Are you sick of watching bundles of leftover herbs languishing in your crisper? Fret not, there's an easy solution: plant an herb garden. Resilient and low-maintenance, most herbs can grow indoors or outside — a backyard, deck, or balcony are ideal, but a sunny countertop will suffice — leaving little reason not to break out the potting soil, a trowel, and some seeds or herb starts. You'll not only waste less, but will be inspired to add fresh herbs to dishes more often, a boon for both your conscience and your palate. Before you rush off to the nursery, keep these step and tips in mind.
- Assess the situation to determine what sort of set-up is ideal. Do you have a backyard? How long do you plan to live in your current home? If you can dedicate a corner of your backyard to the venture, and aren't planning on uprooting any time soon, consider a raised bed, either store-bought or DIY, which will provide enough space for a vast variety of herbs. If you're looking for a smaller-scale solution, terracotta or ceramic pots are a great alternative.
- Consider what herbs you cook with most often. It can be easy to get carried away when browsing seed catalogs or the herb start section of your nursery. Plant only what you'll realistically use in order to avoid waste; you can always add more to the mix later. Herbs like basil, parsley, mint, thyme, rosemary, and cilantro are most practical, but consider chives, dill, tarragon, oregano, or more-exotic varieties like Thai basil, marjoram, or savory if you think they'll be a worthwhile addition.
- Gather up the necessary equipment: Even if you're going the raised bed route, consider separate terracotta planters to restrict the growth of plants like mint that tend to grow rabidly, lest they overrun your other plants. You'll also need potting soil, a sturdy trowel, seeds or herb starts, a hose with a sprinkler attachment or a watering can, and a pair of gardening gloves. If your herb garden will live by a sunny window, make sure to buy planters with a saucer to collect excess water and avoid messy cleanup; alternatively, try one of these clever indoor setups.