Start a Spring Herb Garden!

 

herb garden image

 

Many of your favorite herbs are easy to grow in your spring garden! All they’ll need is a little sunshine, well-drained soil, compost and regular water. When growing outdoors in the ground, remember that some plants grow quite large (4-6 feet), so plan some room!

 

Right Time, Right Place

Most culinary herbs prefer full sun as long as regular summer temperatures don’t rise above 90 degrees. For exceptionally warm summers, consider planting where they will get morning sun and afternoon shade in the summertime, or filtered light (such as under a tree). In any case, they will need a minimum of four hours of sun to thrive. You will need about 1 to 4 feet in diameter for each plant. Consider these plant sizes:

• 3 feet (Rosemary, Sage, Mints, Oregano, Marjoram)
• 2 feet (Basils, Thyme, Tarragon, Savory)
• 1 foot (Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Parsley)

Digging with a large garden fork loosens soil, allows water to drain and creates space for plant roots to reach into the soil. Add compost to your soil, about an inch or so on top, then mix it into the soil to prevent drainage problems and to fertilize your herbs. Most herbs like to be watered as soon as the soil a couple of inches below the surface is dry to the touch, so check the soil often. Try not to over-water, as excess water can lead to diseases or just poor growing conditions for your herbs, which can reduce growth.

 

When to Harvest

When you’re ready for a nibble, for most herbs, all you need to do is simply cut off about 1/3 of the branches when the plant is 6-8″ tall. Cut close to a leaf intersection, so your plants will regrow very quickly. Some plants, including parsley, grow new leaves from their center. For these plants, remove the oldest branches completely, leaving the new tiny branches growing from the center.

 

What to Plant

Below are some useful garden herbs to plant this spring, along with some common culinary uses. Also, stay tuned for more fun and easy ideas for how to use these herbs once they’re ready to harvest!

 

• Rosemary
This warming herb is great in beverages and herbed butters and oils.

• Sage
Delicious and pungent, sage is perfect for stuffing and bread.

• Mints
Cooling and refreshing, mints are excellent additions to beverages and salads.

• Oregano
This pungent herb can be used for soups, tomato sauces and salads.

• Marjoram
This savory herb is perfect for soups and vegetables.

• Basil
Pungent and versatile, this herb can be used for pesto, tomato sauce, pizza and salads.

• Thyme:
Aromatic and the primary component of Herbes de Provence, thyme is delicious with cheeses, soups and sauces.

• Tarragon
Popular in French cooking, tarragon is perfect for soups and salads.

• Cilantro
This flavor enhancer is wonderful in soups and salads.

• Chives
This herb is often used in Asian cooking, and is perfect for soups and marinades.

• Dill
Used for dips, soups, vinegars and salads, this aromatic herb is a common staple in any culinary herb garden.

• Savory
Peppery and tangy, this herb is great in marinades and salads.

• Parsley
Not just a pretty garnish, parsley tastes great in salads.

 

Have any questions or tips about growing your herb garden? Please share them in the comments below! Happy gardening!

~Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa


7 Comments

  • Shirley says:

    Can you recommend some herbs to plant in shady areas?

  • Pia says:

    I usually plant tomatoes and basil in the same pot. Is there a good companion plant for cilantro?

  • Sarah Jamesse says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for this clear, concise and helpful info!!!!

  • RobinBeth Faulkner says:

    Do you have any suggestions on what to plant that will keep the deer from eating them? I am in an area that has herds passing through all year long. I don’t have a window box (much as I would love one) so can not grow them indoors. Plus my dogs would most likely dig them up.
    Thank you for your time,
    Blessings,
    RobinBeth

  • Yogi says:

    Hi Shirley! No need to forgo an herb garden just because you have a shady spot. Some herbs grow a little more slowly in the shade, but they’ll get there. Seek out shade tolerant varieties if you find them. Here’s a list: Angelica, Anise, Chives, Cilantro, Golden Oregano, Lemon balm, Meadowsweet, Mint, Parsley, Red perilla, Spicebush, Sweet Woodruff, Tarragon, Thyme and Wild bergamot. Hope this helps!

    ~Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa

  • Yogi says:

    Hi Pia! Cilantro, like carrot and other members of the parsley family, has specific environmental needs, including well-drained soil and at least six hours of sunlight each day. Sun helps plants such as cilantro develop the flavorful oils that make herbs so valuable in the kitchen. Other similar parsley family companions are cumin and dill. Cilantro has a shallow root system, so plant it away from vegetables that need deeper cultivation. Cilantro germinates slowly and competes poorly against weeds.

    Cilantro, which gives us coriander seeds when mature, and pungent greens when young, attracts beneficial insects, especially when allowed to flower. For this use, choose varieties of cilantro that bolt early, producing flowers quickly. You may re-seed every few weeks to maintain this potent benefit. To have continuous cilantro flowers in your garden, plant a few seeds every few days, so some plants are constantly in flower. Place your cilantro near tomato and spinach plants or planted in rows bordering fruits and vegetables.

    Late blooming plants for cilantro companions include lavender and dill. Basil, mint, yarrow, asparagus, chervil, spinach and tansy do well as companion plants with cilantro. I’d also recommend that you don’t plant fennel in the area where you are using cilantro as a companion.

    Hope this helps!
    ~Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa

  • Yogi says:

    Hi RobinBeth! Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions for plants that help prevent deer from eating out of your garden, but you might try netting! ~Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa

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The Tea Talk Blog is written by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Yogi herbalist with over 40 years experience.
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