Herb Your Enthusiasm: A Beginner’s Guide to Herb Gardening

Planting your own herbs is a perfect way to dip your toes into the world of gardening. You can start them indoors by planting seeds in small containers, then transplanting them outside once they have sprouted and the weather is amenable. Several types of herbs are virtually foolproof and take little time to cultivate. They also add a wonderful bouquet of fragrance to any windowsill or garden.

Basil

Basil is an excellent choice for beginning gardeners. The plant is strong and sturdy, and it germinates fast–usually in less than 10 days. If you start these from seeds while still indoors, be aware that you will want to replant them in larger and larger containers as they grow. This gives the roots room to spread out and keep the stems and leaves hearty.

Once the weather is conducive to planting, you can transplant your basil to your garden or window-box. Each plant should be spaced about 12 inches apart. They will grow to be around a foot tall and a foot wide and will fill the air with their sweet, distinctive scent.

Chives

Chives are no-fuss plants that are also perennials, which mean they will appear in your garden year after year. They too germinate quickly–in less than 10 days–and once they’re outside, they love to spread as far as they can reach. When doing the initial transplanting from container to garden, give each plant about six inches of space. And that’s about all the “rules” for planting chives: they really are THAT easy!

As chives grow, they sprout blades that resemble slightly stronger versions of typical grass blades. Atop these blades, a small purple bulb will appear. Not only do chives make a great addition to mealtime, they also provide a lovely, understated display of deep green and eye-catching lavender.

Dill

Like basil and chives, the dill plant usually germinates in 10 days or less. Space the dill about five inches apart when transplanting from the container to the garden or window-box. Dill is a showy plant and can grow to be three feet high, often providing shelter and shadow for smaller plants around it.

Dill has branched-out leaves that resemble ferns. The leaves are light and wispy and give off that unique dill scent. The plants also sprout yellow flowers that will give your herb garden a pop of color.

A Few Considerations

Starting your herb plants indoors will ensure they receive a strong, successful start. They can be planted early, long before the last frost of the season, and then transplanted to your outdoor space. Just remember that as your plants grow indoors, so too should the containers that house them. And of course, always keep them watered and in the sun.

Other easy-to-grow herbs include the following:

  • Cilantro
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme