Beginner Tips for Starting an Herb Garden

Whether you have a black thumb or you have done some gardening, but not with herbs, these beginner tips for starting an herb garden are, I hope, going to be helpful. You will learn how to find the right spot, water instructions, harvesting, and some basics of what to do with your herbs.

Having an herb garden is a wonderful way to have fresh herbs available for cooking, making home remedies, and simply to enjoy nature in your own backyard. There’s nothing better in this world (in my humble opinion 😉 ) than the smell of peppermint as I stroll past it or the smell of lemon balm when I brush my hand over it. So when starting your herb garden, keep these beginner tips for starting your herb garden in mind…

Choose Herbs That Are Good For Beginners

There is a long list of herbs you can use for cooking and supporting wellness that are really easy to grow, many of which you can even grow in containers or in the shade. Some herbs that are good for cooking and easy for beginners are basil, dill, sage, tarragon, and oregano. Other herbs to consider are rosemary, lavender, thyme, chives, and parsley. While mint is easy to grow, it spreads by “runners” that make it hard to contain and may be best grown in a container.

basil is a good herb for beginners
Genovese Basil – all basils are easy to grow!

Know where the Sun Shines!

Most herbs are great under 90° and love all the sun they can get. Rosemary, Dill, Basil, and Sage are herbs that are quite sun loving. Lovage, on the other hand, is tall and tender and enjoys a bit of shade in the afternoon; you’d need to find just the right spot for it! I have found that catnip and lemon balm grow equally well in full sun as well as in almost full shade. They don’t grow quite as large, but still thrive in either location.

strawberries, kale, and lettuce enjoying some afternoon shade

Space Herbs Out Properly

If you are planning on growing herbs outside in your own garden, make sure you have chosen an area with plenty of direct sunlight and soil that is in good condition and has good drainage. Once you have done that, you get to the fun part… start planting herbs! If you are starting from seed, they must be planted with enough space between them. For dill, parsley, cilantro, and chives, aim for about a foot between each plant. Basil, tarragon, and thyme need approximately 2 feet, while you want 3-4 feet with mint, oregano, sage, and rosemary.

Related  Growth Requirements for Common Herbs
thyme and horehound are good for beginning an herb garden
thyme and horehound are good for beginning an herb garden

Choose Plants You Use Often

Another good tip for starting an herb garden is to start with just a few herbs that you use the most often. You might end up being surprised by how large herb plants sometimes grow, and that they remain in your garden for a long time. So if you want to decrease the amount of wasted work you do, try to go with herbs you will use regularly. This often includes cooking herbs you love to use, such as basil, cilantro, or rosemary. Or you can go with the highly aromatic ones if you just want your garden to smell good, such as mints, lemon balm, and sage. Gradually add more herbs to the garden when you feel more comfortable with the process.

cilantro is an easy herb to grow
cilantro is an easy herb to grow

Keep Up With Watering

Far too many people forget to water their herbs on a regular basis because it is a little tricky to determine when they need to be watered. Instead of just watering at the same time each week or every couple weeks, you need to check the soil often to determine when you need to water them. When the soil feels dry even a couple inches below the surface, you know it is time to water.

There are exceptions to this! Water loving herbs like the mallows and valerian who grow best in a moist soil.

green watering can
see to your plants water needs
The Ready Store
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson

2 thoughts on “Beginner Tips for Starting an Herb Garden”

    • Hi Janay,
      Clumping bamboo is non-invasive and I assume that’s what you’ve got… It grows in thick clumps and doesn’t spread with rhizomes like the invasive species. My guess is that something that vines up and around the bamboo would work. Passion flower maybe? I’ve also seen some really pretty annuals and perennials growing down around the bottom and around the edges. So for herbs, that would include, lemon balm, catnip, lobelia, or purslane… anything that is harvested for the tops. Things like dock or comfrey are harvested for their roots (for example) and wouldn’t be a good choice. Also consider the shade the bamboo would provide. Plantain or red clover come to mind … I did a quick search for companion plants for bamboo and came up empty handed. But as I said, anything that is fairly low growing and harvested for aerial parts should work. 🙂 Hope that helps!


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