If you like to season your food with fresh herbs, growing your own herbs can be an option to save money. Spices are low-maintenance plants, and can be grown indoors or outdoors, in pots or in the ground – you just need a warm place, direct sunlight and some basic supplies.
Method 1 of 3: Getting Started
Step 1. Select the plants to be planted
What spices do you often use to season dishes? When choosing a spice plant to plant, first think about the spices you like. Since herbs are easy and fast to grow, you might want to try growing a herb or two that you don't normally buy at the grocery store. When you know what you've chosen, buy packaged seeds at your local nursery or online.
- Basil, fennel, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and mint are herbs that are commonly used in many dishes. If you want to grow a variety of spice plants, these plants can be the first plants planted for your spice garden. You can also create an herbal tea garden.
- If you want to grow herbs outdoors, take into account the climate and soil in the area where you live. You have to know what spice plants are suitable to grow in the area where you live.
Step 2. Decide where the spice plants will be planted
Spice plants are easy to grow both indoors and outdoors. You can also choose between planting the plant directly in the ground or in a pot. Most herbaceous plants need direct sunlight, so choose a bright place.
- If you are growing herbs in a vegetable garden, keep the herbs and vegetables at a distance of about 15 – 30 centimeters.
- You can grow the herbs in separate pots, or buy a large pot and grow several types of herbs together.
Step 3. Get soil for pots
Soil composition is an important factor for the success of growing spice plants. Spice plants can grow in soil with a neutral pH (between 6.5 to 7), but the soil is not necessarily fertile. In fact, if there are too many nutrients, the plant will grow too thick and the aroma will be bland. More important than soil fertility is drainage. The soil should be loose and not lumpy so that it can be well irrigated.
- If you're growing your herb plants from seed, look for potting soil that doesn't have a lot of extra nutrients, as the seeds already contain the nutrients they need to germinate and take root.
- For larger seedlings, choose potting soil that is not exposed to pesticides.
- You can mix the soil you purchased with compost to help the herb plant grow strong and healthy.
Method 2 of 3: Planting Seeds
Step 1. Start in early spring
The best time to start planting seeds is when temperatures are still cool and spring is just beginning. Thus, the seeds have time to germinate and take root; they will be ready to plant when the temperature starts to rise.
Step 2. Prepare a container for planting seeds
Spice seeds can be sown in any small container, such as egg cartons, used yogurt containers, or containers sold at a seed shop. Label the container so you know what seeds you planted there. Fill each container with soil, then moisten the soil with a little water. Put the container in a place exposed to sunlight with a stable temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius. In the early stages, the seeds should not be exposed to direct sunlight, because they can overheat.
- Even if you want to grow your herbs outdoors, it's easier to sow seeds indoors, where you can control the water and temperature.
- Most herbaceous plants need a moist environment to start growing. If you live in an area where the air is very dry, cover the seed pot with loose plastic. Do not close it too tightly, because the seeds need flowing air in order to grow.
Step 3. Soak the seeds
This method helps the seed to be ready to grow. Place the seeds in a flat layer between two damp kitchen towels. Let the seeds soak for about 4 hours on the day you plan to plant them.
Step 4. Plant the seeds
Check the seed packaging to find out how the spice plant seeds should be planted. Some just need to be spread evenly over the soil surface, while others won't grow unless the seeds are planted below the surface. Keep the temperature and sunlight steady, and make sure the soil doesn't dry out.
Step 5. Weed out the newly grown plants
Once the plant has shed its leaves, remove some of the plants in the pot so that the strong plants have a place to grow. Remove plants that are not growing well and space the remaining plants about 2.5 centimeters..
Method 3 of 3: Growing Spices
Step 1. Prepare a plot of land for planting
Use a harrow to loosen the soil and stir the soil mixture you purchased for this herb to a depth of about 15 centimeters. Sprinkle water on the soil to moisten it. Dig holes a few centimeters apart to plant the spice plants.
- If you are growing herbs in pots, determine approximately how many plants the pot can hold. Many herbaceous plants grow large, so you should not plant more than 2-3 seedlings in each pot.
- You can add a little fertilizer to the soil, but remember, don't overdo it because it can make your spice plants not thrive.
Step 2. Plant the seedlings
Spice plants are ready to be planted when they are strong enough and have some fairly large leaves. Plant outdoors when the temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius, and the soil is not freezing from snow. Gently lift the herb seedling from the pot, shake the roots, then plant it in the ground. Pat the soil around the base of the stem, then moisten the area with water.
If you're growing your herb plants outdoors, it's a good idea to transition them so they can adjust to the outside temperature. The trick is to let it "grow stronger" in a garage or well-protected outdoors for a few days before you plant it in the ground
Step 3. Take care of your spice plants
How the spice plant grows, you just need to make sure the plant is always exposed to enough sunlight and gets water. Take care to moisten the soil surface, and try not to let it dry out. Your spice plants will grow healthy and strong, and soon they will be ready to harvest.