one step further to repel the bugs who love to munch on strawberries.
This simple trick keeps my strawberries organic and completely intact. Not one single bug!
If you have a crop that you struggle to grow or maybe a fruit tree that just won’t produce well, I can assure you that companion planting will enhance just about any plant or tree. Try it and see.
However and wherever you decide to plant herbs, I’m quite sure that you’ll come to love them, as well as use them, in so many ways!