Start your own herb garden

Herb gardenBecome an eco-friendly gardener - grow your own herb garden!

Growing your own herbs and vegetables is a healthier and cheaper alternative to store-bought produce – with the added benefits of a satisfying gardening experience, a green home building and fragrantly fresh cooking!

For a successful herb garden, select herbs according to the amount of sun and light your herb garden spot gets.

MintConsider oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, and sage for a sunny spot. Mints (try spearmint and catnip), coriander, parsley, rocket, chives, fennel, and lemon grass grow in shadier spaces.

Herb planting tips

  • Prepare the ground well in advance.
  • Remove weeds (they compete for nutrition).
  • Fork in organic matter, such as compost, and rake the soil so that the bed is level. You don’t need to add large amounts of manure or fertiliser as it will produce soft growth.
  • Before transplanting herbs out of their "nursery" pots into the ground, water the pots well, ensuring that the roots are thoroughly soaked through. Because "nursery" pots are small, herbs tend to become root bound.
  • To encourage new root growth gently loosen the well-soaked root ball before planting in the ground.
  • Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth.
  • Add some bone meal or fishmeal at the bottom of each planting hole.

It’s useful to use a planting plan so that you can space the plants according to their expected height and spread, giving them room to develop. First set the herb pots down in their positions as it’s easier to move them around while they are still in their pots, rather than having to transplant them later.

After planting, pack the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.

Some herbs, like spearmint, can be invasive. Restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. Repot them yearly with fresh soil.

Also remember to protect your herbs from too much wind.

Here are some of the most common herbs and tips for successful growth:

Soil: rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Location: sun or partial shade; can grow indoors.

Soil: tolerates just about any soil.
Location: sun or partial shade.

Soil: moist, well-drained soil.
Location: Sun or partial shade.

Soil: well-drained soil.
Location: sun, can grow indoors.

Soil: rich, moist soil.
Location: sun or partial shade, can grow indoors.

Soil: well-drained soil.
Location: sun or partial shade, can grow indoors.

Soil: rich, well-drained soil.
Location: tolerates poor, dry soil and grows well indoors.

Maintaining your herbs:

Watering: Water newly planted herbs regularly but once they are established, they are naturally drought resistant. Watering and drainage goes hand in hand. Rather give your herbs too little than too much water. After a good soaking, allow the water to drain away and the soil to dry off. Water again when the top 2-3cm of soil is dry to the touch.

Put down mulch: Mulch your herbs once a year with bulky organic material, such as shredded bark.

Fertiliser: Fertilising is very important, especially if you intend to use your herbs on a regular basis. Use any balanced fertiliser like 2:3:2 – always use half the dosage given on the packaging. The reason for this is that the essential oils of herbs that ‘suffer’ a bit become more concentrated, and therefore have increased flavour, aroma and medicinal value.

During the growing season (August to April) fertilise at least once a month. During the winter months one or two doses will be sufficient.

If your herbs get too much fertiliser they will grow scraggly and be more susceptible to pests and disease.

Please note: If you are growing herbs for medicinal purposes do not use chemical fertiliser –use organic material only.

Pruning: Pruning is essential to encourage healthy, bushy growth. Remove dead leaves and flowers on a regular basis. Should you use your herbs frequently, pruning may not be necessary as you would be pruning automatically when you pick them.

Pesticides: Herbs are not very prone to pests but if you do have an infestation problem either cut back the herbs or use an organic pesticide.

Use your herbs:

It’s Heritage day this month and what better way to celebrate national Braai day than by using your herbs in your cooking?

  • Use chopped parsley and chives for a potato salad.
  • Bay leaves and curry leaves for the sosatie marinade and chicken.
  • Sprigs of oregano and thyme to go with the cheese in the braaibroodjies!
  • Use fresh or dried sage in beef and fish dishes as well as stews. It’s also good for stuffing and is a common sausage / boerewors flavouring.

Hint: you can also use sage to deter insects that are going to bug you this season! 

Home garden plants

For the beginner gardener:

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetable and herb garden but simply don’t have the time, space or know-how in your garden? The Paris Garden Grow Kit is an easy way to get your herb garden growing while starting small. Decorative as well as functional, your Paris Garden Grow Kit can also be placed on your kitchen sill, in the sun and out of the way!

Herb home gardenThis product comes with:

  • Three galvanised round pots
  • A tray
  • Starting soil
  • Wooden tags with slates
  • Instructions and growing tips
  • Basil, chives and parsley seeds, to get you started

The three galvanised pots fit neatly into the tray which can be displayed on your window sill for easy access to the herbs while cooking.

The Paris Garden Grow Kit is available from at a selling price of R164.00. 

For more information on this product click here

Compiled by Kayla Myburgh for Home Inspirations. Sources: Health24, Bouquet Garni, Life is a Garden and

Photograph credits: Life is a Garden, Health24 and

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