When I first started my garden, herbs were one of the first thing I knew I wanted to grow. I thought herbs were probably simple to grow. I had a great first experience growing herbs- but growing herbs is anything but simple and can be as exciting as growing vegetables. Herbs are actually very exciting to grow because of all the many uses for them. You can cook with them, dry herbs, make tea, freeze to use all year, medical uses, or use in crafts. Keep reading for how to pick herbs for a new gardener.
Herbs in my First Garden
The first herb in my garden was basil. I purchased a basil plant from Burpee. I thought basil would be something I could use, as I knew I could add to any pasta dish and make caprese salads, if I was able to grow both the basil and the tomatoes I planned for that first year. (I didn’t make caprese salads that year, as my first slicer tomato plant died.) I also had success transplanting a plant from my Rise garden and re-planting herbs I purchased from the grocery store into my garden. You can even grow basil from just a cut, which is a fun experiment for a first time gardener (I felt like a huge success when my cut basil grew).
Last year I grew the following herbs:
- Basil (several varieties)
- Green Onions
- Chocolate Mint
- Hot & Spicy Oregano
Most of the herbs were in my raised planter bed, except for mint, which I kept in pots.
Growing herbs for a new gardener: what to pick
If you go to a nursery or browse seeds online, you will see there are endless possibilities for herbs. It is easy to walk out of a nursery for 15 herbs in hand.
Pick what you know you will use. This may sounds too basic of information but it is something you need to keep in mind. Don’t buy 4 varieties of mint (which I may have done myself) without any thought about how to use. For me, the Hot & Spicy Oregano ended up being a waste. I used a few times when cooking, but I do not love the taste of oregano and the hot & spicy variety was not the best flavor for me.
What dried herbs do you use? That will be a great place to start when thinking about what to grow.
Think about the space you have. Some herbs will grow like weeds. Mint for example should not be grown in a garden with other plants because it will grow like a weed. Keeping mint under control is so difficult. I keep my mint in pots
Should you buy seeds? Buying from seeds is cheaper than purchasing one single plant from a nursery (generally). But keep two things in mind:
- If you don’t know if you like the herb or how you will use it– or just want to try out a different variety- then purchase a seedling from a nursery. You don’t want to end up with a ton of seeds from an herb you don’t like.
- Is it an herb that you can easily grow from seed? For example, lavender has never germinated for me. I have tried and tried with no success. I have been working on growing echinacea for months, I might get a small seedling but it always ends up drying up. I purchased a lavender seedling from a local nursery and may cave soon with echinacea. These two herbs are known to be difficult to grow from seed. It is fun to try but has also become frustrating to keep failing!
So what would I suggest you grow as a new gardener:
- Basil- a fast growing, easy herb to grow from seed.
- Parsley- a great herb to add to so many dishes. Also easy to grow from seed.
- Mint- Mint grows like a weed and I have found so many ways to use (I love to use to flavor seltzer and to make fresh mint tea). This is also an easy herb to grow from seed.
Growing herbs for a new gardener
Herbs are a great way to add flavor to cooking, add flavor to seltzer, or to make fresh teas. The uses of herbs is endless- making herb great plants for a new gardener. You do not need a ton of space to start an herb garden- can you can grow a lot in a small space. Don’t forget about hers when planning your garden!
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