From Seed to Salad: A Beginner's Guide to Starting Your Herb Garden

From Seed to Salad: A Beginner's Guide to Starting Your Herb Garden

Fresh herbs add a burst of flavor and fragrance to any dish, and what's more rewarding than snipping them straight from your own garden?  Here's a beginner's guide to starting your very own herb haven, whether you have a sprawling backyard or a sunny windowsill.

Picking Your Perfect Perch:

  • Sunlight is Key: Most herbs crave at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. South facing windows or patios make the perfect location for herbs to thrive. 
  • Potted Paradise or Grounded Glory: Consider your space. Herbs thrive in containers or garden beds with well-draining soil. Also acount for easy clean up like spills or water.   Choose pots with drainage holes to prevent root rot.


Planting Power:

  • Seeds or Starts: Decide between starting from seeds or buying established seedlings. Seeds take longer but offer more variety, while seedlings provide a quicker harvest.  Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Follow seed packet instructions for planting depth and germination time.
  • Transplanting Tips: When transplanting seedlings outdoors, harden them off gradually by exposing them to increasing amounts of sunlight and outdoor temperatures over a week. Dig holes slightly larger than the root ball and water generously. Pro Tip: Pick up freeze cloth from your local gardening store or Amazon incase of a late spring frost.  Tall clear plastic totes make easy green houses while your herbs are young and delicate. 


Harvesting Happiness:

  • Snip away! Regular harvesting encourages bushier growth.  Leave about 50% of your plant with each trimming to prevent over harvesting.  
  • Pinch, Don't Prune: For bushier herbs like basil, use pinching as your primary pruning method. Pinch at the spilt of a leave from the stalk. 

Drying or Freezing: Preserve your harvest by drying herbs in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area or by freezing them in airtight containers. Dehydrate your herbs before storing. 

With a little planning and TLC, your herb garden will flourish, rewarding you with a bounty of fresh flavors throughout the season. So, grab your seeds or seedlings, get your hands dirty, and get ready to enjoy the delicious rewards of homegrown herbs!

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