If you’re considering starting your own garden, but aren’t sure where to begin it’s time to talk about herbs. Herbs may not seem exciting, but they are one of the best ways to get started in gardening, especially if you don’t have a lot of time or expertise.

Herbs provide the best of two worlds by being both beautiful and tasty! You can keep your herbs close by and they don’t require a lot of hard work. Successful herbs can be rewarding because you can begin to use them every time you cook a meal. Fresh basil on your tomatoes and fresh parsley in your spaghetti is only the beginning. There are 5 tips for growing successful herbs.

Start with a container. There are a million containers to plant herbs in, and any of them will work. Bigger is better, and you need plenty of drainage. Herbs don’t like their roots to sit in water, so they need to have good drainage in the bottom. Generally one large container with several plants is better than several small containers.

Add Potting Mix. Notice that I didn’t say soil, that’s because potting mix is different than potting soil. Potting mix is lighter, made mostly from organic matter and designed to give container plants the texture and drainage they need. Potting soil is heavier and makes it difficult for the herbs to thrive.

Choose Plants. Choose your herbs based on what you will actually use. You can start with seeds or plants, it’s up to you. Sometimes it’s easier to start with plants because they come ready to plant. Seeds should be started inside at least 1-2 months before they are ready to go outside.

Water and Fertilize. Herbs need plenty of water, but not too much fertilizer. A once a month fertilizer is good enough for most herbs. Check the water level frequently by putting your finger in the soil, if it feels dry, add water.

Sunlight. Herbs need a LOT of sun, at least 8 hours a day. They need to be in direct sunlight, which is why they tend to grow best when they are in the ground. Although container herbs can do well as long as they are on a patio, deck, or windowsill that gets plenty of sun.

Enjoy! Herbs are meant to be used, so enjoy your harvest and keep a pair of clean scissors nearby. Clip off herbs as you need them from the tallest leaves. Having a potted herb garden that you can harvest year round is a chef’s dream come true!

Photos: www.PauldingCountyAreaFoundation.net