Grow an Herb Garden

Nothing tastes better than using fresh herbs! Grow your own herbs on your deck or in your backyard – even a window flower box can grow some basic herbs for salads, cooking or grilling.

Here is how you do it...

Planting herbs in a pot:

  • Place some broken crock pieces in the bottom of a strawberry pot (a pot with open holes on the sides for the plants to grow through). The crock will aid in drainage and keep the herbs from getting "wet feet".

  • Fill the pot with potting soil up to the level of the first planting holes. Mix a couple tablespoons of slow release fertilizer into the soil.

  • Now you're ready to start planting the herbs. The best way to plant a strawberry pot is to lower each plant into the pot and then carefully guide the foliage through the planting holes. Press the plants in, adding more soil as necessary. If you are using a pot with multiple levels of planting holes, add more soil up to the next pockets and repeat this step until they are all filled.

  • After all the herbs have been planted in their respective pockets, fill the container the rest of the way up with soil.

  • Now plant some herbs in the top of the pot. For a small container, one plant is all you have room for. Larger pots can accommodate more plants. Press in the last plant and water the container thoroughly.

If you have a small sunny area in your yard you can become decorative with your herb garden. Try planting several varieties of lettuce, herbs and edible flowers in a small tub to create your own mini garden.

In salads herbs are used to perk up the flavors of bland vegetables and for fresh garnishes. To add flavor to meats and stews you need only to nip off a few leaves and sprinkle on top. Herbs also aren't just for cooking, some of them are grown just for the beauty of the flowers and have a pleasant aromatic foliage.

For those of you who have a small plot for an herb garden - you might want to try some of these herbs.

Sweet Basil - Germination usually occurs in 7 to 10 days. Basil is not difficult to transplant. Grows to 18 inches; space 12 inches apart. Basil is very good to flavor tomato juice and tomato pastes.
Borage - Germinates in 7 -to 10 days and grows to 2 feet tall. It is an annual and shouldn't be transplanted except when small. It is excellent used in tossed salad to add an elusive flavor.
Chives- Are easy to grow from seeds. They resemble fragile spears of grass, when transplanted they wilt slightly. Even during a drought they will grow well. Mature plants grow to 12, inches; space 6 inches apart. Hardy even in cold locations.  Use in salads, egg dishes and sauces of all kinds. Potted up, chives will grow on a sunny windowsill in winter.
Dill - An easily grown annual with feathery foliage. Grows to 2 1/2 feet and germinates in 7 to 10 days planted at the same time as tender vegetables. Not good for transplanting. May be spaced as close as 4 inches apart. Self-sows readily. Convenient to have on hand when pickling.
Sweet Marjoram - Sow seed indoors with germination in 7 to 10 days.  Plants may be potted up and grown in the greenhouse or sunny window over the winter. Adds a delicate flavor to lamb, fish, salads and soups.
Sage - This hardy perennial  is often grown in gardens for its pretty foliage and spikes of bluish flowers. Can be sown outdoors in May with germination in 21 to 30 days. Fine herb for dressings in chicken, turkey, pork and for flavoring sausages.
Summer Savory - This is an easily grown annual when planted directly to the garden. Will grow with germination in 7 to 10 days. Grows to 12 inches tall; space 5 or 6 inches apart. Good for flavoring fish, beans and soups.
Sesame - This herb has whitish colored leaves and pretty pink flowers. Needs warmth for germination and should not be planted into the garden until outside temp is about 70 degrees. Germination will take place in 3 to 7 days. Seeds are used to flavor breads, crackers and cookies.
Thyme - This is a hardy perennial being of somewhat shrubby growth. Leaves are cut for drying before the blossoms are open. It is easily grown from seed sown indoors with germination in 21 to 30 days using rich soil. Thyme is used for flavoring soups and poultry dressing.