Herb Kits vs Starter Plants: Easy Herb Gardening Tips for Beginners
As a grower, nothing makes the heart happier quite like reaching out to your windowsill or going to your herb garden with scissors in hand and trimming some herbs you’ve grown on your own for your next meal. There is something about having fresh herbs on hand that makes you want to cook up a storm, yes?
Thankfully, growing different herbs is so easy. You can buy herb kits and grow a container garden right on your windowsill or build an outdoor herb garden. Whatever setup suits you, here are some beginner-friendly gardening tips to try + growing secrets from the pros:
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Herb Kits or Starter Plants?
Should you buy herb kits and grow herbs from seed or get starter plants? The choice will depend on you! If you want to save money and grow different herb varieties, we suggest getting the herb kits. On the other hand, if you want to build an herb garden in a day, buy starter plants.
Herb Kits Pros and Cons
Indoor and Outdoor Gardening: Herb kits have all the components and infos you need to grow a little container garden on your own. You can grow any herb you like; the kits take the guesswork out of planting and growing herbs from seed. These are perfect for newbies.
Easy Gardening: You can grow herbs indoors and outdoors with the herb kits. If you’ve always wanted to build an herb garden outdoors, you can simply plant the seeds, wait for the seedlings to harden, and transplant inground. If you want to build an indoor herb garden, no need to transplant; just grow and care for the seedlings for a few weeks, and you’ll have fresh herbs in no time at all.
Space-Efficient: If you don’t have much indoor or outdoor room for an herb garden, using herb kits makes the most sense. The herbs don’t grow too big anyway, and with their own containers, you can build a small herb garden in the tiniest of places.
Growing herbs from seed: Growing plants from seed requires patience because some herbs take more time to germinate. Thankfully, most herbs are fast growers.
Transplants Pros and Cons
Effortless Growing: The seedlings are already hardened, so these just need to be transplanted, and that’s it. Of course, the shock could cut the herbs’ life short. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid shock and transplanting can be a little tricky for beginners.
Predictable Results: Sometimes, herbs won’t germinate if grown from seed. Buying seedlings offers more predictable results.
Instant Gratification: If you’re not very patient, seeing rows of tiny plants on your once-bare garden bed is genuinely gratifying. Transplanting seedlings is a quick way of building an herb garden.
Expensive: Buying seedlings is an addicting and costly habit. If you are working on a limited budget, you’d be forced to buy only a few.
Limited selection: The types of herbs that you can choose from a local plant nursery are limited. Buying specific varieties might be more expensive than the more common varieties as well.
Shock: There is an increased risk of transplanting shock when you buy seedlings. The seedlings could wilt and die quickly if these were not hardened enough before planting or if they’ve been planted in the wrong soil type. Often, the seedlings would die after planting, no matter how carefully they were transplanted.
6 Important Tips to Remember Before Starting Your Herb Garden
Stick with What You Need
It’s important to stick to herbs that you will use a lot so buy herbs according to your tastes and needs. There are over 150 varieties of basil and 600 varieties of mint. Picking the right herb varieties is important because there are significant differences in flavor.
For example, if you love pesto, go for Sweet Basil or Italian basil and do not use Thai basil. Your pesto won’t taste the same if you’ve used the latter. Picking the right herbs lets you maximize your herb garden to the fullest.
Use the Right Soil
Herbs are so easy to grow because they will thrive in most soil types. But one thing to remember when growing herbs is to avoid excess moisture. Use well-draining soil and avoid rich soils. Rich soils that hold a lot of moisture tend to stifle plants and cause root rot. If you’re using heavy soil, amend it, so it drains better. Try mixing with a bit of compost or organic materials to loosen the texture.
Herbs need regular pruning to maintain health and growth. When herbs grow, they’ll eventually set flowers, and when that happens, you won’t see much foliage growth. Pruning ensures continuous foliage growth, so the herbs stay nice and bushy. If your pantry is getting too full with the herb trimmings, dry the herb foliage and keep these in an airtight container. You can use these for cooking, potpourri, or as a greenery filler later on.
Always pay close attention to the width and height of a fully grown herb. Some herbs grow too quickly, while others don’t do well in tight, cramped spaces. The general rule is to underplant and to give each plant a little room to breathe. Overplanting or overcrowding will lead to wilting because the plants are not carefully set.
It is never a good idea to use insecticides or chemical fertilizers when growing herbs because you’ll use herbs for your food. And often, these are only rinsed and used fresh. If the herbs are exposed to chemicals, they become toxic when eaten. This is one of those plants that should consistently be grown organically. If the soil needs amending, use compost tea and natural fertilizers.
Herbs *hate* wet soil, so most of these plants need only occasional watering. If the herbs are watered too often, root rot might develop and kill the plants. In some cases, over-watering leads to stunted growth or reduced growth. Water only when the soil has become dry to the touch.
Who knew growing different herbs is this easy? Regardless if you’re using herb kits or starter plants to build an herb garden, we know that a space full of healthy, beautiful herbs will inspire you to cook more and grow more herbs! For more herb gardening tips and recommendations, please subscribe to our blog.