A beginner’s guide to growing herbs
There’s nothing quite like the taste of a homecooked meal finished with fresh herbs, whether it’s hearty pasta topped with aromatic basil, a stir fry sprinkled with flavoursome coriander, or a good old roast lunch infused with the rich flavour of rosemary. And with many proud houseplant parents now turning their hand to growing their own food, a herb garden is the perfect place to begin any ‘grow your own’ adventure.
Select your herbs
The first step is to choose which types of herbs you want to grow. Basil, chives, mint, parsley and thyme are great herbs to grow for beginners, but be sure to consider factors like where you will be placing your plants, and whether you’ll be growing them from seeds or cuttings, before making a decision. Keep in mind that some herbs are easier grown from cuttings, such as rosemary and mint, while basil and coriander are relatively easy to grow from seeds. Of course, the most important factor is to choose a herb that you love!
Sow from seeds
If you’re growing your herbs from seed, try the toilet roll tube trick to make transferring seedlings easy! Simply snip toilet roll tubes in half, line them up in a tray filled with compost, and sow your seeds. We recommend sprinkling two to five seeds per tube to ensure they have plenty of space to grow.
Once the seedlings are ready to be moved to their own containers, you can transfer the entire tube to the pot without disturbing your seedling, and it will eventually decompose.
Grow cuttings in containers
While herbs can be grown from seeds, it’s often easier to take an established or even a shop-bought plant to give your herbs a head start. Using a clean pair of scissors, take a cutting by snipping just below a leaf node, so that you have a stem a few inches long. Prune away the bottom leaves, and simply pop your cutting into a glass of water and leave to root.
Once roots have developed, you can plant your herb into a container of compost, firm down soil with your fingers, water and watch it grow!
Pick a sunny spot
You don’t need access to a garden to grow herbs – a windowsill or window box works just as well as a patio. The key to growing herbs successfully is all in the positioning of your pots, as most types of herbs prefer full sun. A south-facing spot is ideal to ensure your herbs get six or more hours of direct sunlight per day and are protected from any unexpected chilly winds or draughts.
Water with a plant food
Just like any other plants or vegetables, herbs require extra nutrients to ensure they grow lots of healthy leaves! Use a specialist feed such as Baby Bio® Herb Food, to provide the perfect balance of nutrients to help your plant produce tasty and aromatic herbs.
Most varieties of herbs require plenty of water, so water generously once a week in the early morning or late evening, and add a few drops of fertiliser every two weeks for optimum results. Ensure your pot has a drainage hole to prevent soil from becoming waterlogged, though, as this could ultimately kill your herb plant.