Besides adding color to your backyard or your kitchen windowsill, an herb garden can take your home-cooked meals to a whole new level. Best of all, you don’t even need a green thumb to plant, maintain and harvest these easy-to-grow plants. Here’s how to turn an empty planter or creative gardening containers into a beautifully fragrant and practical herb garden.

1. Pick Your Herbs

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While you can buy fresh herb plants from your local nursery, starting an herb garden from seeds is easier than you may think. For successful indoor plantings, choose herbs like basil, bay laurel, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. These herbs are known to thrive on sunny windowsills and complement a variety of dishes, from grilled chicken to classic Italian favorites. For outdoor gardens, virtually any herb will grow well. Just make sure to check each seed packet for space, sunlight, and watering recommendations.

2. Select Your Container

For some, the earth is their container. Others looking to plant an assortment of herbs indoors or outdoors on a patio will need to pick out appropriately sized and designed pots. No matter the pattern you settle on, make sure the container will allow a sufficient amount of drainage. Unlike succulents and other moisture-loving plants, herbs do not tolerate overwatering, so you’ll need a pot with drainage holes. Don’t forget to pick up a planter saucer, too, so the draining water won’t stain your windowsill, deck or other surfaces.

To keep your plants happy, also be sure to choose a planter that lets them grow how they grow best. For example, basil needs a deep pot, courtesy of its extensive root system. Thyme, on the other hand, can thrive in a smaller pot, because it’s compact and low growing.

3. Prepare the Soil

Whether you’re using a kitchen herb garden kit or a designated patch of your yard, you’ll first need to prepare the soil for your plantings. Using garden tools, like a large garden fork or hoe, loosen the soil in your garden to help with water drainage and root growth. If you’re gardening indoors, add new soil to your pots, being careful not to pack it down too much. At this time, you should also add compost or plant fertilizer to give your plants the nutrients they need to flourish.

4. Plant Your Herb Garden

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Depending on the herbs you’ve chosen, you’ll need to leave between 1-4 feet of space between each plant. That is unless you are using individual pots, of course. Dig holes large enough for each grouping of seeds, and then place them into the openings. Next, add a bit more soil to ensure the seeds are covered. Water them immediately, and your herb garden will officially be started. From now on, you’ll only need to water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Visit our blog to learn how to add your very own vegetable garden too.

Get the tools, pots, seeds and everything else you need to plant your very own herb garden from Cape Ace. We’re happy and ready to assist you with your next home gardening project.