Hi there!! I hope you all had a great weekend - especially all of you mothers out there. I cut out early last week to spend a long weekend with my family. My brother and I crashed my parents 39th wedding anniversary dinner, we had a family movie night at home, and I made a big Sunday dinner for mom and the rest of the family. I'll share more about what I made in an upcoming post... So good!
So about today's post that I'm really excited about... One thing that has been on my to-do list every spring for the last five years is to plant an herb garden. I use fresh herbs a lot, so planting my own herb garden always seemed like the more economical thing to do. Well planting one has not happened for the past five years. I have wavered about doing this because I never had a lot of extra time to learn about and care for a herb garden. And I just don't have good luck with plants. Never have. But I have more free time this year (thankfully), so one weekend a few weeks ago, I did some research and took myself to the nursery to get what I needed. I planted it and it is turning out BEAUTIFULLY!! I am so excited...
So if you are thinking about planting your first herb garden, here are a few tips on how to get started - based on what I've learned thus far, and how I planted my herb garden.
1. Start Small! I've never planted an herb garden before and I don't have a big beautiful yard to house lots of different herbs that all require different care. And like I said, I've never been that good with plants. So I decided to just plant ONE herb this year, which is basil. I also added a little flower for color - but more on that in a minute... I use basil more than any other herb, so planting it just made sense. Each herb has different requirements for care, so dealing with one herb eliminates the need and stress of figuring out which ones can or can't be planted together, which ones need sun and which ones don't, which ones need more water and which ones don't. That's way too much for a beginner like me who has time - but not enough time or knowledge to adequately care for lots of different things. So I'm sticking to just one thing for now...
2. Do your research! Luckily, there are thousands of websites out there that tell you how to grow everything, so don't just plant something and water it a few times and cross your fingers that it grows properly - like I may have done a time or two. Once I read several sites on how to grow basil and consulted my mom (who has the greenest of green thumbs), I made a list of the supplies I needed and the things I needed to remember once I got it planted. And speaking of supplies...
3. Buy the best supplies for the particular herb you grow. Plants need love. Gosh I've learned that - the hard way. That means buy herbs that already look healthy at the store, buy the right planter if you aren't planting them in the ground, and buy good soil that is free of harsh fertilizers and chemicals. You do want to eat the herbs after all, so that makes sense...
Here is what I learned about basil and how I planted my little basil garden:
- It's best to plant it after the last It needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day and it likes to be watered about every other day (every day during the hot summer months)
- They grow well in tall planters that have drain the water and allows enough room for the roots. I bought an 18 in. planter similar to this one that was round enough and tall enough to accommodate the plants I bought. Basil needs to be in soil that is well-drained, so the planter has holes in the bottom of it that allow the excess water to drain out. I bought a plant stand similar to this one to sit the pot on so the water could drain out. I put it on the part of my patio where it gets ample sun throughout the day.
- I bought 3 organic basil plants (about $3/plant from Whole Foods), so I bought some good organic planting soil to plant it in. It was the nursery's own organic brand (similar here), which was about $10 for a very large bag.
- I filled the planter about 3/4s of the way up with the soil and planted the herbs about 8 inches apart.
- For a little color, and the chance to get a little more experience with plants, I added two Verbena's to the pot. Per my consultation with a lovely lady at the nursery when I bought my soil, Verbena's require about the same about of care as basil. They love sun, need daily watering, and like well-drained soil. I "deadhead" them (just learned that term!), which means I pinch off any dead flowers. That allows for fresh blooms.
So that's it! So far, so good! I can't wait to start pruning the basil (which I learned how to do from a YouTube video), in a few weeks to prevent early flowering.
Hope this helps you if you are thinking about starting your own herb garden!
Images by me