Start a Spring Herb Garden!
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!
This warming herb is great in beverages and herbed butters and oils.
Delicious and pungent, sage is perfect for stuffing and bread.
Cooling and refreshing, mints are excellent additions to beverages and salads.
This pungent herb can be used for soups, tomato sauces and salads.
This savory herb is perfect for soups and vegetables.
Pungent and versatile, this herb can be used for pesto, tomato sauce, pizza and salads.
Aromatic and the primary component of Herbes de Provence, thyme is delicious with cheeses, soups and sauces.
Popular in French cooking, tarragon is perfect for soups and salads.
This flavor enhancer is wonderful in soups and salads.
This herb is often used in Asian cooking, and is perfect for soups and marinades.
Used for dips, soups, vinegars and salads, this aromatic herb is a common staple in any culinary herb garden.
Peppery and tangy, this herb is great in marinades and salads.
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