Herbs are easy to grow. Really easy. Like weeds, they’re harder to stop than to grow. A pot, some soil, seeds, and water is all that are needed (well, and someone to keep the cat away from them.) They can be grown in just about any size of pot from a single variety in a small pot to almost any combination in a large pot. A well-lit window or a balcony means growing herbs for the kitchen can be accomplished even in an apartment.
The daunting issue is choosing where to grow. There are 8-12 main herbs used in cooking everyday dishes. Basil, dill, oregano, thyme, parsley, chives, rosemary, sage, tarragon… etc, etc, etc. This doesn’t even delve into the varieties of each available. Whereas it would be splendid to grow every herb ever needed it just isn’t practical. Pick 2-3 to start, the ones used most commonly in the kitchen.
If planting the herbs singly in pots, just fill the pots with moistened potting soil. Sprinkle 8-10 seeds of the chosen variety over then cover with 1/8-1/4” of soil and water (carefully so as to not wash the seeds from their landing spot.) Keep the pots in a sunny window or in a shady part of the deck and they will be sprouting in no time.
When mixing herbs in a larger pot it’s a good idea to cordon off sections for each herb until they’ve sprouted. The planting process, otherwise, is the same as the one-pot-per-herb process.
Keep the soil quite moist. Herbs love water and it is almost impossible to overwater them. Allowing them to dry out can be disastrous to both sprouts and fully grown plants.
Thinning Out the Herb
You need to thin sprouts if they are a few days old. This is slightly different depending on the herb but the back of the seed package gives general spacing guidelines. Even though it isn’t necessary to allow for as much space as called for. Leave 2-4 well-spaced seedlings for optimal growth.
When the plants have reached maturity (harvest age), they can be harvested a bit at a time and used in the kitchen. Actively using the plants will actually cause them to become bushier and faster to replace what has been taken.
The enjoyment of cooking with something grown by one’s own hands is the most underrated feeling. Start off small and before you know it herbs will never again have a place in a jar or on the grocery list.