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How to Start a Kitchen Herb Garden

I think my favorite edibles are herbs — they are easy to grow, come in all different shapes and sizes, smell great and have loads of health benefits. Plus, you can cook with them, garnish with them and even muddle them for cocktails! Win-win in my book. The only downfall is that I live on a full acre, and I don’t always want to trek to my Back 40 to clip a few herbs for dinner or happy hour. For this reason, I got busy creating a kitchen herb garden near my back patio.

This is a garden space that centers around a fire pit, and the plants are very eclectic. I have some ornamental grasses, wildflowers, roses, flowering perennials and even an agave. So why not tuck in some herbs, too? I had some open spaces, so I added an upright rosemary, two basil varieties, chives, lemon thyme, parsley and lemon balm. I love the way the edibles and the ornamentals compliment each other, and harvesting is only five steps away now.

If you are new to growing herbs, no worries — they are some of the easiest plants to grow. Here are the basics:

Choose an area that gets full sun. Herbs thrive when they get up to 8 hours of full sun a day. A little bit of dappled shade at one point during the day will probably be fine, but full shade won’t work.

Make sure your soil is well-drained. If you have clay or rocky soil, you’ll need to add organic matter to it, so the soil will retain moisture without being soggy.

Don’t fertilize. It’s not necessary. Beyond regularly adding organic matter to the soil, no additional feeding is called for.

Water regularly, but do not wait until the soil dries out to water again. For me, this means watering deeply about once a week. If your transplants are new, you might need to double that until they get going. Every area, every garden and every climate is different, so experiment with your watering schedule until you achieve a good balance.


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