Herb Gardening for Beginners – Getting Started

Herb gardening in containers

Herb garden in troughs

How to Get Started with Herb Gardening

If you have just started to think about planting a herb garden, this article on Herb Gardening for Beginners will help you decide:

  • What sort of herb garden to create
  • What type of herbs to grow
  • Where to grow your herbs (outside in a herb garden or in pots or containers or inside)
Growing herbs is not difficult. Once you’ve started you won’t look back. However, there are a few professional secrets you’ll need to learn to make your herb garden really successful. The objective of our website is to turn you very quickly from a herb gardening beginner into an experienced herb gardener.

Please make full use of this website, it contains lots of information on herb gardening for beginners, but also has articles on more advanced topics. If this is your first attempt at growing a herb garden, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Herb Gardening e-Mail Lessons, it’ll provide you with a very good introduction to herb gardening and lots of links to other information and videos elsewhere on the web.

You can start growing herbs at home using something as simple as a plastic ice-cream box as a container for your herb plants. Alternatively, if you have a patio or balcony area, with a bit of imagination and the right choice of herbs, you can create a small herb garden that’s both beautiful and useful.

For those herb gardening beginners with some experience of of gardening and vegetable growing you might want to start by creating a themed herb garden. Popular themes for herb gardens are – Italian; Chinese, Culinary and Medicinal. 

But not everyone will want to start with a big project like a themed garden. But as your experience grows you’ll be able to move on from learning the basics of herb gardening for beginners to learn about more unusual herbs and herb garden layout, and start trying to cultivate some of the “difficult to grow” herbs from seed.  

In my eBook “The Secrets of Successful Herb Gardening” I have provided a suggested list of ten herbs that you should consider growing in your herb garden. I’ve also provided a range of suggestions on how to use herbs in your cooking and for treating some common health ailments.

History of Herb Growing

Any article on herb gardening for beginners should provide a little information on the history of herbs.  An understanding of the history of herbs and how they have been used over thousands of years will deepen your interest in your herb garden. Also you’ll be able to impress your friends with your knowledge when they are admiring the delightful taste of the meal you have just prepared for them (using your own home-grown herbs of course!)

Herbs are some of the oldest of garden plants.  They can be traced back to the times of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Chinese.  There are lots of references to herbs in the Bible (some of them in parts written several centuries before the birth of Christ) and many medieval documents reveal that herbs were in frequent use by both rich and poor families.

The reason why herbs have such a long record of popularity is because they are so beneficial and adaptable.  They can be used to flavor food, to make a room smell better (with potpourri), to make invigorating and healthy drinks and even to control pests in the garden.

Today, the most popular use of herbs is in cooking (where they are known as culinary herbs), but they are also grown for their aromatic foliage and (in some cases) for the beauty of their flowers. But up until the early 1900’s they were also used extensively to heal ailments and improve health.  This is not a common practice in the 21st Century, but even today herbs are grown commercially for use in a wide variety of medicines, toothpastes and creams.

Conditions for Growing a Herb Garden

Any article on herb gardening for beginners should provide some basic information on the sort of growing environment you’ll need for your herbs i.e type and condition of soil, climate conditions, day to day care etc.

–  Some herbs only do well in a limey soil. If your soil is acid, you need to take steps to change the soil environment for those herbs

–  Most herbs prefer a sunny location, although a few prefer full shade or afternoon shade.   If your herb garden is going to be on your patio, observe how the sun and shade vary throughout the day to make sure you choose an ideal spot.

–  Amazingly, very few diseases or insects attack herbs.  Sometimes in dry, hot weather red spider mites can be found on low-growing plants and aphids may attach themselves to dill, caraway, anise, or fennel.

A good example of a disease you might come across is mint rust. This is a fungal condition that infects mainly mint, but can also infect other herbs, but there are well-proven methods of dealing with it.  My eBook contains information on herb diseases and how to deal with them.

Seeds or Plants?

You can grow your herbs from seed or buy herb plants.  If you decide to use plants you should be able to purchase a wide selection of herb plants from your local garden center or nursery. If you can’t find herb plants locally there are a number of excellent on-line suppliers of herb plants.

Herb Gardening for Beginners

Herb Kit for Growing Seeds

But don’t be afraid to have a go at growing your herbs from seed.  Although we are concentrating on the basics of herb gardening for beginners in this article, that doesn’t mean that you should only start with herb plants. There are lots of herbs that are easy to grow from seed when you start your herb garden. Lot’s of gardeners start their herb gardens in this way. It can be quite exciting to watch the seeds you plant germinate and grow.  If you do decide to put a lot of effort into growing herbs from seeds you’ll have a far wider choice of herb varieties you can grow, although may need to shop on-line at a specialist shop to find some of the more unusual herb seeds.

In other articles on herb gardening for beginners we’ll provide much more information on growing herbs from seed, but as a brief general introduction, herb seeds should be planted in a shallow pot or box in the late winter or early spring. Use a light, well-drained soil, but be careful not to cover the seeds with too much soil.  

Follow the gardeners rule “the finer the seed, the shallower it should be sown“.

By the spring your herb seedlings will have grown strong and healthy and can be planted outdoors.  There are some herbs (dill, fennel, anise, coriander) which don’t transplant well, and so if you decide to grow these herbs from seed sow them directly into your garden or into a pot or container.

More Information on Herb Gardening for Beginners!

In this article I’ve done no more than provide some very basic information on herb gardening for beginners. To make an informed start with your herb gardening you’ll need to read other articles on the Herb Gardening Help website and sign up for our FREE Herb Gardening eMail Course (see below).

If you’ve read this far you are obviously interested in herb gardening, so get started straight away. Sign up for the Mini-course and we’ll send you around twelve herb gardening lessons over the next few weeks. Once you’ve started your herb gardening you’ll no doubt have lots of “technical” questions. You can always email me with your questions, but what I have also done is to write an eBook on “The Secrets of Successful Herb Gardening”. You can either read this from cover to cover (it has about eighty pages) or use the search facility that’s available in any digital book to find answers to your questions.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, don’t delay; make a start with your herb gardening today. You won’t find it expensive to create and look after a herb garden, but you’ll find it gives you endless and priceless pleasure.

Well that’s enough on herb gardening for beginners; Time you started becoming an expert!

Happy herb gardening,

 

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