How to Grow and Care for Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide

Herbs are a great way to add flavor and variety to your cooking. They also have many other benefits, such as being able to help with digestion, improve sleep quality, and even combat the common cold! If you would like herbs growing in your home but don’t know where to start or how to care for them, this is the article for you. We will cover everything from herbs’ requirements all the way up through harvesting herbs from your garden so that they can be enjoyed year-round!

Growing Spice Herbs

Growing herbs is as easy as growing flowers! They just need a few things to grow successfully: well-drained soil, good sunlight, and water. If you already have those elements in your yard or garden, then you can begin planting herbs immediately. There are many herbs that thrive outside, so be sure to check the specific requirements for each plant before planting them. For herbs that cannot tolerate exposure to the elements, such as thyme and rosemary, they can be grown indoors in a pot or windowsill garden so long as they get at least six hours of sunlight every day.

If you have trouble providing these requirements because your soil is too shady or not well-drained, herbs can be grown indoors in a pot or on your windowsill just the same. If you are growing herbs to use for cooking purposes, consider planting them near your kitchen door so that they are easily accessible while cooking!

Growing Medicinal Herbs

Herbs are also used for medicinal purposes. Medicinal herbs can be grown indoors or outdoors, depending on the herb that you choose to grow. One option is catmint (Nepeta mussinii), which grows great in an indoor container garden but does require consistent watering and sunlight every day of the week. Catmint’s flowers bloom all year round, so it is a great option if you are looking for herbs that will provide consistent color indoors. Another example of an herb that can be grown both outdoors or in containers is the skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora). Skullcaps do best when they get about six hours of sunlight every day and need to be kept moist at all times.

A few herbs, such as echinacea and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), do best when grown outdoors in a garden that is partially shady and will be allowed to dry out between waterings. Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs for medicinal purposes because it has been shown to help boost the immune system. Goldenseal, on the other hand, has shown to be effective in treating eye conditions and respiratory issues when consumed orally or applied topically.

Harvesting Herbs from Your Garden

Once herbs have been established for about six months, they can be harvested. The best time of day to harvest herbs is early morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day sets in. To harvest herbs, simply cut or snap off a few stems from each plant and leave about one inch attached to the plant itself. This will not only make your herbs look more attractive but also ensure that they are able to continue growing strong for years to come!

Herbs can be harvested as often as you like, but it is best to not harvest herbs more than 50% of the plant’s total height. If you are using herbs medicinally (such as in teas or tinctures), then be sure that you leave at least four inches on top of the soil when harvesting herbs!

If your herbs start looking a little worse for wear, don’t worry. As long as you have provided your herbs with the right sunlight, water, and soil conditions up until that point, they will bounce back within a few weeks!

Caring For Your Herbs Once They’re Growing

Herbs need care throughout their entire lifecycle but especially during their early stages. As herbs grow, they will need to be weeded and mulched regularly as well as water daily or almost every day depending on the weather conditions. If these requirements are not met, herbs will die off before their prime and you will only end up with a waste of time and effort (and possibly money).

Now that your herbs are established, they only need to be watered once or twice per week. If herbs have plentiful sunlight, then their soil does not dry out too quickly but if the weather is particularly hot and sunny for several days in a row with little rainfall, herbs will need more frequent watering!

Disease & Pest Control

When it comes to herbs, there is a lot that you can do to keep pests and diseases from destroying your herbs! There are many organic options available for pest control including using insecticidal soap or even just mixing up some water with dishwashing liquid (without bleach) into a spray bottle and spraying it on infected plants.

Another great option for controlling insects is companion planting, which is when herbs are strategically placed near each other to deter pests and some herbs may even be able to naturally repel beetles, aphids, and more! Companion planting has been found to work best with basil (Ocimum basilicum), catnip (Nepeta cateria), garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), marigolds (Tagetes spp.), and thyme.

Companion planting is also a great option for herbs that are prone to diseases, such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or oregano (Origanum vulgare). For herbs that tend to get powdery mildew, try companion planting with basil (Ocimum basilicum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita or Anthemis nobilis), hyssop, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), marigolds, mints, oregano, rosemary herbs, and sage.

Benefits of Growing Herbs Indoors

While herbs can be grown outdoors, herbs will grow much faster indoors and herbs that are typically difficult to care for or have a short growing season may flourish when grown inside.

When herbs are grown indoors, they only need about six hours of sunlight per day so herbs such as lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), thyme (Thymus spp.), and chamomile (Matricaria recutita or Anthemis nobilis) will do well when grown indoors.

Growing herbs inside are also beneficial if you live in a cold climate because even during the summer, herbs can still thrive when they are kept indoors! There is no need to worry about insects either because indoor herbs growing is much less likely to get attacked by insects and herbs that typically have a strong smell, such as parsley (Petroselinum crispum), will also do better when they are grown inside.

Now that you know how to grow herbs at home, why not try growing some on your windowsill or even in an outdoor herb garden?

FAQ

Do Herbs Need Full Sun?

Most herbs need about six hours of full sun each day to do well and herbs that typically grow in hotter climates, such as basil (Ocimum basilicum), will require more sunlight.

What are the Easiest Herbs to Grow?

The herbs that are typically considered easiest to grow include chamomile (Matricaria recutita or Anthemis nobilis), catnip (Nepeta cateria), and parsley (Petroselinum crispum).

Do Herbs Grow Better in Pods or Ground?

Herbs can be grown in either pots or directly in the ground and herbs that grow well when planted directly into the ground include chives (Allium tuberosum), garlic (Allium sativum), oregano, thyme (Thymus spp.), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) mints.

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