Your Herb Garden Basics

With a variety of species suitable for both shady and hot, dry gardens - herbs are the perfect plant to enhance the garden and provide a healthy alternative to your culinary and healthcare needs...

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There is little to beat the pleasure of gathering fresh, aromatic herbs from your own garden to enhance your meals and, now that more and more people are changing to natural remedies as part of a healthier lifestyle, herb gardens are becoming increasingly popular.

Although many people have the preconceived idea that the herb garden should be formal, herbs are so versatile that they are suitable for any type of landscape, be it formal, semi-formal or informal.Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

How and where to plant herbs depends on individual taste, as well as the space available, the style of herb garden and the cultural requirements of the herbs.

A formal herb garden can be created as an independent unit in a courtyard, or as a focal point in the garden, while incorporating herbs in an herbaceous border will achieve a more informal and relaxed effect.

Cultural requirements

When allocating an area of the garden specifically for herbs, consider which types of herbs you wish to grow as this will dictate which areas would be the most suitable.

Many herbs such as lavender, rosemary and sage originate in the dry, hot Mediterranean regions and need well drained soil and a sunny position while others such as parsley, watercress and the mints prefer a moist, shady position.

Herbs with similar cultural requirements should be planted together as this helps to cut down on time spent feeding and watering.

Preparing the soil

Although most herbs will tolerate poor soil, they will do far better if the area in which they are

Once you have identified the area where you wish to plant your herbs, loosen the soil and dig in a generous amount of well rotted compost. Add organic fertilizer pellets as per instruction on the pack and dig in really well. Water the area generously and you are ready to start planting. Once you have planted your herbs mulch with compost and water again.

Common Thyme
Common Thyme

Choosing the right herbs

There is no end to the varieties of herbs available but to start with, it is advisable to grow the more common ones and as your knowledge increases you can add more and more of these amazing plants to your collection.

The following herbs are perfect for starting your herb garden. All are easy to grow and are always available, either as plants or as seeds from your nursery. These suggested herbs have both culinary, as well as medicinal uses.

Sun loving herbs include:

Thyme; Rosemary; Lavender; Sage; Oreganum; Fennel; Marjoram; Rocket; Coriander; Lemon grass; Chives; Tarragon and Mustard.

Herbs for shade or partial shade include:

 Basil; Borage; Chervil; Savory; Parsley, Angelica; Pennyroyal; Lovage; Lemon balm; Comfrey; Chamomile and Mint.

Questions and comments


The questions/comments section has been closed as of 1 Sept 2015

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Oct 10 2014, 01:14 PM
Hi, I love cooking with herbs and I love the look of them in my kitchen. I had 3 pots: golden thyme, parsley and marjoram. My thyme and marjoram have died! What did I do wrong? They do not get sun only kitchen light. If they are not right for indoors can you please suggest what I can have in my kitchen? Also how often must I water my parsley?
Oct 10 2014, 04:55 PM
Both Thyme and Marjoram require full sun, while Parsley will also grow in shade or partial shade. I suspect that lack of full sunlight has caused the loss of your Thyme and Marjoram. Though Parsley will tolerate more moisture around its roots, it should should rather just be watered occasionally. Perhaps over-watering could also have caused your Thyme and Marjoram to die - they both require much less water than does Parsley. You will find a list of other shade tolerant herbs in the above article on Herbs. But do bear in mind that leafy plants, including herbs, require at least SOME sunlight for photosynthesis and their general health. I'd suggest that you Google each of your selected shade tolerant herbs, determine the water requirements of each and then preferably group the herbs according to their water requirement, planting them into separate containers if possible.


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