Getting a spice and herb garden growing at home has never been easier—get this FREEBIE about the easiest choices for growing spices and herbs indoors or out, and the simple steps to take to get you on the path to your very own spice and herb garden!
Dear Home Food Gardener,
Ah, the simple joy of reaching to the windowsill to snip a few fresh leaves of basil for my tomato sauce. Or the pleasure of snagging a few sprigs of mint for my tea. If you’ve always thought about growing spices and herbs at home but didn’t know where to start—you’re in the right place! Because with this FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, we’ll walk you through the best choices for growing spices and herbs both indoors and outdoors, along with tips about watering, fertilizing, and harvesting.
If you’re torn between growing spices and herbs on the windowsill or in a window box, or you want to pick the right spice and herb combination for your container garden, this FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, covers it all. Annuals? Perennials? Indoors? Outdoors? Learn how to pick the spice and herb combination that works best for you.
Please use this FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, to start planning your very own little spice and herb garden. Whether this is your first time growing spices and herbs, or whether you’ve been nurturing a spice and herb garden forever, this FREEBIE will give you a wealth of information about many different ways of growing spices and herbs. Are you ready for some homegrown seasoning success? Let’s take a look at the essentials.
A lot of us use the terms spice and herb interchangeably. If you’re in your own kitchen, does it matter? Not really. But it’s good to know the general differences between a spice and herb.
Essentially, whether you call it a spice or an herb depends on which part of the plant you’re using. In general herbs are the leaves of a plant used for seasoning. Most herbs come from non-woody plants, like basil. But, as in all things, there are exceptions: rosemary is a woody plant, and we use its leaves—so it’s an herb.
Spices can come from the seeds, bark, roots, fruit, or flower of a plant. Think vanilla or cinnamon. They’re usually dried and crushed to use in cooking. But what about exceptions? Think ginger (although you can dry ginger and crush it into a powder).
Growing spices and herbs can be deliciously rewarding, but my, it can be confusing to put everything into its proper category. When you read our FREEBIE How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, you’ll gain an appreciation of how complex it can sometimes be to distinguish a spice and herb—but you’ll also see just how easy growing spices and herbs can be!
You’ll find spices and herbs growing in practically all parts of the world. The most popular culinary herbs are pretty hardy, so no matter where you live, you can find a way to nurture you own favorite herbs. Rosemary can thrive outdoors, but it also works well as a container plant.
Spices can be a little more particular about their growing conditions—but that’s what container and indoor gardening are for! If you love ginger but you live outside hardiness zone 8 or above, you can still grow it with the right level of TLC. And there’s something to be said for cooking with ginger freshly harvested from your own garden!
Looking to add some serious spice to your spice and herb garden? Cumin will grow outside if you have a long, hot growing season in zones 5-10. If you live in the cooler end of that range, our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, explains how to adapt your growing technique so you can still enjoy your own homegrown spice.
When it comes to growing spices and herbs, growing herbs indoors is a piece of cake. For the most part, you can just plunk your herbs into the ground and they’ll grow where they’re planted, with little fuss. Perennials give you the bonus of only having to plant once to get a harvest year after year.
If you’re growing your herbs mostly outdoors, consider the space you have available. Parsley, chervil, and oregano can be planted fairly close together. Basil, dill, chives, rosemary, sage, and thyme need about a foot between each plant. And herbs like coriander, lavender, mint and tarragon need even more space—up to 2 feet!
One of the main things to keep in mind when you’re growing spices and herbs is not to kill your plants with kindness. Sometimes we overdo it with the watering, and all that extra water just swamps the plants’ roots, and that’s the beginning of the end. So just keep an eye on that. If you’re growing your herbs outdoors, you’re off the hook if you get rain once a week; if not, water early in the morning so the plants get the water before the sun gets to it and it evaporates.
If you’re growing indoors, always be mindful of how much you’re watering, and make sure you don’t give you plants more water than they can handle. Containers will good drainage are essential. In our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, we detail the ideal setup for a successful indoor container garden.
Want to try out hydroponic gardening? You can totally grow leafy herbs hydroponically; spices, not so much. There are kits available to help you get started, or you can set up your own basic system. Just make sure you have good access to water and the right light for your plants—whether that’s natural sunlight or strategically placed grow lights. How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home outlines the basic steps of getting started with your own indoor hydroponic garden.
Maybe you have a greenhouse—or you want a greenhouse. Think of it as growing spices and herbs indoors—only with more space. The great thing about a greenhouse is its ability to amplify the power of the sun and retain moisture for your growing plants. Read our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, for more tips on setting up and using a greenhouse for growing spices and herbs and so much more!
Herbs are the laid-back members of the culinary plant family. They’re pretty forgiving of benign neglect (but not overwatering!), they deter pests, and they keep on growing, even as you pluck their leaves off to flavor your dinner. Spices, while they’re not quite as laid-back, usually spice up your landscape with their lovely leaves and flowers. When you’re growing spices and herbs, consider adding a little mulch for TLC.
In our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, we detail the top 5 types of mulch for you to consider for your spice and herb garden. Some are free; others may come at a cost. We’ll outline the pros and cons of each type of mulch so you can decide for yourself what will work best for you when growing spices and herbs.
You’ve been nurturing your spice and herb garden all season—in some cases, since your growing spices and herbs were just little seeds or seedlings. Finally, after all that time tending, the time has come to harvest.
Our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, outlines the basic methods of harvesting your spice and herb garden, depending on which part of the plant you plan to pick. If you’re going for just the leaves, pick them before the plant flowers; you’ll get better flavor that way. If you’re harvesting the flowers, get picking just before the plants have fully flowered. And if your goal is to harvest seeds for spice (think coriander and dill), be patient and wait until the seeds are almost dry on the plant.
In our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home, we also discuss how to harvest and how much to harvest, depending on whether your plant is an annual or a perennial. We’ll also give you tips on giving your perennial plants a bit of a break so they come back for you next season.
So what are you waiting for? Get started with your own spice and herb garden and get tips on best practices for growing spices and herbs with our FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home! Add some homegrown spice to your cooking and baking!
Senior Editor & Producer
Food Gardening Network
P.S. Act now to get this FREEBIE, How to Master Spice and Herb Gardening at Home —and get ready to enjoy the fresh flavor that comes from growing spices and herbs yourself!