There are two things I’m super passionate about: gardening and cooking. I love combining the two whenever I can, so naturally, I cook a lot of meals that use fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Since it’s something so close to my heart (and honestly because some of the girls in my mastermind group keep asking for tips), I decided to write a post about how to plant herbs for your kitchen.
Side benefit: I got to spend a fun hour with my amazing photographer Jenna while she shot the whole process.
Kitchen herbs are super easy to plant and maintain. And they make delicious fresh additions to your weeknight meals. The trick is picking which ones you’ll actually use. If you hate dill, it probably isn’t worth the energy to plant it. If rosemary makes your husband’s stomach turn, definitely don’t bother. In my case, I despise the smell of fresh cilantro. There’s something about the strong aromatics that bring tears to my eyes and a burn to the back of my throat. So, I don’t grow it.
After that, all you really need to do is gather your supplies, set aside some time, and follow the instructions on the back of your seed packet. But because those three steps would make a really boring blog post (and don’t always make the most sense), I’ll go into a little more detail.
How to Plant Herbs for Your Kitchen
- Gather your supplies.
I picked up everything you need at Target — except for dirt, which I got at my local garden center (it’s container gardening soil).
The adorable pots + markers (not an affiliate link 🙂 are from the Hearth + Hand collection. I love the floral pattern on them, and the clay bottom is a super sweet rustic touch.
The seeds are Burpees brand. That’s just about the only brand of vegetable/herb seed you’ll ever see me use, because it’s what my dad taught me. Those things just sorta stick with you in life.
The spade and the watering can I use were actually both gifts from the super sweet Anastasia (girl — thank you, I love them so much). In reality, you can use your hands to fill the pots with dirt, and any receptacle will work for watering. Just make sure you wash your hands well before and after, because you don’t want to transfer bacteria to your plants or ingest fertilizer later when you eat.
- Prep your pots.
I always like to give my pots a little rinse before I use them. If they’ve been sitting on the store shelf for awhile, they collect dust, and if someone with dirty hands was handling them before you snatched them up, there could be bacteria living on the surface. Both of those things can get into your dirt and affect how well your plants grow.
- Fill your pots with dirt.
I generally like to give my herbs around five inches of depth to grow in, so I filled these pots to about an inch from the top.
- Drop your seeds.
When you’re planting herbs, I believe in the sprinkle method. All I do is sprinkle some seeds around the surface of the dirt — there’s really no science to it.
- Cover loosely with dirt.
Most herbs only need a small amount of dirt covering them to grow properly. If you check the back of your seed packet, it’ll state what depth to plant them at. In this case, all the seeds I chose had a ¼” planting depth, meaning they didn’t need a whole lot of covering. Just like with the seeds themselves, I sprinkled the dirt on, then gently patted it down.
- Label your pots.
If you’re a rookie gardener, it’s important to label your pots. Since these pots came with markers, I wrote the name of the herb on and stuck it in the edge of the dirt. If you don’t have markers, you could use a piece of masking tape, create custom labels and attach them, or anything else you want to do. If you really don’t want the name to be visible, just write it on the bottom of the pot where no one will see it.
- Water generously and consistently.
Watering is super important for the germination of your seeds, so you need to be consistent in attending to them until they get big enough to hold their own. I water immediately on planting, and then will check them every morning and afternoon to make sure the surface hasn’t dried out. A good rule of thumb is to give your seeds enough water to moisten the surface, and then a couple extra seconds to hold them through the day.
- Watch them grow.
Each type of herb takes a different amount of time to sprout. Most will start popping up in 5–7 days, but some might be as long as 10–14. Just be patient and enjoy the anticipation.
- Thin them carefully.
Because I recommend the sprinkling method, you have to thin out the number of plants that have sprouted. I do this in three rounds: after the first couple days, I get rid of the ones growing directly on top of each other and leave the rest spaced all around the surface area. Next, I’ll wait another few days and see which ones are growing the tallest with the healthiest looking leaves, and get rid of the rest (leaving three or four to keep maturing). On the final round, I pick the two best-looking sprouts that have at least an inch of space between them and ditch the rest.
Ready to plant herbs on your own? Go to town! I’ll post a follow-up in a couple weeks to show you how my herbs are doing and what steps you need to take next.