Always wanted to start herb gardening, but never known where to start? This spring, start by planting some herbs. There are countless benefits to having an herb garden, whether it’s in a large plot in your backyard, or just a few pots on your windowsill. In fact, we’d even go as far as to say that herbs are the rock stars of the gardening world. Here are our top reasons why.
Top 8 Reasons Why Herbs Rock
(1) You get a lot of bang for your buck. Pretty much the only expense is the seeds, a watering can if you don’t have one already, and your time. Not exactly a pocketbook buster! Many herbs, such as sage, thyme and mint, are perennials, which means you only have to plant them once and they’ll come back year after year.
(2) They can improve the health of your cooking. If you rely on salt to add zing to your food, it’s time to switch to a healthier alternative. Stir some chopped up herbs into your food instead, and not only are you adding gobs of flavor, but you’re adding extra antioxidants, too. Some herbs, such as basil, are even known to offer protection against heart disease, respiratory problems, cancer, and arthritis.
(3) Herbs don’t need fertile soil. Some plants are super finicky about their soil. Not herbs. Many actually do better in non-fertile soil (just be sure the soil drains well). Valerian, caraway, elderberry, and comfrey all actually improve the health of your soil when you plant them.
(4) They are stellar companion plants. You can integrate herbs into your flower, fruit and vegetable beds to help boost the health of your plants and keep pests away, too. Some pairs that grow well together are basil + tomatoes, borage + strawberries, chives + carrots, oregano + grape vines, parsley + asparagus, and sage + cabbage.
(5) Instant gratification is yours. Many herbs, such as mint, are known for spreading quickly and growing tall and strong. You don’t have to wait several seasons before you can harvest your herbs.
Planting Tip: if you give mint an inch, it will take a mile…or two. Plant mint in containers, whether on a patio or in the ground, to keep the underground runners from speading all over your yard.
(6) Herbs are super duper versatile. We can hardly even count the number of ways that you can use herbs:
- Tossed fresh into salads
- Infused in oils for dressings or in spirits for cocktails
- Dried to make herbal teas and delicious spice blends
- Muddled into garden fresh cocktails
- Integrated into fresh flower arrangements
- Made into gorgeous wedding corsages and boutonnieres
(7) Fresh herbs on hand will save you money. One bunch of dill at the grocery store will cost you more than a dill plant, and will provide multiple dill bunches. Planting and harvesting your own herbs can be a major money saver.
(8) With an herb garden, you always have cool gifts on hand. It is really easy to make your own flavored vodkas and simple syrups using fresh herbs. Simply place your herbal concoction in a pretty glass bottle, and you have an instant handmade gift. Homemade herbal aromatherapy bath salts also make unique and inexpensive gifts.
How to get started growing herbs
To make getting started fun, try hosting a seed swapping party. Have each friend bring his or her seed packets, and you can each swap a few. Simply place the seeds in labeled paper envelopes for everyone to bring home. This way, you can try growing many different herbs for practically no cost at all. To make the party even more fun, serve up some great herb garden-inspired cocktails, such as Rosemary and Lavender infused martinis!
Find more herb plants at The Tasteful Garden, an online edible plant nursery with a full range of culinary herb plants.