How To Grow Herbs

Steps to Growing Garden Herbs

Herbs are one of Eden’s wonders that can bring delightful taste to your table causing family and friends to keep coming back for more of those scrumptious meals, I have been cooking for almost 30 years and most of those years I have used herbs since the day I got introduce to them. So we will be looking at these fascinating wonders of nature and how we can grow them out of our backyard and how they can make us healthier.

Growing Basil

Basil Herb

For me basil tops the list I use a few leaves from this herb in soups or when I am steaming foods, you can visit your nursery and purchase the seed or you can buy the plant itself, If growing from seed it will be of great benefit of purchasing garden soil. When planting from seed make sure that the seeds are not pressed too deeply into the soil, plant basil in an area where it can get enough sunlight about six hours is sufficient, make sure that the soil does not dries out completely, water more in hot weather.

Growing Chives

Chive Herb

Brings a delightful taste to the many dishes that I have prepared, they can be added to salads,  soups,  steam foods, or even when cooking rice. These herbs can be found at your nursery, they can be purchased as seed or can be bought as a plant. Plant herbs in a location where they can get about six hours of sunlight  If purchasing from seed remember when planting make sure that the seeds are about one or two inches deep in order for the seed to germinate. These herbs should be planted in good garden soil, chives can be planted year-round but they are planted mostly in the fall and the spring. Make sure that the soil does not dry out completely water more in hot weather.

Growing Thyme

Thyme Herb

Thyme can give that BANG when cooking, the flavor of thyme is so awesome.  I like to use them in soups, gravy, and when cooking rice. Choose a sunny location to plant these herbs and make sure that the soil is a good drain soil, thyme hates wet feet so as an added benefit it is good to add compost, organic matter, or sand to the planting site. Seeds can be purchased from your nursery, growing thyme from seeds can be a bit of a challenge but with the right care, you can have success.

Plant seeds in early spring, seeds should be planted about 3-6 inches apart with 8-16 seeds in each planting hole. Seeds will germinate in 1-12 weeks. Once the plant reaches 4-6 inches high you can transplant them.

Growing Rosemary

Rosemary Herb

Rosemary has such a strong flavor that care should be taken with the number of leaves that you use, the taste of

rosemary has such a  pleasant taste this herb can wake up just about any dish.  I like to use a combination of rosemary, chives, basil, and garlic when baking my turkey and the taste is just out of this world.

Choose a sunny location, make sure the soil is a well loamy drain soil. Rosemary succumbs quickly to root rot so do not overwater, it is best to purchase this herb from your nursery when they are about 4-6 inches and transplant them to the site that you prepared for them. Wait for about 4-6 months before picking any of the leaves. Once the plant has matured to this point it is ready for harvest.

Growing Garlic

Garlic Herb

Entering the wonderful world of garlic. This herb can take your dishes to the next dimension but be careful when cooking with this herb. Garlic can be overpowering, again choose a sunny location and make sure and add compost or organic matter to the soil too. With a pitchfork, loosen the soil while you are incorporating the organic material.

Plant each glove or each plug 4-6 inches apart and about 2-3 inches into the soil. Make sure that the soil does not dry out completely when watering, garlic shoots should emerge from the soil in a couple of weeks. Once a month you can add some blood and bone meal to enhance crop yield. Your garlic is ready to harvest when the long shoots began to turn yellow and brown then withers and fall back to the ground.

Growing Mint

Mint Herb

Mint has a very delightful aroma it’s just amazing the kind of aroma that this herb gives off, mint can be used in many dishes that we prepare, even boiling the leaves to make a nice pleasant cup of tea.

In fact in supermarkets mints can be found in tea bags, mint candies, peppermint to help with an upset stomach, etc… so it is amazing the many products that are made from this herb.

Plant mint in full sunlight with a good drain soil meaning soil structure should be as such that soil does not hold excess water. It would be good to add some compost to the soil, also mint can spread and overtake other planting sites, so make sure and give this herb plenty of room to grow.

If you are planting seeds make sure and plant seeds from 1-2 inches in the soil. Seed germinates in about 12-16 days Or you can purchase the herbs from nursery or garden centers and transplant them in your garden area. When transplanting only the root ball should be in the ground. From the stem up should be above ground.

mint prefer a ph range of 5.6 -7.5 or 6.5-7.0 so make sure that your soil ph is in this range for success.

Water regularly but don’t overwater, allow the soil to dry out between watering then give plants a good soaking again. Orange spots on the back of mint leaves are caused by rust. If this happens, use organic garden dust.

The most common pest to watch out for are aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. You can control these pests by using a simple mixture of dish liquid and water, about a teaspoon of liquid to a gallon of water shake mixture well and add to spray bottle.

Spray the entire plant make sure to get the undersides, allow the mixture to sit on the plant for about 2-3 hours then rinse off with fresh water. Repeat this at 7 days intervals if need until insects are brought under control.

Growing Parsley

Parsley Herb

Parsley is famous for its use for decorating dishes. Many years ago I worked in a restaurant and one of the things that I would see the chefs and cooks do at times was to add this nice, healthy, green herb to add color to those delicious meals they prepared.

Parsley is also used to add flavor to dishes such as soups, salads, etc…

Location to plant parsley should be full to partial sun, Parsley prefers organic good drain soils, the soil ph range for parsley is around 6.0-7.0. When planting these herbs space plants about 9-12 inches apart.

If planting seeds you should put about 3-4 seeds per hole and plant anywhere from 1/2 – 1 inch in the soil. Water on a daily basis. Allow plants to dry out between watering and then give your plant a good soaking. Parsley seeds will germinate in 21 -28 days.

Use mulch to keep weeds down, keep the soil cool, retain water, and as the mulch breaks down nutrients will be added to the soil.

Disease problems are low, insects to watch out for are mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mite. Just follow the instruction on how to control these pests, using a homemade remedy that is found in the section on growing mint.

Growing Oregano

Oregano Herb

Oregano has a strong flavor and is used in many Italian and Mexican dishes which can really add that WOW too many meals that are prepared. Plant this herb in full sun. Plant seeds in a good drain soil, after the soil has, warmed up from the winter frost.

Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1/2 -1 inch in the soil. If you are planting from cuttings install plants about 8-10 inches apart mulch is not needed because this plant also makes a good ground cover and can hold down weeds.

Allow oregano to grow to about 4 inches then begin to pinch the plant. Regular pinching or trimming will not only cause this herb to get fuller but will also cause this plant not to get leggy.

Water plants regularly but don’t overwater allow the soil to dry out and then water again. In order to get the best result from your plant thin out after they reach 3-4 years old in early spring.  A common disease of oregano is root and stem root so it would be good to monitor your watering methods.

Pest problems consist of mealy bugs and aphids. Follow the simple homemade remedy that is found in the section on how to grow mint.

Growing Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf-how-to-grow-herbs
Bay leaf herb

Bay leaf is good for use in foods such as peas and rice, here in the Bahamas peas and rice is one of our favorite dishes. Bay leaves can be also used in steam foods, Bake foods stews, soups, etc…Bay leaves have a very good flavor.

When planting bay leaves install in a sunny location because bay leaves love full sun. Bay leaves also love a good rich well drain soil so it would be good to add some compost to the soil. When planting bay leaves gave it plenty of room to grow. Bay leaves can grow very wide.

When planting ensure that the planting hole is two times that of the root ball. Don’t plant too deeply, the ball from the base of the plant should be in the ground from the stem up should be above ground. Backfill and firm the soil around the plant.

Adding mulch will help keep weeds down, retain moisture, adjust soil ph and as the mulch breaks down it will add nutrients to the soil. When watering plants give it a good soaking then allow the plant to dry out before watering again.

When placing mulching make sure and keep the mulch 1-2 inches away from the tree trunk. Make sure when spreading mulch it’s about 2-3 inches thick.

The best time to harvest bay leaves is after they are a few years old. Make sure that the leaves are dry before use because fresh leaves can be bitter. You can dry leaves by putting them in a bottle with the lid tightly sealed.

Growing Sage

Sage Herb

Sage is used in salads, stews, soups, to season meats, and also to make tea. When planting sage it is best to plant in full sunlight Sage grows best in a soil that is rich in loamy soil, however, sage can tolerate a wide range of well drain soil. It would be best to add some compost.

Sage can grow as tall as 3 ft. and taller therefore when planting sage gave it enough room to spread I would say planting trees about 4 ft. apart. When planting seeds plant at a depth of 1/8 inch and space each planting hole 24-30 inches apart. Germination of seeds takes between 10-21 days. seeds should be planted late in spring

Sage soil ph range is around 6.0-6.5. When watering sage soil should be somewhat dry but not completely dry and take caution not to over water plant. Common pest problems of sage are spider mites, thrips, and spittlebugs.

Use an insecticidal soap spray or an organic insecticide. Sage at times also has to combat mildew so be careful not to water too late in the afternoon where water might settle on leaves and prune plants also for proper air circulation or airflow.

The beautiful thing about sage also is that sage attracts bees which in turn can pollinate other plants that are nearby. Sage can be harvested about 65-75 days after planting.

The final word

Having your very own herb garden is that simple. Just follow these steps for garden success.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

31 thoughts on “How To Grow Herbs”

  1. This is excellent! I am preparing my herb garden now for spring/summer and I’m planning on using a new substrate and fertilizer blend this season. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback about the organic alternatives and I like the way food tastes when I use organic in lieu of conventional brands, and I’m going to try growing more this year. I just stuck to american and asian basil but I’m going to make some mint & bayleaves this year… I will be back to check out your site again!

  2. Hello Norman
    thanks so much for explaining in an easy way how one can grow herbs even in the smallest places.
    I sure miss the good old days when most herbs one needed was grown at home, pick it up fresh any time you need it.
    I have not seen any growing bay leaf so this might be something to try next.Just like you guys in the Bahamas, we love bay leaves here but we only get dry ones that we use for meat stews.It will sure be an adventure to grow my own and with your easy to follow guide, I’m sure it will be a success.
    Another herb I`d really love to grow is Mint, I use mint in so many dishes and drinks(cold and chilled) and I feel it will be a real pleasure to have my own real fresh,self-grown mint at home.
    Will let you know how it all goes, can’t plant right now as it`s too cold and nothing will grow, but as soon as it`s warm enough outside, will get going.
    Thanks for sharing these really wonderful and easy to follow tips.

    • Hello roamy it is so god to see you and thanks for sharing, Herbs do not only taste great but the benefits that they have are so amazing. Thanks for those kind words and keeping me posted of your garden project, all the best to you and have a good day.

  3. Thank you so much for the tips and guides on how to grow herbs!

    I have been very keen on having my very own herb “garden.” But the limited space I have in my house will only let me grow them in pots.

    I have less than 10 pots of herbs now but I noticed that I am inviting some mosquitos and ants too. Is there a plant that I can grow to repel these insects?

    • Hello Pitin it is so good to see you again, here is and article that my help, all the best to you and please let me know how it goes.

  4. Woah, this is like my perfect website. I will be definitely coming to your website for advice on herbs and growing them. All the best brother. To a cosmic swimmer to another one all the best with love lee.

    Thanks for the information about herbs and the fact that if you eat these you will definitely live longer, feel amazing and better.

    • Hello it is so good to meet you, I am glad that I could help and thanks a million for your kind words, all the best to you have have a good day.

  5. Hi Norman,

    I really like your page on growing and cooking with herbs. I just recently got a green thumb and love growing plants. I have not tried cooking with herbs yet thought, but I am very interested.

    Do you have any recipes you recommend, especially for basil and garlic?

    Also, what water is best to use when growing herbs? Distilled, room temperature, etc.?

    Thanks for all the information and pictures!

    • Hello Fay it is so good to meet you, basil and garlic can be use in soups, stews, steam foods and can also be you to season bake meats. When watering you can use the water that comes from the faucet, hope this helps, all the best to you and have a good day.

  6. Your site is a treasure trove of information for growing herbs and using spices. What is the best organic fertilizer that you have found, and where can I get it?
    I’ve had trouble growing basil in the cooler Pacific NW. Are there any varieties that do better in cool, damp climates?
    Thank you

    • Hello Anne it is so good to meet you, you make me feel so good with you comments, Some of the best organic fertilizers that you can find are, chickenfuel’s, doctor earth home grown, jobe’s organic all purpose granular and organic tomato tone. These are just a few of the many that is sold.

      You can check you garden center or plant nursery, If they don’t have these they may be able to recommend a good organic fertilizer for you. Basil dose not like cold period as far as I know, but what you can do is over winter you plants by placing them in pots and bring them on the inside

      what you can try is during the day whatever sun you are getting take full advantage by placing them in the sun and when night falls bring then in doors, now I know this may seem like a lot of work but by repeating this will give your basil a chance of surviving through the winter. Hope this helps, all the best to you.

  7. This is great information on how to grow herbs. I would be very interested in growing chives, garlic and basil. Is it possible to have like a herb garden in an indoor type box, where I could grow all three? Or do they need more room to root? I think it would be pretty to have growing by the window.

  8. Thank you for your article on herbs. I am in the process of beginning my first garden and really enjoy your step by step instructions on how to grow these herbs. Will you be adding more herbs to this page? I really do like to learn about plants and gardening and your page has been a huge help.

    • Hello Keith it is so good to meet you and it is my pleasure to help you, thanks also for those words. It is no problem I can add a few more. All the best with you and your garden and please let me know how it goes. Have a good day.

  9. Finally I know what is chives:) I always thought that it is some exotic seed but after seeing the picture I realized that it is pretty common plant use in our kitchen. Cannot wait to start again my garden. i live in a pretty cold place right now and would love to try some of these herbs to plant inside. Thank you for sharing tips where how to use them in the dishes.

    • Hello Radka it is so good to meet you, glad that I could help. Wishing you the best with your garden and please let me now how it goes.

  10. I love this Post, its very good information for living healthy. May I ask if growing herbs at home means that you are growing inside your house or out in a garden? Most importantly, how much does the weather and climate factor in to which herbs you can grow and which you cannot grow? Also, would you say that there is an herb to treat just about every ailment? Meaning that would you agree that nature provides us just about everything we need as remedies so that we dont have to take chemicals and pharma drugs? Or, are herbs more for healthy future living? And not for healing from a healthy problem. I think both probably apply. Thank you I will share and come back to your site because its helpful. – Matt

  11. Hi Norman,

    Wow, this is a fantastic resource. I will definitely check back here in the near future when gardening season is here. 🙂

    I’ve been growing garlic for the last 6 years (I think?), and have had great crops. I’ve actually had to scale back a bit because it was taking so much of my time! This was despite the fact that I was selling the excess garlic (which was a LOT) at the local farmer’s market.

    Again, thanks. This will be very useful for me. 🙂

  12. Hi there Norman,

    Thanks for creating and sharing those great details on how to best grow herbs. I am going to try grow some at at home, is it true that we can use left over food stuffs such as egg shells, skins as an organic fertiliser? if so how would I best go about it?

    Thank you kindly in advance.

    • Hello my good friend, nice too see you and and thanks for commenting, eggs shells can be use by allowing the egg shells to dry, what you can do then is crush the shells and go through out you plant bed and spread the shells. If you have a problem with snails or slugs this will keep them out of your plant bed

      because the rough edges will cut into there bodies causing them to avoid your plant bed, also as the egg shell breaks down it will add calcium to the soil. Hope this helps, all the best too you and have a good day.

  13. Hi Norman! You’ve put an excellent, comprehensive guide there. I’ve been thinking about growing some herbs in our backyard over the past few years, but never really started. Now I’m super psyched to try it next season. I’ll definitely bookmark this page and take a look at it once I’m going to start! Good job, keep it up!

    All the best to you,

    • Hello Chris I am glad that I could help, and thanks for those kind words, wishing you the best of success with your garden project. Have a good day.

  14. Hey! this page is definitely not just about gardening. It makes me wanna cook, too. You give such helpful indications as how to successfully grow useful plants for cooking.

    I personally really enjoy cooking with herbs, but they are somewhat expensive and they are usually not fresh but dried. This take some of the whole cooking experience away.

    Now, I know that part of the art of cooking is to let fresh foods do the job for you, that is, to taste great. By cooking, you just find the perfect balance of fresh ingredients.

    Your website open the door to finding ways to cook fresh and real. I’ll bookmark it til I’m ready to use the info. 😉


    • Hello and thanks for those words, it is also good to meet you I am glad that I could help. All the best to you and have a good day.

  15. Hi Norman,

    I’ve found your article fascinating! I’ve grown some of the herbs that you’ve mentioned in the article, like the Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, but I still didn’t try to grow the Bay Leaf, Garlic, and the parsley. I will definitely try them.
    Just a question, please. Can I plant these herbs next to one another?
    Thank you in advance

    • Hello Daniella it is so good to see you, Thanks for those kind words. It would be good to give each herb growing space because as you know mint can spread very wide and take over. A rule to following is to give herbs some room to spread, I would would say about 12 inches to a maybe a food. Hope this helps, all the best to you and have a good day.

  16. Hi Norman, I’ve really been enjoying your website with it’s awesome articles. I have a question about growing indoor herbs. Which herbs are best for growing in a garden window container. I’ve tried basil, cilantro, thyme and oregano. The only ones that flourished were the basil and oregano. I would love to be able to use fresh herbs from my garden window, but i keep killing them. I’d appreciate any advice you might have.
    Thank you, Karen


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