If you are the type of person who enjoys using herbs when you cook and you are sort of a do it yourselfer, then you’ve come to the right place. Creating your own DIY herb garden isn’t hard and we’ve got plenty of ideas for how you can create your very own. first of all, let’s discuss what an herb is. There are many types of herbs and herb gardens, all having different uses.
Table of Contents
What is an Herb?
An herb is defined as a plant that is useful to humans. Not the same as a fruit or vegetable, an herb is valuable for a variety of reasons. An herb can be used for its flavor, scent, medicinal properties, or insecticide. Some are used in dyes for coloring or industrial uses.
Herbs have been used for many thousands of years in balms and teas to relieve physical conditions such as stress-induced illness or upset stomachs. Herbs are not only useful but attractive as well. Gardeners use them as borders along walkways, landscaping, and mixed in with shrubs and flowers. But they are most known for their use in cooking for the unique flavors they bring to food.
Spices are plants used in the same ways as herbal plants but come from tropical regions. Spices are challenging to grow. On the other hand, herbs can thrive almost anywhere that has a growing season. Herbs can be annuals, which are plants that live for one season. Or they can be biennials, plants that live for two seasons. Or they can be perennials and come back year after year.
Types of Herb Gardens
There are many types of herb gardens and many ways to use them. Each of them has its own charisma and character.
Kitchen Herb Garden
This herb garden will consist of herbs used as flavorings in cooking. Most are grown in containers but can be grown in the garden as well. This herb garden could contain the following:
If you are just getting started, you might want to make it easy on yourself and get a starter seed pack.
Fragrant Herb Garden
An aromatic garden will comprise herb plants noted for their lovely fragrance. They can be used for aromatherapy, cut flowers, potpourri, or scented candles. It will contain herbs such as:
- Scented geraniums
Herbal Tea Garden
An herbal tea garden is made up of herbs that can be brewed into tasty teas. It will include:
Medicinal Herb Garden
A medicinal herb garden will include herbs used for comfort and soothing, such as:
Use caution when using herbs for medicinal purposes. Some herbs are helpful, but others can be harmful if ingested or misused. Check with your physician before starting an herbal remedy.
Ornamental Herb Garden
An ornamental herb garden is noted for its beautiful flowers and unusual foliage. This type of herb garden could contain:
The most popular type of herb garden design consists of different kinds of herbal plants used for cooking, fragrance, beauty, and soothing.
Ways to Grow Herb Gardens
Along with the many kinds of herbs that can be grown are DIY herb garden ideas for growing them. Many of these are perfect for the urban gardener or if yard space is limited.
Rooftop Herb and Veggie Garden
If you are one of the lucky city dwellers with access to a rooftop, you can transform this space into an urban herb garden. Always be sure that your roof can support the extra weight of whatever garden you plan. Soil and water get heavy. A weak roof could fall in and create a real mess below.
As long as you are at it, why not plant some awesome veggies as well? A small fruit tree can also be grown on a rooftop garden. Fresh homegrown herbs and vegetables taste great, are healthy, and safe from chemicals. If you are short of space, a rooftop vegetable garden will provide the veggies you desire for your family.
Create an Herb Garden in Pots.
You can plant almost any herbs and vegetables in garden containers. Choose large and deep pots. Avoid low-quality, thin plastic pots because they heat up quickly and have poor drainage. Do not use ordinary garden soil for growing herbs and vegetables in pots. Use a good quality organic potting mixture for productivity and the plants’ healthy growth. Protect the pots from direct sun using cloth or straw to help reduce irrigation requirements.
Hang your Herbs
If space is tight or if you have a pergola, gazebo, trellis or even a nearby tree limb, you can create a hanging herb garden. You can use any type of hanging planter basket, or you can use the hanging baskets that garden centers use with the wire hangers connected to the edge of the plastic pot. Either way, fill the pots with organic potting soil, plant and hang. You will probably want to hang them low enough to make it easy to harvest your herbs..
Create Raised Beds
A raised bed is a practical and stylish way to make a vegetable and herb garden. You will be able to grow many more plants compared with container growing and they will require less irrigation due to the extra soil. You will appreciate the height of the raised bed when it comes time to harvest or pull weeds.
Well-stocked hardware stores, home improvement centers, or online shops will stock raised beds for rooftop growing, or you can build your own using timbers. Just determine which one is best for your needs and fill it with a mix of soil. aged manure, and aged compost.
Create an Herb Garden in Planter Boxes.
Flower boxes or planters can be used to create a vegetable garden. You can hang them on an existing railing or set them on the ground. Do use ordinary garden soil for the planter boxes. Use compost-rich organic soil or quality organic potting mix. If you are hanging these boxes, you’ll want to keep them fairly light, but if setting them on the roof, it is very similar to planting in pots.
Repurpose an Old Sandbox to Create an Herb Garden
When your children have outgrown their sandbox, make it into an herb garden. It not only looks decorative but provides plants with a good space to thrive. Just make sure that there are some holes in the bottom for drainage and fill it with some aged compost and soil.
Optimize Vertical Space and Create an Herb Garden Almost Anywhere
Using your space wisely will enable you to get the most out of it. Growing vegetables and vines, such as beans, gourds, squashes, and tomato varieties near walls, trellises and railings, provide support and enable them to climb upwards and save garden space. With a bit of creativity you can incorporate herbs into this vertical space using planter boxes or small pots fastened to boards that you can lean or hanging from ropes or small chains.
How to Build a DIY Vertical Herb Garden Planter Using Plastic Bottles
- Plywood or boards cut to the size you want (we are hanging pots, so it must be sturdy)
- Empty plastic bottles (2-liter water or soda bottles work great)
- Small nails, staples or screws (to fasten the bottles to the wood)
- Fabric or weed barrier (to keep soil from coming through drainage holes)
- Potting soil
- Sandpaper (if you want to smooth the wood)
- Stain or paint (if you want to finish the wood)
- Screws, wall anchors, etc. (whatever you might use to hold it to your wall)
This vertical garden doesn’t need to be hung on a wall. It could be leaned against almost any vertical structure like a tree, fence, railing, light post, etc. Wherever you put it, it needs to be sturdy and fastened. A large piece of plywood will catch a lot of wind and I’d hate to see your vertical herb garden end up flat on its face.
Follow these steps to construct your vertical garden.
- Prepare the wood frame by cutting, sanding, and staining, or painting if desired. Get creative, it doesn’t need to be square.
- Figure out where and how you will hang or lean and fasten this creation. Figuring it out now is much easier than after the pots are attached.
- Cut the top half off of your bottles using a scissors or utility knife (when using a knife, always cut away from yourself and keep fingers out of the way).
- Drill or poke some holes in the bottom of the bottles to ensure drainage.
- Fasten the newly cut bottle planters to the wood using screws. Arranged them in a way that leaves room above each pot for the plants to grow. Try to get two screws for each pot, just to make them more secure.
- Cut a small piece of fabric and push it down into the pots to keep the soil in the pots when you water.
- Fill the bottles with the soil and plants. Leave a small space at the top, about ½”, so water will not overflow when the plants are watered.
That is all that is required to make your vertical herb garden. You can make your planter larger or fancier by making multiple columns and place them side-by-side along a wall to create a sophisticated, stylish design.
If you are not up for a do it yourself project, check out this cool vertical rack:
Balcony Herb Garden
If you’ve got a balcony and nothing else, you will need to create a balcony herb garden. You can certainly use many of the above-mentioned ideas, such as pots, planters, hanging pots and vertical boards, but probably the most common way to grow herbs an your balcony is by using a window box styled planter hanging from the railing. Something like this one. Adequate sunlight might be a problem for you if your balcony is shaded.
Patio Herb Garden
Creating an herb garden right on your patio or off the side of your patio is probably the most popular way to do it. Having fresh herbs right outside your door is super handy. You likely spend time out there already, so maintenance is easy and its likely not far from your kitchen, so harvesting is easy. If you are lucky enough to have a sunny patio or deck, creating an herb garden right there is probably your best bet.
Window Box Herb Garden
If you don’t have a garden or yard, that isn’t a problem. Get some window boxes to grow your culinary herbs. They are an excellent option for growing herbs. They are easy to place, provide good drainage, and have access to sufficient sunlight as long as you pick a window on the sunny side of your house. Small varieties of herbs such as moss-curly parsley, basil varieties such as Genovese and Napoletano, leaf lettuce, and strawberries can easily be grown in window boxes.
Indoor Herb Garden Ideas
Create a mini herb garden in your home to enjoy a fresh aromatic supply of herbs for your cooking, even in the winter. Use small pots and DIY containers to plant the herbs and place the pots in a bright, warm, sunny area. Not only will this improve the air inside your home, but these herbs continue to add fresh flavor to your cooking for a long time and with minimal care.
How to make a windowsill herb garden
You can use many small pots to grow specific herbs in each one, or you can use larger pots and grow several varieties in each. It sort of depends on your window sills. If you have tiny sills, you could always get a raised plant stand or put them on a countertop below a window to get the same effect. Keep in mind that you may want to take your herbs outside in the summer, so pots that are easy to carry around might be a good choice.
The container should be at least six to eight inches deep. Herbs have fairly shallow roots, but you need to leave some extra space for watering. The last this you need is overflowing pots in the house. Using larger pots will give plants like mint and thyme room to spread out and it will allow you to water less often. Make sure that you use pots with sufficient drainage and make sure that you have a way of catching this drainage. We don’t want to wreck your windowsills with water.
You should use good quality, light weight , organic potting soil like this stuff below which is make form coconut coir which i light and holds a lot of water
If you are starting from seeds, you might want to get a little seed starter kit to make it easier on yourself. Start the seeds in this kit and then once they get large enough, you just pop out the little plug, plant and all and put them into your larger pot.
Be Particular about the Herbs You Plant.
Make a list of herbs you use in cooking and consider the conditions in which they will be grown. If you have a tiny space, you will not be able to experiment much. Plant only the herbs you know you will use for cooking and that you know will grow in your conditions. If exposure to the sun is at least five hours daily, you can choose from basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, thyme, and sage. If exposure is less than five hours, plant fennel, parsley, chives, lemon balm, mint, and chervil for better results. Be sure to keep your herbs watered, but not overly wet and use an organic fertilizer as needed.
The best way to encourage the foliage’s production and dense growth is to harvest the herbs regularly. Frequent pinching and picking of leaves promote the plants’ lush and healthy growth. Deadhead (remove) the flowers to stop the herbs from seeding to prolong their growing time.
General Growing and Planting Guidelines
An essential part of growing herbs is understanding how they grow. They are very much like any other vegetables you grow, with a few small differences.
Most herbs need four to six hours of direct sunlight for maximum growth. Ensure that you look at your planting space at different times during the day and note where the sunlight hits the space. Trying to get the best out of plants that don’t receive enough sun is not going to be fun.
Decide on Seed or Starter Plants
Some folks like to grow their plants from seed, and if you have children in the house, starting from seed can be an exciting and educational exercise. If you choose to start from seed, do yourself a favor and get a seed starter kit. These make seed starting very easy, just follow the directions.
If you are not up to the task of starting seeds yourself, feel free to buy starter plants. This makes for less set up and less mess. The plants can be planted directly into the beds, pots or planters that you will grow them in.
Harvesting your herbs is not difficult, but it’s best to harvest different herbs in different ways. Knowing when and how to harvest is important. When it comes to harvesting, not all herbs are the same. For example, if growing basil, be sure to snip leaves from the top of the plant instead of the bottom. Herbs like mint and oregano are harvested by snipping off the leaves anywhere on the plant. Chives can be directly cut down to soil level if desired. Do a bit of research to know how to correctly harvest your herbs to get the most out of each plant.
Take the Plunge
If you haven’t grown herbs before, I suggest you take the plunge. For the most part, growing herbs is easier than planting a vegetable garden. You can plant a nice little herb garden that takes very little care from you to grow. No matter where you live, there must be at lest one of the suggestions listed above that will work for you. Just pick one and go.
Some Beauty Tips
Most of what we have covered above is relating to growing herbs to eat. Did you know that many herbs are reported to have therapeutic advantages for our skin? They can help by improving the skin’s cellular firmness, coloration, and health.
Here are a Few Herbs that are Beneficial to Your Health
- Chamomile – Chamomile contains alpha-bisabolol, a compound that can diminish the formation of wrinkles. It heals skin irritations like burns and acne. Chamomile can be used as a face wash or in tea to drink. But use with caution, as it may not suit everyone’s skin.
- Calendula – Calendula is one of the most effective herbs for dry skin. It has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral properties, which considerably enhance the skin’s health. Carotenoids are present in Calendula. They are oil-soluble and work wonders for the skin. It heals inflammation, rashes, psoriasis, dermatitis, age spots, stretch marks, varicose veins, and warts.
- Holy Basil – Holy basil is not the same as the more commonly known “basil.” Holy basil is a culinary herb with antibiotic and antifungal properties. It is also excellent for reviving dull-looking skin. It helps to soothe, heal, and rejuvenate the skin. As it is rich in antioxidants and Vitamins A and C, this herb destroys harmful free radicals and leaves you with beautiful skin.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera is called the “plant of immortality” because of the benefits it offers the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can heal the skin. It deeply moisturizes the skin and can act as a protective barrier from environmental damage. It has beneficial enzymes that make it one of the best herbs for the skin. Aloe Vera treats blemishes, combats acne, and can cleanse dead skin.
- Lavender – Lavender is used as a cure for eczema and acne. Lavender oil has a pleasing scent and is calming to the skin. It not only nourishes the skin but helps to eliminate bacteria. When bacteria penetrate deep into the skin, it causes pimples and flareups. Therefore, it is excellent for preventing and healing acne. The antioxidants and anti-microbial properties curb oxidative harm that causes the skin to age prematurely.
- Ashwagandha – This is an alternative medicinal herb that is greatly beneficial for the skin. It is full of antioxidants that help eradicate free radicals that trigger dark spots, blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles. It helps heal and prevent wounds and other skin issues with its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antibacterial properties.
- Cilantro – This is a unique herb with a strong aroma and one of the best herbal remedies for skin conditions. It is packed full of antioxidants, iron, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene. It provides soft and supple skin. It works to cure the outbreak of acne. It is also a fantastic disinfectant and detoxifier.
- Parsley – Parsley is a miraculous herb as it balances oil production, prevents skin discoloration, and lessens inflammation. It fights acne and helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles.
- Horsetail – This herb has astringent properties that can make your skin firm. It can help deal with acne and outbreaks. It has a high silica content, a collagen component, which keeps skin youthful and supple, making it an excellent anti-aging herb.
Commercial beauty products can sometimes cause more damage to the skin than benefiting the skin. To attain optimal skin wellness, choose natural options. They can heal skin conditions and provide you with a natural glow. Just to make sure, always consult your physician before trying something new.
Whether you will eat them, drink them, inhale them, or use them in your beauty routine, herbs are a versatile plant worth the effort to grow. There are many herbs for anyone of any taste. They are great for Mexican cooking, Asian cooking, and an absolute must for Italian cuisine. Grow some herbs today!