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Garden Help/HowTo

Herb Guide

Herb Guide

Herbs are an extremely diverse group of plants that have been in use for thousands of years for a variety of purposes including culinary, medicinal, perfumes and potpourri, and as a natural insect repellant.

Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow for novices and experts alike, and can be grown in the garden, in pots on a sunny kitchen windowsill or in patio containers.

Soil Preparation:

  • Choose a spot that receives plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day, but is protected somewhat from the wind.
  • Till the soil and remove weeds, roots, rocks and other debris.
  • Add organic matter into the soil to provide essential nutrients and help improve drainage.
  • A granular, slow-release fertilizer should be added to the soil.


  • Plant herbs away from trees or large shrubs that may provide too much shade, or whose root systems might interfere with the herbs looking for food and water.
  • Plant on a level or slightly sloping site.
  • Space plants to allow for good air circulation.
  • Plant transplants at the same depth as they were in the pot to keep stems healthy.
  • Be sure to label each plants (use Homegrown Gourmet tags).
  • Do not overcrowd plants - this can lead to disease and pest problems.
  • After planting, fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks with a fast-acting, water-soluble plant food.
  • Herbs make great border plants or do well mixed with other flowers.


  • After planting, water thoroughly.
  • Avoid over-watering, though. The flavor of herbs will be negatively affected if they are watered too much.
  • Place a thin layer of mulch around the plants to retain moisture.
  • Woody herbs like oregano, rosemary and sage tend to need less water and can even tolerate periods of drought once they are mature and established.
  • Herbaceous plants such as cilantro, basil and mint require more frequent watering to keep the soil slightly moist at all times.


  • Remove cuttings early for culinary purposes.
  • Flowering herbs grown for their aromatice purpose should be harvested before the blossoms become dry.
  • Herbs grown in full sun will be darker in color and have a better flavor.

Supplies Needed:

  • Garden Trowel
  • Herb Plants
  • Garden Mulch
  • Garden Hose or Watering Can
  • Gardening Gloves

Other Information:

Herbs are a wonderful addition to the garden. Over the years, they have played an important role in medicinal, ornamental and culinary fields, but please note: Our selection of herbs in the Homegrown Gourmet line are NOT intended for any medicinal purposes. Although we have taken care to provide a wide selection of herbs, their main attractions are their decorative, aromatic and culinary additions to your garden and cooking. New research is constantly updating which herbs are safe for human consumption and which are not. When in doubt, always investigate before ingesting any questionable plants.

Although many herbs are great for cooking, some are also good in the garden simply because they provide a nice aroma. The herbs that have a nice aroma in the garden are listed under the "aromatic" category, even though the mints, lavender and lemon balm can be used in cooking also.

Culinary vs. Aromatic -

Culinary- Arugula Rocket, Basil Boxwood, Basil Genovese, Basil Lemon, Basil Sweet, Chamomile German, Chives, Coriander/Cilantro, Dill, Dill Fernleaf, Nasturtium, Oregano, Oregano Greek, Parsley Curled, Parsley Flat Italian, Rosemary, Sage, Sage Golden, Stevia, Sweet Marjoram, Tarragon, Thyme

Aromatic - Catnip, Lavender Munstead, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Rue, Spearmint

Culinary herbs such as chives, basil, rosemary, and thyme can be used to add spice to any recipe. Aromatic herbs like lavender, mint, and varieties of sage and thyme are useful in creating home made potpourris or your own aromatherapy spa. Some herbs, including chamomile, peppermint and spearmint are ideal for steeping to make delicious and nutritious teas.

History -

Herbs have been around since the prehistoric days. Ancient Roman and Greeks used them to crown their heads. They have been used to preserve meat, season food, mask the odors of people who did not bathe regularly (Middle Ages), and American Indians often used them for tanning and dyeing leather. All medicines in ancient times (and even today) were made from some type of herb.

Did You Know...

In the olden days, herbs were used for many other purposes, such as warding off witches and spirits, creating love potions, curing baldness and freckles, and increasing your luck before gambling!

NOTICE: The content diplayed here is for informational purposes only and is provided as is, without any warranty or any guarantee of any kind whatsoever.