Growing Herbs for Beginners

I kill herbs. There I said it! I try to grow them, but somehow they always seem to wilt and die on me. I don’t want to kill them, I want to eat them! They make food taste great! That’s why I started this beginner’s guide to growing herbs, if only to teach myself! My problem was that I never really got to know them… I would treat them all the same, but each herb has its own little quirks, its own way of doing things…

If you want to bring nature into your home, save money and enjoy fresh food – this guide is for you!

Let’s start with three beginner herbs: Mint, Basil & Rosemary.  You can grow them from seeds, but since we’re dealing with a lack of a green thumb here, let’s make it easy. Buy a plant from the nursery or even supermarket, a bag of good soil and start on your way!

If your mint comes in one of those tiny plastic containers, re-pot it into a larger pot. Their roots are creepers and need room to grow. If you want more mint, cut off a few sprigs and place them in a cup with some water. After a week, the roots will grow and you can plant it in soil.

  • sun: morning sun and partial afternoon shade
  • water: mint likes water, keep the soil humid. (put your finger in the soil, if it’s wet, don’t water it – but if it’s feeling dry, water it)
  • care: Do not allow to flower, snip off buds. If you plant mint in a bed, with other herbs, keep it in a pot or mesh bag, and plant the whole thing in the soil to contain the roots, otherwise they spread out and overpower other plants.

There are so many types of basil with different flavors, from cinnamon and peppery to sweet! Basil loves tropical weather, hot and sunny! When you harvest your basil,  don’t keep it in the fridge, it will turn black in the cold. Keep in a cup with some water, like a flower.

  • sun: likes full sunlight
  • water: basil likes water, keep the soil humid. (put your finger in the soil, if it’s wet, don’t water it – but if it’s feeling dry, water it) make sure that you water it at the base of the plant to avoid stressing the leaves and stems. Check that the soil drains well, add small pebbles to the soil at the bottom of the pot, to help with draining.
  • care: Do not allow to flower, snip off buds, other wise your plant will turn bitter in taste. Only harvest a few leaves from the tops of each stem at a time. When the basil grown to about 15 cm, prune the tops to encourage bushier growth.

Incredibly low-maintenance, it seems that most rosemary plants suffer from too much attention rather than too little! As long as you keep it’s environment sunny and airy, it should thrive!

  • sun: Likes sunlight and good air circulation.
  • water: Rosemary likes it on the dry side. Put your finger in the soil, when it’s dry then water. Rosemary does not like it’s roots to sit in water, so make sure the soil is draining well. You can add pebbles to the soil at the bottom of the pot to help.
  • care: If your home is humid, the plant can develop a powdery white mildew. Make sure that it has enough air circulation to keep dry. Let it sit near where a fan blows, let it spend time outdoors and don’t keep it in humid rooms like bathrooms or closed rooms.

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will grow my own food. This is my goal. An urban garden, in my little apartment and without a green thumb!
It’s pretty simple: If we nourish them, they will in turn nourish us!

 

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4 Comments

  • janie says:

    Thanks for these tips! I’ve been trying to ‘grow” mint and basil since attending both green living detox workshops. They’re propagating but the leaves don’t look too healthy.

  • militza says:

    Hi Janie! That’s awesome that you’re having a go at it! I hope these tips help a bit to look at how you’re watering them and how much sun they get! Seems basil doesn’t like to have it’s leaves watered, so that’s something to look at too..

    The payoff is great, so keep it up! :)

  • agy says:

    Hi! Thank you for sharing the tips – I’ve tried unsuccessfully a few times (shaking my head) so I hope these tips will save them the next time round. I’m now trying to plant spring onions :-)

  • Yvonne says:

    My husband are relatively new to Singapore and would love to start our own little garden on our balcony (we are foster parents to a bunny too so having fresh herbs would be great for her too :). Just wondering where can I find seeds, pots, potting mix etc?

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