Herbs For Beginners

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Starting your own Herb Garden:windowsill herb garden

An indoor Herb Garden is wonderful for beginners. Once you start using your fresh herbs, you will most likely want to grow more different types of herbs. I picked four that are versatile and have many uses. I’m just trying to get you used to using what you grow, and how much better your food will taste with fresh herbs. So many uses I have in store for your herb garden. So, let’s get started.

Places to put Your Herb Garden:

Make sure you get pots to fit your house. If your planning on a sunny windowsill, or a table by the window, make sure you have room for the pot. Herbs grow great in the smallest of containers, though I suggest slightly larger for the chives, or two chive plant,. however you can fit them. We don’t want them too far from the kitchen, so try to fit them in the windowsill, or a table by the window. The pots need drainage, so make sure they have holes to drain excess water. Most herbs have small root systems, so they don’t like sitting in water.

Call me crazy, but I prefer to use cans for my herb windowsill garden. I use a large tomato can for my chives, and smaller cans for my basil, sage, and parsley. I prefer the cans that have the painted on labels as opposed to the paper labels. But you can paint or cover any can to your taste. Get creative and make it your own. I am always on the lookout when I go to flea markets and yard sales for the dishes to put under my can of herbs to hold excess water. It’s amazing how many ways you can decorate with the dishes you set your cans into. Odd pieces of old sets of dishes, and some were probably just ornamental small trays for candy or mints. Either way, you can make your own unique and beautiful display for your herbs. You can find long trays that people used as garnish trays. There’s always plenty of those at the resale. These dishes, long and rectanglular , have limited uses, so people who are not entertaining a lot or care about what they put their garnishes on enough to have a special tray for them usually discard them for storage space reasons. That’s my thought. It seems logical because there are so many at the resale shops. I personally put my side garnishes on the plate. My friends that have dinner at my house are not impressed by my plates, they are impressed by my food. I use the garnish plate for my herbs.

Let’s start with the four Herbs I picked for you:

Basil, Parsley,Sage, and Chives

Basil    Oscimum Basilicumsweet basil

Sweet Basil is the versatile Herb. It is what I like for a multitude of uses. You can use Sweet Basil for Italian dishes, sauces, soups, and pesto.

Sage   Salvia OfficinalisBroadleaf sage

I like Broadleaf  Sage. It’s very versatile, wonderful in sausages, poultry, meat, bread, dressings, vegetables, omelets, and stuffing. Experiment with it. Add it to dishes to pump up flavor. You’ll love sage. I shake the leaves when  I walk by and the aroma of the sage fills up the kitchen. Now, I am getting hungry.

Parsley    Petroselenum crispumparsley

I like the flat leaf, but you can grow any kind. All types of Parsley works well

Not just for freshening you breath. You see parsley on the plates of several restaurant dishes. It’s purpose is to neutralize your palate. Mostly after high garlic and onion dishes. It has many other uses too. I use parsley in salads, soups and stews. Marvelous in chicken and dumplings. Excellent in beef stew. Very economic dishes and very good winter food. I like them anytime, but winter is great for soups and stews.You can put parsley in anything. So, when your parsley is ready to prune, throw the leaves and stems in what ever your cooking

Chives   Allium schoenoprasumAlliaceae

There’s a million zillion reasons to grow chives. Who wouldn’t want fresh chives on your baked potato? I absolutely cannot eat a baked potato without them. That’s why we grow our own. You will always have fresh chives for any dish. I love them on everything. Fried potatoes, soups, italian dishes. You can make chive and garlic butter for garlic bread. So Yummy. You will see how many things you can throw chives into. I did a post on chives, it has so many uses. Also works as a natural pest control and planting chives in your outdoor garden helps in many ways also. So read my post on Chives.

Preparing your Herb Garden:

Herbs require very little care, other than watering. I don’t fertilize my herbs, I just use a good soil to start with. Miracle grow soil is great, it has everything it needs to grow bountiful and healthy. Or good potting soil of any kind. Remember though, Parsley likes to dry out a little between watering so always water them sparingly. Chives like a little moist, basil and sage like less water. You will know when your leaves start to droop or turn brown that its time to water.

Your herbs will outgrow your pot eventually, so try to set some outside in your garden in the spring. You can put herbs anywhere. They make beautiful borders and ornamental showings of gorgeous herbs. We will get to the many herbs that are wonderful in your flower garden, or a separate garden just for herbs if you have the room. I have my chives next to my rose bush for many reasons. They inhibit and discourage aphids and you can make teas from chive leaves to spray on roses for powdery leaves. Giant on my list for uses, and a great alternative to chemicals. Yay

I suggest you start with plants as opposed to seeds

. If seeds are all that’s available then start them now. You will have herbs to use in about 8 weeks. Sow the seeds in the pot and cover with a half inch of dirt and keep them moist till they start to sprout. Then, weed out the seed sprouts to no more than 3 seedlings. You don’t want to crowd your pot. Plant excess seedlings in cans like I use and give them away. Paying forward good advice has a tremendous impact on someone who never tried herb gardening indoors. It could just be that little push to get your friends to want to start eating and living healthier too. That’s actually how I got started with my indoor herbs. I had all that information as a young girl, but we grow up and move away from tradition. My friend started her own herb garden. I remember the day I went to her house and seen the beautiful herbs growing in her windowsill. She gave me some that she had just thinned out from her seedlings and the rest is history. I started cutting and throwing my herbs in everything I ate. It’s so awesome. That’s what my mom did as I was growing up, but I strayed from home goodness and took to the easier way. Little did I know, growing your own herbs is the easier way! I don’t have to run to the store when I need them. The ones I grow are so much better than the dried ones in a jar. Though, drying your own is an option, your dried herbs are so much better too. You will use your dried herbs way before they get old. Bottled herbs from the store are already a year old.

I have lots of recipes for mixing herbs for special dishes so all you have to do is use one bottle. All that will come when you are ready to master growing herbs in your garden, as you will need more herbs so you can dry enough to make the spice concoctions I have ready to cook with.

So, look for these herbs for my starter project on growing herbs indoors. If you can’t find the ones I suggested, you can try other varieties. That will be fine. The ones here are my personal favorite for their many uses.

Tips and Useful Advice:

If you get overrun with too many herbs, freeze them in ice cube trays. Add a little water and freeze. After frozen, pop out cubes and place two in each snack bag, then put them in a quart bag. Keep them separated so you know what you have. Write in permanent marker on the quart bags what they are. My reason for this is these will come in handy if you don’t have enough fresh for a dish your making or you can save them up and use them when we start canning. Yes, preparing you for the canning project that you will successfully conquer with my help. So start saving those herbs for later use.  Chop up herbs and push them into the ice cube sections. Pack as much as you can in one so it’s mostly herbs, less water. Finish off tray with water to keep them together for storage.



Keep your herbs from flowering. Most herbs lose some flavor after they flower. Probably because it takes so much energy to flower. You’ll lose some flavor, so keep the flowers from blooming by pinching regularly. If you want seeds for outside growing when the season is right, allow one portion to flower, collect the seeds and pinch off the flower bud. Your herb will continue to grow and regain its flavor.

Remember 6 hours of sun each day in a sunny window or sitting on a table close to a window.

Ratio of fresh herbs to dried: One tbsp of fresh herbs are equal to One tsp of dried. So, that means you use more fresh than dried.

Please leave me comments on this post. I will answer any questions you have. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to keep up on seasonal projects and healthy living advice and inspiration.

Thank you….Have a Bountiful Day

Kitty

Founder of bountifulharvesting.com

 

 

Author: kitty

My Son Kenny and I enjoy everything that is all natural. We enjoy nature , rescuing animals in need, advocating for the Homeless. We are getting back to basics and hope you will come with us and learn great ways to eat healthy, live peacefully, and enjoy life. Love all animals, it is the greatest love of all Help the Homeless, they all have a story to tell

24 thoughts on “Herbs For Beginners”

  1. I’ll be moving to a new place soon, and I’ll definitely be keeping these tips in mind so I can start a herb garden! Having something growing on my window sill is always a joy, but being able to use what I’m growing to add health benefits and flavor to my food will be even better.

    Thanks for the advice. It’s well thought out and clear. I look forward to following it soon!

    1. Encourager4

      I am so glad you enjoyed it. I hope you get a chance to check out my other posts. I hope to get my readers to understand that all natural is the way to go, especially in these times. Too much fast food, too much preservatives, too many chemicals.

      Herb Gardening is a great start. You will get to enjoy the benefits of growing something yourself and using it. I hope you will come back for future posts. I have so much to say about getting back to basics. It has really become a necessary thing to do in this day and age. I am saddened by the foods that are allowed in our country. So many foods on the grocers shelves are banned in other countries and it’s not fair to us, the consumers. The commercials make it sound so appealing but it’s not at all good for your body.

      I hope to see you at future posts…….Kitty

  2. Hi Kitty,
    I sure could make good use of the 6 hours suggested in this article- but for now it is not even remotely possible. My office desk faces away from the window so the only thing I enjoy is natural light. That having been said, I like your article and the herb garden ideas. My question would be how to deal with overflows/watering in windowsill pots not designed to have reservoirs. Also, how do you deal with house invading pollinators like bees for flowering herbs if there are children/infants?

    1. Hello Boniface. I don’t have indoor pollinators. I start my herbs outdoors. In the winter, I start them indoors and them move them outdoors in the spring. I do not let my herbs flower. That process I save for outdoors when I am intending to get seeds from the plant. You should never let your herbs flower. Letting a herb flower takes away a lot of nutrients and sometimes flavor. Never let your herbs flower. Dill is the only herb I let flower for the seeds for pickling my cucumbers and other dishes, and that is done outdoors.

      As far as the overflow in containers, I use the red Tomato Cans that have no label. It looks good to me. Somewhat strange to others, lol. Anyway, I purchase random dishes at the resale shop, I spend about .15 to .25 per dish. So economical and some of the dishes are so pretty. Just a saucer is all you need under a can. I have had no trouble with overflows ever. Just a few drops. I do not overwater my herbs, or any plant. If you keep your plants together as far as water requirements, as some herbs like to dry out a little, some like a lot of water. You will be able to determine how much water to use.

      You could always put your plants in the sink and water them there and then put them back on the shelf when they are done draining. I had to do that when I first started, now I know how much they need. Beginner gardeners should do that to avoid having water run out all over the place like I did in the beginning. You never know until you do it. Learn from doing. Also, if you decide to use leftover cans, punch a couple holes in the bottom and fill 1/4 of bottom with small pebbles, this keeps the plant from rotting at the roots.

      So, do you have any other window that you can use? Also, get a grow light. The small one I have works great. The link to purchase it is on my site. Just click on any Amazon, Kmart or Walmart ad on my site and you will find the grow lights. My light came from Amazon. That is where I found the best price.

      You can grow a plant without sunlight if you have a grow light. It should be LED. That is very cost effective. I would not use any other grow light. They can be costly. But an LED is next to nothing to use. It should also have the red and blue lights included in the bulb.

      Let me know if this answered your question……Kitty

  3. I am very interested with the topic at hand. For the first time, I really put an effort into a garden this year, with minimal results as far as food in hand. But it was certainly a learning experience that will insure a better season next year.
    That said, growing herbs indoors sounds perfect for us as my wife and I live in NH, and things just don’t seem to want to grow right in the snow. lol.
    When we’re all set with what we want to plant, I’ll be sure to refresh my brain on the topic here on your site. Allot of useful info here!
    Thanks for posting this.
    Brian

    1. Hi Brian. Most of the problem with low yields on garden produce is due to the soil. Read my post on soil preparation here and it will help you determine what type you have and how you can remedy the problem for next year.

      Herbs are great to grow indoors also. Fresh herbs year round is so healthy and the food tastes fabulous. Keep in mind, chemical free homes have the most success with herbs indoors. That means basically refraining from using caustic chemicals in cleaning, freshening the air, and floor cleaners. Anything that can linger in the air will land on your herbs. I wrote a post about chemicals in your house, especially in the winter when your house is all closed up. The chemicals linger in the air and you are breathing it in day after day not realizing that the residue chemicals stay in a closed house all winter. So try to lower your use or omit them entirely. I have many reasons why you should refrain from using any kind of chemicals in your home for safety reasons.

      you can also read the post on re-growing your vegetables. Many foods like celery, onions, lettuce can be regrown for up to 9 months. I only purchase one stalk of celery a year and eat it all winter long. It is economical and I enjoy it. For as many years as I have done this, I am still amazed at how much money I save.

      I hope you have a great crop next year. As, you can tell, I am a grow food not lawn person. So get back out there next year and try again. You will be successful, just make sure you have good soil to start with.

      I hope I helped you with your problem, Please stop back by again for a visit. I will help you with any problem you have with gardening, so don’t hesitate to ask. I am always posting new and interesting ways to grow your garden. Don’t forget the awesome starter projects on the site also for new and exciting ways to grow food. Thanks for stopping by…….

  4. wow great- i’ve always been interested in starting my own herb garden but have never had the right guidance. this is just great, now I know where to start of and I actually know why I want to make my own herb garden,
    I really am looking forward to the great tasting food as a result of the freshly grown herbs.

    I had one question and that is what difference will it make to the taste of the herbs if I freeze them as you mentioned in your tip.

    Any way great one thanks a lot
    Will definitely stay in contact.

    1. Hi Adam, Thanks for stopping by. If you freeze them like I said, in water, there will be no difference in taste, the ratio of fresh to dry will stay the same. As long as the herb is completely in water everything will taste the same. I’ve heard of freezing them in bags without water and it’s not a good idea. You will retain the freshness of they are frozen with water. Fresh herbs are so much better than dried. I use both, but they are my own, big difference. As I said before, the dried you buy is already a year old.

      Hope to see you again.

  5. Hey Kitty,

    This page is really, really, really informative and something i’d definitely consider going myself.

    I don’t actually trust most things in supermarkets nowadays. How ‘fresh’ do you think ‘fresh vegetables’ really are when they’re sprayed with a load of stuff?!

    I think everyone should be shown how to incorporate a make-it-yourself process for the things they use the most. I’m due to be making my own milk using blended nuts, essence and water soon!

    By the way, it’s most admirable that a percentage of your profits are going to charity.You’ll make some really happy animals 🙂

    1. Ryan, Thanks for stopping by. I am always glad to hear about people considering growing their own herbs. It’s a gateway to growing more. I don’t trust anything from the market anymore. My fear is GMO. I have read too much to ignore the facts on the subject. I am very interested in how you make milk with nuts and essence. Could you let me know how you do that? I also have a tutorial on my site on how to make your own butter if you are interested. Check it out. I hope you are willing to try growing a few of your own.

      As far as Animals are concerned, I am an advocate and a strong supporter of Animal Welfare. I have seen firsthand the effects of animal abuse in my past rescues. My heart goes out to helpless animals and their inhumane treatment, both domestic and farmed animals. I will always put my passion for animals out there and I will always support the cause. Did you know you can click on the site for rescue animals and feed the sheltered pets for free just by clicking on the site? That is why I support that site, Anyone can do their part in helping animals just by clicking on the site and they will donate food to local shelters. I also support Michigan Humane Society and A.S.P.C.A.

      Thank You and I hope to see you again soon.

  6. Hi Kitty,

    Thanks for the informative post. It’s refreshing to get detailed information from someone who show passion for what they are writing about. Herbs is something I never give too much thought about when i am buying the old, dried herbs in a jar. Thanks for opening my eyes to how much better fresh herbs will be.

    1. Gregory. Thanks for stopping by. That is why I write about growing your own. Awareness. If I wasn’t fortunate to have grown up in the 50’s I would be clueless today. It is so rewarding to grow your own, not to mention the cost savings and the taste that fresh over dried makes such a difference in the end result of food preparation. I have my own dried herbs that I dry myself. It doesn’t last longer than 3 mos as opposed to already a year old by the time you purchase dried from the store. Try a couple different types, mostly the ones you use regularly. You will notice the difference immediately. Start out small, I know you will be growing more once you see and taste the difference. Thanks again and I hope to see you again very soon..

  7. I would love to have an indoor herb garden. The only problem is that I don’t have a lot of space to put them where they could get sunlight. However, I have grown a little basil which turned out well. I may try it again. I love the idea to get old pots and create something from them to use to grow herbs!

    1. LIz, Thanks for stopping by. I have heard a lot of people say they don’t have room or sunlight exposure. I can relate to that. The house I lived in before this one had horrible exposure. I tried hanging my plants from a plant hanger suspended from the ceiling over my kitchen window. I had enough exposure for two plants. So that basically was all I could grow. I tried putting two herbs together, it took me a few times before I was able to successfully grow any. The few herbs that will grow in less exposure are Chives, Cilantro, Oregano and Parsley will grow with as few as three hours sunlight exposure. So you can try a couple of those to start. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope to see you again soon.

  8. What an incredible site, you explain it all so very well. I have often thought of growing my own herbs but have been totally clueless. You have opened up my eyes to the possibility that even I can grow my own herbs. I also like the way you explain how use them after you have grown them. I personally don’t know much about what to use herbs for. So thank you for your explanation. My only problem is that I don’t get enough light in any part of my house except for the kitchen window. And I’m not sure I would actually have any room there to grow much of anything, however, it is worth a try. Thank you again for helping the clueless!

    1. Lb. Thank You so much for stopping by. I know a lot of people don’t know a lot about herbs. That is why I made this post on Herbs for beginners. It was so much fun to write and I hope to reach as many people as I can so they can benefit from growing their own. It is so rewarding. I hope that you can try at least a couple. I would choose Basil and Chives to start with your sun exposure. You can plant basil in a pot and hang it from the ceiling in your window. Chives, you will use all the time so try those too. I wish you much luck and please let me know how your herbs are doing. If I can be of any help, please ask……

  9. Hello!
    I love your website and this post is so helpful since I am looking into creating my own little herb garden!
    I am into herbal tea and always have lots and lots of dried herbs in my pantry to brew my favorite infusions.
    I really want to have my own mint, parsley and basil but I really didn’t know where to start from.
    Thank you for sharing this info!
    You certainly helped a whole lot!

    1. Katerina. Thank You so much for stopping by. The world of herbs is so interesting. There are so many ways to use herbs. I have a little spot of lavender and peppermint in my front yard that I pick at least once a week for my bath. I put the fresh herbs in a knee high sock and swirl in my bath water I leave it there while I am bathing and come out refreshed and vitalized. My cooking herbs I have in the yard and in the kitchen and dining room. There are so many uses for herbs. Check out my Tea section on making homemade teas also. I love herbs and use them everyday. The peppermint is also great in Ice Tea and hot teas. Lavender is great for fragrance. Pick some and make a bouquet for your bedroom. It is relaxing and smells wonderful. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon

  10. Thank you for posting this – it;s just what I needed to read before attempting to plant some herbs with my kids this afternoon. I have a little patio and so we have out them out there. We’ve gone with the ones you suggested were easy to use and certainly I think I’ll use them the most in my cooking.

    1. Nicola. I am so happy that you are getting your kids involved. That’s how I got started, I learned from my mom and grandmother. They taught me all about nature and its wonders. So much to enjoy. Kids are like sponges, they will remember that day of planting and harvesting for the rest of their lives as a happy memory. Thank You so much for stopping by, I hope to see you again.

  11. wow i love this post. very informative on how to start your garden with some great herb examples to start with. i usually start be growing mine indoors and then later take them outside if i find them growing wild but i think its because i use a lot of fertilizers. thanks for the tips, i will be re-doing my garden this weekend, a lot of information i did not know is right here.

    1. Cedric. Thanks so much for stopping by and I am so glad you liked my post. A lot of people make mistakes with fertilizers. Too much is not good. I have a post on getting your soil ready for planting also if you would like to look that one up. I love fresh herbs and would love to share the wonderful world of herb gardening with as many people who will listen to me. lol. I am so glad you stopped by. Please visit me again soon.

  12. Fantastic post Kitty! You are absolutely right, nothing is better than fresh herbs out of the garden, they just make dishes taste so much better, and they’re so easy to grow and take care of, and nothing beats fresh basil and chives.

    I’m a big supporter of suburban and urban garden, and starting with herbs is a great way to show people how fresh produce is not only fun to grow, but also makes your food taste so much better. Keep up the good work!

    1. Zeno81 Thank You for the wonderful comment. Yes, I am trying to help beginners start out small and hopefully I will have them canning and freezing with me in the fall. I love these beginner projects. So many people lost sight of the benefits of growing your own. Everyone is too busy or have no yard. These projects can be done by busy people and apartment dwellers. I am hoping to raise awareness so that everyone will start growing their own. It’s coming to that point where we really need to. I hope you come back and visit again. Thanks Again for stopping by

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