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6 Steps for Planting an Herb Garden

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6 Steps for Planting an Herb Garden

Greening Your Kitchen logo by Eve FoxThere is nothing greener (both literally and figuratively) than eating locally-grown food. And you can’t get more local than your own garden, window box, or backyard.

This week, in honor of Earth Day and the burgeoning spring, I want to give you that little push you might need to start your own kitchen garden. It can be as modest or as ambitious as you like – from a set of three flowerpots on your windowsill to one of those delightful raised bed numbers.

Mint Plant

There is nothing more satisfying and awe-inducing than growing things. It’s a simply marvelous feeling to saunter down a path and casually snip some chives for a garnish or harvest some fresh cilantro or basil to add to a salad just before dinner. The taste of freshly grown herbs has no comparison and you’ll be saving money and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.

Step 1: Choose Your Seeds

I suggest that you figure out which herbs you use most often, and go with some or all of them.

Seed Packets 1

I planted lots of basil because I love to make pesto, cilantro because I use it in a lot of my cooking, dill because I love it on potatoes and in egg dishes and I never use up enough to justify buying a whole bunch at a time, and mint because it’s so nice in summer dishes and middle eastern food. Other herbs to consider include chives, parsley, sage, thyme (there are many varieties), marjoram, savory, and oregano.

You can either go to a garden store/plant nursery and pick up your seeds there or you can order them online if you are not in a huge rush. Either way, I recommend choosing a seed company that is certified organic. There are also lots of fun heirloom varieties available nowadays and they may offer better flavor than the more conventional varieties.

Step 2. Get Prepared

While you’re at the garden center, you may need to pick up some organic potting soil and a few other things like a seedling tray to plant the seeds in (though you can also use a paper egg carton – you’ll just need to be more diligent about watering and making sure it stays warm consistently), terra cotta pots for the mature plants, a trowel, and a watering can.


You’ll also need to stake out your planting spot — are you planning to grown the seeds in pots in your kitchen or does your back deck get more sun? Or do you have the time, energy and space to do something more involved like an actual kitchen garden? Although all plants like slightly different growing conditions, chances are you’ll need to find a spot that gets a good deal of sunlight throughout the day.

Step 3: Start Planting!

Start by filling your seedling tray or paper egg carton with dirt.
Dirt Ready For Planting

Then read the sowing instructions on the back of each packet of seeds. Each type of plant responds best to a slightly different sowing depth. Some seeds may also call for special handling before being planted (for example, soaking them in water for a number of hours beforehand.) Don’t forget to hold on to the seed packets as you’ll need them to determine the proper spacing once you’re ready to transplant the seedlings.

Cilantro seeds

Sow the seeds according to the directions on the packet and cover with dirt. Then give them all a light watering making sure to get them thoroughly wet but trying not to disturb the seeds too much.

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Read more: Blogs, Earth Day, Eco-friendly tips, Food, Garden of Eating, Green, Holidays,

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Eve Fox

Eve is the creator of The Garden of Eating, a blog about food--cooking it, eating it, and growing it. She has a legendary love of aprons and can often be found salivating over the fruits and veggies at one of the many farmersí markets near her home in Woodstock, NY. Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? "Like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow Eve on Twitter or Pinterest.


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1:11PM PST on Feb 24, 2014

I grow herbs and lots of vegetables, fruits and berries every year in my wonderful, rather wild kitchen garden. No pesticides, no herbicides, only natural manure from our farming neighbour, (no artificial nutrition) and water from our own well. Yes, it requires a fair amopunt of work, but it's so well worth every minute! A tip: Plant alternating rows of onions and carrots, as they protect each other!

8:48PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Nothing more flavourful than adding herbs to homemade cooking. Watching these plants grow and flower brings a lot of delight!

7:06PM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

Nice thanks!

1:10AM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

After recently moving back to Beira after a 10month break I started replanting and thinning my garden and had the greatest satisfaction, yesterday, in repotting and sorting my herb garden. With the unpredictable weather here I keep them all in pots near the kitchen door and as I sit here today I can look out at my plants and they make me feel so happy because they look so happy.

2:38PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

I hope people read this and see how simple and rewarding growing herbs really is...maybe they'll even try in winter!

10:41PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Got to get off couch to plant.

9:10PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

fresh herbs are such a luxurious treat!!!

8:00PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

i grow herbs every year. what a fun and educational experience. encourage you children to participate! thank you

5:59AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012


3:43AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

thanks for the article

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