How to Grow Fresh Organic Herbs in Your Backyard

List: Posted: 11/02/11

Starting a garden is a great way to save money and an easy way to eat healthier!  If you’re thinking about starting a herb garden, do so by your kitchen door, so you’ll be able to easily grab your herbs while you’re cooking. 

 

Take a few minutes to list of all the herbs you want to include.  If you’re not a culinary chef, that’s no big deal!  Some with some of the most common culinary herbs including rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, oregano, marjoram, parsley, and dill.  Think about all of the herbs that you use when you’re cooking and make sure that you include them.

 

Start By Drawing

 

Just like an architect, sketch a design of how you want your garden to look.  If you want to create a square space, create a grid so that each of the herbs will have its own area to grow.  If you would rather have a circular garden, sketch a large circle and divide it into wedges of equal size.

 

You’ll also need to plan gravel or paver paths that follow the same lines as your sketch.  Then design plant locations on the sketch.  Taller herbs, such as rosemary or lavender, will need to be in the back so that they do not block sunlight from the smaller herbs.


Prepare the Soil

 

Once you have decided where you’re going to grow your herbs, you’ll need to prepare the space.  Remove all grass, weeds, and debris.  Using your shovel, dig down anywhere from four to six inches and add compost.  This will improve the soil.  Turn the compost into the soil using your shovel, and then smooth the soil surface with a rake.


Planting Herbs

 

Planting is best done in an area that receives full sun.  You’ll need enough room so that your herb area is no smaller than four feet by four feet.  Lay out the design from your drawing with stakes and string.  Install the edging for each section, by following the garden paths.  You’ll also need to install a drip-irrigation or sprinkler system, but make sure that you test it before planting.

 

Now, you can visit your local garden center or plant nursery and buy your young herb plants.  Plant all of your herbs in their appointed garden sections.  You can also add a layer of organic mulch around each seedling.  Make sure that you keep the soil moist, but not too wet.  When the herbs start to grow, you will clip the tips.  This will ensure that your herbs grow with larger leaves.

 

Preparing Your Herbs

 

Congratulations, your herbs are planted!  When you've collected your desired amount of each herb ready for cooking, you’ll need to first dry them.  This can be done by laying them out in screening or you can hang them upside down in paper bags.  Collect all of your dried herbs and store them inside of an airtight container.

 

It may be warm when you do your planting but it will be cool before you know it.  Cut the perennial herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, to the ground before the weather gets cold.  You’ll need to cover them with two to three inches of mulch. These herbs will return again in the spring.

 

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