Summer is here and that means a lot of fresh goodies to the table- spring onions, mint, strawberries, kale, beets, and carrots.
Herbs are a good way to practice growing your green thumb and getting a hang for plant care. If you’ve never grown herbs before, it is best to start with actual plants versus starting from seeds because seeds are a little more care intensive than the already-started plants. You can find baby plants at farmer’s markets or any store that has a Home & Gardening section. If you decide to start from seeds, you can also get the starter packets in the Home & Garden section.
As with any new project, it never hurts to do some research. Knowledge is power and understanding the kind of care that will have to go in to your plants could make a difference in whether or not you actually want to grow that herb. Drainage, sun exposure, growth rate/size, and pruning all factor in to how well your plant will grow. With that all being said, it can seem like a lot to go into a little plant, but it is well worth it! You can grow as many or as few herbs as you want to and sometimes starting with fewer is easier until you get into the swing of taking care of your plants. One important thing to understand is that if your plant looks like it is dying, do not give up on it! Do some research to see if the plant is getting enough sunlight or might need more or less water.
When it comes to doing your research, you may already know which herbs you are interested in growing or maybe you have no idea which herbs you want to grow. If you are new to herb growing, a way to narrow down your selection pool would be to decide what you want to grow your herbs for. Do you want to have fresh herbs to use in the kitchen? Do you want to make herbal teas? Are there certain herbs that you just LOVE the smell? Knowing how you’re going to use your herbs helps narrow down your possibilities and also gives you a little motivation in keeping your plants alive.
Once you’ve decided which herbs you want to plant, you should determine where you want to have them grow! Plants are very good at adapting to their environment, so they can grow indoors or outdoors. It is important to make sure that wherever you decide to place them that they have enough sunlight. Once you have your herbs all nestled in to their new home, the maintenance beyond that point is to prune (so they can continue to grow bigger instead of blooming into their flowers) and water them.
Once your herbs are underway, it is up to you to determine how and when to use them. I personally grow sweet basil in the summer so that I can make fresh pesto! I prune it between May and July and by the end of July is when I can heavily pick from my plant without killing it.