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How to Have an Herb Garden

Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow, and, with your own herb garden, you can be sure to have the freshest ingredients right in your own backyard.


  • Step 1: Harvest the leaves from your herbs as soon as the plants have enough leaves to maintain growth. Pick the leaves in the morning, after the dew has burned off but before the sun gets too hot.
  • Step 2: Protect perennial and biennial herbs through the winter by applying 4-inch layer of straw mulch in early winter, after the ground freezes. Then, after the plants begin to show growth in the early spring, remove the mulch and enjoy fresh herbs again throughout the season.
  • FACT: Dill was used by Egyptian doctors over 5000 years ago.
  • TIP: Anise, coriander, dill, and fennel don't transplant well, so plant them directly in the garden in the spring.
  • Step 3: Plant herb seeds indoors in shallow boxes in late winter. Then, in early spring, transplant the herbs to your garden plot. Don't sow the seeds too deeply -- the finer the seed, the shallower it should be planted.
  • Step 4: Consult the seed packets to find out how tall and wide your plants will get. Sow the tallest plants nearest to the back of your garden and the smallest ones closer to the front.
  • Step 5: Select an area with good drainage. Herbs won't grow in wet soil. If your garden suffers poor drainage, you can improve it by removing the soil to a 15- to 18-inch depth and adding a 3-inch layer of crushed stone before replacing the soil.
  • Step 6: Determine the size of the garden you want. There are a great many varieties of herbs, so your plot size will depend on the number of herbs you want to grow. Separate 12- by 18-inch sections within your plot will be adequate for separate herbs.

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