Imagine having a bounty of fresh, healthy flavors always within reach for any food you cook. When you start a home herb garden, you can have just that! Store-bought herbs are expensive and spoil quickly. Herb gardening is an affordable solution that anyone can do — no green thumb required!
First, decide if you want an indoor or outdoor garden. This often depends on light and moisture conditions. You'll need plenty of sunshine (6-8 hours), yet want peak heat to remain under 90 degrees so delicate herbs don't wilt. Containers are an easy option that allow you to place herbs outdoors or indoors as necessary. Plus, nothing beats a pretty windowsill herb garden.
Next, select the herbs you want to grow. If you grow from seeds, you'll get to select from a wider variety, but it will take longer. For a jump start, buy starter plants from Homestead Gardens so you can enjoy herbs more quickly. A few ideal herbs for autumn are:
- Berggarten Sage
- Fernleaf Dill
- French Tarragon
- French Thyme
- Garlic Chives
- Italian Oregano
- Italian Parsley
- Lemon Verbena
- Mojito Mint
- Sweet Basil
- Tuscan Blue Rosemary
With herbs in hand, now it's time to plant. For containers, use a potting mix made from organic matter such as Homestead Gardens 'Maryland Select' Organic Potting Soil. This helps provide suitable conditions for roots to grow and soil to drain. For outdoor gardens, loosen existing soil thoroughly and add compost as necessary.
Proper watering is essential for herbs to flourish. Too much and they drown; too little and they wilt. Plan to water small amounts more frequently, such as a quick drizzle every day. Monitor soil dryness and increase or decrease depending on conditions.
When herbs reach at least 6 inches in height, you can harvest and use them in your favorite foods. From salads and savory dishes to cocktails and simmering stews, these fresh herbs will delight taste buds. Just remember, only pluck what you need so you have plenty more for the next day's cooking adventures.
To get started herb gardening year-round, visit the Homestead Gardens' Modern Homesteading department. You'll find all the supplies necessary to start a garden indoors — hydroponic and aquaponics systems, lighting, nutrients and more — no matter the season.