Herb Growing 101: How to Grow Your Own Herbs at Home
Updated: Nov 16, 2020
Herbs can spice up your everyday life in a myriad of ways. Brew a loose leaf tea, infuse a cheesecake with lavender, or add fresh oregano to a dish with roasted vegetables for an aromatic flavour. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or gardening as a beginner, these tips and tricks are all you need to grow your own herb garden.
Where can I grow my own herbs?
You can grow herbs in almost any environment if you take time to do your research. Even if you live in a place like Ontario with long winters and short, hot summers, you can effectively grow herbs that will thrive both indoors and outdoors. Even if you’re planting your herbs outside, container gardening is a brilliant way to begin herb gardening. Using containers gives you a chance to experiment and test where your plants are the happiest.
How to build your own herb container garden
Almost any reusable container can be a vessel for herb planting, so feel free to get creative! Egg cartons are great for baby seedlings or sprouting seeds, an old tire can be a backyard home for wild mint, and a chipped porcelain salad bowl could be a home for growing new salad ingredients.
Make sure the vessel you’re planting herbs in has holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Space your plants 8-10 inches apart to give them space to grow. If you’re a baker, imagine your new baby herbs are cookies about to go in the oven; they’ll need room to grow and expand.
Group plants with the same needs in one planter. Herbs that need plenty of sun can share a planter and grow together. Similarly, plants like tarragon and cilantro may enjoy partial shade – so group them together if you’re using a bigger planter.
You’ll also want to consider each herb’s growth patterns. An easy grower like mint can easily overtake other more delicate herbs like dill.
Ask plenty of questions when you buy your herbs. Understanding their needs will let you see which herbs play nicely together. For example, fennel and horseradish have a longstanding rivalry and will quickly undermine each other if placed in the same container. Understanding how your plants interact is gardening 101!
Build your confidence with herb gardening by starting small
Take a look at your immediate environment and note which areas receive sun or shade. If you’re planning on gardening indoors, look for areas that get direct sunlight but aren’t right next to an air conditioning or heating vent. If you’re a complete herb gardening beginner, try beginning with seedlings rather than herb seeds. To help grow your confidence, begin with herb seedlings like mint, parsley, thyme and oregano. These herbs grow easily and offer a plentiful harvest, so they’re a good place to begin. Treat your seedlings gently. Read their labels carefully and begin with gentle watering and experimentation. If you notice them wilting, consider whether the sun is too severe or the evenings are too cold.
Growing herbs is like having a conversation. What are your plants telling you? When one response doesn’t work, try something new and learn from mistakes to grow into your wisdom as a herb gardener. One essential part of gardening 101 is listening to your plants and getting to know what they respond to. What’s the best part? With herb gardening, your reward is always delicious.
Looking for more gardening tips and insights?
By becoming a Boomerang member, you will have access to all of our upcoming workshops, and we frequently run workshops on plant care and interacting with nature. Sign up for Boomerang now to view our upcoming workshops.
Read more about the health benefits of house plants
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.