What would you rather use to season your spaghetti sauce: dusty and dried flakes of basil that have been sitting on a shelf in a grocery store for 6 months? Or bright, green, fresh basil leaves that you pick yourself from your own herb garden just steps away from your kitchen? It’s likely most folks will choose the fresh option.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, growing fresh herbs is pretty simple. With the right knowledge and care, herbs can grow indoors or out, and do well in planters as well as sown directly into the ground. As with any botanical, you need to make sure you have the right soil, temperature and sunlight to make your plants thrive.
Before planting any garden — even vegetable or flower — first decide what you enjoy. If you have that gene that makes cilantro taste bad, obviously you wouldn’t waste your time growing cilantro. Spend a few minutes thinking about what types of dishes you cook most often, and what packaged or dried herbs you use in your daily routine. This is the best way to come up with a quick list of which herbs to plant.
Most herbs need a lot of sun, so you’ll need to consider that when deciding where to place planters or prepare a garden space. Use this Growing Guide from Farmer’s Almanac to help you figure out what herbs would work best in and around your home. If your options are limited due to lack of proper sunlight, no outdoor space, or cooler year-round temperatures, you can still grow fresh herbs, it just may have to be moved inside. Decorative planters placed near sunny windows or artificial light systems anywhere in the house can help you in your quest to have fresh basil all year round.