General guidelines and advice for a few basic herbs.
Rosemary doesn’t like to be moved so plant it where you plan on leaving it. Try to buy the rosemary from an herb specialist. Large, general garden centers often do not label specific varieties which come in several foliage forms and bloom in various colors such as white, pink, deep blue or light blue flowers. Plant rosemary in a 12 inch by 12 inch pot with plenty of drainage. Use a light but coarse potting soil such as a cactus soil. Then keep the soil moist but never wet by misting the plant twice a week with warm water. Feed the plants monthly with compost tea. Place the pot in a sunny south or west window.
Chives adapt well to indoor living. They need to be 9 inches to a foot from anything else. The green stems can be cut close to the ground three to four times in a season.
Thyme comes in a variety of flavors, fragrances, growth habits, hardiness ranges, and flower colors of pink, white or lilac. If you plant thyme seeds, do not be scared if you don’t see anything happen quickly because they germinate slowly. Thyme needs 6 to 12 inches from other plants and likes a sandy soil mix. Make sure you cut the plants back after they flower to promote the plant to get bushy.
Be careful because mint will take over any soil you give it. Mint likes partial shade and moisture. Mint doesn’t grow well from seed, so simply buy your mint plants at any nursery. Mint loves a 10 inch deep and 6 to 8 inch across clay pot with drainage tiles. At the end of each spring, pinch stem ends off to keep plants bushy and at the end of the season, prune the plants back to near ground level and top-dress with compost.
Basil grows easily in the ground or containers. Basil needs a soil that drains well and retains enough moisture so that it won’t wilt. Work organic material into the soil to give you the right combination. Water the herbs regularly with air-temperature water to encourage growth. Put the seedlings about 6 inches apart and then when the plants are six inches high, pinch off the tips to encourage bushier growth. Pinch off the bud of flowers as soon as they appear in order to encourage leave growth.
Cilantro produces the dried seeds called coriander. It thrives in damp, cool springs and hot, dry summers. Like most herbs, cilantro needs sunlight, well-drained soil, and plenty of compost. Cilantro does not like to be transplanted, as it has a taproot that develops quickly. Plant cilantro 4 inches apart from other plants, and give it 12 inches in depth to establish its taproot. Harvest the entire plant when they are 6 inches high if you only want the leaves. For the seeds, wait until the seeds start to ripen and then cut the plants off at the base and hang them upside down in paper bags to finish drying.
Try other herbs such as bay, garlic chives, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and sage. Try a few different herbs each year to sample new fresh flavors. Enjoy the smell, look and taste of your homegrown herbs.