How to Grow Herbs

Wondering how to grow herbs? All it takes is a sunny ledge for growing herbs in pots, and you’ll have fresh herbs for your cooking all summer long.

How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks

Our number 1 tip for delicious and healthy food? Fresh herbs. Why? They add extraordinary flavor without adding calories. While you might not have a yard with garden space for herbs, all you need is a sunny front step, porch, or ledge for growing herbs in pots. Wondering how to get started? Keep reading for tips on how to grow herbs.

Related: Herb & Garlic Salt Recipe

How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks

Why grow your own herbs?

Alex and I been growing our own for years. Not only do they provide great flavor, but they are cost-efficient as well. One basil plant costs less than a single-use package from the grocery, and it provides basil throughout the entire summer (and pesto for the winter!). We also grow a few perennial herbs in our garden, which can survive the winter and start thriving as early as March here in Indiana. We absolutely recommend growing a pot of kitchen herbs, even if you only have a tiny spot of sun.

Related: DIY Gold Painted Herb Pots

How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks
How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks

How to Grow Herbs (in Pots)

Head to the store

  1. Buy herb plants. We buy our herbs from starts, or plants that have already been started. You can grow herbs from seed, but that involves a bit more time and energy. For beginners, we find it easier to begin with starts. You can find starts at your local nursery or farmer’s market.
    **Our Top Herbs to Grow (in order of priority): Basil, Oregano, Mint, Dill, Thyme, Chives, Rosemary, Sage
  2. Buy pots. Any pots will do; they can be clay or plastic. Important: Look for pots with drainage holes at the bottom. If the pots do not have holes, you can also drill holes.
  3. Buy soil and lava rocks. Purchase a potting soil mix.  If your pot does not have drainage holes in the bottom (and even if it does), it’s nice to have some rocks in the bottom of the pot for good drainage.

Get dirty!

  1. Fill pots to nearly full with soil, then make wells for the plants you plan to add. Do not overcrowd the herbs; leave plenty of space for growth.
  2. Loosen the roots of the herb plants to allow them to take root easily, then slide them into the wells.
  3. Cover with remaining dirt, up to the top of the pot.
  4. Place the pots in a sunny place, on a deck or front steps, or even a sunny ledge.

Water regularly

  1. Water the pots every few days, making sure that the soil does not dry out.
  2. Harvest the herbs as much as necessary. The herbs will continue regrowing throughout the summer. For basil, regularly pinch off the tops (where 4 leaves have formed). Two stems will grow in its place and allow for a large, bushy plant (don’t be shy!).
  3. Eat! There’s nothing better than a pizza margarita or caprese salad with fresh basil from the garden.
How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks
How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks
How to Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks

Favorite recipes with fresh herbs

Now that you’ve mastered how to grow herbs, here are a few of our favorite recipes with fresh herbs!

Basil

Oregano

Mint

Dill

Thyme

Chives

Rosemary

Sage

How To Grow Herbs | A Couple Cooks
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

9 Comments

  • Reply
    Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
    May 11, 2016 at 7:07 am

    I love growing herbs, but mine are usually relegated to a sunny spot on my windowsill (until my cat decides to knock them down, that is…). I continue dreaming about a beautiful herb garden like you guys have. One day!

  • Reply
    Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands
    May 11, 2016 at 8:15 am

    My DREAM is to have a nice backyard where I grow my own herbs. Maybe I should move out of the city….

  • Reply
    Ellie | Hungry by Nature
    May 11, 2016 at 10:25 am

    This is perfect! I’ve been wanting to plant a little herb garden on my deck and didn’t know where to start. And those pots are adorable! I will literally be going to the store after work today – thanks :))

  • Reply
    Brenda Nicholson
    May 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Would you consider a follow up on harvesting herbs? I’ve learned how to pick basil to encourage growth but cilantro is another matter.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    May 11, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    I love planting herbs in pots on the deck. It’s right off of my kitchen and makes it so handy to run out and snip as I’m cooking. I have whatever the opposite is of a green thumb, but herbs are plants I’ve always had good luck with. Love your tips! Especially the one about adding lava rocks at the bottom! I need to try that! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Lottie
    May 12, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Ive always wanted to grow my own herbs! I use a selection of different herbs in all my recipes – they bring out the flavour of dishes in such a natural and delicious way! But I’ve never known how to grow my own – always just bought them form local stores. So thank you for the advice!

  • Reply
    stacey glenn bradley
    May 12, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Planning to get starter plants at this Sat’s Farmer’s Market!!! Looove my fresh herbs :) We’ll grow some outdoors, and some inside, fingers crossed.

  • Reply
    Christina @ The Blissful Balance
    May 13, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Those pots are so cute!! I love how they’re labeled. I have about four basil plants in my back yard, I think it’s time to switch it up LOL

  • Reply
    Susan
    May 15, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Love this! There’s nothing quite like that accomplished feeling you get when you put together a meal using ingredients from your own backyard. Thanks for encouraging people to get out and play in the dirt!

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