Here at View Finders we’ve decided we’ll give you a brand new blog series – gardening for dummies. First up…how to plant herbs. 

Step 1. Drainage

First you need to select a site for your herb garden. When selecting your site you must consider drainage as wet soils aren’t suitable for the majority of herbs. If the only area available has poor drainage then you’ll need to modify the area by building raised beds, installing an underground agi pipe or simply plant your herbs in large pots, planter boxes and troughs.

Step 2. Prepare the soil

After you have prepared a suitable area for your herb garden, it is time to prepare the soil. Soil preparation for culinary herbs is similar for vegetables, in that they prefer a light, well-drained, crumbly soil, but most herbs will grow satisfactorily in fairly heavy soil provided there is good drainage. Dig the soil to a depth of about 25 cm, remove all weeds and break up clods in the soil to bring it to a fine texture.

If the soil lacks humus, place 5-10 cm of organic matter, such as straw or compost, on the surface and dig in to spade depth. At the same time, apply animal manure, blood and bone, or a complete fertiliser.

Step 3. Planting

For planting you must check herb labels for height and width so you can space and position them appropriately in your garden. Taller growing herbs should be placed at the back of the area so as not to shade out smaller herbs as they grow. It is important that your herbs receive at least 6 hours of sunlight a day and that they have adequate space for growth. A regular application of liquid or soluble fertiliser will accelerate the growth of your herbs.

Step 4. Harvesting

Many herbs are prolific growers and harvesting helps to keep them under control, but don’t be afraid to cut them back ruthlessly. Picking or pruning the fresh looking tips is the best way to stimulate new growth – chives and mint are a great example. Leafy plants like Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Sage all benefit from constant tip pruning or picking.

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