Growing your own herbs is a popular pastime and a simple way to save money, providing you with your very own supply of fresh ingredients. It doesn’t cost much to start and is a great way to begin growing your own food. The great thing about herbs is their versatility - you can grow them almost anywhere! From allotments and gardens to window sills and window boxes, there are plenty of ways to get started.
To begin, all herbs will fall into three categories
Perennial herbs are slow-growing, but last all year. They don’t die down, so there’s no need to regularly re-seed them. Some examples of perennial herbs include mint, rosemary, chives, oregano, thyme, sage, and lemon balm.
Annual or Biennial
Annual and biennial herbs grow quickly but will need regular re-sowing to ensure a fresh supply. Coriander, basil, parsley, dill, and lemongrass are all annual or biennial herbs.
Anyone can grow herbs indoors, whether on your kitchen windowsill or in a window planter. Your annual herbs will last all year indoors, and having easy access means you are probably more likely to use them!
- Herbs don’t like having wet feet. Use pots that have drainage to prevent your herbs from becoming waterlogged, as this will kill them. If you don’t have a pot with drainage, line the pot with a layer of rocks or stones.
- Fill the pot with compost and sprinkle with seeds. Give them a gentle water before covering with clear plastic to let them germinate. Keep them somewhere sunny!
- Once they sprout, remove the plastic and let them grow.
- Once grown, taking regular cuttings will encourage plenty of new leaf growth.
You can grow your herbs in a dedicated herb garden, or distribute them amongst your flower beds if you’re short on space. They’ll provide a beautiful scent during the summer and are perfect for filling up empty space. Plant any seeds for annual and biennial herbs between March and August, and for a continuous supply keep resowing regularly throughout the summer. These can be seeded straight into the soil, but for the more delicate perennials, keep the seeds and sprouts under cover until they are large enough to be planted outside.
Be watchful of herbs like mint, which tend to dominate the soil. They will need to be kept under control so that they don’t kill off your other herbs and plants.
This is a great space-saving option and is ideal for those who don’t have flower beds or who simply want their herbs near their back door. Make sure you choose deep pots that have plenty of drainage to prevent water
logging, and ensure you feed regularly to keep them healthy. To save time, purchase ready-grown herbs and plant them into a compost-filled container. Water generously and enjoy!
Now you've got the basics down, peruse our Gardens Department to pick out some of your favourite herbs and check that you have all the tools you need for your very own herb garden! Want to create something a little more special? Check out our guide on making your own Herb Spiral for a creative and visually lovely way to plant your seeds.